Jürgen_A._Erhard on Wed, 21 Jun 2000 23:16:53 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The role of government in the development of the Internet

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>>>>> "Declan" =3D=3D Declan McCullagh <declan@wired.com> writes:

    Declan> At 09:32 6/21/2000 -0400, Ronda Hauben wrote:
    >> There needs to be a summary of this good process and the lessons
    >> taken to determine how to continue a good role for government
    >> in the continued development of the Internet.

    Declan> In theory, this is a nice view. In reality, it doesn't
    Declan> happen.

    Declan> I would refer you to the accumulated work of several
    Declan> decades of public choice theorists. They have pointed out,
    Declan> among other things, that while there may be market
    Declan> failures, there are also "government failures." Just
    Declan> because a person is a government employee does not
    Declan> automatically mean he will look out for the "public
    Declan> interest" -- in fact, he's going to be looking out for his
    Declan> own self-interest. History has shown that you can't create
    Declan> a structure to isolate the "good" things without having
    Declan> "bad" things -- and I think an unacceptable number of bad
    Declan> things -- follow.

    Declan> Pie-in-the-sky rhetoric may have its place, but let's get down =
to cool=20
    Declan> reality here for a moment. And let's not forget abuses like these:
    Declan>   http://www.politechbot.com/p-00660.html

    >> There is an infrastructure of the Internet that needs
    >> government protection.

    Declan> Reasonable people may differ here. I'd rather the Net
    Declan> develop free of government meddling.

If it were also free of corporate meddling... if you show me (us?) how
to keep corporations[1] in check without any(!) government
intervention, then I buy into this. (Whatever *this* is ;-)

    >> If there is to be a continuation of the development that has
    >> made the Internet an important new
    >> human-computer-communications system, the public sector has to
    >> oversee and protect that development.

    Declan> What, the same laudable "public sector" of government
    Declan> bureaucrats and publicity-hungry legislators who gave us
    Declan> the Clipper Chip, the Communications Decency Act, CALEA,
    Declan> proposals to ban unapproved encryption, plans to wiretap a
    Declan> huge percentage of simultaneous telephone conversations,

Bad stuff indeed... I'll omit *those* parts below.

    Declan> the DMCA, the "copying software for your mom is a felony"
    Declan> NET Act,

At the behest of the private sector, make no mistake.

    Declan> plans to ban gambling online,

Arguably also at the behest of the private sector (real casinos don't
look to favorably upon their online colleagues... unless their online
themselves (and then they'd like to have the *others* banned))

    Declan> [...] the creation of ICANN with a secret board selection
    Declan> process approved by the White House,

Private sector interests, again.

    Declan> [...] Y2K liability "immunization" for well-heeled
    Declan> corporations,

Can you say, "private sector"?  I knew you could... ;-)

    Declan> [...] and a host of other schemes noteworthy only for how
    Declan> pernicious they are?

I agree that government is bad... but, honestly, I tend to think
private business is often worse.  Or at least not any better.

This whole argument of yours, Declan, smells to much of classic
`libertarian' thought for my taste...

Bye, J

[1] Generally, the private sector... I do *not* buy this "Corporatism"
I've seen bandied about... it's "Capitalism", folks, pure and simple.
Corporatism smells like distracting people from the real evil ("Look,
it's only `Corporatism'... big corporations, that's it.  It's not a
problem of the system per se..."  Yeah, right :-| )

PS: Nice phrasing, BTW, in your second paragraph: "there may be market
failures, there are [also] `government failures.'".  See the
difference?  I can only assume it wasn't intentional by what I've read
of you in the past in various fora...

J=FCrgen A. Erhard      eMail: jae@ilk.de      phone: (GERMANY) 0721 27326
          My WebHome: http://members.tripod.com/Juergen_Erhard
       SPACE: Above And Beyond (http://www.planetx.com/space:aab)
            "MCSE: Minesweeper Champion and Solitare Expert"

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