NYPost.com [5-14-14] reports:
Watching “House of Cards” and other streamed programs may be about to change.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to pass revised Internet regulations Thursday that could open the door for Internet service providers to start charging content providers for improved service.
That could mean Netflix, which produces “House of Cards,” could be forced to pay more for keeping its video stream flowing — a cost that could then be passed on to consumers.
Keep this in mind the next time prices for just about anything go up. Many price increases are due to government regulations and interventions. We only notice prices going up because, we assume, somebody is “greedy and mean.” Our elected officials and preachers tell us, “Those greedy and mean people — you should punish and hate them!” Yet they’re only passing on to us costs which were passed along to them. Netflix is simply the latest case in point.
Of course, sometimes prices go up because there’s too much demand relative to supply. However, the greed we so claim to hate resolves this; at least it does so in a free or semi-free marketplace. That’s why you see the cost of things like smart phones and laptop computers go down, over time. While demand for these things goes up, the greedy desire of businesses to make a profit leads them to ensure that supply keeps up with demand. That’s how basic economics works.
So the exact opposite of what you’ve been taught is true. Greed ultimately makes things cheaper, not more expensive.
In areas where the government intervenes heavily, such as education and health care, the supply is limited and constrained by government edicts, subsides and other “market distortions” which would not exist without the interference of government. As a result, choice/competition/quality are much less prevalent than would otherwise be the case in these fields. (In medical technology there has been innovation, because these are profit-driven fields; but not so in the area of health care delivery or health insurance, fields regulated primarily by government.) Costs inflate like crazy in these areas, because the government distorts supply-demand ratios via subsidies and or price controls (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid).
Incredibly — and insanely — the very people who are responsible for the price increases (government bureaucrats and politicians) get the credit for conserving costs, while the very people who are responsible for cost containment (profit-seeking and productive business owners) get the blame. If you want to know the true definition of social injustice, this is it.
FYI, and as an update, the advocates of market distortions got their wish in yesterday’s vote. FoxNews.com reported on 5/15/14:
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday moved forward with new regulations regarding so-called net neutrality, voting to advance rules that could have far-reaching implications on how Internet content is delivered and how much consumers pay to have it delivered.
The new regulations, if approved after a four-month period of comment and review, could allow big Internet service providers such as Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to charge more for faster and more efficient delivery of content.
Notice how the politically connected profit-makers gain an unfair advantage over the less politically connected profit-makers. That’s the definition of fascism, rather than socialism. If the Obama Administration policy makers were literal socialists, they’d oppose profit altogether. Obama’s Democratic members of the FCC don’t wish to take it that far. Instead, they seek to control the industry through providing government-based advantages through the regulation process.
Will the government do for online and television entertainment what it has already done for health care and education — turning them into largely bureaucratic nightmares with less and less freedom / rationality, and more and more cost, all the time?
Do you think that government will keep its hands off the content of the television shows or websites you like to view, as it gains greater control over the financial aspects of the industry through giving special favors to a couple of gigantic companies?
If you think that, then what kind of fool are you?
As NYPost.com states, The new proposal is expected to be more palatable to the FCC’s Democratic commissioners as it opens the door to questions like:
- Should ISPs be regulated as utilities, a process that would require support from Congress?
- Should the FCC appoint an ombudsman to watch for bad behavior from ISPs?
- Should ISPs be banned from charging for better roadways, known as “paid prioritization”?
He who sets the terms controls content. It’s human nature, and it’s the logic of events over time. There’s no escaping it. These FCC mandates are partisan in vote, and in nature. Obama’s guys like it not because it’s “neutral,” but because they believe it will economically and content-wise protect what’s important to them. The same could have been true of a Republican administration, if they were the ones in control of the FCC.
The only solution is for the government to get the hell out of the way. Get rid of the FCC altogether, best case; or, at a minimum, keep the FCC’s paws off the Internet. Stop manipulating the Internet and broadcast media in the name of “all consumers” while knowing full well it’s only for the constituency groups important to the party establishment in power (at present, that’s the Democrats).
In a free market, consumers vote with their dollars and profit-seeking businesses adapt to the shifting wants of consumers. Government officials are motivated by power, not by desire to please customers. They don’t have to please anyone other than those who support their political parties.
The naive or ignorant among us think government regulators are more trustworthy than businesses because they don’t stand to profit by their decisions. But it’s only through providing profit to business owners that we, as consumers, stand any chance of ever getting what we want.
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