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Re: OT: Politics [Was:Social Contract]

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On Tuesday 02 May 2006 22:40, Paul Johnson <baloo@ursine.ca> was heard 
to say:
> Portland, Oregon is a great argument against privatization of
> critical infrastructure.  For the longest time, it was the poster
> child of privatization, with Portland General Electric as the
> local, private, power utility and residential power monopoly...

Excuse me, but how can "privatization" and "monopoly" be used to refer 
to the same action? A legally mandated monopoly is 
hardly "privatization", it remains a legal arm of the government.

As much as I hate to nit-pick, because it's obvious your heart is in 
the right place, Mr. Johnson, there is a very serious disconnect 
between the term "privatization" (or deregulation) and the reality of 
continued government intervention.

Let's talk about actual deregulation and privatization, like in late 
1992 when the NSF released their control of the routing tables and 
removed the prohibition against "commercial" use of this "internet" 
thing. Sure, it was hard for a while for each tier-1 ISP to get 
routers in place that could deal with the full routing table. But the 
explosion of use, availability, content and innovation was wonderful 
to behold! 

No surprise to me, being a free-market advocate, to see what happens 
when the regulatory cork is truly pulled from the bottle. I suggest 
that this same explosive expansion of utility, innovation and variety 
will happen in any field where government really does get out of the 

Would it be "easy"? Can I guarantee that no one, anywhere, would have 
difficulty as the competitive modes were worked out all over again? 
No. Neither can I say that life is safe at all, there is always risk.

But as anyone who sells insurance can tell you, where there is risk 
there is profit! And profit is a very powerful motivator. It may take 
a day, it may take a year, but someone will come up with a way to 
undercut the local "physical" monopoly and provide better service 
*IF* they are legally allowed to do so. The risk of that competition 
will lower prices or improve service (or both) in the entrenched 
provider as well, if for no other reason than to try to keep the 
competition at bay for a little while longer.


- -- 
September 11th, 2001
The proudest day for gun control and central 
planning advocates in American history

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