Government, please impose “net neutrality” for UPS, FedEx, and the Postal Service!

In 2010, Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget wrote:

ISPs spend billions of dollars building fiber networks. Why on earth shouldn’t they be able to charge what the market will bear to deliver bits over those networks?  If people want their bits delivered quickly and securely, they can pay more.  If they don’t, they can pay less.  It’s as simple (and fair) as that.

To see how silly the whole concept of “net neutrality” is, all you have to do is glance at the physical world.

Imagine if the Post Office (or FedEx, or UPS, or DHL, or any trucking or transport company) were legally prohibited from charging more for delivering some stuff sooner than other stuff.

Ridiculous, right?

Yes, ridiculous.  Those shipping and transport companies spent billions of dollars building their transportation networks.  They have every right to charge whatever the market will bear to deliver stuff via them.

No one has any problem with the concept that the Post Office treats overnight packages differently than slow-boat ones.  Importantly, they also charge different rates depending on what is in the package–see “book rate” and all pricing by weight. So why all this hullaballoo about “NET NEUTRALITY”?

The answer is simple: Self-interest.

Net-neutrality zealots don’t own pipe companies. They haven’t spent billions of dollars building the networks that carry all those bits around.  They HAVE spent (collectively) billions of dollars building the bits that get carried around–so of course they’d like to keep that bit-carrying as cheap as possible.

Read the whole article: Stop Moaning About “NET NEUTRALITY” — Of Course ISPs Should Be Able To Charge Higher Rates For Premium Traffic.

See also:

 

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Fifty Shades of Gray: Critics’ aesthetic snark as a means of dodging thought & engagement.

Nick Gillespie on Fifty Shades of Gray:

the main function of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is to let lazy elitists showcase their superior taste Mocking the literary merits of work that generates intense audience engagement is, quite frankly, the cheapest sort of criticism. It’s also a go-to move of critics who can’t be bothered to think about why audiences might respond to a given text or the issues that it raises. … Too often, aesthetic snark is simply a means of dodging thought and engagement.

Read the whole article: Fifty Shades of WTF – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

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Why politicians add subsidies instead of removing costly government controls: It makes them look good.

Nick Gillespie of Reason.tv explains:

[The President’s] solution to every rising price is to subsidize its purchase (this is true for health care, education, you name it). But when you subsidize something with tax dollars, you’re likely to increase both aggregate spending on it and increase prices (this too is true for health care, education, you name it). And his nod towards “high-quality” child care suggests more rules and regulations on the practice, which also will like raise prices too.

This isn’t Obama’s failing alone, of course, but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices? One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obamacare debate was that virtually no one on either side was talking about how to reduce prices by increasing supply. It was all about regulating prices by restricting or dampening demand.

That’s an ass-backwards way of looking at things, but it makes political sense, I guess: You want to be the person cutting the check to a specific beneficiary rather than fading into the background after deregulating an industry and letting innovators come up with new, better, cheaper goods and services.

Read the whole post.

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‘97% Of Climate Scientists Agree’ Is 100% Wrong

Alex Epstein writes:

If you’ve ever expressed the least bit of skepticism about environmentalist calls for making the vast majority of fossil fuel use illegal, you’ve probably heard the smug response: “97% of climate scientists agree with climate change”–which always carries the implication: Who are you to challenge them?

The answer is: you are a thinking, independent individual–and you don’t go by polls, let alone second-hand accounts of polls; you go by facts, logic and explanation.

Read the whole article: ‘97% Of Climate Scientists Agree’ Is 100% Wrong – Forbes.

See also:

Making ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’,” a review of Epstein’s book economist Bryan Caplan’s blog posts about The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and the I Love Fossil Fuels Facebook community.

 

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Christmas lights after New Year’s Day: the comb-over of holiday decorations.

Reading the Wikipedia entry on “comb over,” I learned that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent on a “Method of concealing partial baldness.” Here’s the independent claim:

A method for styling hair to cover bald areas using only the individual’s own hair, comprising separating the hair on the head into several substantially equal sections, taking the hair on one section and placing it over the bald area, then taking the hair on another section and placing it over the first section, and finally taking the hair on the remaining sections and placing it over the other sections whereby the bald area will be completely covered.

I like the last line of the specification, emphasis added:

While the above describes the preferred form of this invention, it is apparent that modifications thereof may occur to those skilled in the art, that will fall within the scope of the following claims.

Did the inventors ever sue anyone for infringing on their patent? For example, maybe a character in a high-grossing movie used their comb-over, and the comb-over was key to the film’s plot.

 

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January 1, 2015 · 10:03 pm

Please Protect Us from Santa Claus. If cheap imports hurt the economy, imagine the damage done by Saint Nick!

Dear Mr. President:

We applaud your valiant efforts to protect the American economy from the pernicious effects of cheap imports, but we fear you have overlooked one of the worst culprits.

Readily available goods for the consumer at reasonably low prices have been shown time and again to be toxic to domestic producers, who are the backbone of any advanced society. We urge you to expand your scope and protect us from someone your predecessors have neglected to stop: Santa Claus.

More: Please Protect Us from Santa Claus : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.

Via Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek.

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Cover contest for Machinery of Freedom

David D. Friedman has announced a cover contest for the new edition of The Machinery of Freedom. (Drafts of new chapters here.)  I’ve always liked this one from a 1973 paperback edition that I found at a used book sale many years ago.
Friedman - Machinery of Freedom
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