There is no such thing as a free market. There are only markets regulated by customers, and markets regulated by politicians. If you want your markets regulated by politicians, you have to believe that they are better at running your own life than you are. I don't understand why you think that. If you think you can explain that to me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun, 18 Apr 2010
Sat, 10 Apr 2010
This posting has been translated into Belorussian.
I live on a rural road, with 10 houses per mile where the local cable franchise is only required to wire when there are 20 houses per mile. With practically no growth, it seems foolish to wait for anybody else to wire it up. We have power and telephone, and so plenty of poles. The trouble with poles is that they're tied up in engineering costs, pole rental, make-ready costs, and other bureaucrazy.
The alternative of burying or laying the cable on the ground seems like the only sane choice. Our road is about 50% fields and 50% dense brush/woods. So, burying in the fields, and laying through the woods.
I found some nice COE/CPE for $80 each end. Uses a single strand of singlemode fiber, transmitting on one frequency (color) and receiving on a different one. Gets you 100Mbps Ethernet. Or you can spend $250 for a box which has wifi, four Ethernets on a switch, and two RJ11 VOIP lines, AND a fiber cable tray (which you need anyway because bare fiber is very fragile).
Planning to do a home run, running a strand of fiber for each house all the way down the road. At the state highway there's Time Warner, Verizon, and the tri-county municipal fiber (but they only want to connect you at a POP, and they don't have a POP anywhere nearby). I could probably become an ISP and haul in bandwidth, but I'd prefer not to have to get into that business. Been there, done that.
The problem is: how do I get to the other side of the road? I could cut through the asphalt, but that seems like a lot of work, and wouldn't please the town highway department. Directional boring is expensive (and boring). I could go over on poles, but that gets back to the crazy. I could go over using trees, but there's a reason why telephone companies quickly abandoned trees: falling limbs.
Perhaps the solution is simply to run fiber down both sides of the road?
If you're interested in DIY fiber, join the Communities-United-for-Broadband Facebook group.
Thu, 08 Apr 2010
Apparently some Democrats object to the idea that Jamestown was run as a socialist enterprise, as Dick Armey pointed out. They say "Oh, no Jamestown was established as a capitalist venture to make a profit." Well, that's true, but internally (which is the only thing that matters) it was run in the same way as any socialist venture. There was no money, no market, everyone got free food and housing, and -- this is key -- there was no incentive to work because only the corporation made profits. Individuals who wanted to work harder than others had no incentive to do so. So naturally, the enterprise foundered, as any socialist venture does.
(Before you object by pointing to Sweden, do please consider that Sweden is nothing like a socialist country. It has high taxation and generous social benefits, but it has a vibrant and free market. Socialist countries don't have free markets. They have government-controlled markets. The idea that socialist countries can have free markets is a recent and ignorant one. Go read up on the history of socialism, and you will see that their first goal was to eliminate the marketplace, preferring instead government allocation of profits.).
Okay, now you can object with Sweden, but at least now you'll know in advance that I think you're wrong. And crazy, but mostly wrong.
Sat, 03 Apr 2010
I first posted this in December of 2006. Nothing has changed since then. NOTHING. So I'm reposting it.
Health care in the USA is completely broken. Health care is a difficult problem, to be sure, but I think it's clear that we're currently solving it very badly. Two problems with health care: One is that people expect everyone to have the same health care as a rich person, even if they're not rich themselves. Another is that health care, not being exposed to the discipline of the market, is very expensive. If everyone gets the same health care as a rich person, then there is no pressure to create more frugal health care.
Health care then being expensive, everyone expects somebody else to be paying for their health care. This creates bizarre solutions. For example, in Canada, health care is paid by the federal government. In order to hold down taxes, access to health care is limited; typically by waiting periods. Or in the USA, most working people have their health care paid by their employer, except for a very small deductible. This makes it difficult for employees with health problems to switch employers. The government has created a ham-handed solution which permits former employees to continue their health insurance by paying the premium out of pocket..
Health care is important, without doubt. So is food (insufficient calories reduces your resistance to ordinary infections), but we generally don't expect everyone to be able to dine on caviar and steak every day. Many different kinds of food are available in many different venues and preparation styles, at reasonable prices. Yes, the poor may need to dine on beans and rice, but except for the most indigent, everyone can get enough calories, protein, and vitamins to stay healthy. Health care could be the same way; with cheap, worthwhile health care being available to everyone at affordable prices. We have chosen a different path; much to our detriment.