Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Slate's Jack Shafer on "The Case for Killing the FCC"

My favorite press critic, Jack Shafer of Slate, penned a fun piece last week entitled "The Case fo Killing the FCC and Selling Off the Spectrum." The essay builds heavily on the work of Tom Hazlett and Peter Huber, two fine libertarian minds that many of us here at PFF admire. Here's some of what Shafer has to say:

"Although today's FCC is nowhere near as controlling as earlier FCCs, it still treats the radio spectrum like a scarce resource that its bureaucrats must manage for the "public good," even though the government's scarcity argument has been a joke for half a century or longer. The almost uniformly accepted modern view is that information-carrying capacity of the airwaves isn't static, that capacity is a function of technology and design architecture that inventors and entrepreneurs throw at spectrum. To paraphrase this forward-thinking 1994 paper, the old ideas about spectrum capacity are out, and new ones about spectrum efficiency are in. ...

Technology alone can't bring the spectrum feast to entrepreneurs and consumers. More capitalism--not less--charts the path to abundance. Hazlett and others, going back to economist Ronald H. Coase in 1959, have advocated the establishment of spectrum property rights and would leave it to the market to reallocate the airwaves to the highest bidders. Such a price system would tend to encourage the further expansion of spectrum capacity."

Amen brother. Read the whole thing.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 11:34 AM | Spectrum , The FCC