April 4, 2019
In a bleak take on the sharing economy, Atlantic writer Alexis C. Madrigal says it has created a “servant economy,” where sharing economy platforms provide “low-paying work that deliver on-demand servant services to rich people.” He likens this to the domestic service prevalent before the Second World War. This take gets things almost completely backwards.
April 3, 2019
The Internet is unique in history not because it lacked “rules” about free expression, but that it expanded that broadcast freedom to all, not just the few. Facebook, Google, and other social media firms do not “censor”—only government can do that.
April 2, 2019
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s motto used to be “Move fast and break things.” Now that his company is under increased political scrutiny—and facing calls for breakup from both right and left—he has changed his tune to “move slowly and establish rules.”
March 26, 2019
This week The Economist endorsed European “tech doctrine”—a combination of antitrust, tax, privacy, and regulatory policies that is rapidly being imposed on a mostly American tech sector seemingly powerless to resist it. The magazine said, “If the doctrine works, it could benefit millions of users, boost the economy, and constrain tech giants that have gathered immense power without a commensurate sense of responsibility.” That’s a big “if.” American regulators should avoid this doctrine like the plague.
March 22, 2019
At a time when socialism seems determined to crawl back from the dustbin of history, it can be a challenge defending the moral legitimacy—and humanity—of a capitalist economy. Efforts like that of my colleagues Fred Smith and Ryan Young are certainly welcome, as is new research from academics like Prof. James Otteson. It’s especially nice, however, to also see individual businesspeople telling their own stories of hard work and success.
February 7, 2019
The debate at today’s House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing was largely between making blocking, throttling, and fast lanes illegal and going further to also place the Internet under heavy-handed Title II authority.
January 28, 2019
As technology and telecommunications evolve, new challenges inevitably arise for policy makers. New mandates or prohibitions should be avoided in all but the most exceptional circumstances. Ill-conceived rules could stifle the high-tech economy, saddling innovative firms with arbitrary regulations or draconian liability regimes.
January 24, 2019
In September of last year, the Federal Communications Commission issued a further notice of proposed rulemaking clarifying how the amount that cities are allowed to charge cable companies in franchise fees is calculated. If these changes are adopted, it will be much to the benefit of consumers.
January 4, 2019
The end of the 115th Congress meant the end of using the Congressional Review Act to void the Federal Communication Commission’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulation. Sadly, advocates of more government control over the Internet will almost surely try to pass new net neutrality legislation in the new Congress. And just as the old regulations were bad for innovation, news ones legislators may dream up in 2019 will likely be a detriment to consumers if enacted.
December 26, 2018
On June 21, 2018, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed fifty years of precedent by allowing states to collect sales taxes from businesses located completely outside that states’ borders. Allowing this remote taxation undercut healthy tax competition among the states, introduced the threat of crippling compliance costs for smaller online retailers, and emboldened 31 states to move forward with their sales tax expansion plans.