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OpenMarket: Alex Nowrasteh

  • Who Needs A High Tech Industry?

    November 13, 2007

    There's a lot of political anger associated with the recent immigration debate. But with all the attention paid to unskilled immigrants from Mexico and the rest of Latin American, most people ignore the large number of highly skilled and educated workers who are also trying to work in the United States.

    Engineers, computer scientists, and other scientists undeniably help the U.S. economy. About 25 percent of the technology and engineering companies launched in the past decade had at least one foreign-born founder.

    H-1B visas, three year work visas which companies use to sponsor foreign workers, are limited to only 65,000 per year. These visas are also the most sought after by foreign...
  • Ala carte is not on the menu

    November 12, 2007
    Frank Ahren's “FCC Moves to Place Restrictions on Cable TV” was highly misleading in its description of a “largely unregulated cable television industry” that raises prices for consumers. Contrary to Mr. Ahren's claim, cable television is highly regulated by local and state governments, which routinely grant geographic monopolies to influential cable companies. 

    Local government place heavy burdens on industry that can be more destructive than federal regulations.  Despite the methodological problems of comparing the price for services across decades, where the basic cable service today is much better...
  • Carter-Era Rationing, Now for Water!

    October 22, 2007
    It's always humorous to read stories of outrage during periods of rationing. The same people outraged by the water shortage in the Southeast don't realize that shortages are a government made phenomenon. Instead of getting mad at football field owners and water park proprietors, perhaps they should protest city hall?

    From the “timber shortage” in America at the turn of the twentieth century to the oil shortage during the 1970s, every single shortage was caused by government mismanagement or price controls. The situation in the Southeast is no different. Will people ever learn? Governments cause shortages, not capitalists.
  • Anti-Market Bias or Bad Economics?

    October 17, 2007
    Reuters released a story today about Professor Eric Maskin, one of three American economists to receive the Nobel prize for economics. In it Maskin is quoted as saying that he "to some extent" takes issue with free-market orthodoxy.

    This is not news. Maskin is just repeating a chapter that everyone reads in any microeconomics text book about public goods. Sure, the market MAY not be able to efficiently provide a military, courts, or other public goods because of the free rider problem. Although there is evidence to the contrary...

  • At FCC, Internet Connect to You!

    September 28, 2007
    Yakov Smirnoff's short lived fame died off with the Soviet Union. Little did he know, his unique style of comedy could have lived on indefinitely by mocking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In a real-life example of Mises' theory of interventionism, where the effects of one bad regulation is the catalyst for more bad regulation, the FCC is advocating additional price controls for dedicated line services. Of course, dedicated line services are only supplied by FCC backed Baby Bells, which have regional monopolies of these services.

    Hmmmm, I seem to remember from Microeconomics 101 that monopolies tend to raise price...

    Instead of more price controls and regulations, why doesn't the FCC just let any firm compete? Proponents of regulation...
  • Double Jeopardy for Google DoubleClick Deal

    September 27, 2007

    Google's bid to purchase the Internet advertising firm DoubleClick was scrutinized today in hearings by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill), Chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wi), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights. Rush & Kohl have been critical of the proposed $3.1 billion acquisition which is still subject to FTC approval.

    Part of what makes this deal complicated is the somewhat sketchy history of DoubleClick itself. Its ill fated “intelligent” targeting service for advertisers raised concerns about online privacy. DoubleClick's new service was controversial because it supposedly used online and offline...

  • You Gotta Keep 'em Separated

    September 24, 2007
    The Globalization Institute, a Brussels based think tank, has recommended the EU require all PCs to be sold without preloaded operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.

    Despite the fact that this would be an obnoxious intrusion into the private business relationships between PC manufacturers and Microsoft, such a regulation would do nothing to loosen Microsoft's hold on the OS market. Most consumers demand Windows because it is compatible with their older PCs and will effortlessly fit into any existing market.

    Splitting up Windows from PCs will just inconvenience the majority of consumers who demand Windows, forcing them to buy it separately. For those that do not want Windows, cheap alternatives such as Linux are readily available. Clearly PC producers think that bundling their...
  • Ensuring Competition through Deregulation

    September 17, 2007
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently assigned to deregulate special access rates, a service provided by traditional incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).

    Special access refers to the high-capacity local links, such as high-speed T-1 and T-2 lines that local phone companies provide to businesses and other heavy volume generators of telecom traffic. The FCC considers special access to be fully competitive and allows a significant amount of price flexibility, within certain limitations....


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