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OpenMarket: Will Tew

  • Fred L. Smith, Jr., In This Month's Cato Unbound

    April 16, 2013
    This month's Cato Unbound series focuses on the constraints of money in politics, how businesses respond to opportunities for rent-seeking, and prospects for the future of free market advocacy.

    In his initial essay, CEI Founder and Chairman and Director of CEI's Center for Advancing Capitalism, Fred L. Smith, Jr., makes the case for increased business involvement in politics on the side of free markets. He suggests that academics and intellectuals sympathetic to capitalism should consider how their work affects the narratives about business that frame the general public's views. Public choice economists, in his opinion, may have actually contributed to the decline of principled businessmen and the rise of crony capitalists.

    You can read see the entire series...
  • At Brookings, Susan Crawford Fostering Internet Competition

    October 11, 2012
    Yesterday, the Brookings Institute held a panel that purported to discuss “Fostering Internet Competition”. But who is to do the fostering? Federal regulators, of course. The three panelists, Susan Crawford, Spencer Waller, and Douglas Rushkoff, rehashed familiar arguments aimed at policy scarecrows by would-be regulators when discussing tech and telecom regulation.

    Unless government steps in, the argument goes, walled gardens will trample the net. Deserving Americans will...
  • Celebrate National Cybersecurity Month!

    October 3, 2012
    The summer may be over, but don’t put the barbecue away yet -- the president just declared this October “National Cybersecurity Month.” It’s the latest maneuver in the Obama administration’s campaign for better cybersecurity. After Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation earlier this year, rumors of an executive order on cybersecurity soon surfaced.

    These rumors were confirmed when a draft version of the executive order was leaked in mid-September. A few days later, a...
  • Japan's War On Copyright Infringment

    October 2, 2012
    Japan is one-upping the U.S. when it comes to draconian copyright enforcement. The BBC reports that an amendment to Japan’s copyright law approved in June goes into effect today. The amendment imposes criminal penalties of up to two years in prison on people who illegally download copyrighted works. This law, of course, aims to deter potential downloaders and to protect the ailing Japanese entertainment industry. Both aspects of this policy -- the targeting of downloaders and the possibility of imprisonment -- raise interesting questions.

    Targeting downloaders is difficult, as the U.S. recording industry discovered in the first half of the 2000s. Downloaders number in the millions, making effective identification and...
  • Copyright Bots Are Here To Stay

    September 11, 2012
    A string of mistaken, high-profile takedowns has caused some talk about the services video hosting sites like Ustream and YouTube use to police livestreaming content. YouTube’s take-down of the livestream of the NASA Curiosity rover’s landing was the first of these incidents. Subsequently, YouTube blocked the stream of Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC, and Ustream cut off sci-fi author Neil Gaiman’s speech at the Hugo Awards, apparently for showing licensed clips from Doctor Who.

    Sites like YouTube and Ustream use programs designed to detect copyrighted material. If the "bot" detects what it believes to be infringing material it shuts the video down. This, as the EFF...
  • Subprime Double Standards

    July 28, 2011
    The Huffington Post reports that the Department of Justice is fixing to slap a lawsuit on Wells-Fargo for “allegedly preying upon African American borrowers during the housing bubble and steering them into high-cost subprime loans,” which seems a little strange, considering that this was the goal of certain government policies leading up to the subprime crisis.

    In the 1990s, the Clinton administration pushed for increased homeownership among traditionally under-represented groups. The Department of Housing and Urban Development released the “National Homeownership...
  • Amazon.com Fights Board of Equalization

    July 1, 2011
    Amazon.com is standing strong against California’s attempts to extort money from the online bookseller. Just a few days ago, Governor Jerry Brown (whose aura smiles and never frowns) signed a bill into law aimed at extracting taxes from online retailers. As it is now, the state requires consumers to keep receipts of online purchases, calculate sales tax on those purchases, then send a check to Sacramento. Obviously, this policy proved difficult to enforce.

    California’s Board of Equalization (the sinister-sounding body charged with collecting the state’s sales tax) issued a stern warning to Amazon and its comrade-in-arms Overstock.com: pay up or we’re coming after you. California’s...
  • Alabama's Dangerous Crackdown on Undocumented Workers

    June 30, 2011
    You might’ve read about the unintended consequences of Georgia’s crackdown on undocumented workers. Well, the same thing is about to happen in Alabama. A few weeks after Governor Bentley’s signing of a bill that will attack undocumented workers, Hispanic immigrants are already fleeing the state. The Alabama law is one of the harshest in the recent spate of anti-worker and anti-business legislation. It criminalizes assisting undocumented workers and imposes harsh penalties on businesses employing them. Businesses will be forced to use the intrusive and wasteful E-Verify system, putting immigration enforcement costs on entrepreneurs. It makes all public officials into immigration agents too by requiring them to constantly enforce the law...
  • Tyranny in Farmville

    June 30, 2011
    Two days ago, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog filed an anti-trust complaint with the FTC seeking an investigation of Facebook’s allegedly anti-competitive practices. These incude Facebook’s plan to implement new rules for game developers using its platform and Facebook’s deal with the largest social gaming developer, Zynga, Inc.

    With a 2012 IPO looming, Facebook has been looking to revise its policies.The new rules prohibit developers from charging lower fees for virtual goods outside Facebook. The social media company would also require developers to exchange with users through Facebook Credits, Facebook’s virtual currency. Third, Facebook would deduct 30 cents of every dollar from payments made through the system. Consumer Watchdog goes so far as to say that Facebook is...
  • Georgia's Immigration Folly

    June 23, 2011
    Who’d of thought it: cracking down on immigrant workers hurts the economy? Georgia’s learning the hard way as farms lose laborers and crops go unharvested. After its passing of strict anti-immigrant legislation in April, thousands of illegal workers have fled the state before the implementation of the law in July. This exodus of experienced farmhands meant 11,080  farm jobs left unfilled.

    With a labor shortage to deal with, the government of the state of Georgia has a novel way of filling the vacancies: probationers. Atlanta also instituted a program to encourage those on probation to find work in the fields. Ex-cons, who find getting jobs difficult, aren’t exactly overjoyed at the...

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