Rain Man, Regulator

Wired blogger Scott Gilbertson is upset about the Federal Trade Commission’s report urging caution regarding net neutrality regulation.

The Chairman of the FTC Deborah Platt Majoras says in a statement accompanying the report that “in the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area.”

In other words wait and see if it all goes south and then maybe consider doing something to fix it.

Gilbertson is essentially criticizing the FTC for not considering every possible scenario of things that could go wrong. Applying such an argument to regulation is akin to applying the Rain Man approach to airline safety when traveling.

Charlie: Ray, all airlines have crashed at one time or another, that doesn’t mean that they are not safe.
Raymond: QANTAS. QANTAS never crashed.
Charlie: QANTAS?
Raymond: Never crashed.
Charlie: Oh that’s gonna do me a lot of good because QANTAS doesn’t fly to Los Angeles out of Cincinnati, you have to get to Melbourne! Melbourne, Australia in order to get the plane that flies to Los Angeles!