Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The Media and Collectivized Production

The U.S. Senate's rejection of new media rules topped headlines today. One critic of the rules, Gene Kimmelman of the so-called Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, states that, "Separate ownership of dominant local newspapers and local broadcasters is essential to preserve the checks and balances against media bias that our democracy relies upon."

In short, this position is backed by the economic case against monopoly, that is, that a single producer of a consumer good or service will tend to produce less quantity at a higher price than otherwise would exist under "free competition." Logically, if economic laws are a priori then they apply to all goods and services, in all sectors or industries at all times, regardless of empirical evidence. In fact, this simple logic led Gustav de Molinari to state that "either this is logical and true [monopoly is worse than the free market], or else the principles on which economic science is based are invalid."

In the case of the media rules, everyone seems to agree monopoy negatively affects the production of news and information. Those in favor of the new rules say it won't lead to monopoly; those opposed say it will. The economic law, however, is not challenged.

Gustav de Molinari takes this a step further and wonders: why is the production of security collectivized? In other words, why must the government maintain a monopoly on the production of security? In fact, he makes the argument simple by saying that either the production of goods and services is better under communism (the collectivization of production by a single producer, government) than on the free market, or it is not. "If not, progress requires that it be replaced by free production."

At a time when many worry about terrorism, progress in this world means "collective security production" must be replaced by private production of security.

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