You are here

Tim Wu's "datatopian" wireless net neutrality rejects competiton policy

My core problems with Professor Tim Wu's white paper for the FTC on wireless net neutrality are with his disguised core assumptions.

First, it is clear from  Mr. Wu's top two recommendations that Mr. Wu rejects U.S. competition policy and wireless competition policy as abject failures.

  • He recommends caterfone for wireless!
    • The simple translation of his oxymoronic recommendation is: foster a competitive market by regulating it like a monopoly. 
  • He then doubles down on his Government-knows-best view and recommends monopoly non-discrimination regulations for competitive wireless carriers.
    • What he is really saying is abandon competition policy and let he and his brethren decide what's best for everyone.

Mr. Wu should come clean and just say in a straightforward language what his White Paper strongly implies.

  • Its obvious that Mr. Wu does not think that competition works in communications or in wireless.
  • He does not think competition best serves consumers, and has the datatopian view  that "benevolent all knowing" regulators need to decide what technologies should succeed, who can innovate and who can't, who can make money and who can't.

Second, Professor Wu analysis suffers from what I call the "perfection fallacy."

  • He assumes the wireless market should be perfect and then provides anecdotes of how it is not perfect. What he tries to pass off as intellectual rigor, is actually intellectual rigor mortis.  
  • After pointing out all the imperfections of competition, he then leaps to the unsupported conclusion that his regulation can do everything better.
  • If he was more intellectually honest, he would also point out the many imperfections of the centralized decision-making approach that he was advocating.
  • Then he could more fairly compare the imperfections of both: 
    • Competition/capitalism; and
    • Centralized govt decisionmaking/socialism.