Media Business Strategies

The Blog of David Polakoff

(Information) High(way) Plains Drifter

Posted by David Polakoff on July 18, 2014

The Windmills of My Immediate Mind

Media Business Strategies – David Polakoff

“(Information) High(way) Plains Drifter”

Net Neutrality

Disclosure – I tease with “High Plains Drifter,” but actually reference “Pale Rider.”

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is proposing rules on whether delivery of content over the internet can be prioritized by internet service providers and content distributors. This is really a decision of who do you trust less – the government or private enterprise.

I love industry competition – the more rivals there are, the greater the pursuits for the best product and service at the best price. I love the free market – people looking to match supply with demand. Free market enterprise and industry completion, in a democracy, ass-u-me (salute to “The Odd Couple” television show) that there is a moral compass which provides boundaries of right, wrong, fairness, and the golden rule.

There’s a scene in “Pale Rider” where young Megan (Sydney Penny) is talking with young Josh LaHood (Chris Penn) which soon becomes a scene of attempted molestation. Before the arrival of the Preacher (Clint Eastwood) to rescue Megan, Josh’s fellow mining company workers encourage him in his illicit and repugnant behavior, and likely will join in his actions, but it is fellow miner, Club (Richard Kiel) who realizes the absolute immorality and wrongness of what is going on and is about to stop it (a “whistleblower”), ahead of The Preacher. Club is the moral compass that the LaHood mining company men lacked. It is because companies in so many industries lack a moral compass and/or the proper balance of revenues and profits with consumer and environment protection and care, and regard for consumer brand appeal and loyalty, that we have government regulate and police companies and industries.

While airlines, oil companies, and cable/internet providers (to name a few) deliver products and services we cannot live without, following mergers and takeovers, they do so in a fashion that disregards consumer needs and satisfaction and price, because they can – they are utilitarian and have a great stranglehold on the market place. We have nowhere else to turn.

Now, putting confidence and trust in the government is also a leap of faith. But the government provides the moral compass to find balance between capitalism in a free market economy and the expectations and demands of freedoms, rights, and protections in a democracy. It’s not perfect; but it is the system in which we live.

Net neutrality is required for the entire market to operate freely, where entrepreneurs and small businesses can compete on a level playing field with big conglomerates. And, in the world where we all depend, rely, and live by technology facilitated by the internet and wireless communication, it would adversely disrupt life as we know if access to tools and means of daily of living were handicapped or high jacked by businesses without moral compasses and/or businesses that had overwhelming or monopolistic control over a market segment.

There is no reason to believe that weakening net neutrality will ultimately be fair to consumers, to the free market, capitalism, and democracy. Remember, the “Pale Rider” was a gunfighter, turned preacher, who ultimately had to return to being a gun fighter. I put no faith or trust in any company(ies) that would have the power to alter the currently fair playing field. The internet is so entrenched in our lives, it must remain free and unwalled, like the high plains. Once the high plains are walled, paved, or parceled out to the haves and have nots, it cannot be restored. The net must remain neutral. The people in a democracy sometimes need that “nice piece of hickory” to beat back the government and overzealous private enterprise to do what is right for the people. The net needs to remain neutral.

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