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Originally posted (with minor alterations) on Views on Brews.

For decades now we have been going down the road of deregulation and privatization. The promise is always the same. Competition, leading to more choice, more efficiency, lower prices.

We also know what the reality has been every single time. Consolidation. Monopolies or near monopolies. Less choice. Lower quality. Higher prices. Lack of oversight and checks and balances leading to abuses. Whether it was the savings and loan industry, electricity and energy production and distribution, commodities and stocks, the results have always been disastrously the same. And yet the conservatives keep pushing the "government is bad and ineffective, let the free market works its magic" message for everything.

One of the latest areas of deregulation to catch my eye is that of telecommunications and the cable industry. In large part this is due to personal experience. We have underground utilities in our neighborhood and so the cable wire comes in through the basement. We have bundled services through the cable company: cable, internet and the land line phones. Until we bundled our services,  the internet modem, and our wireless router, were on the second floor of the house, in the study where our desktop computer still resides. However apparently that was too far away from the initial point of entry (the basement) to provide a strong enough signal for the land line. And so the modem and router were moved to the basement.  

We adjusted to that. But lately, at least every other day, there comes a time during the day where the internet is "lost". Cable and phone will still be working, but the internet is down. One of us has to go down to the basement, unplug the modem from the strip it's plugged into, count to 10, and plug it back in. Then the internet "reappears".

And don't get my wife started on the cable itself. Remotes that don't work. Features heavily advertised that it turns out you have to pay extra for. Down times where suddenly you can't DVR programs. And then to find out that other people we know in town are being called by the cable company offering them free services or reduced rates, to make up for the inconvenience of this DVR outage. The calls were initiated by the cable company mind you to these friends and relatives, but we get no such calls or offers. We suspect it is because we already have a fairly high number of optional program services so there is less opportunity for the company to entice us to upgrade or add services than there might be for others by "giving" them free trials.

So all this led me to do a little research. I remembered hearing that our experience in the USA is not the norm in other modern, industrial countries, but I figured I'd take a look. Sure enough, the wonders of the free market, free from government interference and regulation, means that Americans are paying more for less service. Sound familiar?

For example, people in the U.S. pay about twice as much for slower internet connection speeds. According to a study by the New America Foundation, in New York City you pay approximately $70/month for slow to moderate download speeds of under 20 mbps (megabits per second). Meanwhile in South Korea you would pay the equivalent of about $28/month for download speeds of about 45 mbps.

I don't care what math you're using, that translates to more than double the download speed for less than half the cost compared to the U.S. Communists.

A comparison of bundled packages (internet/cable/phone service combined) that includes low to mid-range download speeds found the following internet charges for American cities:

San Francisco $99/month
New York $70/month
Washington DC $68/month.

For the same service in representative international cities:

London $38/month
Paris $35/month
Seoul $15/month.

So why do we find this pattern? According to Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation policy, as quoted in a BBC News Magazine article on the topic, "Americans pay so much because they don't have a choice".

The deregulation of the telecommunications industry has led to consolidation and even more monopolies in the cable/internet marketplace than existed prior to deregulation. The result, in another quote from the same BBC News Magazine article, is that "companies face neither competition nor oversight". And so there is no incentive for internet service providers to expand broadband or to build faster networks. The New America Foundation study concluded:

...the most affordable and fast connections are available in markets where consumers can choose between at least three competitive service providers." This is not the case in most American cities or regions.  
Ah, smell the freedom as the dollars fly out of your wallet.

Originally posted to kenwards on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Free Market" equals the market's freedom (29+ / 0-)

    to screw consumers.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 11:40:29 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately, the example chosen is far from free (6+ / 0-)

      Check out the article at http://arstechnica.com/....

      A new fiber provider needs a slew of government permits and construction crews to bring fiber to homes and businesses. It needs to buy Internet capacity from transit providers to connect customers to the rest of the Internet. It probably needs investors who are willing to wait years for a profit because the up-front capital costs are huge. If the new entrant can't take a sizable chunk of customers away from the area's incumbent Internet provider, it may never recover the initial costs. And if the newcomer is a real threat to the incumbent, it might need an army of lawyers to fend off frivolous lawsuits designed to put it out of business.
      •  The term is "oligopoly." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies

        This means that there are "few sellers" from the Greek roots “oligos” meaning "little or small” and “polein” meaning “to sell.”

        A small number of seller in a market can force up prices and reduce the quality of product offerings.

        There's nothing "Free Market" about this problem. Monopoly features one seller. Standard capitalism features ease-of-entry for competitors so that demand and supply balance out.

        American telecoms have both classic oligopoly in place and they are unregulated for quality and price. They have political cover.

        That's a political entity: Republican Oligopoly.

        Regulations and price-fixing law are blocked. Mergers are encouraged. The worst of oligopoly is given a legal immortality while banks/financial sector entities soak the resulting profits.

        All the normal, traditional cures for these excesses are damned as "job killers."

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

        by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:42:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. And Third Way. (0+ / 0-)

          And the Clintons. And... well, that's quite a list.

          But we need to get a rational SCOTUS before we will have a chance to correct Republican Oligopoly at the ballot box.

          "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

          by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:49:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You think you have it bad in urban areas with.. (7+ / 0-)

      rates and speed for what you pay?  Try living in rural America:  I "enjoy" the luxury of having to pay $65.00/month for an advertised speed of 5Mbps (you can guess that it never is 5 Mbps - I know as I do Speed Check all of the time).   Many of our friends where we live  cannot get cable internet and have to rely on DSL for the same price, but it's even slower.

      Wow, now that's what I call blistering speed for my $.

      Why can't we have another Rural Electrification Act again like we did in the past?

      Oh, that's right:  It makes to much sense, and would cost the internet communication monopolies to much money and cut into their shareholder profits.

      Silly me.

      “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

      by LamontCranston on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:31:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Monopolies (19+ / 0-)

    Progressives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used to talk about monopolies all the time. The word works. Even conservatives don't defend monopolies.

      Progressives need to rediscover that word.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 11:52:31 AM PDT

    •  But "natural monopolies" exist (8+ / 0-)

      One water company, one gas company, one electric company in your street, one cable company, one phone provider.....
      The problem isn't so much the monopoly (though that constricts innovation) but the lack of oversight of that monopoly.
      Putting up two, three, five sets of cables covering every house on every street is incredibly wasteful, technically a nightmare, just due to the mass of equipment that it would require.
      So we grant these monopolies but in turn they must submit to regulation.
      They should be required, as part of their license to monopolize a district, that they must meet certain performance standards and those standards need to be updated and monitored.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 01:03:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (22+ / 0-)

        there was a natural reason why the electric, phone and cable companies were granted monopolies. But they used to be regulated.

        Now we have the worst of all possible worlds. Essentially we still have the monopolies, only without the oversight that forces certain standards of performance and service.

        Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

        by kenwards on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 01:11:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  IMO, when physical realities make it hard (9+ / 0-)

          for private companies to compete for your business, like in utilities, mass transit and natural resources, those entities should be non-profit and controlled by the government, i.e. you and me.

          If there's going to be a monopoly, then it better damn well be one that we can control democratically.

          Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

          by La Gitane on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 03:08:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's nothing stopping you from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bluefin

            starting an initiative in your town to provide low cost internet, is there?

            Municipalities are doing it all over the country - prividing both wireless and hardwired access.

            Or, do you want someone else to do it?

            •  I'll just do it in my spare time. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OooSillyMe

              I live in San Diego, the 7th largest city in the country. Give me a break - so we can't have opinions about something if we don't just change it ourselves? Wow...

              Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

              by La Gitane on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:21:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Except that... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thanatokephaloides

              This will most likely bankrupt the town.  There have been several municipalities that have tried to bring broadband to everyone - setting up wireless networks or wireline networks.  And they have been sued by private providers for providing 'unfair' competition.  In several cases, the private companies win.  Even if they don't, it still cost the municipality millions in fending off the suites.  

              “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

              by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:32:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  actually, there IS something stopping us (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thanatokephaloides, OooSillyMe

              Something called "lawsuits" from the monopolists who run the industry now.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:37:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Private cable companies have seen to it that (0+ / 0-)

              states added laws preventing municipalities from doing just that....secretly of course.  You don't think that they missed that did you?

        •  If they were natural monopolies then why did (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, thanatokephaloides

          they need the government to grant them monopolies?

      •  those natural monopolies are called (12+ / 0-)

        "public utilities".

        Those things that used to be run pretty well by nonprofit governments until we privatized them so rich stockholders could make even more money.

        My view? Nearly everything everyone has in every house in the US, comes from a corporation--from the food you eat to the clothes on your back to the floorboards in your house. We are utterly dependent upon an ever-smaller number of ever-larger corporations for nearly everything in our lives.

        They are, in effect, public utilities. And they should all be taken over and run as public utilities, by nonprofit governing bodies elected by and responsible to us, the people who depend upon them for everything in our lives.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 03:12:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are saying that every single company should (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JJ In Illinois, RichM

          be taken over by the government?

          Really?

          •  yes. really. and run democratically. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            caul

            After all, every corporation is ALREADY run by its shareholders, who elect the management to run the corporation for them. Alas, the controlling shareholders are just a tiny proportion of the population. All I want to do is make EVERY citizen a shareholder (an EQUAL shareholder), since every citizen does literally have a stake in the corporation, and is quite literally dependent upon them for everything in our lives. Any entity that has direct power over people's lives should, in a democracy, be elected by, and responsible to, those people over which it has power.

            Do you have something against "democracy" . . . ? If we can elect a Congress and a President, is there some reason why you think we cannot elect a corporate CEO and a Board of Directors . . . ?

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 03:12:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Lots of reasons why this won't work (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RichM

              First, how do you plan to pay me for the shares I own?  Or are you planning confiscation without compensation?

              Secondly, there are millions of companies just in the US.  How do you plan to have everyone elect all of their directors?  Perhaps most of us have other things to do besides voting for corporate boards?

              Thirdly, if no one can own a company on their own or with just a few other people then who is going to start new businesses ranging from the pizzeria on the corner to Google?

              •  it already works (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                thanatokephaloides

                Corproations are ALREADY run by a management elected by the stockholders.  All I'm doing is expanding the number of stockholders to include . . . well . .  everybody.

                First, how do you plan to pay me for the shares I own?  Or are you planning confiscation without compensation?
                Yes, I am planning confiscation without compensation.
                Secondly, there are millions of companies just in the US.  How do you plan to have everyone elect all of their directors?  Perhaps most of us have other things to do besides voting for corporate boards?
                We already elected millions of political officials in the US, everyone from president of the United States, to dogcatcher. That does not appear to present any problems.  Or is it your opinion that "elections" are just a waste of time because people have better things to do . . . .
                Thirdly, if no one can own a company on their own or with just a few other people then who is going to start new businesses ranging from the pizzeria on the corner to Google?
                People started new things long before there were companies, or stockholders. People make things because we NEED them. The people who invented pottery, mud bricks, irrigation, concrete, indoor plumbing, wheels, domesticated crops, plows, and metal smelting, were never paid a dime. They invented those things because people NEEDED them. And they still will. Indeed, if you talk to creative people who invent things, you will find that they do it because it's an internal motivation, and most say outright that they'd do it for free if they could.

                PS--the pizzerias on the corner that you worship, are already dead--they've been replaced by the big national corporate chains who either buy them out or drive them under (take a look around and you will see that in virtually every area of business). Small businesses don't matter anymore. They are like krill--they die almost immediately (almost all small businesses fail within five years) and are only there to feed the bigger fish. I don't care about the minnows--I want the sharks.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:42:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can't decide if this is a joke or really really (0+ / 0-)

                  dumb.

                  First, how do you plan to pay me for the shares I own?  Or are you planning confiscation without compensation?
                  Yes, I am planning confiscation without compensation.
                  Good luck on that.

                  How do you plan to deal with the howling mobs of everyone with a 401k or IRA?

                  Also, what about foreign investors?  Their governments may have something to say about this expropriation.

                  Finally, has it occurred to you that if it ever looks like something like this could remotely happen everyone with money will just move their money offshore, move themselves offshore, and expatriate?

                  Secondly, there are millions of companies just in the US.  How do you plan to have everyone elect all of their directors?  Perhaps most of us have other things to do besides voting for corporate boards?
                  We already elected millions of political officials in the US, everyone from president of the United States, to dogcatcher. That does not appear to present any problems.
                  Most of those people are local officials - they are not on everyone's ballot.

                  How many people are on your ballot each election?  Then how many do you add when you are voting for the boards of just the Fortune 500, never mind businesses like every neighborhood pizzeria?  How many telephone books worth of ballots do you want to fill out?

                  Thirdly, if no one can own a company on their own or with just a few other people then who is going to start new businesses ranging from the pizzeria on the corner to Google?
                  People started new things long before there were companies, or stockholders. People make things because we NEED them. The people who invented pottery, mud bricks, irrigation, concrete, indoor plumbing, wheels, domesticated crops, plows, and metal smelting, were never paid a dime. They invented those things because people NEEDED them.
                  So how do you expect the people making the next Google to afford the computers, salaries, etc. that they need to build their concept without investors?

                  Or are we going to have a government VC fund?  And if so, how will you prevent it from refusing to fund startups whose models threaten established companies owned by the American people?  (The current fight in Shanghai over taxi hailing apps is instructive.  The government is trying to ban them because they are taking revenue from government owned taxi companies.)

                  PS--the pizzerias on the corner that you worship, are already dead--they've been replaced by the big national corporate chains who either buy them out or drive them under (take a look around and you will see that in virtually every area of business). Small businesses don't matter anymore.
                  Google, Facebook, Dell, and Apple were all small businesses in my lifetime.  Today small businesses make up about half of GDP (http://www.sbecouncil.org/....  In short, you have your head up your butt.
                  •  thanks for the luck (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NoMoreLies
                    How do you plan to deal with the howling mobs of everyone with a 401k or IRA?
                    The same way that democratic governments dealt with the howling feudal aristocracies who lost their positions when the monarchy was overtrhown and replaced with a republic.

                    By ignoring them.

                    You seem to have this idea that we need their permission to overthrow their social system.  We don't. Nor will we ask it.

                    Incidentally, I find it funny beyond measure that all of your arguments justifying corporatocracy (how will you run elections? what about my rights as owner?) are precisely the same ones made by the French aristocracy when the monarchy was overthrown and replaced with democracy.

                    History may not repeat, but it usually rhymes.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:04:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  ps---------> (0+ / 0-)
                if no one can own a company on their own or with just a few other people
                Perhaps you are unaware of how many people own shares of companies like GM or BP . . . . . .

                But in a way you are correct--since in the corporation it is one SHARE one vote, not one share-HOLDER one vote, the electoral process is deliberately lopsided in favor of the small minority of wealthy few. Such a system is fundamentally undemocratic. I look forward to your defense of this lack of basic democracy, through rule of the minority. And please TRY not to use the same arguments that the King of France used when his sole-proprietor government was replaced by the French Republic (oddly enough, King Louis was also full of explanations about why democracy can never work).

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:50:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When GM started it only had a few shareholders. (0+ / 0-)

                  BP was a government company that got privatized, so totally different.

                  But startups are almost all closely held.

                  But in a way you are correct--since in the corporation it is one SHARE one vote, not one share-HOLDER one vote, the electoral process is deliberately lopsided in favor of the small minority of wealthy few. Such a system is fundamentally undemocratic. I look forward to your defense of this lack of basic democracy, through rule of the minority.
                  Well, as far as I know, nothing stops you from starting a company that has one vote per shareholder.  You might have some trouble raising investment, but that's true of many companies.  A bigger issue is dealing with sock puppet owners.  In other words, I can try to get a large number of people to buy one share each in order to take over a company without having to buy 50% or 80% of the shares.  That seems likely to cause problems.
                  •  well, nothing stops me from (0+ / 0-)
                    Well, as far as I know, nothing stops you from starting a company that has one vote per shareholder.  You might have some trouble raising investment, but that's true of many companies. A bigger issue is dealing with sock puppet owners.  In other words, I can try to get a large number of people to buy one share each in order to take over a company without having to buy 50% or 80% of the shares.  That seems likely to cause problems.
                    When everyone has only one vote, then what you describe above is called "a political party". I have no problem with "one person, one vote", and I have no problem with people joining their one vote together with others to form political parties.

                    What I do have a problem with is "this person gets more votes than that person"--which is precisely what occurs now in corporations. But then, unlike corporate shareholders, I don't hate "democracy".

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:00:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Does every voluntary association of people (0+ / 0-)

                      need to be one man one vote?

                      Does your family vote on everything?  Did you have roommates in college?  Did you vote on everything?  When one of your buddies offered to drive you and other friends somewhere did you all vote on everything, despite the fact that one person was contributing more than all the others - his car?

                      As long as the shareholders are coming together voluntarily rather than being somehow forced to buy shares in the company it seems totally fair to me that they agree among them how to make decisions.  

                      •  THAT . . . (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        cville townie
                        Does every voluntary association of people need to be one man one vote?
                        . . .may be the dumbest thing I ever heard anyone say.

                        Why do you hate democracy so much?

                        In the end, reality always wins.

                        by Lenny Flank on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:47:32 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I guess that means you think it has to be (0+ / 0-)

                          So when you are invited to someone's house for a dinner party you think all the guests should vote on what to eat and how to run the party instead of the host leading?

                          I bet you are a popular guest!

                          Or do you let the host run things?  In which case, why do you hate democracy so much?

              •  There will be one pizza - Big Government Pizza (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RichM, Beelzebubs Brass Bs

                and you will like it and shut up about it.

                Lenny doesn't seem to realize this approach has already been tried in socialist countries that have failed.

                They are trying it again down in Venezuela, where people are standing in very long lines for the government approved shipment of toilet paper.  History is littered with failed countries trying to do exactly what Lenny wishes for..

                •  there already is one pizza (0+ / 0-)

                  Corporate MegaChain Inc Pizza.

                  You will not only like it and shut up about it, but you will pay a fortune for it so the CEO can get a new Learjet.

                  History is littered with failed countries trying to do exactly what Lenny wishes for..
                  Not what I wish for. I see no reason whatever to have only one kind of toilet paper.  But then, I'm not a corporate monopolist who thinks everyone should buy Microsoft, every year, and like it.  (shrug)

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:01:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Are you seriously claiming... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lady blair, Beelzebubs Brass Bs

                    That the US economy is complete Fascism?  Of course you are.

                    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

                    by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:15:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't recall using such a word (0+ / 0-)

                      So don't go all Godwin on me. (shrug)

                      Are YOU seriously claiming that the entire global economy is not dominated by a small handful of very large and powerful corporations who dominate the entire political process through their economic power (and which are themselves run by a handful of very wealthy unelected people in what is the very opposite of democracy). . . ?

                      Or do you think "Megaglobal Behemoth Inc" is no different than the corner pizza shop . . .  .?

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:41:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Godwin? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Beelzebubs Brass Bs

                        You do understand what fascism is, right?  I can, and still, order pizza from a locally owned pizza shop.  You seem to think that I do not have that choice, that the government dictates or allows only a single corporation to give me anything.  That is not true.

                        “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

                        by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:46:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I have no idea what you are babbling about (0+ / 0-)

                          I said no such thing. I am not a corporate monopolist, and I don't believe that one product should rule the world like they do.

                          And the ONLY reason you can buy a local pizza is because one of the corporate megachains hasn't bothered yet to buy it out or drive it out of business. Once they do, you'll eat MegaChain Pizza, and you'll like it.  And you'll pay twice as much for it.

                          In the end, reality always wins.

                          by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:50:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  ps--I thought we were no longer speaking (0+ / 0-)

                          Have you changed your mind now?

                          In the end, reality always wins.

                          by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:51:22 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You are right... (0+ / 0-)

                            My bad.  

                            “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

                            by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:58:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  pps--I notice you've not answered a single one of (0+ / 0-)

                          my questions . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . .

                          But that's OK--my questions make their point whether you answer them or not.  (shrug)

                          So, in your view, how MANY different products must exist in order for you to be happy?  Two?  Five?  Ten?

                          Let's compare to the number of megacorporations who dominate each of the world's industries, and see what happens . . . . . . . . . . .

                          In the end, reality always wins.

                          by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:54:43 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  PS--speaking of "failed", you may want to have a (0+ / 0-)

                  look around.  

                  The economic system we have now can't even FEED people. If the purpose of an economic system is to provide all its members with the things they need to live (and I sure can't think of any OTHER reasonable purpose for an economic system--can you?) then the one we have now has failed by definition. And will not work, ever--because that is not its purpose.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:05:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  People look pretty well fed to me... (0+ / 0-)

                    But that is beside the point.

                    An economic system is not designed to feed anyone.. or provide anything to anyone.

                    At its simplest, it is a system for trading your labor for someone's goods.  We could all become subsistence farmers and not even need a "system", or an economy for that matter.  Got your plow all sharpened up, Lenny?

              •  Corporation, not company (0+ / 0-)

                Interesting how you so vastly broadened his scope by moving the goalposts from 'corporation' to 'company', though.

                The concept and execution of the 'corporation' as we know and understand the legal fiction has become powerful enough that I think we should look into more direct control over them as a society, yes.

                Here's my own rebuttal, point by point :

                First, how do you plan to pay me for the shares I own?
                For my own part, I would not. The return on your investment  hasprobably already outpaced what your employees would have made had their base pay kept pace with inflation. You've fed at the trough enough, I think. You do not deserve pay for work you did not do. Be glad we don't call it a form of unlawful gambling, and make you pay back the difference as unpaid back pay to your employees.

                In any case, that outcome is a risk you accepted when you bought the stock, and I have exactly zero pity or sympathy. Them's the breaks. You lose, too bad, so sad, buh-bye. I quite simply do not give a good goddamn.

                Secondly, there are millions of companies just in the US.  How do you plan to have everyone elect all of their directors?  Perhaps most of us have other things to do besides voting for corporate boards?
                Eliminating their positions eliminates the problem there very neatly, and with zero loss in productivity, expertise, competence, and managerial effectiveness. They would not be positions that are there to be filled. This is known as separating the wheat from the chaff.
                Thirdly, if no one can own a company on their own or with just a few other people then who is going to start new businesses ranging from the pizzeria on the corner to Google?
                Companies can be owned by an individual or a group. The "corporation", being as it is operated under a charter granted or at the least allowed by the public, should be under the tightest of public controls.

                Two different legal concepts, one of which has become, in the aggregate, a pack ravening monsters which may pose an existential economic threat to our democracy.

                The corporation may in the end need to either die or be killed. Until then, we really ought to try to constrain it as ruthlessly as possible.

          •  Turn of the century. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies

            That's the 19th century.  Fascism seemed like a good idea back in the "good old days."
            It would have put elected officials on the boards of the "Trusts" that made economic life so hard.

            "Our problem is not that the glass is half empty or half full, but that the 1% claims that it is their glass." ---Stolen from a post on Daily Kos

            by jestbill on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:14:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Um, no... (0+ / 0-)

          That is communism.  And that doesn't work either.

          “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

          by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:33:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so economic democracy is. . . . "communism" (0+ / 0-)

            Interesting view . . . . . . .

            How about political democracy--is that "communism" as well?

            Please feel free to explain to us why "the United States Government" should be democratic, but "Microsoft" or "Exxon" should not be . . . .

            (opens popcorn) This should be good . . . . . . . . . . . .

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:03:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Centrally controld economies... (0+ / 0-)

              Are communism. You are getting economic policy mixed up with political systems.

              “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

              by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:19:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  so now "economic democracy" means "centrally (0+ / 0-)

                controlled" . . . . . .

                Interesting.

                And who controls the Fortune 500 corporations, again . . . ? Are they controlled democratically?

                Can you explain to me how "privately owned and controlled by one person" is NOT "centrally-controlled"? Then explain to us how control by ONE individual is bad bad bad when it comes to governments, but okey fine hunky dory when it comes to corporations which are BIGGER than most governments?

                PS---I am getting economic control mixed up with political systems . . . ?  Are you aware who finances our elections and how (and why) they do it?

                This just keeps getting better and better . . . . . . .

                (opens more popcorn)

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:28:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll let you keep your delusions... (0+ / 0-)

                  Because arguing with you would be like arguing with my conservative 'friends'.  Nothing will change your mind and your 'facts' are self-serviing.  Good day.

                  “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

                  by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:13:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  two cables (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EliseMattu

        I have two cables from two different companies coming into my house for internet service.  Why is my house a nightmare?

        don't drone me, bro

        by BradMajors on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:45:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for mentioning (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, kenwards, caul

    the unplug/re-plug feature of your modem. I have to do that often and I've been blaming my modem itself. Good part, though, is getting on hands and knees under the computer desk because it's good exercise.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 01:39:57 PM PDT

  •  Milton Friedman (11+ / 0-)

    The quote below is from the book Capitalism and Freedom written by
    Milton and Rose Friedman. Dr. Friedman is the economist who is quoted
    most often when conservati­ves are praising free markets and
    capitalism­.

    "But we cannot rely on custom or conscious alone to interpret and
    enforce the rules; we need an umpire. The­se then are the basic role of
    government in a free society;  to provide a means where we can modify
    rules, to mediate difference­s among us on the meaning of rules, and to
    enforce compliance with the rules on the part of those few who otherwise
    would not play the game."

    For whatever reason, this part of Dr. Friedman's philosophy is never mentioned when it comes to making "free markets" work.

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 01:50:11 PM PDT

  •  I Read Somewhere That My Provider Has the (7+ / 0-)

    lowest customer approval rate of any type of company measured. Their name rhymes with slime warmer, though that won't help you a lot if you're in their service area. You can buy satellite and dsl for no cheaper.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

  •  Regarding the modem ... (5+ / 0-)

    do you have it on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)? If not, you should invest in one. A small power surge or sag can cause all kinds of havoc with electronic equipment.

    If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

    by edg on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 02:02:37 PM PDT

  •  A $68 a month bundle in DC? (10+ / 0-)

    Where, exactly can you find that?  I've got Verizon FiOS Internet/TV/Phone and I'm paying $206 a month!  I haven't used the phone for either outgoing or incoming calls in more that six months, yet Verizon tells me my costs will GO UP if I drop the $30/month phone part of the bundle.
    Comcast is no better.  
    We are hopelessly screwed by these money grubbers.  "Fucking Cable" is the exactly correct term.  

  •  We don't have a choice and lawsuits (6+ / 0-)

    In my town we have only one internet/cable/land line provider. However, we DO have municipal internet... but only if you own a business.

    Many of these big tech corps have successfully sued towns to stop them from having locally owned and operated  internet. A few small towns (even one in Alabama) have won, most have lost.

    Now... if I could just find a way to chime in on the underground internet!

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 02:58:06 PM PDT

  •  I cut the cable two months ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightarty, FarWestGirl

    Wasn't a hard decision for me----cable is crap now anyway. The channels I used to like to watch--educational stuff like the Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel--are now brain-killing crapola designed to sell Corn Flakes instead of educating people.

    Now, I watch the good science and history documentaries on YouTube, and use an antenna to watch PBS when there's something good on.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 03:15:17 PM PDT

    •  yup we cut the cable a year ago and bought a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      antenna and never looked back .watch news and shows on the computer. We all ways thought that internet outages and cell phone drops were targeted and when peak service times occur the people with the most expensive plans didnt have problems it was us in cheap plans that got the outage to encourage you to upgrade  

    •  Even PBS now stinks much of the time (0+ / 0-)

      I was watching a video on birds last night on PBS Detroit with some beautiful bird scenes when, towards the end, the "experts" interviewed said that evolution couldn't account for this, it must be Intelligent Design!

      I kept waiting for them to put on some actual evolutionary biologists who could explain it, hell, I could explain it, but they never did. Then the trailer credited the Discovery Institute. On freaking PBS. I've been seething about it ever since.

  •  They're just being severely conservative. Nt. (0+ / 0-)

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 04:26:51 PM PDT

  •  When they say free they mean rigged in their (0+ / 0-)

    favor. Its the standard ploy when its for them alls good but when its against them cries of free market, states rights, etc...

    They don't even intend sincerity they just know if they say it some rubes will believe it. None the less there are enough rubes to make it an effective strategy. We have 'welfare queens', but they don't drive Cadies they get tax breaks on the highest profits in the world. Entitlements for the poor and needy are bad ask any repub, but giving money to the rich is good. They won't say that of course they will just say its bad and some poor sod will vote to have his own money taken away believing it.

    Thats how I can tell most conservatives aren't sincere or at least smart enough to be consistent. They want government spending down but never ask for the corporate or military stuff, just the things that help the truly in need. They want free market except when its their company getting the handout or advantage.

    Thats the main dif between the left and right:

    The left is willing to give everyone a little to get a little themselves and the right is willing to give everyone nothing but still wants a little for themselves.

    When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:27:09 AM PDT

  •  you don't need to power-down your modem (0+ / 0-)

    When modems get their nickers in a twist and lose their ADSL connection, you don't need to physically turn them off. All you have to do is reboot, which can be done remotely using any browser. Usually, you still are connected to the modem even when th ninternet is down. On Macs, this is indicated by an exclamation point over the signal strength indication. All you have to do is open any browser and type

    192.168.1.1

    This takes you to the control panel of your modem. You will need to know the user name and password, should be in your instruction manual or get it from your service provider. Often it is just admin/admin or admin/1234 or some such. Once you are in, look for the reboot option. Click this, and your modem will shut itself down and restart all processses from scratch. Usually takes about 2 minutes. My experience is that simple reboot always restores lost ADSL/internet.

  •  It's because... (0+ / 0-)

    The cable companies own that last mile to your house - and the have a governmental easement to get to your house.  In other words, if the cable company wanted to dig up the pine and Aspen trees along the fence in my back yard in order to lay more cable - they can do so and I have no legal recourse to do anything about it.  But, I cannot call up another provider to run their service over the same cable.  I don't know how it works in other countries.  I suspect that the actual cable lines are owned by the home owners or the local municipality.  Which means that contracts are negotiated at the individual or local level.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

    by RichM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:27:17 AM PDT

  •  You're making me wonder (0+ / 0-)

    whether the telecommunications companies are messing with your/our service on purpose.

  •  "Free market" = monopolies (0+ / 0-)

    That's what it leads to. That's the bottom line, and why regulations were put in place to begin with. They don't just appear to hassle businesses.



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:10:22 PM PDT

  •  I just moved and cancelled my service (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    cable, phone and internet fro Verizon.  I have been a customer for about 5 years.  I signed up with Verizon the second I could once they ran fiber in my area.  Comcast wanted $1500 to run a line from the street to my house.  I had DISH bundled with Wild Blue and it was awful.  Now that I had to cancel service due to moving out of state with no Verizon service at my new home, they are charging me $200 for early cancellation.  This is what happens when there is no regulation over monopolies.  This is gouging 101.

    •  Thank God for antenna. (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, I scan John Stewart & Stephen Colbert at the library. They're funny.

      And I'm addicted to NetFlix.

      But no. Not a dime to a cable company.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

      by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:56:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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