Essential Freight

Seldom do we get the chance to build something the way it should be. For the internet, the first chance was back in the 1990s. Not enough was known then. We’ve learned a lot the hard way since.

Let us begin our design by asking, “How best to utilize the internet?” It is apparent that everyone needs, should have basic access. Access on the order of that afforded by the U. S. Postal Service all the years. Like the Postal Service over all the years, today, the internet is an essential service. It is our Postal Service, Sears and Roebuck catalog, telephone and telegraph, TV, visit to the Dr.’s Office, and taxi service rolled into one, and so much more. Like with the Postal Service, access to the internet opens up whole new industries, markets, and services. So, number one, — everyone should have access.

Who should own the internet? In considering it as an essential service, there’s a proposal to make it government-owned, ensuring universal access. The funding model for this government-owned entity suggests relying on user fees, akin to a “freight forwarder” system (such as the freight forwarder italy). Users, those who can afford it, might pay a basic connection fee, while those unable to do so would have free access. Essential service providers, like government offices, schools, and healthcare providers, would be exempt from charges for their services. However, other entities using the internet for the shipment of goods and services would contribute through ‘freight’ or shipping fees. These fees, set at a minimum level, would cover the costs of building and maintaining the internet. Additionally, the government could consider charging fees above the essential requirements as a potential revenue source, allowing for further investment and expansion. Funding for improvements and expansions could come from reserves or government bonds.

Why government owned? It is such an essential service that it shouldn’t be in the hands of a private entity. In fact, had the railroads been around in the 1770s, no doubt, they too would have been a public entity. This time, the internet is very much around, and, its essentiality is obvious. Fully as essential as Police and Defense, education, public utilities, and healthcare. It is time and time to stop premising economic decisions on buzz words like free markets and capitalism, and, instead ask how should it be. Markets are not omniscient; money is dumber yet. Both capitalism and socialism are legacy the Industrial Age; neither of them worked all that well then. It’s gotten worse. Some essential services should be owned by the public because it is better that they are. When making economic decisions, neither dogma nor ideology should be determinant. — How should it be? What is the best way to make it happen? Let the application dictate.

Too often, rather than fix something, do what needs to be done, America chooses dogma over reason. Too often, the ideologues via their operatives in Congress say, “Oh no, this should not be. Tear it down. Let the free market decide.” They want to apply their metrics when the only metric that should matter is how best provide essential services. As with the United States Postal Service (USPS), this is a golden opportunity to get it right. Be it ideology or simple greed, they are in the way of America doing things a better way.

If America is not quite ready to make the leap to public (government) ownership, at a minimum, the internet should be a public utility.

Presently, the internet is owned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Like with the railroads, we paid for it, they own it. Unlike with the railroad, we paid for it with the fees we paid the ISPs. Unlike with the railroads, we weren’t the shippers. Like with the railroads, fortunes have been amassed, dynasties created. A new generation of Crockers, Goulds, Harrimans, Hopkins, Huntingtons, and Standfords of different names with wealth beyond $billions has been blessed. Just think what a revenue stream it could have been for the US Government if the internet was publicly owned and charged the shippers. Like with the railroads, if a great emergency arose, we would have to nationalize the internet anyway.

What should be done about Section 230? For starters, throw it in the trash. Good intentions perhaps, good thinking, hardly; but, in the final analysis, nothing there worth saving. Time to ask anew, “what should internet regulations look like?” For starters, if a shipper is making money off the product being shipped. then that shipper bears a responsibility for any harm done to the users(s) of that product. Tort reform was but another subsidy of those who didn’t need one at the expense of those who needed protection. Tort is a very important economic and legal tool; and, it can be an effective means of regulation. Far better that Facebook’s victims could have sued for damages. Half of its total present value would be a start. The internet has been around nearly seventy years; Facebook, seventeen. We’ve learned a lot the hard way. Enough to take a better stab at getting it right. This really can’t be put off any longer.

It wasn’t that they couldn’t have foreseen problems more better ; it was that they were looking to do something else. Giving the providers immunity was caught up in the wind of misbegotten tort reform; Chamber of Commerce, uber alles. Too bad about all those deaths; caused Facebook real concern.