I’ve been railing against Crony Capitalism on this blog for about as long as I’ve been writing it. There are any number of instances where a business decides that the best way to get a bigger market share is to bribe legislatures to pass laws destroying their competition.
There’s an blatant case of this going on in Kansas although because the company that was being legislated out of business is a big boy, Google, the fight just got ugly.
Basically the large cable companies that “serve” the people of Kansas; Comcast, Cox, Eagle Communications, and Time Warner Cable, submitted, on their own, a bill to the Kansas State legislature. You can read all about the bill but it basically prevents any municipality in Kansas from providing broadband service to their customers or hiring anyone to do it.
The stated reason for the bill is that legislatures, bought by campaign funds from cable companies, don’t think it’s fair for tax dollars to be used in competition with private companies. It seems reasonable on the surface but try to remember how you get your water, electric, and gas. The real reason for the bill is that communities are starting to provide, on their own, wireless access to the internet. Kansas City partnered with Google to provide fiber-optic speed internet access to their community.
This bill hasn’t passed yet and the uproar has already forced the legislature to offer tweaks but the reality is that is the way business is done in the United States and it’s not good for consumers.
The cable companies have essentially had monopolies in their communities since their inception. Read this article from the Cato Institute. Basically cable providers pay municipalities huge sums of money so they can be the only source of television in an area. Yet somehow the legislation being proposed doesn’t outlaw this sweetheart deal.
Changing technology in the form of broadband internet is altering the game organically but cable companies fear they will lose their audience because people are unhappy with the service they get. The solution, of course, is to try to legislate away competition, not actually provide a service that people like.
I strongly suspect that this particular piece of legislation will fail and their will be general rejoicing. However, the reality is that this is the way business is done in the United States and it is destroying capitalism, destroying our faith in our country, destroying our faith in elected officials, destroying our trust of the judiciary, and contributing greatly to the trend of monetary inequality.
Liberals argue that big business is the source of this inequality while conservatives cite over-regulation. The real culprit is Crony Capitalism. When a business conspires with a government agency to eliminate competition through legislation rather than providing a better product the fallout is dangerous to us all.
True competition is the best wealth distributor. Crony Capitalism concentrates wealth in the hands not of the best business but with those businesses that know best how to bribe their legislatures into eliminating competition.
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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