Hello all,

I would like to hear any opinions on the following question. I think most people reading this post would agree that Comcast is doing there best to screw us all. Their only goal, it seems, is to turn a profit. The less we have, the more they have. If improving internet speeds to 5 gb/s would cost them a single dollar, they would rather keep their dollar, because they do not give the slightest damn about improving anything but their bottom line. In truth, Comcast probably isn't trying to explicitly deny us anything; just trying to use us. They see a market, and they are milking that market for all it's worth. My question is this: is this not capitalism? Is this not the "free market"? Should Comcast not act in their own self interest?

To be honest, this is a bit of a baited question, and perhaps more of a statement than a question. But, where do we draw the line between regulation and freedom? Should the internet be free? If so, then why? Is access to the internet a natural right? I would sincerely like to hear any opinions regarding the preceding questions. And, please expand on and offer more questions. I believe it is time to have a serious discussion on the merits of capitalism. Our society is changing dramatically; is it not time to discuss how our society should be governed? Perhaps time to change how our economy operates? The invisible hand is ten inches up our ass, Comcast is loving it, Apple is loving it, congress is loving it; they own us. How can we fight back? Have we gotten too comfortable to fight? Are we too scared to fight? Do we not see any benefits to fighting?  I will admit this, I see a lot of bullshit in our economy, and in our government, but I don't know what I can do to stop/reverse it.

Again, I would sincerely like to hear what you think. Please give your opinion/thoughts. I think a drastic change is in the near future. I would like to be on the right side of it; I would like it to be for betterment of us all, not just a few. This world has undergone a revolution that has taken place faster than any revolution before it. It is imperative we fight to guide it in the right direction. There is so much we have created; lets let it be ours. Thank you for reading, and thank you more for your opinion.

Henry Thierry

Capitalism only works through competition. Businesses should be motivated and driven by money. In a competitive environment the only way a business can be successful is by providing a better service to the consumer than their competitor. Toyota sells more cars than Hyundai, because Toyota cars are better for the consumer. Intel CPUs are faster than AMD's; AMD stays in the game however by selling their CPUs at a lower relative price. These businesses must drive themselves towards helping the consumer because that's the only way they can get what they want: money.

In the case of ISPs like Comcast, there is no competition, thus capitalism fails. Comcast does NOT have to provide a good service to the consumer because they have no choice but to give them money. In fact the worse the service they provide to the consumer, the more money they make. No shit they won't provide good service. However, this problem can be fixed.

Your local water and electricity providers are private businesses, just like Comcast. We're not getting screwed by them though, why? Those businesses, the government realizing that only one can service the city, must provide complete financial records to the city. Your local electric/water company can not raise it's rates without a government council approving it. They must show evidence that their costs are increasing, and that they can only stay afloat by raising rates. Government councils review the financial situation of these utilities  to make sure that the citizens are not getting screwed. If similar restrictions were placed on ISPs, these businesses would be forced to review and change, only benefiting the consumer.

Where do we draw the line between regulation and freedom?

Economic freedoms can come at some sort of expense, some sort of externality. We have to evaluate the cost-benefit. Personally, I don't take the idea of a free market principles to heart. I think it has so many unintended consequences, and the most important thing is to constantly revise the economy. Corporations, government, and the people should all have some involvement shaping our economic policy. Sometimes, we need to "reel in" industry. And if that means choosing winners and losers, so be it. It's about the best way to move forward, and I don't think unregulated capitalism is the best way.

Should the internet be free? If so, then why?

Net neutrality? The Tek has done a good job of covering that. The net should be neutral, and ISPs are only internet resellers. They sell the internet to us, after they are supplied from other companies in the supply chain. So much of what they are trying to do is retarded.

I can agree with the sentiment behind having our infrastructure in government hands. It's almost as though it doesn't really require a competition mechanism. The cable is laid to your home, and then it is sold to you in various packages, and it's not even a finite resource. As long as it is paid for and provided, I don't mind. Tax or private purchase.

Is access to the internet a natural right?

Are you advocating a form of state ownership? In the UK, much of the copper infrastructure was laid by the government. When that infrastructure was sold off to various private ISPs. So they inherited our infrastructure, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it meant that all ISPs could rent lines from one another to serve the entire market. Every home had access to a decent amount of ISPs, this is in contrast to America where some households only have access to one or two providers.

Also, our ISPs are actually upgrading large amounts of the country to fiber. And our internet usage caps are being removed, because our ISPs understand that this is favourable. We've got it a little bit better, here in Europe. However, ISPs might try to emulate the activities and greed of the American ISPs. Very worrying. But the concluding point is that we can have choice, and it can be affordable.

I believe it is time to have a serious discussion on the merits of capitalism. Our society is changing dramatically; is it not time to discuss how our society should be governed?

I don't think it is a failure of capitalism - other capitalistic models are comparably better, in my opinion. Much of the world enjoys capitalism, whilst netting a higher social benefit. I'm not saying that the problems America has do not exist elsewhere. But they are more rampant in the US, seemingly. I think we can all agree that there appears to be a large group of ignorant, or easily bought idiots in government. None of them are talking about renewing infrastructure. Some are advocating for more military spending. It's absurd.

Perhaps time to change how our economy operates?

I don't think it needs to be drastic. I think competition laws could be tightened up. In the UK, a supermarket was sucking up a large portion of the market. The UK government subsidised a smaller supermarket chain to purchase a second, failing supermarket chain. It helped establish more competition. Whilst it might be disagreeable for governments to pick winners and losers, ultimately, it was in the consumer interest.

What I am trying to say, is competition can exist in an oligopolistic structure. But with the lack of access to all given services, in the US, there is a lack of choice or freedom to choose. I would refer you to the UK infrastructure example that I have given, where the infrastructure allowed consumers to choose any of the given ISPs. That's further reasoning why American ISPs are reluctant to renew the infrastructure. They like their captive market.

It would also be nice if we could have more transparency on "government donations".


The bottom line in this entire matter is the lack of competition, and possibly regulation. More should be done to protect net neutrality. More ISPs should be available in homes, but I would expect to see smaller start-ups begin to roll out and provide a better service.

Capitalism is only really capitalism when there's real, tough competition and when companies are trying to out-play and gain an advantage over the other by trying to reel in customers. Capitalism is a system that works on all-out competition and cannot afford there to be monopoles or oligopoles like Comcast and TimeWarner Cable have become, lest disaster strikes and the consumer pays out of pocket for it whilst shrewd, corrupt politicians that have forgotten who they're supposed work for line their pockets with taxpayer and lobbyist money.

When there's competition, only then can companies understand they're going to have to earn the consumer's dollar by providing the best possible package. And this can only happen when in a liberal system where the government ensures there is competition without stepping in to favor one or the over except when there's foul play or no apparent competition.

Having a state-owned Internet service wouldn't be bad if the state actually had the resources or deep pockets to make it run properly, keep the infrastructure clean and up-to-date as well as if it was willing to provide such a service at a fair, affordable price everyone pays. But as you ought to know if you check the news, this is probably not the case right now.

Look at Toyota. That's a company that understands capitalism. They dropped Fordism because it didn't value workers enough and thus wasn't efficient enough and adopted lean manufacturing, often referred to as Toyotism, a production workflow that is focused on what the consumer wants and what the consumer needs. They've performed well.