Government Cat Herding

Pynn Rogerby Roger Pynn

Remember when the U.S. succumbed to global pressure (and that of the engineering community) to abandon the inch, the foot and the yard?  The rest of the world, went the argument, uses the metric system and we ought to get in line.

It was in 1975 that the Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act.  Although some still claim we are in the process of converting, it may be simply the most stunning example of failed government regulation in our history.

But we may be about to witness something even more doomed to failure than mandated metric conversion.  For those who are saddened by the approval by the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality and the havoc it could wreak on the wild west of the Internet, take heart.

Mark Hendrickson, a Forbes contributor and self-described libertarian economist, suggested in a post today that net neutrality has about as much chance of success as the old Soviet price setting bureaucracy.

The Internet has led to the most stunning transformation of communication since Gutenberg invented movable type.  A day doesn’t go by that we don’t see someone invent a new way to take advantage of its open, endless possibilities.  Hopefully net neutrality will prove to be the equivalent of a mandate for the government to herd cats.

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