Thursday, October 21, 2004

Adam Smith and my email

Adam Smith was an economist who in the 1700's came up with a lot of theories about political economy and free market systems. Most of what Adam Smith theorized about revolved around the principle that public welfare would be best served by market forces being naturally guided by economic free market forces (like competition and demand). Adam figured that people and governments were really ineffective compared with supply and demand. For the most part, he turned out to be right. If you look at stuff like AIDs medication and high priced drugs, you'd think that the free market really failed the people who need this stuff. In effect though, this is untrue because the profit motive behind this is government incentive in the form of patent protection. The government actively lets the drug companies make money at the expense of peoples lives - competition in the form of generic drugs is illegal. Same thing with music and media monopolies. You can trace these problems back to some kind of government protection. I don't think that the government can be completely hands off, we'd have corner store heroin shops if there wasn't some sort of intervention but I think that for the most part Adam was right, it's just that there are too many fingers in too many pies to make it work the way he predicted.

Anyways, what's that got to do with me? Thanks to the free market economy and a couple of dudes in the valley who gave me a 1GB email account, Hotmail extended my inbox to 250MB. The same kind of thing happened when Sprint gave me 15 cent a minute long distance, Bell gave me 10 cent calls.

Now I just wish the same thing would happen for gasoline and banking fees.

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