[bestbits] [governance] Re: NMI and the Brazilian CGI.br

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Wed Dec 3 14:40:22 EST 2014

FWIW, apart from some (fairly minor) differences in interpretation and emphasis (and of course overall normative stance—the period of what Milton calls economic stagnation could be seen both as a period during which there was a huge raising up of living standards throughout the developed world at least, the putting into place of the technology and intellectual pre-conditions for the current tsunami of technology advance, and the development of institutional means for the more recent advances in many LDC’s) I agree with what Milton says below.


Also, knowing little about the telecom’s situation in LDC’s at the time I think it is unarguable that without the strong intervention through public sector regulation (and stimulation) there would have been little to no telecom service throughout the 90% of Canada’s geography where the cost of landline infrastructure was not market supportable. Notably today there are still significant problems throughout the Canadian north with mobile service given the cost of infrastructure in a more or less totally de-regulated telecom marketplace to the point where certain communities have developed their own infrastructure and services http://mobile.knet.ca/




From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org [mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Milton L Mueller
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2014 9:11 AM
To: 'governance at lists.igcaucus.org'; 'Avri Doria'; 'Bits bestbits at lists.bestbits.net'
Subject: RE: [bestbits] [governance] Re: NMI and the Brazilian CGI.br


Can I introduce some rationality to this discussion? 


First, neo-liberalism is not per se a “vile label” unless you think liberalism is vile, in which case you need to explain to me why you think freedom of thought, expression, association, choice, popular sovereignty and free trade are vile, all of which are the key features of liberalism as an ideology or movement. 


Neo-liberalism in literal terms simply refers to the revival of liberal thought that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s (i.e., “neo” + “liberal”) following the economic stagnation brought on by the excesses of the social democracy and regulatory state that emerged in the 1920s and 30s. Whatever you think of the economic liberalizations of that period, it’s pretty hard to argue with the record of stagflation, budget crises of the welfare state, slowing or declining growth, and a record of complete failure by socialist/communist economies that occurred in that period.


Thus, neo-liberalism does not mean indiscriminate application of market principles to everything, but it did reflect a recognition that many parts of society or the economy which had been exempted from market forces were failing and could be improved through the introduction of competition and market forces. 


The centerpiece of neoliberalism was globalization of the economy and free trade. The term neoliberalism was coined as part of the backlash against trade liberalization and the attempt by certain international institutions to enforce budget constraints and sectoral liberalization policies on developing countries as a condition for receiving loans or aid. This is where some of the abuses or harder hands of the Washington approach to liberalization could be felt; sometimes the cookie-cutter approach to policy that was imposed was inappropriate. But for the most part, that period saw rapid worldwide growth and development. In particular, China and India opened their economies to market forces and grew tremendously as a result.


When I say that the Internet was a product of neoliberal policies I am referring to several largely indisputable facts: 

a)      Prior to ‘neoliberal’ policies the telecom system was the epitome of social democracy: it was run as a state-owned monopoly, market forces were largely absent. 

b)      The developmental record of state-owned PTT monopolies was abysmal, there were 1% - 10% penetration rates, 6 months waiting lists for service, massive inefficiency and protectionism. Opponents of neoliberalism need to own up to this.

c)       Competition stimulated rapid improvements in technology and massive decreases in pricing for telecom services

d)      Free trade agreements for IT equipment and “information services” made it possible for TCP/IP based services to spread rapidly across the world regardless of state censorship or regulation


In short, if you care about prosperity, growth, economic development and freedom, and you want to have an intelligent discussion of the role of public policy in the internet economy, all these things need to be taken into account. If you want to call people names, I’m not interested. 




From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org [mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Avri Doria
Sent: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 1:47 AM
To: governance at lists.igcaucus.org; Bits bestbits at lists.bestbits.net
Subject: Re: [bestbits] [governance] Re: NMI and the Brazilian CGI.br



On 02-Dec-14 07:38, parminder wrote:

Neoliberalism is defined as the application of market principles to everything, including those areas in which such principles are not normally applied. The above is a perfect case of the application of market principles to governance, as I said , the pristine neoliberal governance model. 

You may feel it is your privilege to villify others by tarring and feathering them with the vile label of neoliberalism sometimes and imperialism at other times.  I accept that you do so, yet I reject the label you apply to me.

I generally do not support market principles, but rather believe in the tussle among those with different set of principles.


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