The end of net neutrality was supposed to be the end of us all! Or, at least, the start of pretentiously slow internet speeds.
Let me take you back a year to late last year. President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, was considering reverting the internet back to the dark days of pre-2015 internet. We all remember how slow that was? Right? Allowing an actual market among internet providers was supposed to cause the evil ISP’s to throttle our internet and censor consumers. That didn’t happen– the opposite happened. Download speeds are 36% faster and upload speeds are 23% faster! Markets work to the benefit of consumers and the doomsayers were wrong. Who could have imagined?
But let’s get meta for a second. The net neutrality debate is a microcosm of our larger political debates. You have one side—the free market side—that thinks the best solution is the solution that gets two sides to voluntarily agree to a deal while the other side—the technocrats—that think they can competently turn the economic nobs and manage the economy. Free marketers believe that when the technocrats get involved things go haywire while the technocrats think that when two sides are left to find an equilibrium on their own one side will end up oppressing the other. It’s why they believe in net neutrality, minimum wages, and other policy proposals. You’d think they would eventually notice things aren’t actually going to hell.