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  • Quote of the Day from Veronique de Rugy

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on January 29th, 2015 (All posts by )


    The battle of ideas is a long war. Where would education reform be if Milton Friedman hadn’t started fighting for school choice back in 1955, just because everyone thought he was nuts? Where would we be if Ronald Coase had given up on his idea to auction off radio spectrum, when he was asked in 1959 by the FCC commissioner if his proposal was a joke? Where would we be if Friedrich Hayek and a few other free-market advocates hadn’t met in Switzerland to launch the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947 in order to fight for freedom at a time when all seemed lost?
    The fight can only be won by engaging in the battle of ideas now. It cannot be won by those who compromise from the get-go just to stay in power.

    Invoking the spirits of Friedman, Coase and Hayek lifts the chin and stiffens the spine!

    What We’re Fighting For And Why, Veronique de Rugy.

    Ms. de Rugy’s piece is an extended riff on the lengthy, excellent article Building a Real Reform Mandate, by Michael A. Needham, which I have only skimmed, and am going to read with care.

    RTWT — both of them.

    To get to America 3.0 will require political will and persevering effort.


    4 Responses to “Quote of the Day from Veronique de Rugy”

    1. Nathaniel T Lauterbach Says:

      Generally agree, although I would say that the auctioning of radio spectrum hasn’t been done particularly well. All too often the spectrum was bought before technology existed to exploit it, and therefore some chunks of spectrum were held by users for as little as one dollar! Other chunks were bought and never used, because the new owners were expecting to buy and hold it in order to appreciate in value. This has led to some spectrum to be hotly contested, while other pieces of neighboring spectrum with similar physical properties were unused.

      I submit that is probably not the best use of a scarce resource.

      Additionally, there are pieces of spectrum allocated to various services which are exceedingly useful, but lack the funds to bid. This is more due to the nature of the particular service. Included in this are amateur (ham) radio, CB, maritime channels, and FRS and GMRS services.

      Nathaniel Lauterbach

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      The Coasean response would be that if there is a better use then the person who wants to use the spectrum should buy it, like any other under-utilized property.

      Is there some reason that is not happening?

      I am not particularly knowledgeable about this field.

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      Left unsaid too that the ideas proposed – that may be integrated many years later – are always from a tiny minority.

      Milton Friedman was one of the few sane economists whose ideas were proven.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “All too often the spectrum was bought before technology existed to exploit it, and therefore some chunks of spectrum were held by users for as little as one dollar! ”

      This is also true of the internet domain names. Too bad I wasn’t quick enough to reserve The free market handled that pretty well.