Sunday, March 17, 2013

Regulation and Technology

They might look very different, but in one sense regulation and technology are very similar.

Each one of them has the power to alter our lives in powerful ways. Technology makes things possible, regulation makes them profitable and thus pervasive.

In the right hands, each one of them can lift vast populations out of poverty and misery. In the wrong hands each can cause misery at a massive scale.

Looking at the telecoms industry, the microwave technology which makes it possible has been around for a long time. It was the regulated auction of spectrum and sensible policy that made it available to the masses.

Each of these forces can create millionaires from paupers in a single generation. Technology does this by creating demand for new new products and services; regulation does it thru the award of licenses, quotas, and patents to turn these products and services into greenfield markets.

Together, they are a powerful combination.

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