Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pricing the Waves

Today in the NYT Ralph Nader called for the broadcasting companies to be charged for their use of the public airwaves. I applaud Mr. Nader's interest in establishing a pricing mechanism for the use of a scarce resource. But this is not the same as a price. Prices emerge out of market interaction, not political processes. If Mr. Nader really wanted broadcasters to pay for their airwaves, why not sell it to them--or whoever will pay--outright? That way we can eliminate the existing regulation that's used to govern this current public good while at the same time making people pay for what they use.

2 comments:

Mike said...

1. They already pay.
2. They pay via an auction system, and as far as I know, a secondary market is at least legal.

David said...

Serves me right for taking Nader at his word. Still, they do not own them and with regulation, I wouldn't be surprised if the secondary market is too expensive to be practical.