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.


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.