Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Branch Davidianism

After some embarrassing, and rather obvious, criticisms of his theory of path dependence in the 1990s, Paul David responded as he does best. He unleashed an avalanche of words and hoped that no one would notice just exactly what it was that he believed in.  Buried in all this obfuscatory double talk was;

One thing that public policy could do is to try to delay the market from committing to the future inextricably, before enough information has been obtained about the likely technical or organizational and legal implications, of an early, precedent-setting decision. 
In other words, preserving open options for a longer period than impatient market agents would wish is the generic wisdom that history has to offer to public policy makers....
That is, some government agency should have veto power over the kind of entrepreneurial efforts that have given us our own computers, near unlimited access to information that previously was only available to graduate students enrolled in university programs, and a host of devices that we can hold in our hands that were probably undreamed of by David when he wrote the above. Things like iPads, iPhones and Android devices, social networks like Facebook and Linked-in and whatever else is now on the drawing boards.

Mussolini's desires seem almost quaint in comparison; Everything within the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state. David was asking for a form of totalitarian control of innovation, to control the future.  Though to be fair, he showed no understanding of what the implications of his ideas would be.

But, he's at least partially getting what he wished for.  As the latest developments carried out in the name of anti-trust law make clear;
EU antitrust regulators have given some of Google's rivals more time to study its proposals to settle anti-competitive complaints, which could provide more leverage to pry further concessions from the Internet search giant.
The European Commission last month told interested parties they had until May 26 to say if they are satisfied with the offer by the world's most popular search engine to mark out its services from rival products in Internet search results.
The EU antitrust authority has given some rivals until June 27 to complete their technical analysis of Google's proposals, said one person familiar with the matter.
Merely trying to delay the market from committing to the future inextricably, that's all they're doing.  It'll all be in the public interest, of course.

No comments:

Post a Comment