Market Fundamentalism

I’m always amused by those who use the term “market fundamentalism,” particularly by those who have won Nobel prizes in Economics, when I suspect these debunking wizards not only can’t coherently define what the term actually means but also share the same underlying dismissive precepts in common with the thing they are supposedly ridiculing.

Let us define what “Market Fundamentalism” actually is. It refers to the 3rd Generational Chicago School(Lucas,Stigler,Becker, Posner, etc) that essentially displaced political economy from an encompassing Efficient Market Hypothesis model. Okay, so stock prices my follow a random walk, but should we believe that political lobbying is governed by an Efficient Market Hypothesis model, that policies that raise efficiency are likely to win out in the competition for political favors? Should we believe as Stigler wrote, in Law or Economics:

Tested institutions and practices found wanting will not survive in a world of rational people. To believe the opposite is to assume that the goals are not desirable: who would defend a costly practice that produces nothing? So I would argue that all durable social institutions, including common and statute laws, must be efficient.”

In the 90s, buoyed by roaring economies and financial secondary markets, this viewpoint certainly dominated the financial classes and was embraced, to a large extent, by the establishment political classes. It became the underlying ideology behind the “Washington Consensus.”

Now let’s look at the usual suspects who are “Straw Man” blamed for holding “market fundamentalist” views:

(i) Libertarians
While it is true that the 3rd generational Chicago School, that grew out of Friedman’s 2nd generational school, was associated with “libertarianism,” it was, nonetheless, a a distinct modern offshoot branch which flourished primarily in segments of academia, Wall Street and Beltway think tanks. Libertarianism historically proper is rooted in a profound critique of political economy. Political Economy is central, not an afterthought. In terms of modern academic literature, libertarianism is aligned with Public Choice, not Market Fundamentalism.

(ii)Adam Smith, Classical Economics
Anyone who has read The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments would laugh at the idea of equating The Invisible Hand with an Efficient Market Hypothesis in Political lobbying.

(iii)Ayn Rand, Objectivism
Anyone who has read Rand’s work would laugh at the idea of equating Objectivism with an Efficient Market Hypothesis in Politics and Law. Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Stigler’s “Law or Economics” are in diametric opposition. In Stigler’s world, Wesley Mouch should be a hero.

(iv)Hayek
Hayek’s argument, in part, in the Road to Serfdom demonstrates how the worst rise to the top. It was not an Efficient Market Hypothesis argument that the most efficient rise to the top in political lobbying.

(v)Conservatives
Conservatives are supply-siders; they are not market fundamentalists. If they were, then we would have legal drugs and prostitution. In many respects, the application of an Efficient Market economic analysis to law is anathema to the conservative mind.

Frankly, these days, “market fundamentalism” as technically understood, is dead. No one takes seriously anymore an Efficient Market Hypothesis applied to political economy. Market Fundamentalism now only survives as a straw man term.

However, I can only point out those, such as Jonathan Chait, conducting their running libertarian diatribes are actually embracing the same principles of market fundamentalism, that is, the relative unimportance of political economy–political economy as an afterthought. For Chait, things like Social Security, The Earned Income Tax Credit, and Seat Belt laws demonstrate the unimportance of Political Economy. As Chait writes, if “regulations are captured, they will eventually be uncaptured.”

Writes Chait concerning Peter Orszag:

I don’t see any evidence that Orszag was corrupted by the prospect of private lucre during his tenure as Budget Director. His most important contribution to the Obama administration may have been a fierce insistence upon using health care reform to control the growth of health costs — a goal that serves almost no narrow private end and opposes many.

Compare that quote to the above Stigler quote regarding political lobbying and law. Not much of a difference, now is there? Fundamentalism, indeed…

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Respectable Bomb Throwers

A former fellow contributor at Freedom Democrats has composed two recent posts, My respectability vs. their legitimacy and Are you on the inside or the outside?, that cautions against radical politics moving from an abstract layer of persuasive speech to one advocating criminal activity. The underlying factor here seems to be that WikiLeaks is raising the stakes, making the abstract suddenly tangible. An abstraction is now drawing some blood…it’s a threat. The cautionary thinking here is not to overplay the hand, not to resort to advocating the equivalent of anarchist bomb throwing, which could not only make one the target of the police(the police state) but which could also threaten to criminalize the abstraction itself, or at the very least, banish it from the topic of polite society.

Now I both agree and disagree with Ricketson. I agree that “anarchist bomb throwing,” whether it’s actually throwing bombs, or executing DDoS attacks against digital targets, is a loser strategy. You can try to cast these things into a type of “civil disobedience” rationale or justify them as defensive actions against Statist aggression, but the bottom line is that they are ineffective and counter-productive. And Ricketson’s point about the “mainstream’ should be taken to heart. The thing about “American radical libertarianism” that separates it from “anarchism” in general is that in America, radical libertarianism is more or less “liberal anarchism, ” and liberal anarchism has never sought to eradicate the “petty Bourgeoisie” as a precursor to some new social order. Indeed, Liberal anarchism embraces the “petty bourgeois” tradition and embraces it as a mainstream tradition. This to no end infuriates a larger segment of anarchist radicals who operate outside the “liberal anarchist tradition.”

Where I disagree with Ricketson perhaps starts with this quote by Janet Napolitano:

“The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that – the old view,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told police and firefighters recently.

Ricketson takes his alias from Benjamin Tucker and those who are familiar with libertarian history know that Tucker, after he left the United States and emigrated to France, actually supported World War I on the basis that the German glorification of military culture was such a threat to the “petty bourgeois” liberal tradition that it had to be opposed, even by force. Here I am reminded of the old Barry Goldwater joke, “vote for Goldwater and we will end up in Vietnam.” Well, a wag or two have been known to crack back in the day, “we voted for Goldwater and sure enough, we ended up in Vietnam.” To Tucker’s Ghost I would crack, the United States went to war and yet we ended up with the very thing you dreaded.

As Orwell brilliantly elucidated, permanent war is the permanent war of the ruling class against it’s own citizens. It is a destroyer of liberalism. It is the National Security State, not anarchism, which is the threat to the mainstream of a “petty bourgeois” polite society. The horror is to contemplate just exactly what is to become of this “mainstream” under a censorship regime, when uncensored abstraction itself, by definition, is a threat.

In a permanent War on Terror, terrorism is not bomb throwing, rather it is any ideological challenge to the “Status Quo.” When Janet Napolitano states that the guns have turned inward, she doesn’t mean they are pointing at some random asymmetric violent threat, rather she means they are pointing at any systemic abstract threat to the Status Quo. They are aimed at any “institutional alternatives” to the status quo. If these “institutional alternatives” draw any blood, that is, threaten the Status Quo, those guns will fire…and it would be impolite in polite society not to pretend otherwise.

Respectability=see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…

WikiLeaks Watch 12/18/2010

Global Domination Through Media Saturation
Cult of the Dead Cow

The day after being released from prison, Assange conducted a whirlwind of media interviews, NBC, ABC, CBS in the United States, BBC in the UK, among the many outlets. One of the objectives was to immediately counter the developing US Government narrative of the “conspiring, anarchist Mendax.” Assange was emphatic that WikiLeaks, by design, does not know the identities of its sources, and that he never conspired with Bradley Manning.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Assange stated:

“I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. Wikileaks’ technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is, in the end, the only way the sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous, as far as we are concerned.”

Even if we assume Adrian Lamo’s chat logs to be authentic, Assange’s statements don’t conflict with the details of the transcripts. In them, it is clear that Manning submitted material to WikiLeaks before having any communication with Assange. The transcripts only reveal that Manning knew he was communicating with Assange , but only after spending a number of months verifying Assange’s identity. The transcripts do not reveal that Assange knew Manning’s identity or that he was even aware he was communicating with “the leaker.”

Given this, it would seem that reports that the US Government is seeking to offer a Manning “a deal” to “flip” on Assange are likely credible. They don’t have the hard evidence. Reports of Manning’s inhumane treatment and isolation may be means to “break” him.

Assange also used the media to vigorously deny he was “an anarchist,” telling George Stephanopoulo, “absolutely not.”

“We can look at my long-term endeavors, all the way to 1993, when I started piloting the Internet industry in Australia, bringing knowledge to the people. And that’s been a firm foundation for us to build credible and humane institutions.”

This is actually not any different form the Forbes interview when Assange cringed at the hacker/anarchist label and instead appealed to his entrepreneurial days of running an Australian ISP. The Forbes article made it clear that Assange thought himself as an “entrepreneur.” The British Anarchist Ian Bone recently deconstructed Assange’s anarchist tendencies from piece done by the British Newsnight and concluded that Assange was following in the tradition of German anarchist Gustav Landauer. This is all very consistent with a ideological sketch that views the role of WikiLeaks as using transparency to shrink political systems/institutions while expanding more cooperative, voluntary systems/institutions to serve as replacements.

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Spamhaus has released a malware warning for Wikileaks.org because the site redirects to a mirror hosted by Heihachi.net. As I reported last weekend, wikileaks.org was redirecting to mirror.wikileaks.info that was being hosted by Heihachi.net, a provider of “bullet-proof” hosting. Bullet-proof hosting refers to providers whose “terms of service contracts” are void of any jurisdictional legal compliance language. Bullet-proof providers are the primary source of malware infections on the internet. This is how it works: operators will host malware progs on their sites and will serve up web content in advertising campaigns that contain code that will exploit a browser or OS vulnerability to deliver this malicious payload to unpatched systems that are served up with this (malicious) advertising content. This results in the system being infected with malicious software, usually a trojan of some sort, that allows it to be remotely controlled by another system. In practice, what this means is that this infected system becomes part of a botnet. Operators will rent out of these botnets to spammers as a delivery network. Almost all email spam, for example, originates from botnets.

WikiLeaks, or the Wikileaks.info team, issued a press release disputing the claims that this mirror was a source of a malware, and that they were using a Bullet-proof provider to avoid being taken offline due to political pressure. WikiLeaks correctly notes that while Bullet-proof providers do host “malware sites,” they also host unpopular political protest sites.

Spamhaus responded in an update that despite whether wikileaks.info was hosting malware or not, wikileaks.info had no official relationship with WikiLeaks or Assange, and that it should be considered a rogue operation. However, this is simply factually incorrect. WikiLeaks.org redirects to wikileaks.info, meaning that someone with an authorized login at at the Dynadot Registrar updated the name server data for the wikileaks.org domain with Dynadot’s name servers, configured a dns zone record for wikileaks.org that pointed web requests to a Dynadot web host, and then configured that web host to redirect requests for wikileaks.org to wikileaks.info. This is basic stuff for anyone with a modicum of IT knowledge/experience. Spamhaus’ contention here is inexcusable. There’s obviously an “official” connection.

It also clear from examining the mirror.wikileaks.info site that this is running back on MediaWiki, although it is still quite a bit broken. The “mirrors” are just mirroring a static html version that replaced the MediaWiki CMS version in the immediate aftermath of “cablegate.”

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that WikiLeaks plays political games. They don’t exactly announce to the world in a “press release” what games they are playing. WikiLeaks could have easily updated the DNS name server data for the wikileaks.org domain as soon as EveryDNS terminated DNS service and and created a dns zone record in the new name servers that pointed it to their Swedish hosting provider. A little detective work implies that they are playing a game of testing political “free speech” on a distributed basis. Wikileaks.org has for a while now ceased being a mechanism for document submissions, and WikiLeaks primarily now relies on traditional journalistic organizations to distribute the “news” of leaked documents. The website part of it, at this point, primarily seems to serve a symbolic propaganda purpose.

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The Guardian has a profile of the hacker group, Anonymous, and it’s inside “hierarchy.”

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The Guardian has also obtained the full Swedish allegations against Julian Assange.

WikiLeaks Watch 12/17/2010

Via press reports, the US Government efforts to manufacture an indictment of Assange that won’t likewise indict a broad swath of the journalistic profession or the general American populace continues to center around portraying Julian Assange as “Mendax” rather than a journalist. A NY Times article yesterday indicated the Justice Department is exploring indicting Assange in a conspiracy with Bradley Manning to hack government computers to obtain classified information. Although “Conspiracy,” of course, is the thinnest of thin “criminal charges” that can be used by ambitious prosecutors to indict anyone at anytime of crimes, I have to laugh at this one. It didn’t take “Mendax” to hack elevated privilege access to obtain the documents in question. These documents were readily available to Bradley Manning via his security clearance. In reading the Manning Chat logs, it seems pretty clear to me that Manning submitted documents to Wikileaks before having any personal correspondence with Assange; the only “conspiracy” I can detect between Manning and Assange is the long period of communications between the two necessary for Manning to verify he was actually communicating with Assange. Manning clearly states he considered himself a “source” for WikiLeaks…

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The Tech Press is now noticing that the WikiLeaks domain is active again. If you have been reading my WikiLeaks Watch posts, I reported this last Saturday morning. Reports that the delay in getting DNS restored for the domain centered around procuring DNS providers to avoid a repeat of EveryDNS are not accurate, IMHO. The delay was a piece of political propaganda. The large number of mirror sites that sprung up around the world was exactly the reaction WikiLeaks wanted to happen. They could have easily switched out the Name Servers for the domain immediately after EveryDNS stopped serving DNS requests, but they chose not to. Roughly a week later, they updated the name server data to use their registrar’s name servers, ns1.dynadot.com, ns1.dynadot.com. Dynadot has been the authoritative name server provider for collateralmurder.com and there has never been any issue with that domain. WikiLeaks.org redirecting to mirror.wikileaks.info, which is hosted by Heihachi LTD in Russia, the same hosting company that was hosting anonops.net, is just another game. Btw, no one seems to have picked up on that fact yet.

In case you haven’t noticed, WikiLeaks plays political games…

A Return of Radical Politics?

It seems you’re having some trouble
In dealing with these changes
Living with these changes
The world is a scary place
Now that you’ve woken up the demon in me

Down with the Sickness

I’m amused but not surprised by this Alexander Palmer impersonation by Mort Zuckerman. That the Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report has taken to his editorial soapbox to warn of the dire threat “anarchy” now poses to the “World Order” is only a sign of the times; or perhaps a sign of things to come.

In this old post, Broken Government: A Return of Radical Politics at Freedom Democrats, I opined about an impending return of radicalism in American politics. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that this radicalism will be borne out of the American descent into the “censorship regime.” The censorship regime is information control, and in the US, this regime is the marriage of Digital Copyright and the National security State. This marriage creates a input-output positive feedback loop of economic/political rent-seeking so pernicious that you end up with something resembling Richard Stallman’s Right to Read Dystopia, wherein reading becomes a licensing and security classification privilege.

Now by “radical politics” I mean two things:

(1) The breakdown of DoubleThink, that is thought control, rooted in the left-right communitarian cultural war
(2) Direct Action, particularly with respect to the construction of alternative voluntary institutions as a means to deal with Statist failure

Mort Zuckerman’s casting of the “anarchist” threat as digital bomb throwing is not correct. Invoking the ghost of General Palmer vis a vis “Anonymous” DDoS attacks isn’t going to work. The real threat to Zuckerman’s socio-political order is when those coders,IT people, entrepreneurs etc who don’t have their snouts buried in federal contracts begin to realize the need to move authoritative elements of the internet architecture outside any one legal jurisdiction, particularly US legal jurisdiction. This has already started to happen with DNS.

The sudden rise of “No Label” politics into the media conscientious is another sign of the times. “No Label” Politics is not radical politics, rather it is a political class that realizes information control requires DoubleThink thought control and that DoubleThink rooted in left-right cultural war cannot cover up the tyranny of information control.

WikiLeaks Watch 12/15/2010

Yesterday, a UK judged reversed the earlier court decision denying bail to Julian Assange. Under the conditions of the granted bail, Assange was required to post around 350K in cash, wear an electric ankle bracelet, and confine himself to the residential estate of Vaughan Smith, the owner of the Frontline Journalist Club that Assange had holed up at before his arrest. However, Swedish authorities appealed the bail reversal which keeps Assange in prison for at least the next 48 hours until the appeal hearing is heard.

Assange’s incarceration has attracted plenty of “celebrity support” that will easily come up with the cash to meet the monetary terms of the bail. Vaughan Smith, “the maverick British establishment,” gives this reason for offering up his digs to Assange:

Having watched him give himself up last week to the British justice system, I took the decision that I would do whatever else it took to ensure that he is not denied his basic rights as a result of the anger of the powerful forces he has enraged…My decision wasn’t any more about whether WikiLeaks was right or wrong, for good or bad. It was about standing up to the bully and the question of whether our country, in these historic times really was the tolerant, independent and open place I had been brought up to believe it was and feel that it needs to be.

The continued zeal being displayed by the Swedish authorities vis a vis the pursuance of these “sexual misconduct” against Assange continues to suggest US influence behind the Swedish prosecution effort. Although many note that the Swedish “sexual misconduct case” against Assange would not even be a “crime” in Britain, it should be pointed out the UK 2003 Extradition Act makes this a moot point. Extradition is now commonplace in Britain, even over trivial matters. The Guardian’s legal affairs editor, Afua Hirsch, points out that just this month, Jacek Jaskolski, a disabled 58-year-old science teacher, was extradited back to Poland over a 10-year old bank overdraft. In Britain, this would be a minor civil issue, but in Poland, bank overdrafts are a criminal issue. So, back to Poland Jaskolski went. The 2003 Extradition Act, of course, is “9-11, anti-terrorism” inspired legislation.

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There are reports that the US government has convened a secret grand jury indictment of Julian Assange. However, as of now, these reports are grounded more in speculation than fact. However, Swedish Authorities, have posted a statement clarifying the the EU legal formalities/requirements it would have to follow if in the extradition of Assange to a non EU country(read: the United States). The gist: the original executing country,Britain,would have to agree to allow Sweden to extradite Assange to the United States.

But, it should be noted that the UK 2003 Extradition Act, in part codifies the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003. The US-UK Extradition Treaty 2003 was ratified by the United States Senate in 2006. Britain would be treaty-bound to oblige the US Request for Extradition of Assange from Sweden. Of course, under the same treaty, the US could directly request Britain to extradite Assange into US custody right now. That this has not happened implies that there is no secret US grand jury indictment of Assange as of yet.

The question to be begged, of course, is what US crime Assange would be guilty of? US media apparently is now waking up to the implications if Assange were charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. This would mean any US Newspaper that had published, extracted, or commented on the “classified material” in the leaks would likewise be guilty. More and more politicians are publicly expressing comfort with that exact position and the need for enforcing censorship. Incoming Tea-Partier Allen West is quoted as recently saying:

And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to be able to do this and then also supporting him and applauding him for the efforts. So that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.”

However, the prospect of turning every American and News Organization that has commented on the contents of WikiLeaks’ leaks into spy, which would be the legal implication if Assange were tried under the 1917 Espionage Act, probably is a bridge too far even for our corrupt political class. So instead, look for new laws next year that will actually do just that, but they won’t apply retroactively. In the meantime, the US is probably searching for ways to grab Julian Assange outside of the the 1917 Espionage Act. I find reports that the US government may be trying to go back to Assange’s days as the hacker, “Mendax,” in seeking him for questioning regarding old cases, that are still under US extradition, regarding breaches of US military networks back in the 90s and early 2000s credible. The US could extradite Assange under the pretext of a “person of interest” for questioning in such matters, detain him, wait for the US legislature to pass new legislation regarding the press and leaked classified information, and when WikiLeaks releases new “leaks” in the aftermath of the passage of such laws, arrest and charge him then. I have no doubt those shitbags in Washington are looking at that as a possible course of action.

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Radical Libertarians have been warning that “GOP Tea Party Libertarianism” was joke and that it portended some negative consequences. WikiLeaks is likely going to end up being the catalyst that demonstrates just how bad of joke it was. I think the influx of these “Tea Party Patriots” into the GOP greatly increases the likelihood that we are going to end up with laws that make publishing, commenting, or supporting Wikileaks material and/or WikiLeaks itself a crime.

These “libertarians” such as Don Boudreaux who think the primary battle is over marginal tax rates are solely mistaken. If you do not understand that libertarianism was birthed from a class critique of a permanent war economy, then you have no true understanding of the libertarian critique of political economy. My advice to these libertarians is to take a break from marginal tax rates for a second to consider the devastating effects of censorship on political economy. And I have to just laugh about the “concern” over the “Debt Commission.” Remind me why any libertarian worth his/her salt should give a rat’s ass about the fiscal stability of a “censorship regime.” WikiLeaks is the battle…

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Glenn Greenwald documents the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning. Julian Assange, in his persecution by the US Government, has become a global cult of personality of sorts, a celebrity of sorts. And that protects him. But WikiLeaks is nothing without the actual leakers, and the ultimate heroes are people of conscious like Bradley Manning. We fight for Julian Assange to avoid the fate of Bradley Manning, but Bradley manning is already suffering the fate of Bradley Manning. And that fate is torture. The US Government tortures. And Ken Loach, Bianca Jagger, Michael Moore, or Vaughan Smith or not standing vigil over Bradley Manning. And they couldn’t even if they wanted to.

In an old post at Freedom Democrats, I noted that in all this talk about “Going Galt” by Tea Party Patriots, they seemed to have forgotten that John Galt was tortured by the US government in Atlas Shrugged. John Galt was not a “Patriot.” For all this talk about “Going Galt,” the only one in the United States who actually has is Bradley Manning. In that action, there is no political glory, no celebrity…only the utmost misery.

WikiLeaks Watch 12/14/2010

According to Politico, Glenn Greenwald has resigned from the progressive watchdog “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” over a recent opinion piece by the group’s chief counsel, Anne Weismann, published in the Huffington Post.

Writes Greenwald in his resignation letter:

The recent condemnation of WikiLeaks by Anne Weismann, purporting to speak on behalf of CREW, is both baffling and unacceptable to me. It is baffling because I cannot fathom how a group purportedly devoted to greater transparency in government could condemn an entity that has brought more transparency to governments and corporations around the world than any single other organization by far. And it is unacceptable to me because I believe defense of WikiLeaks has become one of the greatest and most important political causes that exists — certainly one to which I intend to devote myself — and I do not want to be affiliated with any group which works to undermine it.

I took the opportunity to peruse the piece by Weismann, and it’s just a regurgitation of same oft repeated tripe: Daniel Ellsberg is good; WikiLeaks is bad because it is ideologically motivated. I found this wonderful little piece at FireDogeLake which makes use a scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall to drive home an obvious point. In that scene, Allen, while standing in for movie tickets, humorously breaks out of the camera subjective narrative mode to produce Marshall McLuhan from behind a movie poster to shut up a “Marshall McLuhan know-it-all bloviator” in the movie line that was irritating Allen. After McLuhan denounced the man as an idiot and fool who knew nothing of his work, Allen sighs to the camera: “Boy, if life were only like this.” But as the author of the FireDogLake piece points out, in this case, real life is like this. Daniel Ellsberg is all over the place making it clearly and passionately known that he considers WikiLeaks to be in the same vein as the Pentagon Papers. So rather than Weismann on Ellsberg, how about Ellsberg on Ellsberg…

This talking point of “ideological motivations” is silly. Most journalistic organizations mix opinion journalism with investigative journalism. They all have their editorial pages. The last time I checked, the New York Times had one, too.

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Forbes has interesting piece that discusses the “WikiLeaks’ Copycats” that are now springing up. In an older piece, I argued that if the WikiLeaks’ political hack proved resilient, there would be competing firms who would soon enter this space.

From Forbes:

If even a fraction of the leaking sites that are beginning to surface prove credible and secure, then WikiLeaks may end up having an even larger impact than the government- and business-shaking leaks it’s already revealed; It may have planted the seeds for an entire new generation of secret-spilling sites.

I’m reminded of the shilling of Establishment media that the internet had effectively rendered “news” a “public good” that thusly necessitated a “public subsidy.” It was a bad idea when this talking point started making the rounds, and, if anything, WikiLeaks serves to reinforce just how bad this idea is(making a mockery of the “reassurance” that “subsidy” won’t compromise the independence of reporting, opinion and investigative). But an underlying concept that people perhaps will begin to pick up on, a concept that I discussed in this post, WikiLeaks: The Revolutionary as Entrepreneur, is that document-sourced journalism is an entrepreneurial space. WikiLeaks destroys the argument that the internet has made “news” a “public good” that therefore requires it to be government subsidized if we are going to have a “public service” of investigative reporting. Nonsense. WikiLeaks is the “free-market” solution that resolves this supposed “dilemma.” A fully populated entrepreneurial space of document-sourced journalism will open up plenty of new entrepreneurial avenues for traditional journalistic organizations as well and keep them plenty busy.

In this sense, this goes back to the question of old-school French Laissez-Faire with regard to political economy: the Bureaucrat vs the Entrepreneur. The bureaucrat or the entrepreneur serving the role as effective regulator. The “bureaucratic solution” is to strengthen espionage laws against free speech, pass new “transparency legislation,” and subsidize news organizations. The Entrepreneurial solution is an “unfettered free market” in document-sourced journalism.

Which do you think is the better solution?