Please don’t lobby

I agree with Clay Johnson that the our industry’s ignorance of Congress might be greater than Congress’ ignorance of the Internet. He comes to the conclusion that we need to lobby more.

I disagree. Throwing money down the lobby hole starts a vicious circle. We pay to play, and Congress finds new ways to milk the cow — or to create problems that justify their existence. As Clay Shirky put it:

Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.

Asking permission of Congress, or seeking their assistance, becomes the norm. Just look at the telecom business.

Don’t we, as an industry, do the “disrupt” thing? Don’t we disintermediate? Except when it’s Congress, and we are blindsided– in which case we embrace the status quo, with vigor?

A month ago, I suggested:

Becoming one of many moneyed interests diminishes us, and makes the world a worse place. Let’s disintermediate.

This means dropping out the pricing floor. What Skype did for phone calls, what Google did for information retrieval, and what Amazon is doing with publishing.

They did this by looking at the interest of the consumer (read: voter), first and foremost — existing institutions’ concerns were considerably lower on the list.

And so it must be with democracy. The existing system of buying favor is vastly overpriced. Let’s deflate it.

How? Yeah, I don’t know yet. But it’s an economic problem. The future is in doing what Congress does for an order of magnitude cheaper.

Their influence and their pricing power are one in the same.

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