Book Review – “The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone”

For many, simply thinking of reading a century-long history covering the evolution of regulation of the electromagnetic spectrum would make their eyes glaze over. But Thomas Hazlett’s The Political Spectrum has turned that material into an interesting, informative, and powerful read, packed with important lessons and implications about markets, regulation, and public choice economics, illustrated with some eye-opening stories. In fact, his book provides one of the best-ever illustrations of what Ronald Reagan once called the nine scariest words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

continue reading – The Independent Review

The Cato Institute invites you to a Book Forum on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

The Political Spectrum:
The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone
(Yale University Press)
featuring the author
Thomas W. Hazlett, Hugh H. Macaulay Endowed Chair in Economics, Clemson Universitywith comments by
Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

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Popular legend has it that before the Federal Radio Commission was established in 1927, the radio spectrum was in chaos, with broadcasting stations blasting powerful signals to drown out rivals. Tom Hazlett, a distinguished scholar in law and economics and former chief economist at the FCC (the commission’s successor), debunks that idea. Instead, regulators blocked competition at the behest of incumbent interests and, for nearly a century, have suppressed innovation while quashing out-of-the-mainstream viewpoints.

Hazlett details how spectrum officials produced a “vast wasteland” that they publicly criticized but privately protected. The story twists and turns, as farsighted visionaries — and the march of science — rose to challenge the old regime. Over decades, reforms to liberate the radio spectrum have generated explosive progress, ushering in the “smartphone revolution,” ubiquitous social media, and the amazing wireless world that is now emerging. Still, Hazlett argues, and current FCC controversies confirm, the battle is not even half won.

If you can’t make it to the event, watch it Live Online and join the conversation on Twitter using #PoliticalSpectrum.

Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.


Date: March 15, 2018

Time: 12:00PM – 1:00PM
(Luncheon to follow)

Cost: Free of charge


The net neutrality farce: From the start, the concept has been based on a flawed foundation

by Thomas Hazlett, New York Daily News, Tuesday, November 21, 2017

For the sixth time in the last decade, U.S. rules on “network neutrality” are set to flip. The controversial policy — first imposed by the Federal Communications Commission under Bush 43, then struck down by federal courts, then re-imposed under President Obama, then overturned again, then imposed yet again — is now slated for demolition by Ajit Pai, the FCC head appointed by President Trump.

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