Following the post-deregulation price hikes, politicians
feared a voter backlash and quickly re-regulated the newly
deregulated power markets. Power companies were subsequently
accused of being ruthless money grabbers and price gougers.
Elected and non-elected officials absolved themselves of any
responsibility for having created a power generation and
distribution system that was rife with malinvestment and
that quite literally needed to be rebuilt. The private
capital needed to rebuild the power grid and develop new
generating capacity was and still is in very short supply.
One of the few options available to the power sector in
several jurisdictions internationally was and still is to
raise power rates.
The power industry is one example of how government
regulation can cause more problems than it purports to solve.
Perhaps the only way that government could extricate itself
from unproductive market regulation of the power industry
would be after the entrepreneurial world develops affordable,
mass-produced, low-cost micro-power stations with a few
kilowatts of output. Owners of such generating capacity
could recover the cost of their investment by selling some
power to their next-door, backdoor and diagonal-backdoor
neighbours. Such an option would require many jurisdictions
to repeal the laws that prohibit private power lines across
private property lines.
Looking Ahead in Other Sectors
Technological advances in the telecommunications sector have
created a cost-competitive economic environment that could
allow government to extricate itself from the regime of
telecommunications market regulation. Such deregulation
could occur without causing the economic upheavals that
occurred in the power sector. But government officials still
seek to achieve a political agenda in the area of culture
that indirectly involves the telecommunications sector.
Modern telecommunications technology allows information
signals to travel along electric power cables with
transmission and reception capability at both ends.
Such technology could allow hundreds of micro radio and
television stations to emerge amongst customers who live
inside groups of nearby apartment buildings, where such
transmission would be possible. Laser light and sub-audible,
ultra-low frequency sound waves can travel considerable
distances through the atmosphere. None of these technologies
generates radio waves that would otherwise transmit through
the atmosphere, perhaps interfering with radio
telecommunications used by airports, police, ambulances, the
military and other agencies. Private broadcasting that is
independent from atmospheric radio waves would neither
interfere with the aforementioned radio telecommunications,
nor represent any threat to public safety.
The Government of Canada has proposed terminating the crown
corporation that markets wheat and barley known as the Wheat
Board. Many farmers have already shown that they can operate
outside of the government agency and market their produce
themselves. There are many state-regulated sectors of
business from which government can extricate itself through
market deregulation without causing the upheavals that
resulted from power deregulation. The current economic
slowdown may well continue over the next several years.
During such time, the absence of economic regulation could
increase the productivity of many small businesses, and
perhaps also encourage more of the younger generation to
seek opportunity as entrepreneurs in a market environment
relatively free from government regulation.