Utilities

Utility companies provide electricity, cable Internet, cell service and natural gas. The free market may be less capable of providing utilities because generally only one utility company can operate in each area, and/or because governments often regulate or subsidize the construction of lines and access, and this benefit should not go to any private corporation.  Co-operative utility companies function in many areas, especially in rural areas. With co-operatives the users own and manage the utility company. See example.  User-owned and managed utilities solve many of the problems that arise with state-run utilities (bureaucratic inefficiencies) and with private for-profit utilities (overcharging).

Cell phone and Internet services is especially important to a Direct Democracy insofar as free access to information and free speech are important.  Both private and state controlled communication services are subject to censorship, and cell/cable service might be better run by co-operatives. See example.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Peter Dent says:

    Utilities are necessities for living in a modern world. Electricity, internet, and phone lines are all everyday parts of our lives. But the everyday person can’t provide these all on his own, so what are some of the options?

    Currently, most utilities are run by private corporations. Private companies often work in conjunction with the government to use taxpayer money to build supply lines, at the benefit of the company. There’s not more than one in an area so the price can be adjusted to fit the CEO’s needs.

    State funded utilities can be run without having ridiculous prices, but have the reputation of being slow and bureaucratic. They will always keep operating, unlike a co-operative.

    Co-operatives are owned by the users of the given utility. Employees are hired to pull levers while the users make decisions as a committee on how to run the service. But this, like a state run facility, can be slow due to people not showing up to vote, or not being qualified to run such a service. Co-ops and state facilities can both be slow, but the co-op has the downside of potentially coming to a full stop, whereas a state utility’s decision making is done by people getting paid.

    In summary, where private companies are very American but not very good for the common man and Co-ops may fall apart through human inconsistencies, a State run facility is fully capable of running utilities, if not in a slow and steady fashion.

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