Whatever happened to the common good?

Submitted by acohill on Fri, 03/04/2005 - 10:47

Add Texas to the list of states that has some legislators who want to keep communities from managing their own economic future. This article documents the very successful WiFi project led by technology visionary Will Reed, and the legislators who apparently think "free" broadband somehow subverts capitalism.

But as others have pointed out, "free" street lights did not put light bulb manufacturers out of business, and "free" books at the public library did not put book publishers out of business. The notion that communities can not do anything that someone in the private sector might want to do is, at bottom, just nonsense. This kind of thinking turns the centuries old notion of the common good (as more important at times than individual needs) on its head, and if it prevails, it is the death of communities--communities will be "owned" by private sector special interests.

My comments are not meant to be a blanket indictment of business--this whole discussion is being whipsawed and controlled by a few giant companies that refuse to play fair. All most businesses want is an opportunity to compete, and most businesses understand the concept of the common good and recognize that common good investments like roads actually CREATE business opportunities, not take them away.

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