FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Saturday

My Soapbox

This is my soapbox, and I need to rant. One of the most important issues to me is the role of capitalism in our society. I believe that capitalism is the single-greatest economic system ever developed by man. It has been empirically proven that capitalism is responsible for bringing more people out of poverty and creating better living conditions than any other economic system ever conceived.

At the heart of this great system is the idea of the free-market. Unfortunately, our market is not as free as it should be. The socialist cry-babies on the left have seen to that. Nevertheless, our market is still somewhat free.

One main attribute to the free market, which still thrives in America, is the idea of competition. Company ABC introduces a great product or service, and they begin to sell it. Company XYZ comes along with a similar, but better product or service and sells it for less. Company ABC now must compete for business. In order, to get more business than the other guy, ABC improves their product or service, and lowers their price.

During the improvement of products and services, and the dramatic price wars, who is really comes out as the winner? The consumer…you and me. We get better products, and we don’t have to pay as much for them. Sounds great, right?

But, what if the principle of competition was taken out of the equation? What if contracts or back-door deals were in place to make sure that Company ABC did not have to compete for business? They would have no incentive to improve their product or service, and they could charge whatever they wanted for it.

Here’s a real-world example of this travesty to capitalism. My apartment complex only allows one cable TV company to provide service to its tenants. This cable company is called MediaWorks.

MediaWorks has weaseled its way into some sort of contract with my apartment complex. If tenants want cable television service, the only company they can use is MediaWorks.

This deal works out really well for MediaWorks. After all, their contract guarantees a continuous flow of new customers. But, the tenants are screwed due to the fact that the entire premise of the contract is socialist in nature.

By taking away the freedom to choose our own cable company, MediaWorks has successfully removed competition from the free market. There is no incentive for them to provide superior service (or even adequate service) at a reasonable price.

Case in point, MediaWorks lags behind every other major cable provider in existence when it comes to the services. Their cheapest cable package is still 50% more expensive than any other provider (satellite or cable), and doesn’t offer digital or HD programming. They are selling obsolete technology at a premium price. But, what can be done? Where is the incentive for them to offer a better product or lower their pricing? There is no incentive. So, it won’t happen.

Of course, there is a provision in their contract which says that tenants can sign up for satellite service. And, I tried to do just that. I was going to get better services, digital cable, HD programming, DVR service, and free movie channels. To top it all off, I was going to pay a lot less.

But, alas, I could not.

My apartment does not have a clear line-of-site to the southern sky, which is the direction all satellite providers broadcast from. For me, and the 75% of tenants who don't have a line-of-sight to the southern sky, satellite service is not an option.

So, once again, if we want TV service, we have to turn to MediaWorks.

This contract is a disgusting rejection of capitalism, and a pathetic way to do business.

I would suggest that MediaWorks abandon this shameful business practice and begin new ones. Improve their service and lower their pricing. Offer digital programming at a low price. Incorporate HD service. It’s 2007. How about catching up with the rest of the world!!!

But, I'm sure that they won't take that advice. After all, I have no choice but to take what they give me. Right?

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