CATO INSTITUTE: The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone

Cato Institute recently issued the following announcement.

Featuring the author Thomas W. Hazlett, Hugh H. Macaulay Endowed Chair in Economics, Clemson University; with comments by Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

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, you can watch it live online at www.cato.org/live 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.

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