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Entry 663, on 2007-12-29 at 20:35:30 (Rating 4, Comments)
According to the great model of capitalism which has become increasingly popular in the western world for many years free market economics will solve all our problems and lead to the best economic result. I guess this started with Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" - how many misguided decisions have been made as a result of that work? Unfortunately, I think this is a very simplistic and misguided attitude which only produces the best outcomes for a rich, often corrupt elite.
Why am I ranting on about this little favourite topic again? New Zealand's most successful (arguably) company, Telecom, has incurred my wrath once again. I have rid myself of all their overpriced, mediocre services at home but where I am currently staying they still use Telecom (and their Internet branch, Xtra) and it has been a revelation to me just how unreliable and slow their Internet service still is.
Every year Xtra is the most successful Internet company in New Zealand and every year it provides the worst service. What would Adam Smith and his followers make of this? Maybe its just an aberration, but I would say similar connections between financial success and terrible services and products often occur. For example Microsoft demonstrate a similar connection: they are hugely successful but few people like their products and most users suffer as a result of their poorly designed software.
I'm not necessarily advocating a policy of extreme interventionism but I do think we should all admit that a totally free market is not a good thing and that there is a place for controls to be applied to private business even if that isn't politically fashionable.
So I've just spent almost an hour downloading Skype where it would usually take a few minutes, and I will now need to spend 5 minutes uploading this blog entry where 1 minute would be heaps with my usual ISP. If you are an Internet user in New Zealand and have slow performance and use Xtra I recommend to start looking elsewhere.
And one more hint too. If you see something on TV telling you something is the best, there is a very good chance that it is actually the worst, because TV advertising is usually just another form of lying. I would prefer Telecom to spend more money on running phone and Internet services and less time insulting us with their pathetic advertising!
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