Hotels Fight for the Right to Block Guests' Wi-Fi

Kate taylor, Entrepreneur, Jan 01, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This story has been around for a while, but it points to the danger of commercial provision of essential services. As everyone knows, price is determined by the law of supply and demand - it is, essentially, whatever the market will bear. But the often unspoken corollary is that creating artificial demand is a reliable means of driving up price. This is what hotels are trying to do when they block personal Wi-Fi hotspots. It's a vile practice that creates no value for the customer at all. How much of the 'free market' is based not on provision of goods and services, but on creating artificial scarcity? Education is an excellent case in point. Learning should be ubiquitous, but we channel it through institutions, create the requirement for degrees, and charge students a large mortgage for passage.

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