Beliefs trump evidence among moderators at Stockholm Internet Forum

Posted on October 21, 2015  /  0 Comments

It is quite intriguing how often moderators and many panelists default to a position that advocates government action and subsidies at the sessions I have heard so far.

The evidence is clear on what worked and what did not with regard to first generation connectivity. Government supply failed. Government subsidies were not disbursed for the most part. The Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank was critical of the universal service initiatives supported and funded by the World Bank over 10 years. Competition, however imperfect, worked.

But why do moderators at these events keep steering the discussion toward government intervention? I guess evidence is secondary when beliefs are strong. Keynes in the 1930s provided the answer:

“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

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