Free the Airwaves!

A large portion of all the possible wavelengths for radios, iPhones, and other marvelous devices is still locked up in the arms of the state or its favorite broadcasting corporations. In his classic article, “Radio Free Rothbard,” BK Marcus explains the origins of this atavistic cartel, and he points the way to a real, radical liberation of the radio spectrum.

Today on Politico, telecom industry lobbyist Steve Largent displays the usual timid, statist pace of radio-spectrum privatization. He’s asking for the release of about one fifth of 1 percent of the total spectrum over the next 10 years. This, he predicts — through the usual magical math — would add 350,000 American jobs and, the real carrot for legislators, “Boost government revenue by $36.7 billion.”

Government revenue aside, it certainly would be good to pry more of the radio spectrum away from the state’s claws. But is it possible to pry it all away? Could we actually assign property rights in radio waves? Could we do away with state intervention in the radio spectrum entirely?

BK Marcus answers yes, yes, and, emphatically, yes. Read his radical and scholarly article to see how much further freedom and private property can take us.

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