The Myth of Natural Monopoly, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, is next in the read queue.
Published in “Review of Austrian Economics“, this article starts with a very intriguing introduction:
Most so-called public utilities have been granted governmental franchise monopolies because they are thought to be “natural monopolies”. […] Furthermore, competition is said to cause consumer inconvenience because of the construction of duplicate facilities, e.g., digging up the streets to put in dual gas or water lines
Drawing parallels from the physical world, to the world of software and development projects is not easy, and it may often prove to have been a very bad idea altogether. Having said that, the article by DiLorenzo seems to be pretty nice so far.
In the free software world, we don’t really agree with the statement that competition causes inconvenience. On the contrary, we view competition as one of the main driving forces behind innovation and improvement… Let’s see how that view of the world compares with what DiLorenzo describes.
Update [2007-12-11]: Done. Apparently, what DiLorenzo has focused on is the role of governmental intervention and how its role as a regulator may be inferior to the inherent ability of competition to act as a regulating force in a free market. It’s interesting how this view matches what the free software and open source world has been working to make a reality all along :-)