posted Oct 23, 2000

Keep the Customer Dissatisfied
10/23/2000; 11:16:35 AM

'Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, doesn't want us to buy wine on the Net. His argument is that minors are using online ordering to get their hands on booze. Maybe so. Or maybe the wholesale distributors of alcoholic beverages would rather not deal with online competition, and have found some friends in high legislative places....

'Personally, I think it's absurd that I won't be able to order my favorite boutique pinot noir or microbrew from out of state just because the government can't figure out how to stop a 16-year-old using a parent's credit card from doing the same thing. But my inconvenience is trivial compared with the larger lesson here: Clearly, it's time to abandon any lingering notion you might have that the Internet is somehow a free-market paradise, in which buyers and sellers connect with one another beyond the reach of existing (and sometimes arbitrary) social and political restraints.'

Or at least, not without effort from the Internet retailers.

I ought to make a new catagory for this site to track "Internet Regulability", which technically isn't a word, but is in opposition to "regulation"... not the laws covering the Internet, but the increasing evidence that laws can cover the Internet with some level of success... by the lawmaker's standards.


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