Running Monopolies

Vision 2030 / 2050 advocates maintaining Provo’s city-run monopoly over electrical power (see V2030 4.7; V2050 4.7).  Monopolies tend to be less innovative and efficient and effective, plus more costly, although they are difficult to maintain indefinitely in a genuinely-free market without forging a corrupt partnership with political power.  Publicly-run monopolies tend to be even worse than privately-run ones, partly because they are often overseen by a vast horde of politicians who have overwhelmed themselves with excessive responsibility for everything-under-the-sun (most of which is beyond their expertise) and, as such, fail to effectively manage anything well.

Our federal government constitutes an excellent example of this, as 535 squabbling Congresspeople attempt to collectively oversee a vast unwieldy business conglomerate that includes a health-care system, an educational system, a library, a scholarship program, various research institutions, a media company, a postal service, a massive transportation system, an energy company, a mint, a banking system, a loan service, various welfare agencies, various museums, a performing arts center, a park service, a weather service, a law-enforcement agency, a diplomatic service, a military service, and a veterans’ service, just to name a few. Some people might respond to such oversight problems by wanting Congress to delegate more responsibility to the President, which will only lead us closer to dictatorship—but, if they were wiser like our nation’s founders (or like certain big businessmen), then they might try to divest themselves of most of this vast “alphabet soup” of agencies to focus better on their core mission of rights-defense.

Unfortunately, Provo’s city officers have been demonstrating similar problems on a smaller scale, as they have attempted to supervise a growing array of business operations that (with few exceptions) should be fully privatized, such a redevelopment agency, a power company, an airport, a television channel, a library, a performing arts center, a recreation center, a fitness center, a golf course, an ice rink, a water park, a park service, a gun range, a garbage-collection service, a recycling service, a fire department, a police department, a justice court, licensing bureaus, and a cemetery.  Just like our federal government, our municipal government should cease distracting itself with providing energy and health and recreation and such, and should instead focus better on its core mission of defending rights.

This includes Provo’s 75-year-old electrical monopoly, which is presumably overpriced, and only seems to provide competitive prices it is because its utility costs are subsidized by federal taxpayers.  We might want to ask ourselves why our city government (with federal cooperation) is charging citizens from Bangor to Honolulu to help pay for our utility bills.  In any case, Provo would do better to stop legally picking other Americans’ pockets, and to spin off Provo City Power fully into the private sector.

Along with monopolizing existing electrical production, Provo’s central planners also intend to actively promote use of renewable fuel sources (see V2050 4.6.4), which is a perfectly fine thing for free people to voluntarily do, but it’s not something that the city my justly compel upon everyone.

(For more about Envisioning Statism, please see both Manipulating Transportation and Regulating Businesses.)


2 thoughts on “Running Monopolies

  1. Jack

    You do realize that Rocky Mountain Power is also a monopoly based on your criteria, right? If you don’t think so, try living in Orem and getting you power from SoCal Edison. That’s why we have a regulatory commission, as imperfect as another government agency is.


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