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Undoing Monopoly by E-Mail
I have a modest proposal for advancing the fight against monopoly.
I read somewhere within the last week or so that--I believe the figure
was--roughly 90% of our U.S. senators have an E-mail address. This
discussion group, with its 270 or so computer/software experts, could no
doubt ferret out that list of senatorial E-mail addresses in a trice. And
does not the technology permit--once the 90 are known--a "consolidated"
address that, with a single command, can send an E-mail message to all 90 of
those listed/wired senators? Every citizen could then post a message to, in
effect, the full Senate with the click of a mouse?
Is the House--our 435 representatives in Congress--any less
electronically wired? Probably not much, if any. They're in the business
of communicating with their constituents back home. Wanna bet that the big
lobbyists in Washington don't have a "master" list of E-mail addresses for
all or substantially all of the U.S. Congress, one they routinely use to
bombard it with their corporate special-interest propaganda? Push the
'send' button and it goes to virtually all 535 members of Congress.
I'm going to be very much surprised if the technicians here tell us
that they can't put together such a 1-button command to reach essentially
the whole of America's legislature.
My proposal has a Part II--those 1,000 U.S. judges I mentioned
earlier, with their 4,000 or so "law clerks." They control U.S.
antimonopoly policy. They crushed it in the '70s, '80s, and '90s and could
restore it instanter if they wanted to. Do they have E-mail addresses? Of
course. They're under the day-to-day command of a little known judicial
bureaucracy in Washington, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, which
maintains the usual name-and-address mailing list--plus, I have no doubt, a
comparable E-mail list for the full 1,000. Wouldn't it be nice to have that
list? Shouldn't the U.S. public have it? Again, doesn't the technology
permit the consolidation of these 1,000 E-mail addresses into a single
'list' address that would allow a post to be sent to all with a single push
of the 'send' button?
Will our 100 senators, 435 representatives, and 1,000 federal judges
read their E-mail? You bet. Remember that even the Supreme Court reads the
election returns. Mail to the powerful gets "screened" but--when it's
important--it gets to the top. Congressional staff members sort through the
daily mail. Law clerks ponder what the boss needs to see. Ann Landers
receives thousands of letters per day but her staff is authorized to weed
out only the chaff, from the crazies, the irrelevant, and so on. The
kernels--the intelligent, well-written messages--are almost invariably read
by the people to whom they're addressed. And they're taken very seriously
The day we have an E-mail address that reaches all 535 members of
Congress, and all of our 1,000 U.S. judges, we'll see the beginning of the
end of Bill Gates' obscene wastes and monopoly profits--and of the rest of
the nation's monopolies.
My question, then, is this: Does the technology in 1997 permit
us--the citizens of America--to reach electronically these l,535 people who
control the nation's antimonopoly policy?
Charles Mueller, Editor
ANTITRUST LAW & ECONOMICS REVIEW