The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada

By Leslie A. Pal; R. Kent Weaver | Go to book overview

4
TELECOMMUNICATIONS
DEREGULATION

RICHARD J. SCHULTZ AND ANDREW RICH

LOSS, EVEN PAIN, IS TOO ANTISEPTIC A WORD TO DESCRIBE THE trauma-inducing changes that public authorities have imposed on incumbent telecommunications firms in North America over the past three decades. In the United States, where the restructuring process began, AT&T, then the largest corporation in the world, fought vigorously, but to no avail, as public authorities in incremental stages chipped and stripped away the protective domains of whole sections of its monopoly operations. The process culminated in AT&T “consenting” to the corporate amputation of its local operating companies in 1982, the most consequential American antitrust settlement since the settlements involving American Tobacco and Standard Oil in 1911. In Canada, although a similar restructuring process began a decade later, it progressed much more quickly. What had taken three decades in the United States was completed in almost half that time— although Bell Canada, then Canada’s largest corporation, was spared the pain of state-imposed amputation or divestiture.1 In both cases, not only did the most fundamental preferences of these two corporate entities carry very little weight in the restructuring process, but the outcomes imposed an onerous set of costs— economic, organizational, and indeed psychic—on the two firms.2

Many reasons account for the restructuring of telecommunications from monopoly to competitive provisioning of services and equipment in both the United States and Canada. A full explanation must acknowledge the role of technological changes, ideological reformulation, and economic entrepreneurialism, not to

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The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Governance and Public Policy Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • List of Tables and Figures xi
  • 1 - The Politics of Pain 1
  • 2 - Cutting Old-Age Pensions 41
  • 3 - Controlling Health Care Costs for the Aged 71
  • 4 - Telecommunications Deregulation 107
  • 5 - Tobacco Control 137
  • 6 - Closing Military Bases 167
  • 7 - Siting Nuclear Waste 195
  • 8 - Gun Control 233
  • 9 - Abortion 263
  • 10 - Conclusions 293
  • Contributors 329
  • Index 333
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