You Say You Want a Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics

Reed E. Hundt, Author Yale University Press $40 (264p) ISBN 978-0-300-08364-4
The Wall Street Journal branded him a ""French bureaucrat,"" and cable television magnate John Malone famously quipped that he should be shot. But it was all in a day's work for former FCC chairman Hundt, who served as chief regulator and de facto architect of the New Economy from 1993 to 1997. In this insightful and good-natured memoir of his experiences at the helm of the ""deep-inside-the-Beltway"" regulatory agency, Hundt recounts the savage battles he waged to help introduce competition and technological change into America's communications markets, all the while shielding consumers from profit-hungry cable and telephone lobbies. The former lawyer was propelled to center stage with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which empowered the FCC to interpret the thousands of regulatory decisions required by the law. As vulturelike lobbyists swooped down to win concessions on everything from digital television to long-distance rates, Hundt kept to a high-minded mission to connect the Internet to every classroom in America and called for more public programming on broadcast media. While his consistent poise amid roiling market forces is commendable, Hundt's narrative occasionally gets waylaid when justifying a certain policy decision or waxing piously about Al Gore. Such digressions, however, are compensated for by a welcome sense of humor, evident in one anecdote about a trip to discuss communications policy in Ireland: after Hundt laid out his master plan for a globally networked society, one member of the Irish contingent shot back, ""Can you pour Guinness by e-mail? Then there will always be an Ireland!"" (May)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-300-18193-7
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