A free market for news would work about as well as a free market for kidneys. So it’s pretty seriously unhelpful to reach for the invisible hand to solve the news business’s problems, as this FT editorial does.
Of all the defects news possesses, here’s but a short, partial list:
- News is very much an experience good, hobbled by deep information asymmetries.
- News is very much a public good, which means it’s non-excludable and non-rivaled
- News is very much a substitute good.
Goods with characteristics like these are prone to market failures of all kinds. So the FT should probably feel free to exercise a bit more creativity.
A twig in the eye for sure.