John Stossel on New Technologies Bypassing Old Gatekeepers


"The Trial"

For years, people assumed encyclopedias had to be created by professionals. Then Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales attempted to create an encyclopedia without central planners. That sounded like a terrible idea to the old gatekeepers. One Encyclopedia Britannica editor sneered, "The user who visits Wikipedia is a visitor to a public restroom." Today research shows that Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica. Wikipedia is now the sixth most visited website, while the hardcover Encyclopedia Britannica no longer exists. Many of today's most popular websites—Google, Indiegogo, Facebook—thrive because they gave more control to users than to the founders. They also help users get things done without relying on gatekeepers at publishing houses, mainstream media or colleges. Defenders of government and central planning often say that there are some things we just can't leave to individuals, writes John Stossel, things that require government central planning, such as road building. But often that's not true either.