Leaving the App Economy Alone
If you have a smartphone, how many apps do you have on it? Being a tech junky I have over 70 on my iPhone--including 7 different Twitter apps! Each of those apps required people to design, code, and market them. (What, you thought Angry Birds magically appeared?) Those jobs didn't exist a few years ago, and their numbers are substantial. Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist of the Progressive Policy Institute, concluded in a study that the App Economy has created almost 500,000 jobs since 2007.
One lesson he took from his research was not to burden this growing niche economy with regulations:
The key elements in the App Economy "team"--Apple's development of the iPhone, Google's development of Android, the buildout of wireless networks by AT&T, Verizon and other providers--were not the object of heavy government regulation. Government did have a role in unlocking and distributing spectrum and otherwise clearing the underbrush. But no government agency was in charge of supervising the burgeoning App Economy. Is more regulation needed? Given that App Economy companies are creating jobs and investing in the United States economy during a period of economic weakness, there's an argument for not messing with success. Government agencies should restrict themselves to 'light-touch' regulation of the App Economy unless there's real problems in the market.
If only regulators treated the rest of the economy like this. Originally posted on FreeEnterprise.com