x
schencka
Corporations
...have a vested interest against technologies that would make your life easier. The current debate in Congress about net neutrality is a perfect example. The internet is the definitive level playing ground, John Roberts' "just callin' the balls and strikes" dream, where Microsoft's search engine can get its ass handed to it by a used-to-be upstart like Google.

But the MSNBCs and other mainstream media outlets want to change all that -- they want to use Congress's authority to abolish net neutrality, so that their websites will have a distinct advantage against an upstart. The advantage would be preferential treatment in terms of internet speed. Imagine a just-started website that uses a lot of streamed video using a 28.8 modem while a corporate-backed site, which actually sucks, has a T1 in its control. Obviously, the latter would succeed, despite its product being inferior. Corporations want to recreate the internet as an unequal playing field, so that they can extract consumers' money from this cash cow that is the internet, without having to do the hard work of "creativity."

The wild card in this is Big Porn, the guys who make a brick-ton of money off the privacy that individual internet connections allow. As my amigo Jeremy G. pointed out, the current debate is centering around "free speech," which doesn't play well with the demos, who don't think "anybody can say anything" is a good idea -- makes them think of Nazis and child pornographers. Obviously, Big Porn would want to have the speedy connections given to them by the "little Bells" (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc. -- the ones working to end net neutrality), especially since they have the cash on hand to pay for it. So that's part of the issue.

Of course, I want the internet to continue to be a democratizing force for our Western civilization, much like the Gutenberg press was. A few people don't want this, because although they don't hate freedom, they prefer their own profits over the First Amendment. Anyway, check out http://www.savetheinternet.com/ for more on this issue, and pray that you don't have a Senator like Jon Kyl that hates you, and voted to make it harder for US citizens to get loans to go to college.

Imaginative sidebar

Imagine a world where the technology that runs your music and stereo, video games, DVD, TV, internet and computer, and phone work synergistically, that is, together. You pick out a TV show you want to watch like you upload a song you want to hear, and you upload a whole movie that way, too, and it all runs through high-speed information wires. Imagine the ease of media and the consumer control this would allow. In fact, this is the obvious trend: dee-jays burning their own discs to make specific ones instead of clicking around different discs to find the song they want, me DVR recording the shows I want to see but aren't at home for. I could come up with more hypotheticals, but the important point is that this type of infrastructure would be awesome for you and me, and the technology is there, yet corporations and Congress are standing in the way simply because they haven't figured out a way to extract the maximum amount of money from you with a system like this. In the absence of that, they're forcing outdated technologies on you. There's no reason for the music industry to continue selling music on a CD-only model other than the fact that they can't make as much money off of MP3s.

Which reminds me of another thing. My generation and those younger than me are getting totally f'ed over by current politicians, who are passing on to us an unimaginably gargantuan national debt/deficit without a working infrastructure to inherit. It's like what happened in New Orleans, but everywhere! In the future, we'll need dirty, boring stuff like working sewers, electric systems, natural gas, tap water stations, roads, and on and on. And the current corporations are actually working against making that infrastructure better, because that would cut into profits -- a good example is how gasoline companies shut down US refineries and steeply dropped intra-US gasoline capacity so they could artificially lower supply while, surprise, demand went up significantly. Ding ding! Yes, Mr. Exxon-Mobil, I would like to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas!

Need it be said that monopolies are really bad for countries in the long term, which is why in the past government has intervened in the interest of the people, and good for "legacy" families, where one ancestor has created a brood of spoiled children, with the money to be in power but profoundly lacking the understanding that power requires.

That's why there's the estate tax, so that our country can actually be a meritocracy instead of a plutocracy. And, no surprise, we know there's a debate about this today.

To conclude, I want to point out two ways of being pessimistic today. There's people killing one another needlessly, which is just total and utter ignorance, and there's our leadership failing to act in our best interests, which is not necessarily as bad, but is still really bad. Philosophical and specific veiwpoints.
No profanes - sacred
 
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