The threat to Net Neutrality is just a symptom, not the disease

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Summary. The economic system isn’t a neutral one, so how can the Internet be? Or does anybody know an example of a multi-billion marketplace like the Internet that is accessible for free? I usually get in contact with some banks, landlords, and the like if I want to open my brick and mortar store somewhere or access any valuable resources. Even in the backmost corner of the forest every square meter is taken. Why should that work differently for online stores as these are turning over real money? Regulation of competition will, at best, only slow down the loss of Net Neutrality a bit.  If we want an economy that’s letting us to neutrally participate rather than compete by financial means, we have to choose, for example, more the co-operative over the corporate legal form (http://ica.coop/en/what-co-operative). It’s not only about a handful of organizations deciding about the Internet though. Today, all economy (and life) is involved in and (partially) reflected by the virtual world too. Therefore, it is a fundamental political decision to take beyond just a specific and temporal protest.

It is important to put the urgent need for protesting against the threat to Net Neutrality into the context of the disease that is causing the symptom. It’s not about specific bad guys, evil organizations, or inadequate regulation only. It’s not about the President, the Network and Telecom companies, nor about Internet content providers; they are just doing their job, which is to generate profit. It’s about the economic system. The Internet is a competitive arena that is following the same principles of profit optimization, like all other markets that are determined by (big) corporations.

When did we the last time find some free land without a landlord protecting it from you freely using it? Why should that be different for the virtual space that has become a real exploitable resource too? When could we transport value across borders without taxes? Why should that be different for valuable data assets in the virtual world? Economic and nationalist interests will create stricter borders in the cyber world. Could one have believed that virtual identities and multi-billion dollar online businesses wouldn’t become the control target of the small monetary elite that is controlling the corporations and global finances overall? Everything is following capital principles as we have chosen this legal economic system. But there is a viable alternative (without having to resort to communism).

If we want a free, neutral association of people (e.g., users, employees, etc.) united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise (like the Internet is envisioned from a Net Neutrality perspective), then we have to stand up for co-operative values, which are following exactly those principles.
The cooperative legal form allows organizations to operate as multi-stakeholder and for-profit operations, and is owned and directed by all its involved member stakeholders (like you and me) rather than by some few unliable shareholders (http://ica.coop/en/what-co-operative).

Even with government regulation attempts it will not be avoidable that the current economic system will find the means to satisfy its needs for profit at the cost of the internet users rather sooner than later. Alternatives in the already vibrating cooperative economy are available and the next elections are coming. We have the choice.

See also article “We need to claim ownership for our virtual identity data.

We need to claim ownership for our virtual identity data

About mathias sager

Thinking and writing for happiness, painting colorfully, and enabling personal growth for all. Fostering co-operative and humanitarian principles, economic and social equality, as well as environmental sustainability. Using broad international experience and progressive, egalitarian and global outlook to promote care for the next generation.
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16 Responses to The threat to Net Neutrality is just a symptom, not the disease

  1. Excellent essay.

    However, even without pointing out the obvious problem being the fact that our entire social system is an economic system and everything is for sale in it, we need to look no further than the Constitution. It is very simple to include our airwaves as a part of the commons that everyone deserves access to regardless of economic status. In other words, we don’t even have to convince people of the inherent evil of Capitalism. We just need people to see that access to information is a basic necessity of life.

    Thanks. I enjoy the enlightening posts on your blog very much.

    • mathias sager says:

      Thanks a lot, Roy, for your nice feedback and valuable further elaboration! Very much appreciated.
      I agree that people in minimum subtly know, while, however, possible root causes and solutions seem to be less obvious to many.
      I know that you are very conscious, so I add the following also for general interest purposes: thanks for the opportunity!:-)
      As you mention access to data as a necessity, access to food is also known to be a primary need. Nevertheless, societies do not consequently organize to enable it, rather increased competition is spiraling up inequality. That’s why I promote cooperation and participation as economic principles, still allowing for fair (!) competition and profitability/viability. Citizens need to own their contributions from a social and economic perspective. For example, Facebook data more logically should be owned by the users who are creating its content (i.e., everyone holding a share and democratic voice). It is mainly people’s activities and data that is of the immense value of the company and not the relatively simple hard- and software. Zuckerberg would still earn a lot from the development of the solution, but citizen’s data should stay with citizens. A co-operative organization could do it! http://ica.coop/

      • It’s interesting that you mentioned Facebook. Did you know they were given a tax break a few years ago of approximately $440,000,000? Yes, $440,000,000. It’s 40% of the 1.1 billion dollars in corporate profit. That shows, in a nut shell, what the problem is. With Capitalism as our societal system we give preference to people according to their economic status. Capitalism is a predatory sysytem (as you hinted at in your essay while using gentler language). It engulfs all else wothout regard to differentiating between need and desire. As a matter of fact, it tends to put desire at a higher level than need. That is sociopathic and must be acknowledged by the masses. Otherwise, billions of living beings will continue to wallow in pain and misery while a select few enjoy the fruits of others’ labor (and suffering).

        Thanks for allowing me to rant. 😀 Sometimes, I can’t help myself. Needless suffering is extremely difficult to accept.

        Peace.

      • mathias sager says:

        That’s useful how you put it: While desires are human and everyone’s desires should be fulfilled as much as possible, it becomes problematic if we legitimate putting desires over needs. That’s true on an individual and collective basis. Potentially definitions of ‘desires’ and ‘needs’ get confused, even intentionally as consumers need to think they NEED to buy that.
        Please “rant” (respectively “care” is what it means to me) here again in such insightful ways!:-)

      • Confusing the meanings of needs and desires is one of the cruel manipulations of the Capitalists in their war on language (and war on truth). They attempt to sow confusion as well as hate, fear and greed to get people to fight against each other instead of banding together to work toward a better society.

      • mathias sager says:

        Absolutely. Such and other distractions and addictive substances are supporting the manipulations. Because focused, self-reliable, and sober people would never accept destructive manipulative strategies the like of the old declining Roman Empire:-).

  2. Insightful post Makes one wonder if the concept of net neutrality is too idealistic to persist in the real and virtual world.

    • “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

      • mathias sager says:

        That is such an important statement! Often the lack of courage comes from our education to adapt rather than to be allowed to be unreasonable. That’s why I always also turn to art as a way of thinking and expressing.

      • Actually, it was directed at the comment left that it seems net neutrality might be too idealistic in modern society. 😀 Glad you like it. It’s one of my favorite quotes. It’s from George Bernard Shaw.

  3. This is a topic that must be looked at and has so many facets. As noted above the US Constitution is the first place we must start in looking at the issue.

    • mathias sager says:

      And the US play a crucial role globally here especially again.

      • Yes. We live in interesting times. There is so much occurring. It must be interesting to watch from across the pond?

      • mathias sager says:

        You are right. And what helps me a lot to see things differently (and hopefully clearly) is the loss of fixed perspective thanks to an increasingly independent identity in an entirely distinct environment. So it is not that important for me anymore from across what pond I’m watching. I know a bit how to maneuver Eastern and Western cultures, which is helping to try seeing things as they are value-neutrally. I think you might experience a similar effect from leaving your comfort zone and traveling around? Therefore, the US development too indeed is fascinating for me from a global perspective.

      • We’re sure it must give you perspective knowing and having lived now on both sides of the pond. I know traveling for a month in Ireland and now our travels through the USA has opened our eyes significantly. We think anytime we get out and about beyond our zip codes we begin to see more clearly. I know we review lots of news around the country because we often hear a better perspective about what’s happening here from over there. Keep us posted and be safe.

      • mathias sager says:

        Absolutely. An excellent illustration of your journey across zip codes! I think walking in other’s shoes and putting oneself in others places also increases gratefulness and empathy, both important factors to not accept inequality and fight for sustainable net neutrality:-). Take care too and till soon again!

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