Re: Next-gen to the rescue
..and I am not only the generation that created it, I worked in roles that helped set it up since 1969 through 1999! But I am here as an economist, and at this moment an economic historian/sociologist. Not a very good one, perhaps. But then who can call themselves a good system analyst or system engineer these days? Keep that question for another day.
This issue here is philosophical at an 'in your face level', so don't switch off on me. First examine your own... Why do human beings work together, live together and cooperate? Is it because it:
a) enables the strong guys amongst us to create a set of rules that say " We own everything but, if you give us a bit of every shred of value that you can create from it, we'll let you work with it. In return for that access, while you create that value, we'll give you access to the stuff you need to live on from the bits of value that we took from other guys before you. And while your doing that, we'll get you to want more than you need and get others to make it, on the same deal. You can have that stuff too if you agree to let us have a bigger slice out of the value you are creating with the stuff I have given you access to work on, and some more too, of the value you are making, to replace the value you took.
or, b). enables us to more effectively and efficiently add value, to the basic stuff that is in the world, so that it is turned into the things that make life possible, safer, more comfortable, more pleasant and more fulfilling by getting what we each need and a lot of what we want, individually, but also enables to build up, and maintain enduring , durable and resilient shared assets and service delivery infrastructures which we share and that make all of our lives better so that we are less and less enslaved to the making of value and more of our own efforts can go into using and consuming the value we produce in the 'spare' time we have created for ourselves?
If is a) stop reading here. I pray that you and your kind become infertile, are denied any child rearing access opportunities and join the dinosaurs.
If b) then consider how in a 'free market' utopia goods with high demand because they are needed, as distinct from 'wanted', get produced in great quantity, and command a premium price, until demand is met. But for them, enough is enough. More production doesn't create more demand.. even if the price drops. So the price does drop, as suppliers compete for sales. Until production no longer produces any excess value to be extracted from the people working at it by the people renting out the access to the stuff to those that are producing it, The value portion that the 'owners' were taking for their own benefit from the producer's created value has been sacrificed in the price war to keep access to the 'inelastic' market demand, Sorry for the technical term. So now the 'owners' all want to sell up and own some stuff and have people create value where their product's demand is much more than the supply and which is potentially permanently elastic... in the area of products and services which fulfill insatiable 'wants' rather than utilitarian 'needs'. But we guys still need our milk, toast and tea to get going very day.. Whatever the 'owners' of the stuff that makes it want.
We. the society, now have two choices... do without the basic products and services of life (generalising here... to save time) or make production of basic 'need' goods a 'public enterprise' with no market driven profit opportunity but totally assured stable product demand.. job for life for those making them. And 'profit for jam' for those still owning the stuff need to produce them with, if it is a 'public-private' partnership or simply subsidised by taking value, by taxation, from the 'wants production' economy (through corporation tax) or from other not so exploited producer's work value (through income tax). This enables the 'owners' to own more stuff as well as live nicely off the income they themselves are not earning, all the while applying some subsidy to expanding the amount of stuff they own. This creates competition, with other 'owners' in the same game, for owning access to the planet's resources whose 'values' then increase. This increases the 'ground rent' component that determines the subsidy that the owner's take from the previously mentioned non-needs producers or from less impoverished producers working at making value from the stuff that is all owned.
This creates a public pressure, upon agents of governance (politicians), in societies where people are free to express their dissatisfactions, for 'something to be done' that both assures continued flow of the products or services that they 'need' in their lives and does so at minimum cost to those consuming them. If the use of the 'goods' involves access to a physically shared 'property' ('stuff') then the 'cheapest' societal option is to take the 'property stuff' needed by production out of the market and pay the producers for producing from revenue, at a 'value share' level that attracts the people needed to produce the product needed by society. In the end this means administered 'total-cost-recovery' pricing which is eternally sustainable and accept the managerial and strategic planning it involves. (Why not? does it matter that 'owners' aren't doing it, when it is done by people whose actual job .. and future employability depends upon it.. through external certification.). Or else, take all subsidy costs from other 'owners' rather than from 'producers'.
The 'cheapest' solution for 'owners' is to carry on with producer-sourced subsidies and escalating property prices to constantly escalate ground rents and the subsidies. The secure asset base created in this area then lets the 'owners' to borrow on this growing 'store of value' so that they can still invest in owning stuff that is needed by producers of those 'wanted' goods where excess demand can be manipulated and as extractable value as can be generated can be extracted from produced value,
So what of social media and the internet communication network it rides upon?
The internet network infrastructure has already gone far down the same evolutionary route as road, rail, electric, gas, radio, TV, cellular and garbage collection. Governments now subsidise or own the production of these needed goods which require shared access to their delivery systems. And thy control them.
The style of communication services (mixed one-to-many, many-to-one and many-to-many) created by the social media products fulfil a basis human need to communicate, in a style with which is totally analogous to that which occurs face-to-face (hence face-book for instance). It is a 'needed product. If total inter-operability between providers were introduced, just as it was for rail operators in late 19thC-early 20thC UK and elsewhere, it would facilitate the competition that would drive-down its 'basic-service' delivered price to the user close to its actual cost of production and the cost of advertising down to its cost of delivery. The opportunity for restricting supply ('face' space and market access) would be eliminated and its value (by effectively limiting data-scope to more local operational domains) would also be reduced. Production of social media would then follow the same economic evolution as all other 'social utilities' until they too will be the object of various subsidisation schemes. And the data they hold about us being of less value will also be less and more easily monitored, and policed, for local GDPR compliance.
This would benefit advertisers serving their products into more local markets. Markets that are a better fit to the data available to each of the 'social media' product providers. It would benefit 'work-value retention' within regional areas and countries and reduce the demand for importation of 'want-manipulated' foreign products and brands and people will still be able to chat and communicate with everyone else in the world.... freely.
So.. Step One can be taken by we the creators of this Gorgon. Simply require that
1). all social media traffic entering a country be delivered and transmitted by locally registered companies and people who are locally tax-domiciled and permanently resident...
2). all social media traffic and content meets a single, universal standard of complete interoperability
The economics beloved of those that benefit from it will do the rest for us. Meanwhile we can get on with the job of democratising production through localised markets and localised value attribution... as the globalisation scourge begins to realise that it has seen its nemesis.