Michael S. Malone addresses the great disaster of our times: Free enterprise capitalism metastasizing into Corporate Enforcer of Correct Speech and Thought and China Ally.
You don’t have to be very old to remember when Silicon Valley represented the shiny technological future.
It was the land of brilliant entrepreneurs starting fast-moving new companies. An enclave of perpetual optimism, where the brightest young people went to change the world — and got very rich in the process. A place that didn’t grow old, but revised itself every decade into something perpetually exciting and new.
But today, to many Americans, Silicon Valley has become the locus of everything wrong with a technological revolution that has grown dark and totalitarian. It is the heartland of cancel culture, it’s giant social networking companies censoring free speech. It uses its wealth to influence elections. And its companies are in bed with some of the worst regimes on the planet. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission are looking at ways to break up the biggest Valley companies. Polls show that a majority of Americans no longer trust Big Tech. And surveys have revealed that a sizable number of Valley workers can’t wait to leave.
What happened? How did it all turn so bad so quickly? …
Freeware may be the most pernicious invention of the last few decades. You don’t buy tech anymore; you rent, you subscribe and, most of all, you get it for free. How can you say no, especially if you’re an adolescent? And all you have to give up is every bit of information about your life so that it can be sold around the world.
You no longer own your own data. That may not seem like a big deal now, but we are rushing towards a world of tight social control. The single most soul-rotting characteristic of modern Silicon Valley is freeware. It has granted companies absolute cultural, financial and political power, the kind that no company before them has ever known. And that power has corrupted these companies absolutely. …
Besides freeware, the other great discovery of the last 20 years has been that if you give consumers a platform and the tools to create their own product, they will happily become your unpaid slaves and not only surrender their personal data but also spend thousands of hours making you rich. And because of that, you don’t have to grab increments of market share from your competitors. Instead, you need to scale to an almost unimaginable population of users/slaves who become so committed that it is almost impossible for them to escape. After that, you can even control their words and actions — an opportunity too great to pass up.
More and more, the gears and axles of the internet’s Social Media wing resemble the rudimentary traps, snitches and executioners of Public Terror.
1. It invites “private,” confidential poses.
2. It violates that privacy to generate insecurity among its confidants.
3. It arbitrarily forces punishments against its invited confidants.
Where this system intersects with our government’s law enforcement regimes, it invites the government to participate in doling out its arbitrary terrors.
The internet is fast becoming a box-canyon for free thinkers. We are lured into it, and its enforcers are posed to topple boulders onto us from the cliffs above.
Time to clean house!
‘Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.’ H.L. Mencken
In a capitalist market system, the government and private enterprise are at odds to some extent. But government has taken over so much power that it now bestows “favors” (like restricting competition) on companies that assist the Party in its control This is really a classic Fascist system where companies are privately owned, but owe their existence to doing the bidding of government. Quid pro Quo. Under the Constitution it’s difficult for government to suppress it’s enemies directly, so it utilizes big business as its “enforcer”. Like your job? Want to keep a job? Just be smart and don’t deviate from the Party Line. It worked pretty well in Nazi Germany and in today’s China.
I do find that it has many of the features of classical fascism, except that the modern Corporate Giants are considerably more empowered. There’s more parity here between the Principles….the Federal Government facilitates the Corporate Giants by creating a facsimile of a free market. And then they proceed with the carve-outs: Favorable legislation; Looking away from International taxation issues, and manufacturing in problematic countries. Allowing conglomerate behaviors that are well past borderlining on monopoly advantage.
In return? The Corporate Giants provide disproportionate control over the public discourse. We Control the Horizontal….We Control the Vertical…. Deciding with authority what isn’t news. Cancelling, public shaming, eliminating your free speech! No Problem. Nothing constitutional to see here, you see. We’re Private! Go build your own.
So in effect, as partners, each does the dirty work that the other is unable to do, legally and/or Constitutionally. Together we are better, Comrade! Forward!
They think that they are too valuable to the masters to be messed with. That is what they thought in Europe after WWI. It just means they learn to ignore the choke chain or they rate new straw in the box cars.
There is always a “bill” to pay.
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