Commercialization is not democracy

Subject: Commercialization is not democracy
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 1995 07:51:00 PST

Someone wrote (on the commercialization of the net):

>It's just that in the early days the money was taken from us without our
>having a choice in the matter (it's called taxes) then later it came buried in
>the costs of goods and services we purchased. The debate now is simply over
>whether it will continue to be that way, or move to being user-supported in
>manner. My guess is that the latter is inevitable, so we'd better be ready to
>accept the democratization (small d) of the Internet Community.

On commercialization:

(1) It's *NOT* inevitable
(2) It's *NOT* democratic

The market allocates resources only to those with money. Democracy (rule of
the people) allows everyone to participate, regardless of the size of their

As people who make a living communicating technical information, one of the
things we should realize is that commercialization inevitably leads to the
kind of censorship by sponsor that we see on broadcast channels now. This
content censorship is every bit as rigorous as the old Soviet Union.

If we want the freedom to communicate about things that wealthy people might
not like--and if we want to bring *everyone* into the discussion, not just
people who can afford high power machines--then we have to resist
commercialization of the net. Otherwise net access will be turned into a
commodity like cable TV and the price will only be made affordable to the
masses when someone can figure out how to make sure that they have to swim
in a sea of dreck to use it.
John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

The Bill of Rights--The Original Contract with America
Accept no substitutes. Beware of imitations. Insist on the genuine articles.

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