Is the net a necessity of life? Really??? [cr-95/9/22]


Sender: •••@••.••• (Glen Raphael)

My fellow SMUG member Clint Craft (•••@••.•••) writes:
>perceived value of unfettered competition is the lowest possible price
>point for the "consumer."

Yes. And also the highest possible level of service. The cheaper and
better access gets, the easier it will be for the people who need it to get
it. In a competitive market the needy won't even have to convince some
bureaucrat that they need or deserve this service and the government won't have
to pay people to decide that or keep track of it. [Note: Although I
disagree with Clint on whether capitalism encourages or discourages
pollution, wasteful use of resources, and concentration of wealth, these
issues are not currently relevant to cyber-rights so we won't discuss them

>willing to accept Glen's call for an unfettered marketplace on one end of
>the spectrum.

I appreciate that, but I still question the following:

>In exchange, I think the US goverment should underwrite loans
>to enable every public library and every public school to have low cost
>access to the internet(and ditto the UN on a world scale).

As a firm advocate of decentralisation, I think the decision of whether a
local library (whether it be public or private, and yes there do exist
privately funded local community libraries) spends the funding it receives
on providing access to the internet or just buying more books, should be
left up to that library and its patrons and not the federal government.
Truth to tell, it's still a lot easier to get useful information out of a
local library full of books than Off The Net. The signal to noise ratio of
a real library is MUCH higher.

Surfing the net is a fun recreational activity, but hardly a necessity at
this point. People who don't have even a $100 computer and $9.95 a month to
spare on an AOL subscription are probably better off without the net, just
as they are better off not taking up skiing or polo.

Maybe ten years from now the net will become a necessity of life, but it's
certainly not there yet. You mention the UN; do you REALLY think that
people in Bangladesh need subsidized net access? And is this the FIRST
thing they need? Personally, I wouldn't put it in the top 50.

[I'm expecting many people to flame this last part. But before you flame,
try to make an estimate of how many hours you spent on the net in the past
year. Scary, isn't it? You probably could have written a book in that time.
You could have had a second career, or spent more time with your family and
friends, taken up a sport, art or hobby, or just been a lot more productive
at work and gotten a raise or a better job. Am I right?]

Glen Raphael, •••@••.•••
President, Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User's Group
<A HREF="">Home Page</A><BR>

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

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