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Author Topic: These FIVE men control your freedom  (Read 4210 times)

Pat

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #75 on: January 16, 2021, 01:32:09 PM »
Whether the paper is correct or whether the claimed reasons for taking action against Standard Oil didn’t exist at the time are both irrelevant to whether a valid, actionable scenario exists now to be addressed

A big part of why the other side makes hard gains in the culture war is they take action, as opposed to using the present circumstances as an opportunity to debate the minutia of theory for theory acceptance.  They eat a meal when food is available, instead of debating the platonic meal, or the best restaurant to eat their next meal at.  Think tanks are where those who wish to debate what action should look like are willingly diverted from any possibility of acting.
Theories address what type of action should be taken, and should inform practical actions. Plus, this is a board for discussing pork-free games, not a form of action.

But while I don't agree that stopping all debate is useful, I do agree there is a passive and active side in the culture war. But a lot of the reason why one side is winning is because they've spend decades theorizing, and having their theories widely taught and disseminated. Successful action is a result of that, not the other way around.

EOTB

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #76 on: January 16, 2021, 02:06:26 PM »
“What’s to be done about homelessness?”

“What do we do about social media?”

If you’re able to recognize that they theorized for decades in conjunction with creeping, iterative action, but without recognizing that among their actions is to alter the environment that allowed their theorizing, so that it isn’t replicated, then you will be allowed to debate whether the charges against standard oil were historically valid, while inefficiently mining coal by pickax until your body breaks down
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Kyle Aaron

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #77 on: January 16, 2021, 08:54:41 PM »
Too bad you don't understand the concept of a private company. Your spinner cap is interferring with your two neurons.
There are across the Western world many restrictions (it varies hugely by jurisdiction, but most have some restrictions) on businesses and whether they can reject custom from particular individuals based on their characteristics, behaviour or beliefs. It's not completely arbitrary, still less total freedom for a business. I know because I run one.

Different rules typically apply to nonprofits. You cannot have an Albanian restaurant who refuses to serve non-Albanians, but you can have an Albanian Social Club which refuses membership to non-Albanians.

So much for the law. Considering only principles, in principle I am generally in favour of private businesses being able to reject whoever they want, and we can let the free market sort it out. In practice, this doesn't work well when there's a colluding oligopoly. It's one thing for me as a Jewish person to be rejected from Woop Woop West's local hotel/motel, it's another thing if there are only 5 chains of hotel/motels in the country making up 90% of all places and all 5 within 24 hours suddenly decide to reject Jews.

So this is the issue, really: a failure of the free market.
Twitter: "You're banned. Go elsewhere."
Facebook: "Go elsewhere."
Parler: "You can come to us!"
Google: "Not to Parler, you can't."

If just a few companies control most of the supply of the good or service, and those companies collude in discrimination, then it's a failure of the free market. So it's time for anti-trust action.

Uganda closed down Facebook for their current election, by the way, and the Solomon Islands almost did. Small countries seem to have more courage than medium or large-sized ones.
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Melan

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #78 on: January 17, 2021, 04:52:15 AM »
Uganda is a country of 40 million people, which is hardly small, but the point stands. Whatever the theoretical underpinnings, this is a burning practical issue that used to be negligible while tech firms were neutral, but now concerns national sovereignty and the fairness of elections because
  • these technological firms have captured much of the Internet under their umbrella, becoming immensely powerful in previously unexpected ways;
  • they have started policing speech on their platforms, and done so in a blatantly ideological fashion;
  • there is a growing, shall we say impression, in politics that they may not be market actors at all, but the extended arms of secret foreign policy.
This will make even US-friendly (and specifically DEM-friendly) governments nervous, because sovereignty, and how much a country is ceding of it to outside organisations like the EU, is no childrens' game. It is very carefully guarded, scrutinised and negotiated. A foreign company trying to bend, or even tip elections is a hostile tresspasser even in "friendly" territory, and not any better than US gunships appearing before your ports before Election Day. This will not be taken lightly, especially when these companies have just done so in a brutal and entirely unprecedented manner in their home country. Not even France and Germany are amused, and they are supposedly on the globalists' side.

Friendly governments will thus now seek alternatives to the tech giants, and try to regulate them, probably through their EU cronies. Less friendly ones (like ours, which has previously been the subject of what seemed to be an attempt at fomenting a "colour revolution" under the Obama State Department, and has therefore aligned firmy with a much friendlier Trump cabinet) will prepare scenarios where they might shut down social media on a national level if they try to pull something. Poland is preparing legistlation proposing draconian fines for social media companies which try to engage in political censorship - and Poland is the most US-friendly country in Europe!

But on this issue, Hungary, Poland, Germany and France are firm allies despite any lingering political differences. After all, previously neutral platforms have become absolutely political. It is no longer about cute pictures or photo ops (which politicians were happy to participate in for PR), but merciless globalist control, and a potential venue for what the scary people call "democratic regime change". This is not something "private companies" are allowed to do. And if someone's response is "they can't just ban Facebook" and "muh free markets", they will be very surprised to learn what jealous governments protecting their own power are willing to do.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 04:55:56 AM by Melan »
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EOTB

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #79 on: January 17, 2021, 04:48:07 PM »
Great post, Melan

In other news, now the pressure campaign has moved to the telecommunications utilities (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), with journalists  astroturfing up a campaign to get Newsmax and OANN banned from their infrastructure.
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Pat

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #80 on: January 17, 2021, 05:24:15 PM »
So this is the issue, really: a failure of the free market.
I agree with nearly everything you said, except for this. It's not a failure of the free market. The US is a heavily interventionist state with a bureaucracy with broad discretionary powers, and a legislature with even broader powers. Even without explicit collusion they collude, because the companies know they have to be on the good side of the bureaucrats, and they spend heavily on political campaigns to get the legislators to write laws that favor them. The most telling evidence is the money. 9 out of 10 of the most expensive Senate races of all time occurred in 2020 (the exception is from 2018). When the amount of money spent on politics goes up, it's not typically because companies suddenly developed a social a conscience. It's because they think the return on their investment has increased.

This invariably favors the large, established companies. Amazon and Google boom, while mom and pop stores wither under the weight of regulation, taxes, or other disadvantages. In particular, it makes it very unlikely that new competitors will arise and displace the existing giants. This is what creates monopolies, not the free market. The government, with an endless string or obscure maneuvers or vaguely justifiable laws or decisions, makes it easy for the established companies, and hard for anyone who wants to compete with them. Even the sheer volume of these regulations favors the big companies, because an army of accounts and lawyers to help with compliance is a smaller portion of their budget than it is for a 10 person startup. When you make the government not just a regulator, but a major client, and an enforced partner in various initiatives, like the massive spying on American citizens that was exposed by Snowdon and Wikileaks, this link is augmented.

The giants in turn gain inordinate sway, and remove options. If they collectively decide to discriminate against Jews, then there's no recourse. Anyone wanting to start a Jewish social media platform, for instance, will be locked out. It's the variety of the market and the ease of entry that provides alternatives when there's discrimination. Because if there are a 100 companies, then at least one of them is probably willing to work with you, even if only by the backdoor (the increasing lack of privacy in anything is another negative factor that hurts the little companies). This is true now for political suppression, and was true in the past for things like black entrepreneurs, even during the height of Jim Crow.

The fault isn't in the free market, it's in the statism and bureaucracy.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 05:33:44 PM by Pat »

jhkim

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #81 on: January 17, 2021, 05:57:57 PM »
But on this issue, Hungary, Poland, Germany and France are firm allies despite any lingering political differences. After all, previously neutral platforms have become absolutely political. It is no longer about cute pictures or photo ops (which politicians were happy to participate in for PR), but merciless globalist control, and a potential venue for what the scary people call "democratic regime change". This is not something "private companies" are allowed to do. And if someone's response is "they can't just ban Facebook" and "muh free markets", they will be very surprised to learn what jealous governments protecting their own power are willing to do.

I'm not surprised that jealous governments would block private companies like Facebook. China, Iran, and some other governments have been doing that for a while.

But it seems you're implying that private companies *shouldn't* be allowed to express political or ideological views. But that's never been how democracy works. Throughout American history, rich individuals and big companies like the Hearst Corporation, Carnegie-Mellon, Standard Oil, Dupont, and tons of others have always had a lot of influence on politics. If they *seemed* neutral, that was just a way to play both sides.


Because if there are a 100 companies, then at least one of them is probably willing to work with you, even if only by the backdoor (the increasing lack of privacy in anything is another negative factor that hurts the little companies). This is true now for political suppression, and was true in the past for things like black entrepreneurs, even during the height of Jim Crow.

The fault isn't in the free market, it's in the statism and bureaucracy.

Eh. I agree that some regulations favor larger corporations, there are also free market factors that favor large corporations - like various economies of scale. Just removing regulation can also favor large corporations - as we can see a number of large corporations fight against a number of regulations. In general, I'd prefer streamlined and clear regulation rather than complex regulation. But anti-trust law is also crucial.

Billionaires and giant corporations have an outsized voice because of their money, but money isn't everything. If people organize, then they can vote in representatives and laws that restrict the conditions that allowed these billionaires and giant corporations to come about. I would favor breaking up some of the larger tech companies like Facebook, and reforming Section 230.

Pat

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #82 on: January 17, 2021, 06:33:11 PM »
Eh. I agree that some regulations favor larger corporations, there are also free market factors that favor large corporations - like various economies of scale. Just removing regulation can also favor large corporations - as we can see a number of large corporations fight against a number of regulations. In general, I'd prefer streamlined and clear regulation rather than complex regulation. But anti-trust law is also crucial.

Billionaires and giant corporations have an outsized voice because of their money, but money isn't everything. If people organize, then they can vote in representatives and laws that restrict the conditions that allowed these billionaires and giant corporations to come about. I would favor breaking up some of the larger tech companies like Facebook, and reforming Section 230.
You're positing an equality that doesn't exist. Sure, there are a few regulations that favor small companies over large ones. But the bulk favor large companies. It's absurdly one-sided. The fights against regulations that get any attention at all are the tiniest tip of a grand iceberg of decisions and regulations and laws that have been passed that favor large companies and established players. That's how regulatory capture works -- companies in an industry have a strong, sustained interest in the regulation of their industry, meaning they work constantly over long time scales to swing things in their favor, and have great expertise. In contrast, public attention tends to be short lived and superficial, resulting in big sudden changes, but being overwhelmed by the innumerable small changes that favor the established corporations. Bureaucrats rarely check this, because they have no skin the game, and the industries fete them with aid vacations, plum jobs once they retire from public disservice, and all kinds of other benefits that, even barring an explicit tit-for-tat trade of favors, leads to a long term and subtle favoritism.

Economies of scale exist, but they're overrated. There are advantages to a certain size in certain industries, but typically at a finite size significantly smaller than the size of the industry, getting larger starts to provide relatively little advantage, while coming with serious disadvantages, like a lack of nimbleness.

Breaking up some of the big companies may be necessary, but that's because the government failed not the free market. A better, broader, and longer term solution is to restrict government discretionary power. This doesn't necessarily mean weakening regulations -- it's not strong regulations that create the problem, it's regulations that allow technocrats, judges, and other players a wide degree of discretion; and the continual fine-tuning by regulators and legislators who have incentives to favor the industry, like donations or private sector jobs.

oggsmash

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #83 on: January 17, 2021, 06:45:58 PM »
As I get older, I look back and I see some things that influenced me and others and ideas and so forth that had net positive or negative effects on people and their lives.  The only people social media has affected positively are the people who own it/work at the high end for it, or who have managed to find a niche selling things through it.   It is a cancer to society and one of the active ingredients in what will be a fall of the empire.   At this point though, it might as well be a comet we just spotted about to collide with the planet.  It will be what it will be.

I don't know about the fall of an empire -- but I agree that social media is destructive. It's making everyone into media junkies, constantly hyped up on outrage at the latest terrible thing, especially that the other side has done. Everyone is now convinced that the world is always getting worse, usually in contradictory ways ("Marxism will destroy the world!" "No, global warming will destroy the world!"). While many things have gotten better - like crime and homelessness -- depression, overdoses, and suicide have gone up.

Television turned people into pacified zombies and couch potatoes, but social media turns them into active participants in their own destruction.
Alone it wont be responsible, but it will be the catalyst.  Even a glance at history and empires (and the USA is an empire) and how they erode and fall, we are headed that route.  It usually takes a long while, but I think tech speeds everything along rather nicely.  20 years MAX.

oggsmash

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #84 on: January 17, 2021, 06:47:37 PM »
But on this issue, Hungary, Poland, Germany and France are firm allies despite any lingering political differences. After all, previously neutral platforms have become absolutely political. It is no longer about cute pictures or photo ops (which politicians were happy to participate in for PR), but merciless globalist control, and a potential venue for what the scary people call "democratic regime change". This is not something "private companies" are allowed to do. And if someone's response is "they can't just ban Facebook" and "muh free markets", they will be very surprised to learn what jealous governments protecting their own power are willing to do.

I'm not surprised that jealous governments would block private companies like Facebook. China, Iran, and some other governments have been doing that for a while.

But it seems you're implying that private companies *shouldn't* be allowed to express political or ideological views. But that's never been how democracy works. Throughout American history, rich individuals and big companies like the Hearst Corporation, Carnegie-Mellon, Standard Oil, Dupont, and tons of others have always had a lot of influence on politics. If they *seemed* neutral, that was just a way to play both sides.


Because if there are a 100 companies, then at least one of them is probably willing to work with you, even if only by the backdoor (the increasing lack of privacy in anything is another negative factor that hurts the little companies). This is true now for political suppression, and was true in the past for things like black entrepreneurs, even during the height of Jim Crow.

The fault isn't in the free market, it's in the statism and bureaucracy.

Eh. I agree that some regulations favor larger corporations, there are also free market factors that favor large corporations - like various economies of scale. Just removing regulation can also favor large corporations - as we can see a number of large corporations fight against a number of regulations. In general, I'd prefer streamlined and clear regulation rather than complex regulation. But anti-trust law is also crucial.

Billionaires and giant corporations have an outsized voice because of their money, but money isn't everything. If people organize, then they can vote in representatives and laws that restrict the conditions that allowed these billionaires and giant corporations to come about. I would favor breaking up some of the larger tech companies like Facebook, and reforming Section 230.
 

  ALL regulations favor large corporations.  They write the regs through lobbyists, and almost all of them are net competition crushers. 

DocJones

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #85 on: January 17, 2021, 07:42:40 PM »
Epik.com is a domain registration service and provides SSL certs. 
They won't cancel you if you're not "woke".
Linode.com offers cheaper, better and more flexible hosting than Epik.
I haven't come across anyone who has been "canceled" that hosted on Linode.
They seem refreshingly apolitical.

moonsweeper

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #86 on: January 17, 2021, 09:06:29 PM »
Hell, we haven't seen anything yet...

Nobody has actually 'owned' a Windows OS since I can't even remember which version...

What happens when Microsoft decides your political viewpoint 'violates' their terms of service?

Some of us are old enough to remember Spyglass and Netscape Navigator...No matter how much PR he's done in the last 15-20 years, Gates is still one of the most garbage human beings on the planet.
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Pat

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #87 on: January 17, 2021, 09:29:37 PM »
What happens when Microsoft decides your political viewpoint 'violates' their terms of service?
You thank Linus Torvalds, and move on.

consolcwby

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #88 on: January 17, 2021, 10:07:09 PM »
What happens when Microsoft decides your political viewpoint 'violates' their terms of service?
You thank Linus Torvalds, and move on.
Oh, so Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google Cloud services play no part in datacenters...
TRY AGAIN!
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Pat

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Re: These FIVE men control your freedom
« Reply #89 on: January 17, 2021, 10:18:37 PM »
What happens when Microsoft decides your political viewpoint 'violates' their terms of service?
You thank Linus Torvalds, and move on.
Oh, so Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google Cloud services play no part in datacenters...
Buy your own server. They're not that expensive, and they're an important part of a backup plan.