Why Hasn’t The Internet Made Everyone Rich?


by Zoë Pollock

Jaron Lanier tackles the question:

I'm astonished at how readily a great many people I know, young people, have accepted a reduced economic prospect and limited freedoms in any substantial sense, and basically traded them for being able to screw around online. There are just a lot of people who feel that being able to get their video or their tweet seen by somebody once in a while gets them enough ego gratification that it's okay with them to still be living with their parents in their 30s.

Evgeny Morozov and Paul Ford touched on similar ideas earlier this summer. Matt Zoller-Seitz focuses on Lanier's idea of the "local-global flip":

This term refers to what happens when a company — Wal-Mart, Google and Apple are his three main examples — conquer certain sectors of the economy quickly and completely, and their dominance over that sector is so complete that it creates a stranglehold over that part of the market, effectively destroys the so-called "Mom-and-Pop" vendors that used to coexist with it… [T]he way that the successful company's system is set up — with a "My way or the highway" mentality — can turn vendors and business partners into indentured servants who are terrified to innovate, or even quit their association with the big company, for fear of being financially obliterated.

(Hat tip: The Browser. Image by Won Park)