Monthly Archives: April 2015

Capitalism Clashes With Socialism: Is “internet.org” The Solution or a Problem

The merits and demerits of socialist and capitalist styles of government have been a cause for heated debate for as far back as one can think to. I think it is hard to come forward and say that one style is necessarily better than the other, as we have seen economies run by socialist and capitalist governments alike exhibit tremendous strides of progress economically and in other regards.

We currently live in a world where the mantra is fast becoming “be yourself”. Everywhere you look these days, be it in a fashion magazine, or financial services advert, we are slowly but surely being fed this belief that it is better to be different than to blend with the crowd. It seems to me that in this age that we live in, to successfully sell an idea or a commodity you need to emphasize its ability to bring about greater individuality to the final consumer. In this new “environment” that we find ourselves, it would be counterproductive to choose one thing over the other as being the better option. Each idea, person, object is unique and elegant on its own merit, with its quirks and flaws even making it that much more valuable as an individual unit to be celebrated. Individuality encourages us to seek for validity from within rather than from the outside, easier said than done right?

This post isn’t about styles of government or the topic of individuality; it is about Facebook’s new initiative called “internet.org“.

To be very concise, “internet.org” was created out of a need to spread the many advantages that come with using the internet. The founders hope to give access to certain websites at little or no cost to the user, while the site owner pays the bill. There has been a backlash against this this new initiative. The crux of the argument centers on the fact that it does not go in line with the concept of net neutrality.  Detractors point to what they consider as a plan by Facebook to “colonize” the internet and make it less profitable for publishers and the likes who are not subscribers to the “internet.org” initiative.

Personally, I love technology. I am always eager and excited to see how technology can be employed to make tasks a lot more tolerable, and also enhance the life of people who come in contact with it. I recently started to learn programming with python. The words “Hello World” never excited me until I was typing in the code in to the python interpreter to have it printed on the screen once the code was executed. Learning to program has given me a new found appreciation of a computer. Before, I always thought of computers as these “god-like” machines with a mind of their own that was too hard to understand. Spending a few weeks with python, I see computers from a difference perspective. Computers are blank, fast and efficient tools that are desperately reliant on input from humans to do great things.

I believe that if we can put computers and internet in the hands of more people, especially in places like Africa, the human race as a collective unit would be propelled on such an unprecedented scale to a greater level of civilization.

The proliferation of the internet as prospected by Facebook is an excellent idea and should be encouraged.

To be entirely honest, I see reasons to the point of the marginalization of non-members of the “internet.org”.  My input in this regard is for Facebook to limit the inclusion of webpages to essentials. When I say essentials, I am referring to those sites that help to keep people informed and educated. Websites that offer healthcare solutions to people who otherwise won’t have it. Websites that share knowledge about a myriad of topics that enable students research and learn. Websites that connect city merchants with rural suppliers of labor and raw materials. If Facebook is truly dedicated to its philanthropic intentions, it should exclude overzealous sites that are littered with Ads that distract from and ultimately ruin the experience of the end user.

(I guess this should serve as my advice to Facebook and its detractors)

 

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