So many momentous things happening in the world: the horrible tragedy of the quake in New Zealand, the undulating ripple of change in the Middle East, the first acrid taste of a new wave of oil shocks, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
So, I will avoid all that. I’m thinking more about the stink in the air about metering bandwidth in Canada. I am not sure why it is news or controversy, because to my knowledge, all the big players have been metering for ages. But for some reason, right now, amidst all the other crazy stuff going on, metering is a big deal.
Humble ape that I am, I am coming out in support of metering. Think about it: while I am busy as an asshole pirate-downloading 50 years worth of Coronation Street, my neighbor, a sweet old gramma on a fixed income barely navigates three emails per month containing lo-res pics of the newest tots in her clan. Why in hell should we pay the same rate?
I am not concerned by the fact that the big providers have admitted they have bandwidth to spare for ten times the amount of traffic we have today. I am not concerned that they only seek a way to market discrete increases in bandwidth. I’m just really mad that some people use more than other people, and yet everyone gets charged the same. I hate that, it’s like someone gets a freebie. It’s like everyone bands together and some people profit more.
I wholeheartedly support metering. Of course, I am one of those ugly consistent people. I like the idea of metering so much, I would like it applied to everything. I understand that internet is a utility, but, in today’s world, it is also an essential communication tool. Seriously, try and function in the modern world without internet. But I don’t really care about what is essential or common to all, I just want metering.
As you use, so shall you pay. Mantra gold or maybe golden mantra. I could almost get tea party donations for this.
A gross amount of my taxes go towards roads. I do not own a car, nor do I drive. I would never consider it a good idea to opt out, because someday I may need a taxi, an ambulance, or a police car and they require roads. Just the same, I do not place wear and tear on roads the way drivers do. So, in all fairness, why can’t we meter driving? My tax bill could go down, and for heavy drivers, bills could go up.
Another big suck on my money is healthcare. Some people use lots of healthcare. Breeders, with their childbirth and sick kids suck the hell out of things. And old people who don’t smoke ride that rail for decades of plastic joints, heart medicine and cancer eradication, not to mention lying stupid in a bed in an old folks home. And then there are the gays and drug addicts, constantly creating black holes in healthcare dollars. I like this metering system, where I could bypass all that expense at the cost of others.
Speaking of breeders, there is the whole business of schools. Whether I have no children, one child, or seven children, I pay the same amount of tax because some bleeding heart thought that education would profit us all. Yeah, whatever. If we metered education tax to match offspring, those who use more would rightfully pay more, instead of freeloading on my tax dollar. Don’t talk to me about what those educated tots could do for me, I'm just not interested because that is about later and i am about now.
For that matter, I never call the police, I would like to opt out of paying for that too. Let the user pay. I used the fire department once, my best friend never has, but we pay the same tax.
In fact, now that I have thought this through to its logical conclusion, I realize that there is no basis for community or pooling of resources. I dismiss organizing communities to facilitate good healthy functioning safe productive spaces as pie in the sky leftist drivel.
We already meter electricity and heating energies, both absolutely essential to surviving in a northern clime. Or in other words we already say, you are only allowed to survive if you earn a sufficient amount of money. Let’s embrace our credo, let’s fully embrace economic Darwinism. I never use the phone, therefore I want people who use the phone more than I do to pay more. It’s only fair.
Ok, ok, I’ve gotten ridiculous in my analogy. But consider, bandwidth is like a great big pipe. You pay your ISP for access to the pipe. They aren’t costed more by your usage(seriously, they aren't and they have admitted it), but they can make big money if they demonize the people who spend more time on the internet, and they can exclude poor people from the basic right to apply for a job, since that is the only way it is done now. They can convince you that a commodity you use is rare, when it is not and make us all feel greedy about how much of the interent we get, and leery of others who are 'freeloading' off of us.
Oil is precious and rare, bandwidth is not. Both capitalist and socialist communities have to figure out what to do about oil, but not bandwidth.
Communities and societies are real, despite what Thatcher declared. Humans are pack animals and have always pooled resources. But he people with a lot of money would like more money—I don’t know why, after all, once your needs are met, it’s just numbers. It’s one of those things I just don’t understand.
If you are an average citizen, what way do you really want to vote about anything that is socialized? Your vote against socialization either penalizes you or a relative or a friend, or a nieghbour that you don’t know but might need in the future. Your vote for socialization ensures that whatever size the pot of goods is, it is divvyed to everyone as needed.
Internet service is not exactly a noble place to make a stand, but it does illustrate a point. Very wealthy people are quite canny about turning us against our neighbours so they can profit. Next time that you use a service of any kind—roads, sewage, medical assistance, garbage pick up, schools, the bloody post office, think about the contributions of people you will never meet, who make it possible because they believed in pooling resources. They believed in spending some of their resources on things that profited you more than themselves, in hopes that you might do the same for them.