Republished from Stan Rhodes:
You’d think that everyone that’s ever seen an advertisement would know this, but no one seems to want to say it. We’re all thinking it, aren’t we?
Advertising, at its root, is waste.
Advertisements are waste.
Right now, we have an arms race between what a person wants to pay attention to and what someone else wants them to pay attention to. The companies competing see that usability rules the day, but they’re in a tough spot, because advertisements are poor usability: I should only see what I’ve asked to see. That arms race continues because the communication lines are privatized. If they were not, if we owned and supported our use of communication lines, advertising would wither, because it has no place. It’s not just annoying, it’s inefficient. It’s waste!
In some commons, companies already have complete monopolies. In other commons, companies have to compete, and they compete by having a bit better usability, being a bit more streamlined, and feigning a commons model. The commons model is the most efficient, so they are inevitably drawn toward it unless or until they can attain a monopoly. That closed, privatized property can never truly be a commons–truly be open and for the public good only–is their fatal flaw. I mean property in the broadest sense: goods that are both property and goods that are not (like information), but are legally treated like property (“intellectual property”). Companies exist for profit, and they’ll be tempted to impose on users to gain it. If users were to hold the commons, this would all be irrelevant. Companies would have to provide the service of creation, and everyone would be better off. Google is a for-profit company, and cannot help but be evil, even if they try to stave it off. They are evil by design; their goals are inherently contrary to the public good.
By owning the commons, the public retains control of the purposes of business. The public says “We need this.” Today it’s backwards, business own the commons and they tell us “You need this.” We need their products, we need their services, we need their jobs, we need their vision of ourselves to define our own damn identity.