Is the Internet creating a permanently disenfranchised, unemployable class of people?
Is it really wonderful for all, or does it have more in common with the cotton gin, mechanized-tractor and telegraph – huge for humanity but disastrous employment-wise in the mid-term for many?
I’ve been reading persuasive arguments to that effect after the recent court ruling against the FCC’s attempt regulate Comcast over “Net Neutrality”. A Ben Atlas made this argument:
The Internet has enriched fabulously a few and impoverished many. The crisis was masked buy the good old days of the last decade but was laid bare by the great recession. So the premise that "our society has benefited mightily from Internet Freedom" is far from evident in the current situation.
And the fact that there is some inevitable breakage in any change is not helping the creative class. The outsourced middle class, the blue color workers whose livelihood moved away with the internet speed. And so far the Internet has nothing to show these people even if they tweet about it all day long.
Net neutrality is a loaded expression if there ever was one. I wish I could share the related argument going on between Todd Glander, one of our implementation experts here at TempWorks, and author Pete Arnold, husband of our Training and Documentation wizard, Alisha, but alas it’s going on Facebook which for the moment is the one supposedly sacred place of privacy left on the Internet.
Briefly their discussion was less of the democracy-for-the-few type and more of the who-does-this-really-benefit type. I liked this explanation by hdemott on the same post by AVC:
It's like an all you can eat buffet at Red Lobster - sooner or later the guy who is eating 3 pounds of lobsters is going to get banned. As a media analyst, I talk to a lot of cable companies and they all tell the same tale (whether or not it is true or they are spinning is another question)
So even under throttling, the Internet is still "free" - you could get to all the sites on the net - you just couldn't get to some sites and use them 24/7/365 as a video server as long as you were on Comcast's network.
Who would have thought that a legal battle over Comcast limiting Bit Torrent (Red Lobster clamping down on the lobster gourmand) would extrapolate itself into a social justice issue?
The Internet may well be creating an unemployable class of people – calling them disenfranchised, that’s another thing.