Here’s an article I wrote for Falkvinge on Infopolicy, the second in a three-part series on how the theoretically reasonable and rational “profit motive” is actually broken and damaging to society. But we can fix it.
A salesman sells you a tube of toothpaste, claiming it will make your teeth whiter than they’ve ever been in just a week of use. It’s a bold claim, but he wins you over — for twice what you’d normally pay for toothpaste. A week later, your teeth are still yellow, and you’re tremendously ill. Not only was the toothpaste nothing special, but it was also contaminated with a nasty bacteria; apparently, it was cheaper not to sanitize the toothpaste factory equipment. Now your friends certainly won’t buy any of this not-so-miracle toothpaste, but the damage is done. You’re vomiting, and the salesman’s got your money. Herein lies the problem with the profit motive: bad behavior is profitable.
Fortunately, it isn’t insurmountable. It’s a bug in the system, and bugs can be fixed. To fix a bug, you often have to dig deep to find the root of the problem, deconstructing it — and the system it exists within — to its bare essentials.
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