Net Neutrality and Postcapitalism

The issues underlying the net neutrality debate go to the heart of the postcapitalist thesis, and to the sway of historical inevitability. Digits cannot be controlled capitalistically, and they can be created without ownership. Eventually—and that “eventually” could be a long time—they will give way to their destiny, which is to be abundant and free. There is no way to stop that, but it can be delayed.

As this article suggests, the internet is already dying via concentration of power in the big centers, especially Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon. The end of net neutrality will only hasten that process.

What the article does not account for however, is that the new digital world has its own rules. Sure, the FCC rules will delay the digital disruption of capitalism by enabling new forms of control over access. Because the rules enable the capitalistic owners of the pipes to select material for presentation, slow delivery, or non-presentation, the principles of the new economy will be thwarted. Collaborative production will be more difficult and expensive. Networks actually become hierarchical. The companies are extractive in that they take value out of the digits by limiting access. In essence, it becomes an effort to enclose the digital commons. And it will slow things down.

Ultimately, however, the effort to enclose will not work because digits are not limited like land is, nor can they be controlled. People will find ways to communicate, share, and work together. The utility of these centers will dissipate. Capitalism will be disrupted either way, but this will slow down the process.

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Anthony Signorelli is the author of Speculations on Postcapitalism, and other books. They are available as Ebooks on Amazon:

The Postcapitalist Manifesto
Speculations on Postcapitalism Ebook
How to Find Your Purpose, Passion, and Bliss: A Mythological Guide for Young Men