But that would be blood money.
Facebook has done amazing work. It has brought the full benefit of cloud to the developing world. As I like to tell critics, Facebook is the first free global telecommunications company. This has raised a billion people out of poverty because Facebook’s services are free. Mobile services are also much cheaper than in the U.S., as low as $15/month.
It means the average South African worker, making under $16,000/year, can afford a used $150 Android phone and, with Facebook, become part of the global marketplace. You can’t do that with Apple. You can’t afford it with paid services.
Facebook proclaims freedom, but it will bend the knee when forced to by government. It bends the knee in all sorts of autocracies and semi-autocracies around the world. If it doesn’t have to bend the knee, however, it won’t. It will fight hard before bending. That makes Facebook an imminent threat to democracy.
The U.S. can force Facebook to bend the knee. We can force it to adopt policies that excise lies and liars from its platform. But doing that requires an act of political will. With global autocrats and oligarchs using Facebook to manipulate U.S. opinion to their own ends, this act of will isn’t happening. That’s why Facebook is the biggest distributor of anti-vax nonsense, the biggest distributor of autocratic thought, in the world today.
Mark Zuckerberg also ushered in a new era of bro-economics. Under tech-economics, technology arbitrages costs. It drives them out. This means savings for businesses, and for consumers. It makes global prosperity possible.
Under bro-economics, however, companies don’t just arbitrage costs. They arbitrage the protections government has created over the last century. Uber drivers aren’t making a living, and they don’t have health insurance, unless you pay for it through taxes.
Crypto currency is the ultimate expression of bro-economics. While Bitcoin and blockchain are interesting as concepts, they’re often used for destructive ends, either to launder money or evade taxes. We know this because of how anxious its advocates have become over the possible government reporting of Bitcoin transactions, which could raise $28 billion/year .
That the bros see this simple provision as an existential threat tells you all you need to know about crypto, and about bro-economics. It’s past time the grown-ups in the technology industry stood up against these bastards, in all their forms. The bros are threatening to destroy everything tech has built, put it in their pockets, and literally take it to the Moon.