the ‘net as parasite, feeding off business…

The internet is a parasite to business.  It has grown its tendrils through every part of every for-profit organisation, and has been bolstered and boosted by business.  Business has created, improved and built infrastructure, sold commodity devices and educated everyone in the western world that this was something they had to get involved with.

That was just the first phase.

The internet is an infrastructure: a joining of many little networks: your home’s, your ISP’s and their commercial international carrier are all clicked together.  The lego-like connections are built so you can change any part of that chain pretty much instantly.  Running on the top of that infrastructure are more infrastructures: email, http….  Business have built these to run their services.  Those that don’t have the standard lego-like connections have failed: compuserve anyone?  Those that encourage and improve the robustness of the connections thrive: google.

After the first rush of excitement (the ‘@’ in an email address is an anarchy symbol!) we thought that business was pushing us out (they are stealing our revolution!).  The media kept running the ‘internet is the great leveller’ meme – first it was kinda interesting, then it became a standard story – IRC from the Moscow White House when Yeltsin did his counter revolution, email from the Balkans, blogging from Bagdad.

The parasite grew out of organizations caught in the capitalist world, but not of it.  Universities, governments.  These things are older than capitalism, and will be here afterward (if if capitalism doesn’t kill us all first, o’course). The organisations that have used the ‘net best are either those institutions, or ones like them; citizen journalism fits best into the culture of public broadcasting, for example.

A parasite grows in its host, then it kills it.  Profiteers would like to think this was (at best) symbiotic, some lefties assume a mutualistic approach.  They don’t see the way that the internet destroys profit, promotes democracy, and in general works against capitalism.  I need to do a lot more thinking about the monopolistic trend inherent in capitalist growth and how that has been reflected in the internet, but my immediate reaction is to think that the monopolies (an tcp/ip is nothing if a monopoly…) are only toxic when there are profits to be made.  When I say toxic – I mean business monopolies kill (r.f. the meat trusts).

I predict that there will soon be casualties to the parasite, and the host will start to react.  Already the anti-bodies of the RIAA have started to inflame the music body corporate.  Big Music’s arms are gangrenous, and the limbs that have died have already fallen away, and new shoots of independent music are growing between the fallen, rotten branches.  (Man, this metaphor runs and runs…).

Who is next?  Democracy in the UK is having to react to a general public understanding of exactly how crap their system is, now there is an informed public discussion, like there could never have been before.  Business can only be scared at a more transparent voting process – look to see who is trying to protect their current position!

Big Oil, and Big Food are fighting fire with FUD – but their time is limited.  They have even enrolled religion in their attempt to dupe (teach the controversy).

Its all good news.

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