Sunday, 12 February 2012

Amazon wanderings

Internet giant Amazon have been criticised for their plans to open High Street shops, having previously been criticised for putting such shops out of business. A very simple exposée of the free market capitalism system.

In an RBE there would certainly be something like shops; somewhere we can go and handle the piece of hardware we need to use: And while we were there we would presumably take away the equipment if it suited our needs. Very simple. But if you know what you want, the obvious thing to do is to order it on line - something Amazon has developed into a fine art. (i'm not saying they're impeccable, but they do set a benchmark).

The advent of e-book readers has been a major step in untethering the  text from the physical medium from which it can be read. Pople don't like it when I say (following Peter Joseph) that they have a romantic attachment to a the physical book, and maybe that's too pointed, but the text is really the most important element of a book, not the medium on which it is rendered. We moved from stone tablets and clay to scrolls, to codices, and brought in paper to replace animal skins. Why should developmenmt stop at paper? If we want to spread education by 'printed' words we should relish the fact that text can be sent round the world in seconds. If you want a tooled leather volume taking up space in your home, go ahead, but don't pretend that it isn't the words that are paramount.

The free market says competition is good, but they complain that online ordering is inimical to shops. Tey also complain that Amazon starting a shop (competing) is not a good thing. It's all so awry. If businesses employ fewer people and use less premises area, they work out cheaper. If I run my shop more efficiently than you run yours, you will fail and I will succeed.That's the free-market model, so why are proponents objecting?

In an RBE, it is easy to see how rall these contradictions fall away. An RBE is focussed on human needs. In the world as it is, we can safely focus on the very obvious needs, like nutrition, heath and shelter, though tehe more abstract needs that make us human are certainly important. Proper education is such a need, or a means to fulfilling it.

And - I'm sorry - an RBE accepts that there is a finite amount of planetarry resources. We accept that there is a finite amount of money at household level, and we try to economise our money, but at the same tie we subscribe to the idea that we need to have growth. No. We can't grow beyond the limits the planet places on us and any theory that ignores this fact must be wrong by any reasonable standard.

Money, in so far as it it/was useful, trailed value or represented it. If you start chasing the representation of something, rather than the thing itself, our problems begin. All money has to be redeemed for goods and services at some point. Those goods and services help meet human need, making it plain that meeting human need is what we are about, albeit competitively in our current model.

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