The internet is one of the most beautiful examples of the free market that I can think of in the world today. Nowhere else do ideas flow freely, international businesses pop up with relative ease, and information is at your fingertips at all times than on the internet. Sure, our statist friends love to say Al Gore and the government “invented” the internet, but this is not a historical article on the founding of the internet. Government dollars did go toward researching the beginnings of the internet. But there is no denying what a little free market capitalism did to develop and expand the internet and make it part of our daily lives. If you would like to learn more about the founding of the internet, I suggest you do your own research on Arpanet, TCP/IP, HTML, hyperlinks, where the idea came from, how much the government paid the top scientist to be exclusive, and the regulatory barriers that weren’t dropped until 1995. And remember, just because I shut the door, doesn’t mean I’m the only one capable of shutting the door.
Blogs are all over the internet nowadays. You’re reading one now. Some blogs have gotten millions of hits, others only ten (we’re somewhere in between). In order to start this blog I did not need any certifications. I didn’t have to pass a test. I did not need to register with any government bureaucracy. I didn’t need a license. All I needed was a name. I didn’t even need a dollar (weird considering greedy businessmen would rape us for our money in a free market). All I do is write, and you can decide what is valid or invalid. You can challenge what I write or choose not to accept it, no one has to tell you. There is no government agency approving a text-book to be used in a classroom. You can find information on just about anything you want and get opinions from all sides of the argument. It gives people a chance to get information from alternative media instead of being spoon-fed news from big corporations.
Statists often argue that if everything was private, racism would be out of control. The free market argues that those racists wouldn’t get business. I’d be willing to bet you can search, “black power”, “white power”, “Asian power”, etc. and find a multitude of racist blogs and websites out there, with no laws or government agencies preventing those people from expressing their views. But would you say they dominate the internet? I didn’t actually do the google search, so I guess it is possible I’m wrong. Either way, I’ve never come across one in my research.
Another argument is that if we had a completely free market certain people would be left out, that we need the government to step in with antidiscrimination laws to make sure businesses serve all people. All you have to do is ask any businessman or woman on the internet if they even think twice about what color skin the person is ordering their tee-shirt. I have no doubt you’d hear the same answer from someone in a brick and mortar business. Sure, there are some websites that are restrictive. Some require passwords, and some require subscriptions. But there are almost always free alternatives or you could always start your own site.
The internet has also helped create countless millionaires. Ebay alone is probably responsible for hundreds of them. How else can you make a product in your home and have it instantly available to just about anyone in the world? Statists would argue there would be rampant theft, after all, how can you trust someone across the globe working from their basement? They don’t have anyone regulating them to make sure their products are safe. Most of us, if you’re old enough, or at least your parents, remember a time when people were afraid to give their credit card to a website. Now it seems like every year we hear reports of how internet shopping is increasing. In fact, PayPal (future article?) became a free market regulator to give consumers confidence and make transactions safe. Almost anything you buy online can be purchased using PayPal and now you can even use PayPal to buy products in some brick and mortar shops. As far as I know there was no government bureaucracy that demanded PayPal come into existence.
Yes, I know there is plenty of trash on the internet, including things that probably 99% of the population objects to. You could probably fill books with URLs to pornographic websites . But it is up to the user to decide if he or she wants to go there or not. The free market also came up with several products to monitor internet usage on your computer, you don’t need any government agency to shut them down. If you don’t like what your husband, wife, or children are looking at, you can confront them. The mere fact that we don’t have anything like the SEC regulating what we look at makes us more aware and cautious of where we are. You can consider the source instead of blindly trusting a Bernie Madoff because Uncle Sam but his seal of approval on his investments. If a private regulator misses a Bernie Madoff, it is likely that private regulator loses credibility or goes out of business. If the SEC misses on Bernie Madoff, it is likely that no one gets fired and make even more laws and give themselves more responsibility and use more of our money without our permission.
I could probably go on and on, but I’ll leave you with that. Remember to consider the source and do your own research. Thankfully we have to internet, and not just government approved books, to do just that!
God Bless Freedom, Liberty, and Personal Property,
Slappy Jones II