Politicians claim that their party believes in free markets. That’s why they legislate all those tariffs. Some businessmen, advantaged by tariffs and other legislation (and by cultural alliance) say that they operate in a free market.
Ivan Illich envisioned a free market, updated in accordance with contemporary technology: he envisioned a society which would use cybernetics, digital data bases, by by-pass licensing, regulation, interference. I jumped out of my skin, in 1970: offered myself to Illich as his slave. Please let me contribute to the realization of this dream. Illich told me to go ahead: on my own. He loaned me his name, as a trustee to FLEX, the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. And in fact a friend of his, Helen Volkomner, steered more than $1,000 our way as seed money. But how can an already persecuted intellectual with no income other than his wife’s minimum wage (and a child, and a dog) (and an appetite for beer) dismantle entrenched institutions and create a digital infrastructure for the future with funding which over several years accumulated to still less than two thousand dollars?
For those few cents I published dozens of papers, was interviewed on radio and TV, had a cable FLEX show listing community resources 24/7 …
Almost instantly computer dating services sprang up. People poured money onto them. But had people poured money onto FLEX they could have used FLEX as a dating service, and a university, and a universal health clinic, and a library, and a yellow pages, a white pages … any any thing else free market their free market minds could devise.
A supported FLEX could have supplement, then replaced, the school system, the post office, the AMA … and Congress!
What does a democracy need representatives for if we can speak for ourselves, through FLEX?
But people espousing free markets never mean it. Or, they do mean it, but aren’t very bright. Or, they are bright, but they’re hypocrites, not very honest. Secular hypocrites. People who say they’re for the Astors having fewer privileges and Queen Elizabether having fewer privileges while silently agitating to amass more privileges for themselves. Free Market, hooey. We want to tear down everyone’s flag but our own.
We could have freed our markets in 1970, inspired by Illich, employing pk. We didn’t. Now free markets will forever be our of the reach of all but politicians rhetoric.
But you know, it wasn’t just IBM and TIME that sabotaged cybernetic freedom. It was all the people with IBM and TIME stock. It was the public, as always, that sabotaged the public. And the rhetoric continues.
This internet is a fraud, pretending to be the internet I offered forty-one years ago, without being such an internet at all. If it were, how could I still be mislabeled? How could I have been censored?
How? So Americans can talk about free speech, free markets … freedom … without any semantic responsibility.