Net Neutrality Is Marxist?

Nicholas Leippe nick at
Mon Apr 12 22:48:08 MDT 2010

On Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 9:14 PM, Stuart Jansen <sjansen at> wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-04-12 at 11:40 -0600, Nicholas Leippe wrote:
>> But why find fault with a business for focusing on money? Really?
>> Step in their shoes for a second--their reactions seem fairly natural
>> and unsurprising.
> So does arson and clear cutting forests if you in the home building
> business.

Not necessarily. But guess what, if they got the permit to do it, who
gave it to them? The government, elected by _us_, granted via laws
passed by officials elected by _us_. So, no complaining, right?

> Does the benefit of such to shareholders also free them from
> the need to provide any other benefit to society?

Yes. They're in it for money. If there's no ROI, the investor's money
goes elsewhere. There is a large difference between choosing to not be
altruistic for the sake of the bottom line, and explicitly doing
something harmful to the world at large. If a business chooses not to
give away free stuff, why fault them for it? If a business chooses to
take advantage of regulations that permit them to do things that are
harmful to the environment, we can frown on it all we want, but to
change it we have to step up and get the laws changed, and meanwhile,
choose to not invest our money there. Or, become a shareholder and
rally a majority into voting for change. You do what you can.

IMO, most of human behavior is based on selfishness. Yes, even
charity. (How many people choose to be charitable because they believe
they must be to get into heaven or some such belief? How many because
someone else pressures them to--Mom, Dad, or simply because "'tis the
season", or they want to _look_ like a "good" person? How many for the
tax write-off? How many people actually do it "just
because"--genuinely selfless behavior?)

The same goes for business. If it makes sense in the long run to
create a perception among customers and potential customers that their
company is "not all about the money", then sure--they give away a few
dollars (from their advertising budget), and boast about it like mad.
It's all part of the pitch--appealing to the emotion. But I guarantee
you they expect a return from it--be it customer loyalty/retention or
growth, and likely a tax write-off to boot.

> The assumption that the western model of allegiance to shareholders
> above all else is the one true way to do business is myopic. It's a
> fundamentally flawed model. We could learn a lot from companies that put
> more emphasis on long term survival instead of short term returns. To
> say nothing of learning from countries that recognize a greater
> responsibility to employees specifically and the community or nation
> generally.
> Is your argument really so simplistic as:
> 1) The goal of a company is to make money.
> 2) Given that companies are good and anything that prevent them from
> making money is bad...
> 3) Anything that prevents a company from making money is bad.
> 4) And anyone that suggests that a company consider anything other than
> the bottom line is not only bad but stupid.
> 'Cause that seems like pretty flawed logic to me.

I never applied any moral judgement to the existence of companies. So,
out go points 2-4.

I agree that the world could be a better place if the actions of
companies mimicked the altruistic, environmentally friendly desires of
the humanitarians. But, things work out they way they do for a reason.
All those humanitarians are not in business. The ones in business,
doing the "best" are the ones that put money first. It's just how the
math comes out of the equation at the end. I don't pretend to know if
there's a solution. There are societies that speculate on the benefits
of moving from a monetary society to a resource based society. It's at
the least an interesting thought experiment.

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