November 29, 2017

Those who because of scalability can bother us excessively should not be able to do so at a zero marginal cost

Sir, Martin Wolf writes: “Scalability means that an intangible good can be enjoyed by one person without depriving another of its benefits. In an economy where scalability — frequently turbocharged by network effects — is important, some businesses will quickly become huge. These winners may also enjoy huge incumbency advantages.”, “Challenges of a disembodied economy”, November 29.

Indeed, but also look at how a zero marginal cost allows the social media to drown us in such an excessive amount of ads, fake news and irrelevant information, which so dangerously wastes our very limited attention span.

So when Wolf writes “governments must also consider how to tackle the inequalities created by intangibles, one of which (insufficiently emphasised in this book) is the rise of super-dominant companies” let me (not for the first time) suggest the following:

Charge social media, like Goggle and Apple, a very small bothering-tax, like a hundredth of a $ cent, every time they reach out to us with something that does not originate in something specifically allowed by us, like the direct messages from our friends.

That could, at the same time it builds up funding that could be used for a Universal Basic Income scheme, which helps to take the sting out of growing inequalities, reduce dramatically the bothering of us and allowing us more of that so necessary boredom we need for creativity and thoughtfulness, which we humans so specially need now when we have to interact more and more with artificial intelligent robots.