My son is a former Marine. Yesterday, I went with him up to Portland’s VA Hospital. It’s a big ugly place that reminds me of the communist buildings in Eastern Europe. Even the toilet seats look like they’ve been there since the 60s.
While my son was in his appointment, I asked the fellow at the counter if the VA offers sleep studies, as I suspect my son has sleep apnea. He told me, yes, they do offer it. But it takes THREE YEARS to get an appointment. My jaw dropped. THREE YEARS?! Yep. He knows because he’s been waiting two years himself and was happy that he only has one year to go.
The VA is like the free Internet. We think that the Web is fabulous because that’s all we know, but it’s not half what it could be.
The thing people don’t understand is that free has an opposite end, and you can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. Getting something for free means somebody else is supplying something for nothing. What will that eventually do to quality and quantity? What will that do to the money supply? No shared revenue. No research and development. No innovation and job growth.
Where things are free, there is no bustling economy. Incomes are low for the few jobs that exist. Quality is relatively poor. The engine of wealth creation is turned off.
Look, would you rather be able to earn $100 and have to pay for $50 worth of stuff, or get $25 worth of stuff for free and have no income?
Too many Internet users are choosing the latter. They don’t understand that the Internet’s free culture has been a disaster when it comes to art, culture, and economic growth.
We have movie actors and television actors. Why are there no Internet actors? Because of Free. Why is the Family Guy guy the only tv professional creating Web-only content? Because of Free. Why will even geeks have increasing difficulty making a living off the Internet? Because of Free.
Thankfully, there are other hospitals – and sleep clinics – besides the VA. There is no other Internet besides the free Internet. That’s going to change. And those people who keep an open mind will be the first to appreciate those changes and to profit by them. It’s not going to be an easy transition for a lot of people, just like Eastern Europe hasn’t made an easy transition from communism to capitalism, but in the end, the vast majority of people will declare their lives better off because of it.