Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tracking Online Transactions

This is an interesting little snipit about the transactions involved behind a spam advertised product.  The thought that comes to mind is the similarity to the drop-shipping model that has proliferated on ebay and other online auction sites.  The funniest thing is that every time some politician smiles brightly and talks about the wonders of free trade and the global ecconomy... this is actually what it means.  Not that I am being critical. This is a healthy thing.  It's the organisational structures that are not yet in place to regulate this sort of thing.

Its actually even funnier when you read about all the arguments and counter arguments about online music piracy and the arguments about how the old economic model is dead and how the music companies need to evolve etc etc. The thing that everyone forgets is that every economic transaction will evolve in a similar way.  EVERYTHING!  Any product our grandparents could purchase from a shop can now be delivered across the internet.  Very soon any service short of those requiring specialist equipment or personal contact will be able to be partially or completely delivered via the internet.

If you think the flight of jobs to cheap labor sources has been rapid up till now... just you wait.  For every new country that gets good, universal connection to the internet, we will have another round of movement of jobs and infrastructure in to exploit the unemployed for cheap labour and the wealthy for customers.

The long game in all this is that the internet will provide a degree of leveling, in that wealth and employment will flow to countries with cheap labor and low employment conditions while wealthy countries where labor costs are high will be drained of both employment and capital. 

This has been happening for the past few decades, so this is not exactly rocket science.  The point that I find eternally amusing is how little the political machinery wants to accept this reality.  Politicians are the last to change.  The absolute last to accept that that status quo in not maintainable.  Simply because they are only in their position by promosing to maintain the status quo ( or return to a previous idyllic status quo that the population of voters remembers fondly ( see Russia for an example of that particular issue))  But as much as I can point at Russia... I think they are just the leading edge. Half of western Europe is going through economic collapse at the moment, so they should probably be looking at Russia for guidance rather than treating Russia as some kind of "never happen here" case.
But politicians being politicians, they all want to pretend that some how they can roll back to a better time.  Just like the climate debate, "we can undo the damage" just tax carbon etc etc.  Bullshit.  There is no going back.   We can certainly tax carbon but that will just create a carbon market. If it has an incidental effect on the amount of greenhouse gas... well that's nice too.

The point is that the Internet is a transformative technology for everything, wealth, culture, community, politics, technology etc. simply because it has expanded everyones ability to access all of the above.

Are there down sides... you betcha.

No comments:

Post a Comment