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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“The `robber barons’ gave us railroads and public libraries. Zuck gave us Farmville and censorship.”

Glenn Reynolds, apropos criticisms of how Big Tech bosses such as Mark Zuckerberg carry on. For what it is worth, the censorship operated by the Facebook and other Big Tech folk is still, in my view, less serious than of the traditional government kind. If you don’t like Facebook then don’t use it. By contrast, with government, we are forced to pay taxes to the bastards, regardless of what we use or how we vote.

And by the way, most of the “robber barons” weren’t robbing anyone, but adding value and doing such evil things as producing cheaper steel, oil and transportation. Much of the anti-trust furore was built around a total failure to see competition as an active process across time, not a static sport. The “perfect competition” model of neoclassical economics has done a lot of damage.

5 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Simon Jester

    For what it is worth, the censorship operated by the Facebook and other Big Tech folk is still, in my view, less serious than of the traditional government kind. If you don’t like Facebook then don’t use it.

    Facebook and Twitter, yes.

    Amazon (in the guise of AWS – formerly Amazon Web Services) controls increasingly large chunks of the web – not just Amazon itself, but the underlying infrastructure. It was Amazon that shut down Parler.

    AWS also seems to be the preferred host for UK (and presumably other) government IT migrating to the cloud.

    If Jeff Bezos (or one of his minions) decides they don’t like, say, UK policy towards the EU…

  • XC

    Well, certainly the history of Standard Oil is one of actual robbery, restraint of trade, etc, etc. Tarbell’s book is somewhat over-wrought (it was the style) but Standard Oil didn’t deny it with any heat because buying a railroad to bankrupt competitors to get prices higher wasn’t illegal. Technically. When you could influence courts and senators (pre direct election).

    On the upside, we did get dramatic increases in power distribution.

    I’m not as knowledgable about steel or aluminum, but I also know that RailRoads were also, literally, bad actors in a way that Bezos and Zuck could only dream about.


  • Paul Marks

    Burton W. Folsom, in “The Myth of the Robber Barons”, points out that most (although not quite all) of the charges made against John D. Rockefeller, Carnegie and-so-on were lies pushed by a combination of their competitors (who wanted to sell inferior products at higher prices) and professional leftist activists – who lied as easily as other men breathe.

    For example, Standard Oil did not have a monopoly (it was in competition with major Russian producers) and its major “robbery” was selling better products at lower prices than its domestic competitors.

    However, the modern elite are very different – and far from denouncing them, the media fawn upon them.

    For example, imagine that John D. Rockefeller had decided to spend half a Billion Dollars on controlling the election process in key places. Not giving money to campaigns – actually controlling such things as counting votes.

    I think the media would have been a bit upset – the “muck wreakers” would have had some muck to rake. But when Mr Z of Facebook did this, and got his ultra wealthy (and ultra Collectivist) friends to help rig the 2020 election – the media PRAISED this, without any irony at all the Time magazine praised the “Cabal” (their word) who had “safeguarded democracy” by making sure the correct candidate was declared the winner – regardless of how many people had actually been intelligent enough to vote “correctly”.

    After all the entire Progressive product was at stake – human progress must not be overturned by a bunch of ignorant people voting the wrong way.

    The so called “Robber Barons” created 20th century America – they created the modern industries that made America the most prosperous society (for ordinary people) that the world has ever seen.

    The new elite has created as farce – where Marxist BLM banners fly from American embassies, and Marxist Critical theory teaches even the youngest children that white people are inherently evil. And the Disney Corporations puts out Soviet style propaganda to young children that K. Harris is some sort of living God – of course the lady is soon to be President (that was decided some time ago – and not by ordinary voters).

    As the Technocracy (Saint-Simon) supporting “World Economic Forum” puts it – “You will own nothing – and you will be happy” you will be a serf (you will own nothing – and you will be totally dependent) and you had better pretend to be happy – because they have their boot on your throat.

    We have an education system that is rotten to the core, and an economic elite that is fed by endless funny money from the Federal Reserve and the pet banks.

  • Jacob

    Zuck gave us Facebook. Maybe not a perfect product, still a new thing that did not exist before and billions of people like it, use it and it’s totally free for users. You can’t take away from Zuck this achievement. I, personally, think Facebook is a complete waste of time and I don’t use it and I don’t like Zuckerberg at all. still… to say Zuck gave us nothing is not true.

  • Paul Marks

    Jacob – Zuck sells the personal information that people provide via Facebook. He is not giving us anything.

    Zuck also has made, made repeatedly, the legal claim that he runs a Neutral Public Platform – and that is a LIE, as Facebook (and Twitter and Youtube and Google) are politically biased – they act like publishers not neutral public platforms.

    The heads of the Social Media companies lied-on-oath before Congress – if you did that Jacob you would be in prison, but they are NOT in prison.

    Why not Jacob? Why is Zuck not in prison for lying to Senate and House Committees? You would be in prison if you did that, I would be in prison if I did that – why not Zuck?

    And there is the “little” matter of rigging the 2020 election – spending half a Billion Dollars to control the voting process (and vote COUNTING) in key places.

    Why is Zuck allowed to rig elections? Why are his friends allowed to rig elections?

    Lastly there is the matter of MASS MURDER.

    The Social Media companies conspired to smear Early Treatment of Covid 19 – vast numbers of people died because they did not get (or even seek) Early Treatment. And that was because they were TOLD there was no effective Early Treatment. Including by the big Social Media companies – they told the people that there was no Effective Early Treatment when there was Effective Early Treatment.

    You might argue that it was manslaughter not murder – but that is still not good.

    The whole international establishment if guilty of allowing vast numbers of people to die who could have been saved – and they did that for political reasons.

    Their behaviour has been very bad. Very bad indeed.