Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Tyranny of Subscription Living

In the beginning we lived from the land, with calluses and broken bodies to prove it.
These days companies are trying to nickel and dime us to death with the rise of the tyrannical Subscription Model. You pay $29/ month for telecom service, you pay $1 per day for your power service, you pay $78 per month for internet service, you pay the same way for Mobile phones and Cable TV and software is also being converted to subscriptions.

This is a terrible thing to do to the poor Citizen Consumers of the world, to tie us to products that we cannot purchase and must keep on paying for till we die, and probably beyond.

Besides the raw cost of living in such a model which is demonstrably more expensive than purchase living, there is the brittleness of living with dependencies on all these services. This brittleness is hidden until there is a disaster, but it should be uncovered and removed if possible.

A great example here in New Zealand (and elsewhere) is the preferred way to create a Photo Voltaic/Solar powered house. The preferred method is to hook the house to the grid and use the grid as a big battery. Thus perpetuating the dependency cycle. For an extra investment the home owner could use batteries to entirely disconnect themselves from the grid, and eliminate the per deim cost of the grid.

Similarly the Energy efficient Hybrid cars also tie the consumer to buying petrol, without the inbuilt ability to re-charge overnight. This is a little larger issue as it is a cross industry effort to retain consumers sucking at the petrol teat. If an equivalent teat could be constructed the corporations would jump on it.

One of the underlying issues seems to be the lack of a democratic force in the absence of a corporation to buy the politicians favour. Just in the case of Open Source software, there are very few people willing to go in to bat in the political arena for the right solutions if it doesn’t have a money spigot attached. I see the problem is world-wide and it is a fundamental weakness in the political system of democratic countries.

The Matrix says it best: You are just a battery for the soulless machines.

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