The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 November 2005

Net income

Here in Al Gore's America, it is generally regarded as a Good Thing that the UN and various outposts of governmental malfeasance are not going to be getting their grip on the very Internet that Gore didn't exactly invent. Usually technical or free-speech considerations are invoked to explain why, but there's one factor you don't hear a whole lot about: money.

Already, a trillion dollars has changed hands over the Internet. By far, the United States has benefitted the most from said commerce. The rest of the world thinks it's somehow being "cheated" out of its self-perceived allowance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Moving money on the Internet is the same as buying bread at the grocery store with one simple exception: Trust.

The basic problem for the rest of the world is that it is, in fact, the rest of the world. EBay has taught us all a very important lesson: If you're not buying from someone in America, your chances of getting screwed on the transaction go up exponentially. Personally, I'm not about to buy a single thing from some guy in Chad. I'm not giving anyone in Tunis my credit card number. Ever. I think most, if not all of my fellow Americans share this sentiment. The rest of the world cannot understand this. The Libyans, for example, honestly believe that the US Government is holding back untold riches that can be had via the Internet. I'm serious. This is preposterous, but nevertheless, that's the way they feel. If this was my own blog, I'd call them delusional simpletons. Wait, this is my blog. Alright, they're idiots.

I must point out here that my transatlantic transactions on eBay (not a lot, but enough to justify using the plural) have always gone well. Still, Net security in much of the world is limited to making sure the locals don't get to read about how venal and/or inept their government is, and the "Nigerian scam" didn't originate in, say, New Jersey.

Posted at 10:02 AM to Political Science Fiction

I'm pretty sure that the reason that foreigners think that the US is "holding back" money just for the sheer greed of it is due to the fact that that is the way things are done in their country. That's why so many charity efforts, from LiveAid on down, go haywire: there is no tradition of trust and honor when it comes to doing business in a lot of Third World countries. Naive liberal humanities students et al don't accept this because they've never had to deal with the reality of situations like this: safe in their American or European cocoon they take for granted things like the idea that it is not only illegal to steal, stab your business partners in the back, and so on, but against various longstanding social and moral laws.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 10:25 AM on 19 November 2005

Why should we continue to support the damn UN anyway?

Posted by: spurwing plover at 5:24 PM on 24 November 2005