19 November 2005
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