Where the roads require a ticket¶
Once upon a time there will be a country where all asphalt roads are owned by private owners. In that country, when you want to visit your friend or go to a shop, you must either avoid the roads and walk on footpaths between the houses and across the wild country, or buy a ticket that gives you the right to use the road. It is similar to road toll systems used already now in many countries for high-speed roads, but unlike here and now, in the country I am talking about, the toll system is not limited to some high-speed roads and embraces every asphalt road. The citizens won’t complain. It’s all legal. The government simply had to sell the roads in order to pay back some part of the national debt. A monthly subscription won’t be that expensive, you just need to have your ticket with you. If the police catches you without a ticket, they might make you pay a hurting fine. Buying a ticket is cheaper than stealing, they will say.
Do you think that my imagination is driving me crazy? I’ll answer that this is what is happening already now and here. Not with roads, but with knowledge. The world is full of knowledge. 80 percent of the world’s business activity does nothing else than produce and share knowledge. And each little piece of knowledge has its owner. It’s our favourite game. Everybody may participate in the game and try to get their part of the pie. You write a story, for example a blog post as I am doing right now, and then you publish it on your website. If you do this often enough and well enough, you get a lot of followers who read your stories, you will become famous. And then you can start making money with your hobby. A common method is to show only the first paragraph for free and then tell your readers that the story goes on if they buy a ticket. Another method is to operate a social network site and offer it as a free service. People start using your site to write their stories just because it’s easier than setting up a website on their own. And snap, you got them, because they agree to your terms and conditions, which grant you an irrevocable usage right on their stories.
Sounds crazy, but it works. Because if some reader is bold or naive enough to buy a ticket and then copy your full story to share it with their friends or customers, you can rely on our police and lawyers to protect your property and punish that thieve.
And because income must always generates more income, you will engage writers and pay them to produce more stories, which you can sell along with your own stories. And if you are lucky and clever enough, you will get a dominant market position and dictate the price. Ubiquity first, revenue later. It’s all legal.
The same system works as well if you prefer producing music, video or software instead of text. It’s all your intellectual property. And we all pay our taxes in order to pay the lawyers and policemen and politicians who protect your property.
It’s a great system. At least for those who manage to get a dominant market position.
I never write ironical blog posts.
Thursday, May 7, 2020.