Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pocketbook poison created by monopolies?

Photo by Alison, Wikimedia Commons, showing young people waiting outside Apple store
Carol Forsloff---Do you search or Google?  Are you convinced that Apple products are more lasting than others?  Do you long for the next great gadget, with all its complexities and promises?  Monopolies created by corporate chiefs bring self-perpetuating behaviors that are poison to the pocketbook and a humanitarian concern in maintaining the gap between rich and poor.

Google has brought a rich array of free and time-saving programs to their search engine and other products around the world. While this benefits consumers, there is a cost to them too..  Ask the Internet user how research is accomplished, and the response is likely, "I Google what I want to find." Search terms create a mindset that continues it be "googling", as people respond to what they learn is the best and most comprehensive search engine.  Competition suffers as a result.

One of the greatest problems brought about by Google's search and use monopolies is how sites are rewarded and punished.  It is often the prosperous who survive  Penguin updates, a terminology used to evaluate sites and demote those operating outside Google guidelines. While these updates are said to be used to prevent unfair competition and toxic material, the net Google uses to catch those who purposefully abuse those guidelines often catches the innocent as well.  The fix costs money, so those who pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for it survive, while those unsuspecting site developers without the right technical knowledge, or money to buy it, may not.  This means Professor Smith's blog on earth sciences may lose ranking and readers, while a political one with factual errors survives.

Google also tracks the way people buy products as well as where and how.  So businesses are provided a mechanism for targeting sales.  This encourages the unsuspecting consumers to buy items they may neither need or want, until some advertisement tells them they do.

When a computer is shown in movies and television  it is apt to be an Apple. The local drugstore reflects the monopoly of Apple as well, with displays for items specific to Apple products over others. These product placements encourage people to believe that to be in step with the rest of the world one must pay the extra fees Apple charges for their products and then the classes necessary to learn them.  The cost to the ordinary consumer is much greater than the costs of more affordable products that may be just as useful and also easier to use.  But it does not stop there, as Apple presents its products in a secretive, almost cult-like fashion meant to create and maintain consumer passion to join its Apple ranks.  And these are often the young or the poor who are more easily seduced into believing that social and financial success comes with Apple membership

Competition thwarted by corporations created by an ever-widening chasm between company and consumer allows money to continue to grow in the hands of the few who support government entities and politicians who keep them in control.

Monopolies in the modern world flourish for lack of objection.  Perhaps it is time to use "search" instead of "googling" and to buy tech products easy to use and not costly to replace.

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