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Want to Save Journalism? Tax the Attention Economy


Want to Save Journalism? Tax the Attention Economy

Timothy Karr, Craig Aaron

Way, way back in 2009 as Facebook was celebrating its fifth anniversary, CEO Mark Zuckerberg blogged that the company was founded “to give people the tools to engage and understand the world around them.”



Copying my comment from the Common Dreams report on this proposal:

i appreciate the intent and the effort, but i disagree with the prescription.

To set up another funding agency, charged with sponsoring “public interest” journalism, is adding a contraption to a large piece of toxic machinery. We need to get rid of the large piece of toxic machinery.

There should be no colonization of our electronically mediated social interactions and networks.

There should be no profiteering data-mining by predatory corporations who sell our personal relational data to other corporate predators.

There should be no Facebook and Google as they presently operate, as colonizing predators who suck our personal data dry and sell it to other colonizing predators who use our personal data to manipulate our behavior and exploit our weaknesses and desires.

These corporations should be taken under public ownership and operated as public utilities with strict limitations against any form of sale, resale, or profiteering from our personal data, meta-data, and relational data.

Constructing an after-the-fact apparatus to minimally counteract the toxic predatory colonizing activities of these profiteering behemoths will only provide another location for corporate capture of this apparatus as has taken place with NPR and PBS. Similar to regulatory capture where industry targets and takes over the EPA, USDA, and other governmental bodies which supposedly regulate the corporate bad actors.

We need a complete paradigm shift. We need to abolish this profiteering, colonizing model of corporate operation and existence.

And time is way beyond short, as these ego-driven, profit-driven monsters and their capture of our institutions have led us to the brink of utter catastrophe, with economic, social and most importantly ecological breakdown now underway.

We need a completely different basic economic model than neoliberal corporate capitalism. Adding contraptions to neoliberal corporate capitalism will not suffice.



I like this idea. It shouldn’t be limited to 2% and it should be added to general revenue to pay for universal health care, mass transit, etc.