These are just some notes I plucked from an interesting email conversation with a friend.
On the distribution of resources and where to invest:
I think it’s important to think about companies that provide value in the “essentials” area (bottom of the Maslow pyramid) and those that do so in the areas that clearly involve “disposable income”. While we have so many people incapable of fulfilling their most basic needs, how much resource expenditure should be tolerated/encouraged for such frivolity? Those that benefit initially convince themselves that such progress is utterly necessary in order to drive society forward for *everyone*, but that sounds very much like the underpinnings of trickle-down economics.
On the transition from brick and mortar to Internet:
I’m reminded of the article I read last year in that magazine you gave me, about the fracking boom in the States. Most of the companies listed there were values in the dozens of billions, if not more, and had dozens of thousands of employees.
That is one of the differences I see in the move to Internet value as well: these companies are valued in the billions but have hardly any employees (relatively speaking). That is, they are perfect vessels for funneling a tremendous amount of wealth to a handful of people. That’s great for those people. Not so good for all of those who are finding it harder to find jobs in an economy based more and more on this scale of company.
And, without jobs, where do people get the money to purchase Uber services? This is all kind of short term, to my way of thinking. It’s short-term gain for Uber, but they too will collapse because Uber’s very model helps create a world where there are no Uber customers anymore. There are solutions to this, but they are either not very classically capitalist or quite fascist.
On the valuation of GoDaddy at over $2 billion:
As for GoDaddy: this is one of those company whose 2.25b valuation is an utter mystery to anyone who still thinks that the company’s main service is to its supposed customers (the users). They are very good for funneling advertising and “trapping” customers. This is considered to be very valuable to those who are just interested in turning a profit and not interested in *how* that profit is turned. As long as there exists such a strong separation between ethics, *true* value and investment, we will have these dilemmas.
The stock corporation was truly both a blessing and a curse. It allows companies to grow more quickly (and to presumably provide more value to its customers), but it also allows companies that would otherwise go out of business to survive and thrive simply because they know how to turn a profit (if not actually provide a non-parasitic value). The world would be a better place without GoDaddy in it. As long as GoDaddy can figure out how to make money for its investors, we’re stuck with it. And, no, I’m not sure what to do about that either: is it good or bad? Dunno. I’m just thinking out loud.