Month: April 2022

Russia Is Set To Weaponize The Food Supply In Their Latest Assault On Ukraine

Having failed to take Kyiv, Russia will now concentrate its forces in the east and south of Ukraine.

While the world is struggling to recover from the terrifying photos of Russian atrocities in Bucha, Russia is preparing a new attack. Having failed to take Kyiv, Russia will now concentrate its forces in the east and south of Ukraine. Odesa, one of Ukraine’s major ports, will likely become the next coastal target. Together with the port of Mykolaiv, Odesa accounts for 90 percent of Ukraine’s agricultural exports.

Some of the most prominent Ukrainian ports, such as Berdyansk, Mariupol, and Kherson, have already suffered extreme casualties. Cutting Ukraine off from the sea is a significant military target for the Russians because it would paralyze Ukraine’s trade. This would exacerbate the risk of rising global hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. If the U.S. and Allies fail to help Ukraine win this war as soon as possible, Ukraine’s progress to date will be lost.

Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat, grain, corn, sunflower, and rapeseed. In 2021/22 alone, Ukraine planned to export 20 tonnes of grain, 98 percent of that by sea. Since the invasion began, the supply of these critical agricultural products has collapsed.

According to Jörg-Simon Immerz, head of the grain trading at BayWA, an international agricultural group, “zero grain is currentlybeing exported from the ports of Ukraine—nothing is leaving the country at all.” The Russian Navy prevented 200-300 Ukrainian ships from leaving the Black Sea. So far, it seems that only Egypt, which is reliant on agricultural imports from Ukraine and Russia, succeeded in finding a way around the Black Sea blockade and getting the grain.

Some have suggested transporting the grain by train, but that presents many logistical problems. The longer the war continues, the more expensive it becomes, especially for the poorest countries. The situation is especially dire in Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The wheat shortages have caused the price of bread in Sudan to nearly double. A week after the war started, the price of sunflower oil in Ethiopia went up by nearly 215 percent. Combined with droughts and the post-COVID crisis, the continued blockade of the Black Sea presents a fateful challenge to East Africa, where 90 percent of wheat imports come from Ukraine and Russia. A report by the Centre For Global Development found that as many as over 40 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty due to the war in Ukraine.

The interconnectedness of our world has made it difficult even for developed countries to escape the scourge of war. In the U.S., farmers have to adjust the amount of crops due to soaring fertilizer prices. A Bloomberg survey finds that American farmers will plantmore soy over corn by 2 million acres this year. If the war drags on into 2023, it could be that neither will be possible to plant at all.

The war in Ukraine has also demonstrated that the European green agricultural agenda is not feasible. The Farm to Fork strategy would cut pesticides by 50 percent and increase organic food production from 7.5 percent to 25 percent. The EU is slowly realizing that it is very dependent on imports, and that a realistic food policy cannot include these supposed sustainability goals.

We have all seen what the Russians have done to civilians in Bucha and Irpin. If Russia seizes the Ukrainian South and controls one-third of global wheat supply, Putin won’t hesitate a second to take revenge for sanctions by depriving millions of the world’s poorest of Ukraine’s agricultural bounty. President Zelensky rightly said that Russia uses the Black Sea blockade and consequent starvation as a “weapon.”

Given the scope of disruption, it is only natural to wonder what can be done. The answer is simple: help Ukraine win this war.

Originally published here

How Ukraine Upended Europe’s Agriculture and Energy Policies

Every political consensus of the past decade is on the table, from pesticide phase-outs to nuclear energy.

In Europe, every political consensus of the last few decades has been thrown out the window. German pacifism, French president Emmanuel Macron’s belief that NATO is “braindead,” and now the continent’s entire agriculture sustainability strategy have been put into question. In response to disruptions in Europe’s food supply, the European People’s Party (EPP), the European Parliament’s largest parliamentary group, is demanding that the “Farm to Fork” strategy be called off.

The European Commission’s “Farm to Fork” strategy seeks a 50 percent reduction in pesticides, devotes 25 percent of agricultural land use to organic farming, and reduces fertilizers by 20 percent. Although the plan was initially criticized by farming representatives and received political backlash due to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study that showed a considerable reduction in agricultural output, the European Commission pressed on with the legislative process anyway. However, now that the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia have impacted Europe’s food supply, the USDA study, which found that agricultural prices would soar between 20 and 53 percent if the Farm to Fork strategy was implemented, is increasing concern among the European Union’s (EU) elected officials.

For example, EPP politicians such as Italy’s Herbert Dorfmann are arguing that the European Commission “should avoid presenting other legislative proposals that have negative impacts on European food security.” The fact that one of the EU’s strongest political parties wants to forget about the most significant agriculture reform effort in decades should raise questions about the Farm to Fork strategy. If a new food system is so vulnerable to geopolitical disruptions, doesn’t that pose a long-term challenge to Europe’s agricultural security? Echoing Dorfmann, Macron stated that “[The strategy’s] objectives must be reviewed because under no circumstances can Europe afford to produce less,” and he added that a “deep food crisis” could emerge in the upcoming months.

Ukraine’s agricultural output makes up 30 percent of the world’s wheat and barley trade, 17 percent of corn, and over half of sunflower oil and seeds, including 88 percent for Europe alone. Ukraine is also the EU’s main trading partner for non-GMO soybeans, which are used for animal feed, as well as 41 percent of rapeseed and 26 percent of honey. Prices for wheat and corn are already sky-rocketing in the wake of the war.

The EU will need to question its approach to sustainability and seriously consider ways to improve its food security in the coming months. Everything should be on the table, from a faster reevaluation of rules on genetic engineering to a moratorium on new farming regulations. The effects of geopolitical disruptions on global and domestic food systems should act as a cautionary tale for those who seek radical regulatory changes.

Many of the incoming policy shifts in Europe will depend on the outcome of the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have put up more resistance than expected, defeating Russia’s multi-pronged military offensive in the early stages of the invasion. Additionally, at least for the foreseeable future, European sanctions on Russia will remain in place. Excluding Russia from the SWIFT payment system, barring its airlines from European airspace, and restricting trade flows will have significant effects on the Russian economy. However, Europe is also heavily reliant on Russian natural gas—a situation that has contributed to Germany’s passivity towards Russia in the past. This fact has not been lost on Russian officials. Dmitri Medvedev, the former president and current deputy chairman of the Security Council, tweeted in February, “German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has issued an order to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Well. Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2.000 for 1.000 cubic meters of natural gas!” 

Europe is scrambling for alternatives, looking for allies and more trustworthy partners to supply energy. Azerbaijan has arisen as an alternative supplier thanks to the Trans-Adriatic Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Baku’s announcement that it intends to double its natural gas supplies. Europe is also looking to increase its use of liquified natural gas (LNG), as its existing infrastructure (one-quarter of which is located in Spain) only operated at 45 percent capacity in 2021. Canadian candidate for prime minister, Pierre Poilievre, has even made increasing Canada’s LNG exports to Europe a campaign issue. However, along with searching for outside alternatives, Europe needs to increase domestic production to make up for the loss of Russian gas imports in the event of a complete cut-off, a policy outcome that looks increasingly inevitable following U.S sanctions on Russian oil imports. Last week, for example, Lithuania decided to block all energy imports from Russia.

When asked by the German media, Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck did not rule outhalting the phase-out of Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants and delaying the phase-out of coal use planned for 2030. In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Draghi is considering reopening shuttered coal plants. As Europe’s second-biggest coal producer, Poland is unlikely to face more vigorous calls to halt production. 

The European Commission has also delayed releasing its energy strategy, which was initially supposed to be revealed on Wednesday. The document emphasizes increasing renewable energy production in Europe but also calls for more “blue hydrogen,” which is made from natural gas. It appears that given the crisis in Ukraine, European energy policy is going back to the drawing board.

Originally published here

Vaping not a gateway to smoking, states CCC policy paper

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a consumer advocacy group based in the United States, recently published a policy paper that examined key facts demonstrating that vape is not the gateway to smoking. 

“Vaping is often blamed for encouraging smoking among adults and teens,” said Maria Chaplia, a research manager at CCC and author of the CCC paper titled “Vaping And The Gateway Myth”. 

“Such unjustified criticism of vaping prevents millions of smokers around the world from switching to a safer alternative. The gateway rhetoric does not do anyone any good, has no merit and should be abandoned,” she continued.


According to the research report by the CCC, the objective of vaping is to provide a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes that minimises the risk of health complications.

Public Health England has validated this statement, stating that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful compared to smoking.

Furthermore, vaping has a cancer risk of less than 0.5 per cent when compared to smoking, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Read the full article here

Will the blind bidding ban work?

“The issue of chronic undersupply is having a devastating impact for both prospective buyers, and those who are renting in major Canadian cities.”

One of the core components of Ottawa’s 2022 budget was a focus on housing. While it’s appreciated that the government is now taking a serious look at housing affordability, much of its plan will do very little to dampen the chaos, like its ban on blind bidding, primarily because it fails to properly address the issue of chronic under-supply.

The supply of homes in Canada, per capita, is the worst in the G7, and it has actually gotten worse over the past eight years. In 2016, Canada had 427 housing units per 1000 people. In 2020, that number actually decreased to 426 units per 1000 people, and in 2022 it fell to 424 units per 1000 people. France by comparison leads the G7 at 540 units per 1,000.

The issue of chronic under-supply is having a devastating impact for both prospective buyers, and those who are renting in major Canadian cities.

In Toronto, for example, the average home price is now more than $1.3 million dollars. A family needs an annual income of $180,000 to purchase the median Toronto home, and $130,000 to purchase the median condo, all while the median income for a couple in Torontois only $97,640. As the crisis worsens, buying an average home is becoming virtually unattainable for the average family.

Unfortunately, the issue of chronic under-supply is also being passed onto renters as well. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,715, which, based on the CMHC’s affordability metric, requires an annual income of $118,000.

So, housing prices are inflating at rapid levels, while wage growth is lagging far behind, and the response from Ottawa could largely be described as “tinkering with demand.”

Take the federal government’s ban on blind bidding, which is the process where prospective buyers submit their bids on a house without knowing the amount of the other bids. The thought process here is that blind bidding is causing bidding wars that are artificially inflating prices upwards. But is that true?

Not according to housing economists. William Strange, a professor of economic analysis at the University of Toronto, explains a ban on blind bidding wouldn’t reduce pricing. 

“Not to a meaningful degree. There’s no economic evidence that it would matter.” 

Economic analysis comparing bidding models, such as blind bidding versus open auctions, finds different types of auction do not produce dramatically different sales prices.

In addition to Professor Strange, Professor William Wheaton, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Real Estate, called the ban on blind bidding “dubious” because bidding wars are a symptom of an extreme sellers’ market, and not the cause. And the reason why Canada’s real estate market is such a sellers market is because virtually every city has an under-supply of housing.

Beyond the policy being ineffective, it completely ignores the issue of under-supply and raises questions about competition between auction types. So long as there is nothing mandating all home purchases be done in a blind auction, the market should remain open to competing auction types. Sellers may choose to sell their home in a blind auction, but if buyers demand otherwise, we could see some shift and competition between the two auction types. That would be a preferred outcome, in comparison to picking one auction type over the other, because it ultimately leaves that decision between buyers and sellers.

And while some might read competition between auction types of free market zeal, we are seeing changes from the industry itself. For example, the Canadian Real Estate Association already announced it’s piloting a real time tracking system for bids, streamlining the buying process and increasing transparency for consumers.

So will a blind bidding ban do anything to alleviate the housing crisis? No, not really. At best, it tinkers at the margins of demand, while leaving the housing shortage problem unaddressed.

Originally published here

Pentingnya Kampanye Harm Reduction pada Perhelatan Besar di Indonesia

Beberapa waktu lalu, Indonesia menggelar salah satu perhelatan olahraga terbesar di dunia, MotoGP. Perhelatan ini diseleggarakan di Sirkuit Mandalika yang terletak di pulau Lombok, di provinsi Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB).

Tidak bisa dibantah, kesempatan untuk menyelenggarakan perhelatan yang sangat bergengsi ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang cukup langka, dan hal yang dapat terjadi begitu saja. Untuk dapat menjadi tuan rumah dalam perhelatan yang sangat bergengsi ini, dibutuhkan berbagai persiapan yang sangat matang dan biaya yang tidak sedikit.

Indonesia misalnya, harus mengeluarkan biaya setidaknya sejumlah 9 juta euro untuk menjadi tuan rumah perhelatan olahraga internasional tersebut. Dana tersebut dibayarkan kepada perusahaan Dorna Sport, yang merupakan perusahaan induk dari perhelatan MotoGP (suara.com 3/12/2021).

Biaya ini tentunya belum juga termasuk dana yang harus dikeluarkan untuk membangun Sirkuit Mandalika tersebut, yang menjadi tempat perhelatan MotoGP. Diestimasi, pembangunan sirkuit internasional tersebut memakan biaya sebesar 1,2 triliun rupiah (sports.okezone.com, 1/2/2022).

Namun, biaya yang sangat besar ini tentu bisa sangat dimengerti, mengingat MotoGP merupakan salah satu perhelatan olahraga terbesar di dunia. Tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa melalui perhelatan internasional ini, kita memiliki kesempatan yang sangatbesar untuk mempromosikan Indonesia di mata dunia internasional. 

Dengan suksesnya penyelenggaraan ajang olahraga internasional sebesar MotoGP, diharapkan akan semakin banyak turis yang datang ke Indonesia, dan akan semakin banyak investor yang menanamkan dananya di negara kita.

Tidak hanya itu, perhelatan olahraga internasional sebesar MotoGP juga pasti akan mendatangkan banyak pemasukan melalui iklan dan juga penjualan tiket. Tidak sedikit perusahaan multinasional dari brand ternama yang pastinya akan membayar mahal untuk menaruh nama dan juga mempromosikan produk-produk yang mereka jual kepada publik.

Tidak hanya produk-produk yang dibuat dan dijual oleh perusahaan-perusahaan multinasional dari luar negeri, perhelatan ajang kompetisi olahraga internasional sebesar MotoGP juga memberikan kesempatan yang besar untuk mempromosikan berbagai produk-produk lokal yang dibuat oleh para produsen dari Indonesia. 

Upaya untuk memperkenalkan berbagai produk dalam negeri, apalagi kepada masyarakat internasional, tentu saja merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk meningkatkan industri dalam negeri di negara kita.

Selain itu, bukan hanya kampanye dan iklan dari produk-produk dalam negeri, perhelatan olahraga internasional seperti MotoGP juga memberi ruang kesempatan yang besar untuk melakukan kampanye sosial, seperti mengenai kesehatan, dan lain sebagainya. 

Salah satu kampanye yang bisa dilakukan diantaranya adalah mengenai pentingnya langkah dan kebijakan yang mendukung harm reduction untuk para perokok, khususnya di negara kita.

Sudah menjadi rahasia umum bahwa Indonesia merupakan negara dengan jumlah populasi perokok terbesar di dunia. Pada tahun 2020 saja misalnya, hampir 40% penduduk dewasa di Indonesia merupakan perokok aktif, yang merupakan salah satu negara dengan tingkat prevelensi populasi perokok yang terbesar di dunia. Hal ini tentu menimbulkan permasalahan kesehatan publik yang besar, yang harus segera diselesaikan (economy.okezone.com, 13/12/2020).

Untuk itu, berbagai kebijakan yang ditujukan untuk mengurangi jumlah perokok di Indonesia merupakan hal yang sangat penting. Salah satunya adalah, melalui kebijakan yang bertujuan untuk harm reduction. 

Kebijakan ini berfokus bukan pada pelarangan tetapi bagaimana kita bisa membantu para perokok untuk mendapatkan produk yang lebih aman. Dengan demikian, mereka dapat perlahan-lahan meninggalkan kebiasaan merokoknya yang sangat berbahaya.

Penyelenggaraan MotoGP di Mandalika sendiri juga dimeriahkan oleh kampanye program untuk mengurangi rokok (smoking reduction program) yang diselenggarakan oleh perusahaan produsen vape asal Indonesia, Movi. 

Dalam program tersebut, dikampanyekan mengenai metode harm reduction melalui inhalasi uap herbal dengan menggunakan berbagai bahan tradisional yang berasal dari Indonesia (tribunnews.com, 24/3/2022).

Hal ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang positif dan bisa dicontoh di berbagai acara atau perhelatan lainnya, terlebih di perhelatan internasional, yang tentunya menarik banyak perhatian para penonton dan pengunjung. 

Perhelatan internasional yang menarik banyak perhatian publik tentu merupakan salah satu tempat yang paling cocok dan tepat untuk mengkampanyekan pentingnya kebijakan dan program yang berfokus pada harm reduction untuk mengurangi jumlah perokok aktif di Indonesia.

Terlebih lagi, kebijakan atau program yang berfokus pada harm reduction merupakan sesuatu yang belum populer dan belum banyak diketahui secara luas oleh masyarakat Indonesia, termasuk juga para pengambil kebijakan. 

Tidak sedikit masyarakat Indonesia dan para pengambil kebijakan yang masih berpandangan bahwa satu-satunya cara untuk mengurangi prevelansi perokok di Indonesia adalah melalui kebijakan pembatasan dan pelarangan ketat. 

Padahal, kebijakan pembatasan dan pelarangan ketat, tanpa dukungan dari adanya produk alternatif yang lebih aman, merupakan kebijakan yang sangat berbahaya, dan justru dapat semakin menyuburkan berbagai praktik pasar gelap yang menjual produk-produk ilegal.

Sebagai penutup, kebijakan dan program yang berfokus pada harm reduction merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk mengurangi tingkat perokok di Indonesia, dan sudha terbukti berhasil di negara lain, seperti Britania Raya. Dan perhelatan-perhelatan besar merupakan salah satu tempat yang tepat untuk mengkampanyekan pentingnya program tersebut.

Originally published here

Former Amb. Scott Brown chairs new group to oppose congressional ‘overreach’ into tech industry

15 groups are teaming up to push back against what they consider ‘overzealous antitrust enforcement and activist overreach’ of tech sector

Brown will chair a newly formed coalition of 15 groups, including business, consumer, and taxpayer advocates, that are teaming up to highlight what they consider misguided congressional attempts to “overregulate and harm” America’s tech sector.

The group, titled “The Competitiveness Coalition,” will serve as a counterweight to what it charges are “Washington politicians’ attacks on our innovators.” News of the group’s launch was shared first with FOX Business on Wednesday.

Read the full article here

For the sake of the international order, we need Biden to sell more gas

If President Joe Biden wants to kneecap the Russian war machine and save global liberalism, the best thing he can do is start selling more gas. I don’t mean “I Did That” stickers Gorilla-glued to your gas pumps. I mean pure, American-fracked, and American-drilled natural gas shipped out from our terminals and pumped into European homes.

On his recent jaunt to Brussels, Biden stood alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and announced a joint task force to reduce EU reliance on Russian gas “as quickly as possible,” promising up to 15 billion cubic meters of American liquefied natural gas by the end of the year and up to 50 billion cubic meters per year by the end of the decade.

This plan, albeit one of necessity in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is bold, and Biden should be commended for it.

However, the plan is not without fault. In seeking to assuage his domestic political coalition, Biden also promised the plan would be “consistent with, not in conflict with” net-zero climate goals. That is true folly.

Europeans are already facing a reckoning due to their bowing to the greens. German nuclear energy, summarily shut down by former Chancellor Angela Merkel, may soon become a reality. The alleged Russian funding of anti-energy green groups in Europe, once just a trope of Texas congressmen on energy committees, is now getting fresh attention.

In 2014, then-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engages actively with so-called non-governmental organizations, environmental organizations working against shale gas, obviously to maintain European dependence on imported Russia gas.”

Former Secretary of State and Russia critic Hillary Clinton allegedly admitted the same in a cable revealed by WikiLeaks in 2016. “We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort,” Clinton said.

These allegations occur in the same political context in which environmental organizations have amassed great influence in Germany, which still imports 55% of its natural gas, 50% of its coal, and 35% of its oil from Russia.

Greenpeace has grown to be one of Germany’s most powerful lobby organizations, counting on close to 700,000 members and a whopping budget of 80.3 million euros. A long-held aim of Greenpeace has been to eradicate nuclear power in Germany in favor of renewables. Today, just 13% of German electricity is supplied by nuclear energy, compared to nearly 25% a decade ago, while over 50% is reportedly from renewables such as wind, solar, and hydro.

Germany’s expensive renewables policy, known as energiewende, was acknowledged as a state failure in a pivotal article in Der Spiegel in 2019.

With this in mind, Biden must put on his blue-collar uniform to hawk American gas and energy in Europe, but without the environmental qualifiers.

By cutting red tape for energy exportation at home, bringing energy giants to the table abroad, and pushing the European authorities to scale up their production and terminal facilities, the U.S. can once again make a positive mark for European peace and freedom. This will save an entire generation of Europeans from Russian energy dependence, which should mean a lot more than a couple hundred wind farms.

Originally published here

Antitrust Crackdowns On Big Tech Won’t Help Consumers

In the heyday of the net-neutrality fight last decade, tech activists and companies warned of a doom scenario without it: Internet toll lanes, blocking of data and slower speeds.

If Washington didn’t reclassify internet service providers as public utilities and give the Federal Communications Commission oversight, they argued, our entire online experience would change for the worse.

Now, five years after FCC chair Ajit Pai repealed net neutrality, online speeds are achieving record highs, more Americans are online than ever before, and the internet economy has become a dominant force in American society. It’s more open than ever.

Forever restless, however, many of these same activists have chucked aside the net-neutrality battle flag for a new political fight: using antitrust laws to break up and restrict innovative tech companies.

Rather than soothsaying a despotic online future, today’s activists and politicians lament the multiple “tech monopolies” and their apparent control of our lives and data.

The most severely targeted companies are Amazon, Meta Platforms, Google and Apple, which together provide a suite of products and services that employ tens of millions of Americans, are used by an overwhelming majority of internet users, and provide value to countless entrepreneurs and firms that rely on them.

Read the full article here

Liberal Housing Plan Misses The Mark

Ottawa, ON: Today the Federal government released their budget, which includes a significant portion addressing the housing crisis. Major policy announcements include a ban on blind bidding, a new tax-free First Home Savings Account, a foreign buyer ban, and $4 billion for municipalities who grow quicker than the historical average.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Toronto based North American Affairs Manager David Clement responded stating “Unfortunately, the government’s housing plan is not bold enough to properly tackle the housing crisis and effectively deal with the issue of chronic undersupply.”

“They’ve proposed a ban on blind bidding, which has already been shown to have no impact on prices and does nothing to increase supply. Their foreign buyer ban is yet another policy that is attempting to tinker with demand, without addressing supply. And while some of Ottawa’s response will allow for consumers to save more, like the Tax Free First Home Savings Account, these tax policy changes also do nothing to increase the supply of housing,” said Clement

“The only supply side policy the federal government has announced is their earmark for communities that grow at a quicker pace than the historical average. The government’s own estimate states that this could result in the building of 100,000 new homes by 2025, but the problem is that a province like Ontario needs another 650,000 new homes just to get to the national average, which wouldn’t be much to celebrate considering that Canada ranks dead last in the G7 for housing units per 1000 people,” said Clement.

“Rather than tinkering with demand and an underwhelming earmark program, the federal government should have focused on zoning reform. The federal government could quite easily tie federal funding for affordable housing and public infrastructure to density goals, with zoning reform as the core mechanism to achieve it. This would be broadly similar to the recent child care agreements which involve the transfer of federal dollars in exchange for a set of provincial deliverables,” said Clement.

Big Tech’deki antitröst baskıları tüketicilere yardımcı olmayacak

Son on yılda ağ tarafsızlığı mücadelesinin en parlak döneminde, teknoloji aktivistleri ve işletmeler ağ tarafsızlığının olmadığı bir kıyamet senaryosu konusunda uyardılar: internet geçiş ücretleri, veri yasakları ve daha düşük hızlar.

Washington, ISP’leri kamu hizmetleri olarak yeniden sınıflandırmazsa ve Federal İletişim Komisyonu’na denetim verirse, tüm çevrimiçi deneyimimizin daha da kötüye gideceğini savundular.

Şimdi, FCC Başkanı Ajit Pai’nin net tarafsızlığı yürürlükten kaldırmasından beş yıl sonra, çevrimiçi hızlar rekor seviyelere ulaştı, her zamankinden daha fazla Amerikalı çevrimiçi durumda ve internet ekonomisi Amerikan toplumunda baskın bir güç haline geldi. Her zamankinden daha açık.

Bununla birlikte, her zaman huzursuz olan bu aktivistlerin çoğu, yeni bir siyasi mücadele için ağ tarafsızlığı savaş bayrağını bir kenara attı: yenilikçi teknoloji şirketlerini ezmek ve kısıtlamak için antitröst yasalarını kullanmak.

Günümüzün aktivistleri ve politikacıları, despotik bir çevrimiçi geleceğe başvurmak yerine, sayısız “teknoloji tekeli”nden ve onların yaşamlarımız ve verilerimiz üzerindeki bariz kontrollerinden yakınıyorlar.

En çok etkilenen şirketler, birlikte on milyonlarca Amerikalıyı istihdam eden, İnternet kullanıcılarının ezici bir çoğunluğu tarafından kullanılan ve sayısız girişimci ve şirkete değer katan bir dizi ürün ve hizmet sunan Amazon, Meta Platforms, Google ve Apple’dır. ayrıldıklarına odaklanılmıştır.

Bununla birlikte, bu şirketlerin her biri, Kongre tarafından bekleyen mevzuat veya işletmelerinin operasyonlarının daha sıkı düzenleyici incelemesi bekleyen başsavcılardan davalarla karşı karşıyadır.

Sosyal medya hesaplarını yasaklamak veya yasaklamak ya da kendi ürünlerini pazarlarında tercih etmek olsun, her şirketi kendi eylemleri ve politikaları nedeniyle eleştirmek için birçok neden olsa da, düzenleyicileri bu şirketlerin nasıl daha fazla kontrol sahibi olmaya davet etmek için bir adımdır. işletmek çok ileri gidiyor.

Tartışmalı bir hesabın Twitter veya Facebook tarafından askıya alınması, federal bir düzenleyicinin bir şirketin hangi hizmetleri sunması gerektiğine karar vermesi için tetikleyici olmamalıdır.

Gerçek şu ki, teknoloji sektörü inanılmaz derecede rekabetçi ve tüketici çıkarlarına hitap eden çeşitli farklı ürünler ve hizmetler sunuyor.

Facebook veya Twitter’dan sıkıldıysanız, kendi Mastodon sunucunuzu veya Matrix sohbetinizi barındırabilirsiniz. YouTube, istediğiniz içeriği barındırmıyorsa, Rumble veya Odyssey’e kolayca kaydolabilirsiniz. Amazon’a tahammül edemiyorsanız, Shopify, ürünlerini müşterilere listelemeleri için milyonlarca girişimciye bir satış noktası daha sağlar. Seçimler sonsuzdur.

Bu nedenle, bir tüketici savunucusu olarak, Fight for the Future gibi geniş bir koalisyonun yükselişini gördüğümde hayal kırıklığı yaşıyorum.

Bu koalisyon, Automattic (WordPress), Brave Browser, Protonmail ve Spotify dahil olmak üzere sevdiğim ve sık kullandığım birçok şirketi ve aynı zamanda uzun süredir yenilikçileri ve serbest girişimi kısıtlamaya çalışan birçok çıkar grubunu içeriyor.

Bu şirketlerin büyük teknoloji şirketleri tarafından tehdit edildiğini hissetmeleri beklenebilir, ancak hükümetten doğrudan veya dolaylı rakiplerini ayırmasını istemek için siyasi güçlerle güçlerini birleştirmeleri tüketicileri endişelendirmeli.

Kongre, teknolojinin gücünü dizginlemek için antitröst yasalarını değiştirmeyi başarırsa, bu tipik İnternet kullanıcısı ve tüketicisinin yararına olmayacaktır. Bunun yerine, birleşme ve satın almaları kısıtlamaktan çok daha fazlasını yapmak isteyen bir koalisyonun politika hedeflerini karşılayacaktır: belirli siyasi konuşmalar, düşmanca gördüğü hareketler ve tüketicilerin erişmek istemediği ürünler.

Antitröst baskısı, Facebook’taki tipik muhafazakarlara veya YouTube’daki liberal çevrecilere yardımcı olmaz. Hükümeti haber akışınızda ne olduğu veya e-postanızı kimin teslim ettiği konusunda çok daha fazla söz sahibi olmaya davet etmek, yalnızca tüketici seçimini sınırlayacak ve engelleyecektir.

Antitröst eylemi çok ileri giderse, bize mükemmel bir rekabet veya geniş seçenekler çağı getirmez. İnternet kullanıcılarını yenilikçi seçeneklerden mahrum bırakacak ve büyümelerine ve değer yaratmalarına izin veren girişimci güçleri engelleyecektir. Önceden uyarmalıyız.

Originally published here

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