Great Errors in Human Evolution (as of Late)
I’ve noticed a few things that have gone, in my rarely humble opinion, tragically wrong in the past fifty years or so. All of which are related to how large corporations have found a way to double charge the good people of Earth and we all just seem to sit back and deal with it. Given the good fortune you’ve had at arriving in just the right time at any given moment from the publish date of this post into eternity, I thought I’d share these with you:
1. Credit Card Fees
So you know how you have a credit card and when you carry a balance, VISA and Mastercard and such charge you interest on that, right? This is because they’re loaning you money and they have no reason to do that other than to charge interest and make a few bucks in the meantime, balance out the risk.
But did you also know that the companies who accept credit cards are required to pay a fee, typically percentage based, on all of those transactions you make as well? That’s why Mom and Pop gas stations often require you to buy $5 worth of stuff (as they get charged something like 3% + some $0.50, or more, for every transaction).
As humans, we’ve agreed to this system where credit card companies do very little except give us money before we actually have it and charge stores to let us use it. Think about how ridiculous that is that they charge the stores, too. Without the stores, there would be nowhere for us to spend this money, because other humans can’t typically accept credit cards. If all the stores were to band together and refuse to accept credit cards, the first thing that would happen is we, the consumer, would get pissed, but quickly VISA and company would realize that they need the stores, they are actually absolutely nothing without them. They’d greatly reduce the fees or eliminate them altogether. The most glaring issue with this, to me, is the percentage charge. So if I buy a $5 pack of cigarettes, the merchant is being charged something like 65 cents. If I buy a $100,000 Airstream, though, now they’ve paid $3,000.50 in fees!
What can we as people do to prevent this? Use debit cards, not credit cards. Sure, with a debit card, you’re not getting a “loan”, you’re just spending your own money. But it costs the stores significantly less, and helps to keep you out of debt, too. Note that you need to run a debit card as “debit” for this to work.
2. Cell Phone Minutes
When I call my mom, I’m paying for the minutes (in that they’re being subtracted from a finite amount I have that I pay for every month). Why should she be charged for those minutes as well? There is no additional bandwidth being used, the call would have involved both parties either way. We never had to pay for incoming calls back in the days of the landline, even if long distance calling is cheaper all around these days, it’s a clear example of how they’re charging everyone twice, the guy paying for the call and the gal accepting it on the other line.
What to do? US Cellular doesn’t do this, but lets face it…who are they?
3. Internet Bandwidth
Currently, we as Internet consumers pay a, typically monthly, fee to access the Web. Fine and dandy, that’s as it should be. The people providing the websites, whether it’s Google or Facebook or smaller guys like Wand’rly Magazine, still have fees associated with operating a website, such as paying the company that hosts our files for bandwidth, but we don’t also have to pay Verizon and Charter and Comcast to allow our websites to flow over their network. That’s what the consumers are paying for, that information to traverse a particular ISP’s network. But they’ve been working diligently for years to force the governments of the world to allow them to charge extra for this. Websites like this one, personal blogs, and probably every single free website platform out there (ie, Blogger or WordPress.com) would shut down or become paid services, because we would need to pay for everyone who ever browsed our sites. Suddenly, high traffic would not be something you wanted, but something you feared would leave you broke if you ever made it onto the cover of Lifehacker.com or theHuffingtonPost.com. Luckily, big players like Google and millions of individuals banning together have stopped this in the United States.
Now the entire world is coming together to determine how they might best go about shanking us on this one.
What can you do about it? Well, when this happened in the US, thousands of people, literally, came together to write their congressmen and sign online petitions. And you know what? It worked. We stopped a bill called SOPA which would have provided the powers that be the ability to crush the web as we know it today. We kept things like Facebook and Craigslist free. It’s time to do it again: speak out, take action, keep the web free and open!