Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mission Creep

Send Invoice to Buyer

Error

Warning

you can't send invoice for this order
The item(s) will ship using the Global Shipping Program. As part of the program, buyer directly pays international shipping and import charges to the third-party shipping provider. The buyer will still be able to complete checkout even if you don't send an invoice.

If you want a preview of how corporate control of internet communication is going to advance even further, there's always eBay. Governments hate the idea of people exchanging ideas, bodies, goods, or services without paying a tariff to some lord or other. Once a venue is created--road; port; highway; internet; particular website--it sells itself on the idea of freedom. People get drawn to it, and then the governments begin imposing restrictions, barriers, bridges, taxes, and fees.

In the eBay situation above, what is happening is that a product is sold, but the seller and buyer are prevented from communicating about how to ship it from one to the other. Instead, the buyer is supposed to turn over her money to Pitney Bowes, who is authorized to generate a shipping label that the seller can then print--for only four times the cost of postage. A 10% finder's fee isn't even warranted in this case, let alone a 400% one.

Why do we give a damn? It's just a costly annoyance to people buying crap on eBay.

We give a damn because this is how it happens: little protective rules, made up only for your safety, are implemented in conjunction with a limitation on the ability of people to communicate and exchange without first tithing the nobility. In the eBay case above, a seller literally cannot send an invoice (a statement of goods/services sold, requesting payment) to a buyer; eBay's software infrastructure has mobilized clever ways to prevent not only the sending of an invoice, but the exchanging of e-mail addresses between buyer and seller, permitting them to communicate outside of eBay's monitoring system.

But, but, capitalism, right? The sacred right of people to buy, sell, and trade labor and goods in order to maximize growth, efficiency, and personal happiness? Nope. There is no free market. Maybe there never was.

1 comment:

  1. Any market is a political construct. Where markets have any human benefit it is because the politics that define them define some human benefit into them. Assholes always and everywhere try to capture that benefit for themselves and where they have political power that is where they do it.

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