Video: Would you give up the Internet for life for ….

posted at 7:15 pm on July 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Don’t be silly.  You wouldn’t give up the Internet for the rest of your life for one million dollars, and it would still be a bad bet at one billion dollars, assuming you still have some years left on this mortal coil.  (And if you didn’t, what good would the money do you anyway?)  Ted Balaker produced this video for the Fund for American Studies to demonstrate how technology, innovation, and the free market works to provide a higher standard of living enjoyed by nearly everyone in society — and how government intervention and control interferes with that process:

The free market, says Cox, creates a huge gap between what consumers would be willing to pay for Internet access and how much it actually costs.

It’s cheap to get online and getting cheaper all the time. We see the same pattern with many other products. Take the cell phone. When it first arrived in the 1980s, the cell phone had no apps, no music, and no Internet access–it was pretty much a brick with buttons. Yet that brick cost about $4,000, and that’s why only the super rich could afford them (think Gordon Gekko in Wall Street). Today, it takes only about 40 bucks to walk home with an iPhone.

Turns out capitalism has its own built in welfare transfer system.

“When a new product comes out we all get in line for it,” says Cox. “The wealthiest people are in the front of the line and they pay the highest price for the worst version of a product.” Real life Gordon Gekkos buy the products when they’re expensive, and that lets the rest of us enjoy the cheaper, better versions.

Even in a lousy economy we all enjoy things, from smart phones to aspirin to air conditioning, that weren’t available to the world’s wealthiest people just a short while ago. And if we have access to something like the Internet, something that’s worth so much to us, we just might be richer than we realize.

In short, we need people with lots of disposable income to become early adopters and drive the demand that eventually makes technology accessible to everyone.  The cell phone demonstrates just how much that process has accelerated.  Thanks to the government-protected AT&T monopoly, mobile phones were almost nonexistent until the 1980s.  When competition opened in the Ma Bell breakup, investors and innovators jumped into the market.  Cell phones didn’t just get smaller, they got a lot cheaper very quickly and began to displace pagers within a decade.  Now they’re so ubiquitous that nearly everyone can own one, even if it’s just a cheapie pre-pay phone. Most cell phones now carry broadband Internet access capability, which allows for massive access to the public. The more people use the Internet, the more important it becomes to be connected to it.

But as I noted above, this question isn’t really about the Internet. It’s about whether one understands the power of free markets to deliver higher standards of living through innovation, crowd sourcing, and risk-taking, and how government control stymies progress and wealth creation. Be sure to watch it all.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Not for 1M would I give up HA! I would think about it though.
L

letget on July 8, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Not sure, could I have an endless supply of hot pockets and net flix movies as well?

You don’t eat mr. biglesworth!

upinak on July 8, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Nope, not a chance.

I save too much money on ammo via the ‘net.

ajacksonian on July 8, 2011 at 7:21 PM

A million? Probably not. A billion? Um, yeah, in a heartbeat.

BadgerHawk on July 8, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Nope, not a chance.

I save too much money on ammo via the ‘net.

ajacksonian on July 8, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Somehow, I think you’d recoup the cost.

You-Eh-Vee on July 8, 2011 at 7:24 PM

It has become,Inseparable to so many!!

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:24 PM

With $1 million I could probably retire right now. I’ll take the million please.

AnotherOpinion on July 8, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Tax free?

rjoco1 on July 8, 2011 at 7:25 PM

and how government control stymies progress and wealth creation. Be sure to watch it all.
===================================
Government Greedo’s,

Progressive/Socialists are thy name!!

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:26 PM

What is this ‘internet‘ that you speak of…?

Seven Percent Solution on July 8, 2011 at 7:26 PM

The internet is not “evil” but for some it is highly addictive. Recommend reading “the cult of the Amateur” by Keen, The Shallows by Carr, and Alone Together by Turkle.

Use as a tool with definite purposes for “logging on” with some leisure browsing versus using as an entertainment center and source of most social contact.

Bradky on July 8, 2011 at 7:27 PM

If I had a billion I could afford to hire a hacker that could make sure I could get on line without being detected. Wait, is that cheating?

Warner Todd Huston on July 8, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Man I’d never use the internet again for a hundred thousand, probably less, pfft send me fifty thousand in cash and I’d quit it…people are effin nuts…priorities are all screwed up…

equanimous on July 8, 2011 at 7:27 PM

52% gave up their soul for a gamble on hope and change

faraway on July 8, 2011 at 7:28 PM

How would I find the hot deals on my cruises?

Knucklehead on July 8, 2011 at 7:29 PM

I might give it up for a life on a secluded Island in the Caribbean or South Pacific.

TheBigOldDog on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I would give up using ATMs for $278,000.

NotCoach on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

You-Eh-Vee on July 8, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Hmmm…*glances at who is in office*… just one bout of hyperinflation and a million bucks will get you a loaf of bread. My problem is that I don’t have anything I want a million bucks for at this point in my life. It won’t get me my health back, so the cash doesn’t matter. And the transition of trying to go to paper-based ammo buying and arms purchases (I know of at least three dealers that are net only) would put a crimp in my style.

It would save me cost in having to get rid of cosmoline, however…

ajacksonian on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

TheBigOldDog on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

now yer talkin’

equanimous on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I would take a million or two, and then pay someone to scan the internet for me

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:32 PM

I might give it up for a life on a secluded Island in the Caribbean or South Pacific.

TheBigOldDog on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

TheBigOldDog:Sweet,make mine a Hunting/Fishing Cabin Castle,
up North,fly-in,with a nice Cessna!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:33 PM

What good would a million dollars be without the internet to give you stupid ideas on how to spend it?

MadisonConservative on July 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM

I would take a million or two, and then pay someone to scan the internet for me

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Kini:Veddy interesting,and a tad brilliant to boot!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM

If we can keep the ever-increasing intrusiveness of BigAss Government away from the Intertoobs, then yeah, it’s worth holding on to.

We’ve already seen moves by the Dems in Congress, DHS, the FCC, the FTC, and even The Exalted Ojesus Himself to attempt to steer the web towards a path which they have some control over.

It seems, to paraphrase that famous Hollywierd wackadoodle, “They can’t handle the truth.”

We’ve got to keep our eyes open in our sleep, people.

hillbillyjim on July 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM

I need the internet to do my job, and I expect to earn more than a million dollars doing it over my lifetime, so no.
Now, at a billion I might be persuaded, but it would be a tough call.

Count to 10 on July 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM

The narrators up talk is insufferable.

david kumbera on July 8, 2011 at 7:36 PM

How would I find the hot deals on my cruises?

Knucklehead on July 8, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Knucklehead:Duh,send out the pool boy,on a cruise
pricing errand!:)(snark)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Offer me a billion, and we can talk.

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Thanks to the government-protected AT&T monopoly, mobile phones were almost nonexistent until the 1980s.

They had car phones prior to that. It was no doubt the falling cost of transistors that made cell phones possible. Ma Bell was probably behind all the technology that made cell phones possible. You can fault them for a lot of things, but failing to advance technology is not one of them.

pedestrian on July 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

You mean someone will pay me to go off the grid? Where I do sign up? I guess it depends where you are in life. Do I need internet to swing a golf club during the day and chase skirts at night? It helps but it’s not required.

pc on July 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Veddy interesting,and a tad brilliant to boot!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Capitalism my friend, capitalism!

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:39 PM

We’ve got to keep our eyes open in our sleep, people.

hillbillyjim on July 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM

hillbillyjim:Well thats great,its gonna throw a wrench,into
an Out of Body Experience(OBE)with the eyes
open thingy!(yes,I’m kidding):)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:39 PM

but but but but but but but porn.

Jeddite on July 8, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Veddy interesting,and a tad brilliant to boot!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM
=========================
Capitalism my friend, capitalism!

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Kini:True dat…say it loud/say it proud!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:41 PM

What’s the penalty for cheating?

BKeyser on July 8, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I might give it up for a life on a secluded Island in the Caribbean or South Pacific.

TheBigOldDog on July 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

They have such things, and they got the internet there also
http://www.ternisland.com/working/default.htm

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Cash the check, go back on the internet and when asked just tell them “I lied, just like your Pres.”

rjoco1 on July 8, 2011 at 7:43 PM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/07/iphone-security-issues-apple-update_n_892203.html

5 years constrained to a 8 hour per day chat room with Nancy Pelosi….

Bradky on July 8, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Gladly. I’m more lazy than I am inquisitive.

Ted Torgerson on July 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Wait a tic,

this reeks of a Vast LeftWing ProgTard Strategy to throw
a ruse,er,ploy,to get people off the net,so he can do worse
dastardly deeds,before the 2012 Election!!

Oh,I’m on to this attempted scam!!(snark)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:47 PM

They have such things, and they got the internet there also
http://www.ternisland.com/working/default.htm

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Kini: Ya know,that looks like an AirCraft Carrier!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Product bell curve, the early adopter, mainstream user, the declining stage

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:52 PM

How else am I supposed to learn all of the various and sundry applications of the Commerce Clause?

hillbillyjim on July 8, 2011 at 7:52 PM

What is this ‘internet‘ that you speak of…?

Seven Percent Solution on July 8, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Man I’d never use the internet again for a hundred thousand, probably less, pfft send me fifty thousand in cash and I’d quit it…people are effin nuts…priorities are all screwed up…

equanimous on July 8, 2011 at 7:27 PM

You mean someone will pay me to go off the grid? Where I do sign up? I guess it depends where you are in life. Do I need internet to swing a golf club during the day and chase skirts at night? It helps but it’s not required.

pc on July 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Damn straight.

Axe on July 8, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Ya know,that looks like an AirCraft Carrier!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Basically a runway in the middle of the south Pacific.

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Is this Obama’s latest stimulus proposal?

faraway on July 8, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Before the advent of the hand-held mobile phone, which Motorola introduced in the early ’80s, we were so happy to at least have car/truck phones instead of CBs. And, those babies cost around $4K and you were on a waiting list to be able to get service.

Then, when Motorola came out with its hand-held, at $3.5K per copy, oh boy, were we ready for it. But I, being a cheapskate, waited until the price came down to $1200 to buy my 7 lb brick-o-phone. It was a hoot. My friends and I would walk into a restaurant and get a table, and these big, damn heavy phones would take up most of the table top. Little did we realize what was yet to come.

Of course, at the time, we thought bigger was better, Neanderthals all, clinging to our bullets and bibles and big phones.

TXUS on July 8, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Isn’t it nice to see so many people wouldn’t give up HotAir for a million bucks?

pedestrian on July 8, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Ya know,that looks like an AirCraft Carrier!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:49 PM
================================

Basically a runway in the middle of the south Pacific.

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Kini:Good point,I wonder about a tsunami tho!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 8:08 PM

For $14.7 Trillion and the sake of my country.

catmman on July 8, 2011 at 8:11 PM

The villain Gordon Gecko pfttt.

Dr Evil on July 8, 2011 at 8:14 PM

5 years constrained to a 8 hour per day chat room with Nancy Pelosi….

Bradky on July 8, 2011 at 7:44 PM

You really think Princess Nana has ever turned on a computer?

slickwillie2001 on July 8, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Interesting video.

But as I noted above, this question isn’t really about the Internet.

“It’s about the Internets, Ed” –Obama

On more serious note, one million is not worth what it used to be.

On very serious note, they watch us on the internet. Keep the net, but keep the guns close too. You can still be free without the internet, but not without your harquebi.

Schadenfreude on July 8, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Good point,I wonder about a tsunami tho!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Don’t know, but if I lived there, I’d sleep with life jacket on

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Id give up the net in a heartbeat for that kind of pocket change.

Now that’s change I cane believe in!

KMC1 on July 8, 2011 at 8:58 PM

The same people who believe that an infinitessimal amount of extra carbon dioxide will will cause the forty QUADRILLION tons of the earth’s atmosphere to (somehow) undergo a chain reaction that will destroy all life on earth…

Are – at the same time – absolutely certain that America’s economy is completely impervious to any amount of regulation, taxation, and even out-and-out Fascism. And, that the “economic cycle” is an infinite font of wealth that will continue forever, no matter what lengths they resort to in intentionally trying to destroy it.

logis on July 8, 2011 at 9:02 PM

You wouldn’t give up the Internet for the rest of your life for one million dollars

Yep and never look back.

peacenprosperity on July 8, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Good point,I wonder about a tsunami tho!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 8:08 PM
========================
Don’t know, but if I lived there, I’d sleep with life jacket on

Kini on July 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Kini:Lol,good one!:)

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 9:16 PM

A million dollars? No. A billion dollars? Yes.

SoulGlo on July 8, 2011 at 9:23 PM

I couldn’t do it. My businesses are web based and the amount represents a little over four years of income. For five million, I would do it.

BruthaMan on July 8, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Definitely for $5 million, I’d have to be able to retire since I need the internet for work, and 5 million sounds like a good number. Now if I can just find someone to make the offer.

mbs on July 8, 2011 at 9:51 PM

1 million? No, but up it to 25, tax free, and I would gladly kiss the internet goodbye. With that kind of coin I could retire and keep my self busy enough no to need the web.

HAExpert on July 8, 2011 at 9:57 PM

A million? Maybe not. Three million? Yeah, since it would mean I could comfortably retire.

Hmm… know what I’m thinking? Hollowpointathon! Once the three million dollar goal is reached, you’ll never see me on HA ever again!

Hollowpoint on July 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM

I would not be able to do my job… Do I get a pass and access during those hours? If yes… then give me the million and I’m out.
-
Otherwise… no way.
-
BTW… I gave up the cell phone over 5 years ago. My daughter made me get a trac phone when the last two kids were being born… And I stopped charging the phone right after the births. I do know how to drop the tech addiction… No power… no tech.
-

RalphyBoy on July 8, 2011 at 10:22 PM

I’d give up TV for 50 grand.

But The Net’s gonna cost you 50 mill.

Just for the lifetime of aggravation of people asking “Did you see that [picture/video/report/story/song] online?”

Giving up this is goona be very expensive.

profitsbeard on July 8, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I’ll take that million in a heartbeat. I survived just fine without it for the first 25 years of my life, I think I could easily do without it for the next 50 or so.

rmel80 on July 8, 2011 at 11:42 PM

I’ll log off for a year if the girl in the video will let me brush her hair.

vermin on July 9, 2011 at 12:15 AM

Good piece, and provocative. Capitalism has its own wealth redistribution built in — and it’s far more efficient than government’s clumsy coercion.

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2011 at 12:15 AM

For a billion? Um, yeah. I’d spend the rest of my life between the beach and ski resort and never far from a bottle of fine scotch.

Heck, I’d just buy my own beach and ski resort.

I think I’d manage just fine without the internet.

jhffmn on July 9, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Hell no. I’ve met more than a few good friends on the ‘net, greatly enjoy the forums I’m part of, and there’s nowhere else to dig up most of the vintage software I love so much.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Great article ED

JustJP on July 9, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Soooooooooo… Solar Panels?

Reaps on July 9, 2011 at 10:23 PM