FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In Febuary

It's like every other issue where equality is the fundamental issue -- some people simply do not want equality. They want it so that people can maximize the advantage they get out of having more money than the next guy.

Now, what these free market enthusiasts will say is "we want equality of opportunity, but not necessarily equality of outcome. Because that is the fundamental promise of the Constitution."

OK then, you should say, but where is the actual equality of opportunity that they see here? As far as I can tell, they don't want you to ask that question because they don't have a good answer. It seems that they simply want you to accept that your status as a human with no legal discrimination makes you equal to everyone else.

Here are two problems, however: (1) first, having more money always gives you a greater advantage in everything. But you already knew that. (2) Secondly, and more importantly, the networked nature of the internet has been shown to give an additional advantage to the powerful called "preferential attachment."

This second point is important because there has been a common assumption among people that the internet flattens previous inequalities, giving everyone an equal chance to be heard. The reality is that anybody with a connected mobile device can easily have a voice, but it's VERY difficult to be heard. But it's not just difficult. Instead, the research suggests that networked communication has the opposite effect -- the internet gives the already rich/powerful an even greater chance of being heard than they've ever had. And this is considering that we've already had net neutrality for the whole history of the internet.

So now what happens if the rich and powerful get an even greater advantage over everyone else? Their ability to be heard -- to have people use their services and buy from them -- is exacerbated even further. This is the preferential attachment phenomenon. Its been consistently observed throughout history in research about how communication networks operate. This inherent advantage that the powerful have in networked communication is fundamentally why we need net neutrality policy to become the law of the land.

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