1. Helping Small Business
Whether or not your area politician knows how to help small businesses, or even cares to, claiming to have a plan to help small business is a staple position in politics. However despite the hysterical promises from every politician elected over the last century, small businesses are always in peril. They are perpetually damsels in distress, and despite countless laws, initiatives, and programs, nothing seems to help. Given the fact the US government can’t keep itself from spending trillions of dollars it does not have, I find it dubious that they should consider themselves fit to give help or advice to small businesses.
Websites like KickStarter and Indiegogo are some of the internet’s best and most popular crowdsourcing websites, which offer small business a platform to raise money for any project imaginable. From 3D printers to comic books, these websites allow users to take their visions and products to an audience of millions of potential financiers. If the idea is good, it will get funded, and if it is unsuccessful, it won’t, and no one loses any money in a risky loan. Taxpayers aren’t forced to pay for someone’s precarious business plan, and consumers get introduced to a plethora of amazing new products that can improve their lives.
Not only is the internet better at helping small business in America than the state, it is also better at helping small businesses in developing countries. Through websites like Kiva, people can give loans directly to entrepreneurs in developing countries for as little as twenty-five dollars to build roads, water purifications centers, or small businesses.
2. Promoting Art and Culture
While I do not believe that promoting art and culture is something that should even be in the government’s domain, damn it if that stops them. We’ve all heard horror stories of absurd artistic boondoggles that somehow costs taxpayers millions. I nauseously recall hanging dildo sculptures and statues made from old plastic bottles that inexplicably cost small fortunes.
Ask a local musician or painter what they think the best way to promote their art is. If any of them answers, by applying for a government grant to pursue their medium to make it big, either you or the artist you asked is lying.
Many of the world’s most popular websites can be used for, if not are entirely dedicated to promoting artists, including YouTube, Instagram, and virtually all social media sites save Linkden. While I shudder at the thought of even hinting his music is either art or culturally significant, Justin Bieber’s career was started on YouTube, along with thousands of other artists.
Today the next Pink Floyd could be uploading their demos onto YouTube and soundcloud which an entire world of potential fans can hear for free. This, while the US Government wastes millions on some nepotistically commissioned sculpture that will be forgotten after news and watchdog agencies have finished damning it for being a waste of money.
In Washington D.C. it costs almost $30,000 to put a child through one year of public education. Given this staggering amount of money spent per student, there is still a 40% drop out rate in public schools in DC. Not only are students failing to complete their education up to their senior year, they are barely competent in the most rudimentary of skills. According to the Department of Education, seventy-nine percent of 8th graders in Chicago Public Schools are not proficient in reading, and eighty percent are not proficient in math. It is harrowing to think that the schools we trust to educate our children comes from the same group that bring us the Department of Motor Vehicles and the TSA.
I am currently pursing a philosophy degree at a state college. While I am enjoying my time there, the entirety of what I have learned at a cost of tens of thousands a semester is available for free on Wikipedia. In fact, the entirety of information that people learn from kindergarten to their senior year of college can be found for free on Wikipedia. Were one given a thousand lives to squander in a thousand public institutional learning facilities, they could not amass a fraction of the knowledge that is available for free on Wikipedia.
While someone could get a well rounded education from solely reading Wikipedia articles, there are countless ways to receive instruction from a teacher online for free as well. The Kahn Academy boasts a library of thousands of instructional videos ranging from basic math to differential equations to computer languages to economics all for free. These free online schools allow anyone at anytime to engage their preferred material at their own pace, in their preferred way.
4. Spreading Misinformation
While this is not an aspect of the internet anyone is particularly proud of, the internet still bests governments at one of their oldest and most practiced practices. A quick Google search will lead you to seemingly sensible history of the reptilian ancestry of the Bush family, and its effect on global politics. Anti vaccination websites get millions of hits a month, and YouTube is littered with thousands of videos of grainy 9/11 footage played over ominous music with a pimpled narrator yelling “wake up sheeple” over a superimposed image of a question mark.
Despite this sordid corner of the internet, it does a better job of helping our economy, creating and preserving culture, and educating our children and best of all, doesn’t demand forty percent of our income to do it.
So given all this, I endorse a Macbook Pro and Google for the Presidency of the United States in 2016.
Image: courtesy of http://www.taringa.net/posts/info/16452876/Te-cuento-una-breve-historia-de-internet.html