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[Editor - Candle] Say Can You See?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:14 am
by Candlewhisper Archive
There's an existing issue about tech monopolies, about Microsoft, which seems positively archaic now, but the recent moves against the Big Five have made it topical again. Was trying to find a fresh approach, and came up with this...


TITLE:
Say Can You See?

VALIDITY:
capitalism, no autarky, internet

DESCRIPTION:
It looks like your PA has added you to the "Boss Office" WotsOn group, and now your phone won't stop chiming. Before you silence notifications though, you can't help but notice that there appears to be a heated discussion around the high price of spectacles.

OPTION 1
"Rabe-Ann, Oakleech, Vague Eyewear... all these supposedly competing brands are owned by the Laxativottica conglomerate," complains your PA to the group. "Vertical integration and aggressive takeovers have left a handful of companies controlling eyewear manufacturing and retail, with the net result of 1000% mark-ups for consumers. This isn't a monopoly, strictly speaking, but an interdependent oligopoly. Antitrust agencies need more power to break up companies, to regulate and control mergers, to punish predatory pricing, and to maximise fair competition rather than purely focusing on monopolies. This isn't just specs, though, this is a sickness through the whole system! Don't you agree, @@LEADER@@? You're reading this right?"

OUTCOME:
lemonade stands that advertise they grew their own lemons are investigated by Monopolies and Mergers Commissioners

OPTION 2
"Look, @@LEADER@@ doesn't want to hear your big government claptrap," suggests another of your office juniors, who you recall keeps telling you about @@HIS@@ cousin's ethical organic woven-hemp company. "Rather than over-regulate, maybe we just need to help competitors get a foothold on the market Provide subisidies and government-sponsored promotion to any small companies who can show they're entering a marketplace that needs more competition, and we can start to break up megacorporate power. I mean, I hear that you can make pretty good glasses now out of locally sourced hemp twine. Let's think outside the box. Just saying."

OUTCOME:
hipster ministers read indie comics and drink artisanal coffee

OPTION 3 - NHS required
"Actually, the best way to deflate a market is to knock the bottom out of it," adds your Minister of Health, who is working from home today with a headache. "Have the state manufacture basic prescription spectacles, and distribute them through the national health service. Fashion-chasers and poseurs can still buy expensive brands if they want, but nobody will be forced to buy expensive lenses."

OUTCOME:
NHS spectacle frames come in three colours: beige, ochre and milk coffee

OPTION 4
"Hi there, @@LEADER@@, looks like you're talking about antitrust legislation! Let me help with that!" interjects Ploppy, the helpful App Assistant animation that's recently been added to WotsOn. "Did you know that high profit margins are good for the economy? "Big profits make for big companies, which drives employment, finances innovation and investment! Evidence shows that when you give tax breaks to the biggest companies, you let them grow bigger and stronger, and they bring more wealth to your nation! Only a really bad president could disagree, and we've banned him from all our platforms! Here's a great Insta-message video that explains this! I've also added you to a MyFace group on Laissez-Faire Capitalism, and added Marcus Sugarmountain to your exclusive contacts! Now enjoy these advertising messages, chosen specially for you! Because We Care (TM)!"

OUTCOME:
Big Brother is watching you (and selling your data metrics to Big Sister, Big Uncle and Big Auntie)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:04 am
by Jutsa
I see, I see - an Editor - Candle, I see.

I'll also take this moment to point out we do have various issues involving monopolies and antitrust, being #41 (existing bloated corporation),
#330 (huge marts ruining small businesses, not exaaactly the same), #1067 (big business merger creating a monopoly),
and, perhaps more relevant here, one specifically about oligopoly in milk prices - #1160.
Plus technically #1174 but it doesn't exactly count imo

That said, if this is seen through different lenses as being substantially different in contacts - I mean, context, then do proceed.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:37 am
by Baizou
Ooh, this is pretty fun writing. I like the WotsOn groupchat as a framing device!

Two small critiques. First, I think "NHS" in Option 3 should be expanded to "National Health Service." Lots of American users won't make the connection, and even if they have universal healthcare as an option, they might not realize that would imply a government body called a National Health Service.

Second, Option 4 is very funny, but it's pretty long—or at least, it seems noticeably longer than most issue options I see. Could it be trimmed down at all? Maybe the "banned him from all our platforms" line? It's fun, but it's also not strictly necessary to get the point across. but Also, "which drives employment, finances innovation and investment" seems to be a comma splice; the comma could be replaced with an "and," or you could put another present-tense verb after "innovation" (though you'd then need to add a serial comma).

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:17 pm
by Australian rePublic
Why would needing to joining a WhatsApp group be needed in order to discuss glasses prices? Why can't have these discussions in the lunch room or whatever?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:27 pm
by Candlewhisper Archive
Australian rePublic wrote:Why would needing to joining a WhatsApp group be needed in order to discuss glasses prices? Why can't have these discussions in the lunch room or whatever?


Because there's a second level here, referring to the Big Tech monopolies. Facebook owns the four most downloaded apps of the decade, and one of them is WhatsApp,

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:29 pm
by Candlewhisper Archive
Baizou wrote:Two small critiques. First, I think "NHS" in Option 3 should be expanded to "National Health Service." Lots of American users won't make the connection, and even if they have universal healthcare as an option, they might not realize that would imply a government body called a National Health Service.


I'll change the draft above.

Second, Option 4 is very funny, but it's pretty long—or at least, it seems noticeably longer than most issue options I see. Could it be trimmed down at all? Maybe the "banned him from all our platforms" line? It's fun, but it's also not strictly necessary to get the point across. but Also, "which drives employment, finances innovation and investment" seems to be a comma splice; the comma could be replaced with an "and," or you could put another present-tense verb after "innovation" (though you'd then need to add a serial comma).


I thought that too as I wrote it. The option was written without the Trump twitter ban reference, and that was then added in, and I worried I'd messed up the flow.

Think you may be right, may revise that shortly.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:19 am
by Australian rePublic
Candlewhisper Archive wrote:
Australian rePublic wrote:Why would needing to joining a WhatsApp group be needed in order to discuss glasses prices? Why can't have these discussions in the lunch room or whatever?


Because there's a second level here, referring to the Big Tech monopolies. Facebook owns the four most downloaded apps of the decade, and one of them is WhatsApp,

Oh, okay