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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 25 2023, @03:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the circle-of-life dept.

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a "two sided market," where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.

[...] Search Amazon for "cat beds" and the entire first screen is ads, including ads for products Amazon cloned from its own sellers, putting them out of business (third parties have to pay 45% in junk fees to Amazon, but Amazon doesn't charge itself these fees). All told, the first five screens of results for "cat bed" are 50% ads.

This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they're locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they're locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:00PM (4 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:00PM (#1288586)

    >A lot of the time UBI is just high enough that you don't have to fear starving. So there would still be incentives to get the 2nd gulfstream, because you can't on UBI.

    Sure, and I think that's a very good way of rating a society: do you simply not fear starving in that society, or do you truly have enough freedom to build, create and explore? Note: UBI doesn't mean nobody works, people still want that Cessna Citation (faster than the G5) so they're gonna work to get it. The thing is: they'll be operating in an environment where they can't get people to come do their bidding just because those people can't afford food, or rent, or healthcare...

    >Who is going to farm the food, or build buildings you live in?

    People who want more than what UBI provides, which I suspect is pretty much everyone at some level. UBI doesn't provide much in the way of feelings of self worth or belonging, which is what a lot of people get out of work - or volunteering.

    >Does UBI change depending on what people say they need?

    In my mind, no, and that would be the beautiful justice of it: no rules, no tests, no bureaucratic administration, simple test: one living legal citizen? If so: one income stream to you or your legal guardian. I do believe there would need to be dis-incentives to overpopulation, no more UBI after 1st child per parent for instance.

    >Can you really do the things you want to do if no one is making the things you want?

    So, the transition will be ticklish - and fraught with fraud - but picture UBI starting at $1 per day per person and slowly increasing from there. Where's the incentive for people to stop making the things you want? At some point we get the "great resignation" where we can't get people to work in Taco Bell for $8 per hour anymore, and Taco Bell adjusts to that - or dies. Is Taco Bell then replaced by Tito's Taco Tavern, where Tito from Tijuana and his wife Hilda from Hamburg make Tacos and sell traditional German beer, and maybe they lose a little money some months because they're not competitive with Taco Bell (until it dies), but that's O.K. because they still have enough UBI coming in to meet their other monetary needs? Personally, I'd rather live in a world of 10,000 unique (safe and regulated, independently and reliably reviewed) restaurants like Tito's Taco Tavern and maybe a lot less Taco Bells...

    >When worker demand is low UBI would be higher

    Some of that is inevitable, but a reliable level of UBI is also a key component, providing security, assurance that you will be able to do the things you are planning (like eating, and sleeping with a roof over your head...)

    >I'm sure there are different kinds of UBI

    I'm sure within the current system that UBI will become complicated, corrupt, and far from fair at its initial rollout, but maybe if the benefits are clear enough anyway it might make it something that people are willing to fight for.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:27AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:27AM (#1288623)

    Assuming there was enough confidence in UBI being around till you hit retirement age, UBI would provide safety nets for would-be entrepreneurs, so we might see people start more "diverse" businesses. Mark Zuckerberg had a dad who was rich and generous enough to offer him a McD franchise: []

    You might see more books and "low end" games being produced too.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:12AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:12AM (#1288644)

      >UBI would provide safety nets for would-be entrepreneurs, so we might see people start more "diverse" businesses.

      I think this would be one of the best / most interesting aspects of such a future.

      If you look at the "wisdom of the ages" from Plato through Galileo, DaVinci, Newton, etc. the authors/inventors/writers all had one thing in common: their basic costs of living provided for.

      For every great enduring invention or idea handed down from a crop picker working all their days in the fields, there are 100s, perhaps 1000s that come from the aristocrats of their day, or people relatively comfortably employed by those aristocrats to do the creative work.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:31AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:31AM (#1288679)

        So there's 2 ways to take this.

        * One way says the talent available to further humanity is limited by opportunity.

        * The other says the best talent rose to the top in a competitive environment.

        Guess which society inheritees believe in?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 28 2023, @08:52PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 28 2023, @08:52PM (#1289120)

          Of course it's a bit of both, but in my view there's plenty of talent out there that gets stifled by a lack of opportunity. The competitive environment merely kicks out some of the absolute imbeciles who can't "make it happen" in their roles, giving the next in line a chance to try - but ignoring thousands of others who might do it better but have no opportunity to try. That's why the relative independence (freedom) of UBI would be so great for innovation.

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