A lesson about why “free” is not free

A lesson about why “free” is not free

This November Facebook is rolling out a subscription model for EU. Their options: pay 10 Euros a month and you will not see ads on Facebook, or as they say it:

People can refuse to pay a subscription and continue to use Facebook for FREE while seeing ads.

Let’s quickly unpack this shitshow.

For the past 10.000 years humans have used a practice to move stuff around the globe: trade. You take care of my sheep, I give you cheese. In time it evolved into specialized work, the notion of debt (trade for it later) and the invention of “currency”. A worthless resource that humans imagine to have value. Such as gold, shells, coins, etc..

You do not have to build houses for others in return for some clothes and food, you will get a currency in return for your work. In time humans started to lose track of what is really happening in this society of trade and then believed that they work for the currency itself. Like you work for money. Despite the fact that not a single human works for money, they work for what money gets them (food, comfort, access, power, etc..).

Therefore, from economists to regular workers, journalists or historians, everyone got tricked and confused by the ways the trade practice mutated over the past thousands of years.

Nowadays it is even more confusing because one can trade their attention (watch ads) in return for accessing some digital content. Or agree to let their data being mined in return for other services. Therefore a currency is often not needed, but the practice of trade is the same as it was 10.000 years ago.

So today humans somehow think that if something does not cost money (or other currencies) that something is FREE. This is almost like saying that someone is not dead unless it has a death certificate.

If we were to understand this simple fact of life, we could cut through a lot of the crap that is raining down in today’s society. We could easily ask the question: What Am I Trading? Like: what do I have to give in return for using Facebook?

And the answer is simple: you need to give them your attention (watch ads), your data, and your currency to either pay to reach your followers and so forth, or pay for a monthly ads-free experiencing.

As you can see in no scenario Facebook is free. NONE.

This is what TROM is trying so hard to make visible: the invisible part of our society. The fact that TRADE is at the core of how this society works, and how this force of trade is making us all complete jerks, charlatans, and abusers. We need to understand what the problem is, in order to come up with any solution.

Understand first!

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