Free Lunches, Free Riders: I

Monday, August 26, 2002
Posted in category Uncategorized

Free Lunches, Free Riders: I have a new piece out on LewRockwell.com called The Perils of a Free Lunch. Though this was just a “quick thought” blog entry that somehow turned into an LRC article, I think it’s important to think about free-rider effects on the internet. Just like anywhere else in the general economy, internet services are dealing with problematic free-rider issues. This is because of the proliferation of so many FREE services. Of course, anything that is free brings out the worst types of drifters, parasites, and do-nots. With no cost to them, these get-a-lifers can generally wreak havoc on others through spamming, badgering, and just a horde of shenanigans in general.

These free-riding individuals are not willing to contribute towards the cost of something when they know that someone else will bear the cost. Instead, they drive up costs with their abuse of systems and services. Yahoo! and Hotmail are two immediate examples that I point to. Being they are private endeavors, I wonder why it is they choose to offer up so much free stuff. That fact, along with their methods of financing growth, is a recipe for disaster. (Read the financial statements for some of the internet companies like Yahoo! and Amazon.com. People don’t really wonder why the dotcoms have been a disaster, do they?)

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