What Does the Net Neutrality Repeal Mean for the Globalized World?“Henry Ford was right. A prosperous economy requires that workers be able to buy the products that they produce. This is as true in a global economy as a national one.” - John J. Sweeney, Former President of the AFL-CIO. We live not only in a globalized economy but in a globalized world. Trade, transportation, communication technology, and media are the four key forces of globalization. Each force is vital economically, politically, socially, and environmentally. The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality threatens three of those four forces, not just for Americans.
The connection between the net neutrality repeal and communication technology is obvious. In a modern world, laptops, phones, etc. are the standard forms of communication technology. This is because they all give us unlimited internet access (so long as we pay our internet bills). The net neutrality repeal will make paying for internet more like paying for cable packages, which is what we want to avoid. Think about how you have to pay for a sports package, a news package, an entertainment package, etc. Internet will soon be paid for in a similar way, thus limiting communication technology for American residents that cannot afford to pay for all of those packages. When someone pays for their internet access, they should be paying for access to the entire internet. That brings us to another vital force of globalization– media. Media does not only include social media, but social media is the most significant media in western cultures. Social media is an essential part of developed civilization. Not just for leisure, but for economics and politics as well. Developed countries live in a global village because of communication technology and social media. And yes, social media will still be available for use. The problem is not that social media is being taken away, because social media is not being taken away. The problem is that medias given to us by the internet will be restricted or even blocked by internet service companies depending on what benefits them financially. The problem is that global connectivity will be harder to achieve.
What does that mean for globalized America? What does that mean for other countries reliant on American social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube? Each of those is essential for business and politics in a modern, developed society. Why would places like the U.K, Canada, or other European countries pay extra to use these American services when they could create their own? Then, you would have American monopolies in this particular industry blocking economic opponents from Americans with their internet packages. Then, hypothetically, the U.S.A would slip further and further away from the global village.
Earlier, I mentioned a third force of globalization being threatened. Trade. Trade is something that has been driving the world for centuries now. Cutting straight to the point, there are three direct ways that the repeal will impact international trade. It will make internet prices unclear, it will limit access to relevant and important resources, and it will “tip the scale” for trade, so to speak. More power will pour into the pockets of the monopolies of the industry. Small businesses will be put at a huge disadvantage. Especially if said small businesses exist in other countries but use American media to promote themselves. This will make it even more difficult to climb the ladder. Additionally, the free internet is what many people have made into their careers. Entertainers, YouTubers, online journalists, online editors, and even office workers with online profiles will be hurt by the net neutrality repeal. Many companies, even bigger companies like Netflix, may be forced to file for bankruptcy. Does this not destroy the entire concept of the American Dream?
Going back to what I said earlier with the idea of the U.S.A slipping away from the global village, Ajit Pai stated that one of his biggest reasons for the repeal is to do with reuniting the country. He believes that free internet has divided the American society. But is placing yourself on the wrong side of the digital divide really worth potentially reuniting the U.S? The vote has not even happened yet and there is so much outrage surrounding it. It has become quite evident that the net neutrality repeal will work against Pai’s favour, dividing the country even more. This repeal is downright regressive, going backward in progress.