Facebook now connects over two billion of the world’s people. They use it to share and promote their ideas among a potentially unlimited audience, keep up with the lives of their geographically dispersed families and old friends, make new friends and acquaintances, build small businesses, learn about people and parts of the world far from home, and organize political and social movements.
A network that connects that many of the world’s people is too powerful to be run as a private business, too necessary to be turned off, and too diverse and global to be regulated by one country alone. Facebook should be nationalized by the US government – and then quickly internationalized as a global, non-commercial utility.
Washington Post opinion columnist Elizabeth Bruenig recently offered a philosophically rich and polemically unapologetic defense of socialism in a debate at LibertyCon, a conference in Washington D.C. for young libertarians. She followed up on her debate contribution a few days later with a column in the Post entitled “It’s time to give socialism a try.” I find myself in warm sympathy with much of Bruenig’s argument, and with her wise concerns about some of the pernicious features of our current economic institutions and practices. But a few aspects of her critique of contemporary capitalism give me pause. Some of the problems Bruenig identifies, it seems to me, are problems endemic to complex, modern economic life as such, problems that might therefore be inherent in any economic system that modern humans are likely to find acceptable. These are then problems that no politically realistic socialism can promise to fix.