Maybe social media shouldn’t be for profit?

Here’s a radical idea: social media and capitalism are not a good match. Everyone is trying to force-fit human social interactions into a pay-to-play capitalist box, and it’s just not working.

Parler — remember Parler? One of those Twitter-substitutes fueled by conservative billionaires, promising no content moderation at all, used to plan the January 6 insurrection? That Parler? — just died. It will not be missed.

Parler, the self-described “uncancelable free speech platform,” has been sold and shut down while its new owner conducts a “strategic assessment.” The platform will be back eventually, new owner Starboard says.

The Parler website is now a simple page containing only today’s press release announcing the acquisition, which was completed without financial terms being disclosed. “No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” the acquisition announcement said, promising a revamp.

“While the Parler app as it is currently constituted will be pulled down from operation to undergo a strategic assessment, we at Starboard see tremendous opportunities across multiple sectors to continue to serve marginalized or even outright censored communities—even extending beyond domestic politics,” the press release said. No timing for a return was mentioned.

Yeah. The uncancelable has been canceled by market forces, as a luxury that wasn’t a “viable business.” It wasn’t. It takes a real shock to get conservatives to recognize reality.

Then there’s Facebook. Facebook makes money, although the amount is declining, but it relies on selling people’s personal information to marketers — it’s less a social media company than a colossal siphon for collecting data that it can manipulate and sell to those who want to take advantage of users. What it offers as an inducement to draw in those users is the worst of human nature, giving grifters and attention-seeking fools free reign. Facebook is great if you want to sell trash to the gullible and demolish democracy as you go, but Facebook is what you get when you fully meld social media and capitalism. It’s not a good example.

Ah, Twitter. Poor Twitter. It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s been taken over by egomaniac and incompetent businessman, and is being run into the ground by a bad man whose “focus appears to be on cutting costs and making Twitter profitable.” On the one hand, I feel like we should kill it while the Nazis are lying on the ground, helpless and twitching, but on the other…it turns out that Twitter has been integrated into the world-wide disaster response network.

For years, Twitter was at its best when bad things happened. Before Elon Musk bought it last fall, before it was overrun with scammy ads, before it amplified fake personas, and before its engineers were told to get more eyeballs on the owner’s tweets, Twitter was useful in saving lives during natural disasters and man-made crises. Emergency-management officials have used the platform to relate timely information to the public—when to evacuate during Hurricane Ian, in 2022; when to hide from a gunman during the Michigan State University shootings earlier this month—while simultaneously allowing members of the public to transmit real-time data. The platform didn’t just provide a valuable communications service; it changed the way emergency management functions.

We started taking it for granted, that buried in the noise was a genuine public good that could be used to help people. That wasn’t a side of the service that made money, though. At least, not until some soulless clever dicks decided that maybe they could exploit that capability for their profit, unaware that the utility vanishes when you start demanding cash to save people’s lives.

Unfortunately, the platform is becoming less useful as a way of monitoring chatter about developing events. Twitter announced on February 2 that it would end free access for researchers to its application programming interface—a mechanism that allows people outside the company to gather and analyze large quantities of data from the social-media platform. Relief workers have frequently used API access to determine where supplies and other resources are needed most.

Four days after the company’s API announcement, a massive earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing at least 46,000 people. In an enormous geographic area, API data can help narrow down who is saying what, who is stuck where, and where limited supplies should be delivered first. Amid complaints about what abandoning free API access would mean in that crisis, Twitter postponed the restriction. Still, its long-term intentions are uncertain, and some public-spirited deployments of the API by outside researchers—such as a ProPublica bot tracking politicians’ deleted tweets—appear to be breaking down.

Social media can be a valuable tool for a society, but not when some capitalist or autocrat somewhere is monitoring it to milk every drop of advantage from it so they can actively harm its users. That’s the fatal flaw: the free flow of information is a strong social good, but when people exploit it for profit it’s no longer free.


  1. imback says

    Just dreaming, but maybe some institution like the post office could stand up an emergency media platform as a public good.

  2. raven says

    Tumblr once sold for $1.1 billion. The owner of WordPress …

    Aug 13, 2019 — Tumblr once sold for $1.1 billion to Yahoo in 2013. The owner of WordPress just bought it for a reported $3 million.
    Hamilton Spectator › business › 2019/08/13 › tu…

    Tumblr was another social media site that crashed and burned.
    It was sold to Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion and sold recently to WordPress for $3 million.

    When internet sites run into trouble, they can lose value rapidly.
    AOL is still around but I doubt if it is worth much these days.
    Who has a Myspace account?

  3. raven says

    We started taking it for granted, that buried in the noise was a genuine public good that could be used to help people.


    I’ve been saying this since Twitter was bought by Elon Muak.
    Twitter is a good idea done well and it is widely used and read because it is useful.
    Virtually all new organizations use Twitter to announce their news and breaking stories.
    For rapid dissemination of news in short headlines, it is very good.
    I don’t have a Twitter account and never will now, but still find myself there often.

    There is room for a Twitter clone that does what Twitter did, without the baggage of Elon Musk and his Nazi and Russian trolls. Call it OG Twitter or Detoxified Twitter.

    Best case is Musk runs it into the ground (already happening) and someone buys Twitter cheap and then fixes it up. Probably won’t happen because Musk would rather see it dead than fixed by someone else.

    Facebook was a good idea done very badly.
    It needs to die for the good of the world.
    Fortunately it is starting to struggle and I’m sure internally, there are a lot of nervous people.

  4. raven says

    One of the major news organizations already left Twitter. NPR, National Public Radio

    NPR quits Twitter after being falsely labeled as ‘state-affiliated media’
    Updated April 12, 20234:29 PM ET
    Heard on Morning Edition David Folkenflik edited for length

    NPR announced it would cease posting to Twitter after the social media platform labeled the nonprofit “Government-funded Media.”

    NPR will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organization to go silent on the social media platform. In explaining its decision, NPR cited Twitter’s decision to first label the network “state-affiliated media,” the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.

    Twitter owner Elon Musk asked how NPR functioned. Musk allowed that he might have gotten it wrong.

    Twitter then revised its label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that is inaccurate and misleading, given that NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    “At this point I have lost my faith in the decision-making at Twitter,” he says. “I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again.”

    Initially, Musk didn’t respond, but a couple of hours later Musk tweeted out Allyn’s email followed with a tweet saying “Defund @NPR.” His followers quickly piled on.

    In an email to staff explaining the decision, Lansing wrote, “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

  5. says

    Andrew Carnegie, a genuinely horrible human being, created a foundation with an endowment to provide public libraries. Enoch Pratt did likewise in Baltimore – my life was changed profoundly when I got my free library card.

    A free search engine without advertorial content manipulation, a social news-ticker, email and messaging, micro-blogging – all fairly easy for someone like Soros or Gates or Buffet to fund.

    Instead, we have a vanity space race. Oh, the humanity!

  6. F.O. says

    News for profit, education for profit, healthcare for profit, housing for profit, water for profit, land for profit…

  7. StevoR says

    Facebook has its uses and certainly isn’t all bad. There’s a lot of good stuff and pages on science, memes, news, politics and more on there. I do enjoy spending a lot of time on it and sharing of a lot of things on it and whilst there’s a lot of nasty stuff about it and I certainly disagree with how it’s algorithm affected politics and that yeah, there’s a lot of disinformation that’s also true of other social media – and indeed the old newspapers and TV as well.

    I would argue that perhaps ownership needs to change -maybe theyneed tobe placed inpublic hands (?) and a code of ethics and rules needs to be put in place that say stuff like algorithms need to de-escalate and de-radicalise people and debunk disinfo and push the facts over the bulldust a lot better but if used properly socal media – including facebook – can work really well for the rest of society as a whole in keep people in touch, happy and well informed.

    I’m also going to defend the space race even among private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin because they have advanced a lot of technology and made space more accessible for more people.

  8. says

    Twitter run by the post office would be kind of neat, actually.

    The post office is also well positioned to manage identity attestation.
    Back when Obama was new and Howard Schmidt was cybersecurity czar, I was summoned to DC for a non-disclosure presentation regarding a thing that never happened, but I traded that for being able to make a 10 minute idea pitch for a proposal of my own – which was that the government should issue and manage fake ID – nom de blog – mapped to a real citizen or collective, attested but anonymized by the government (subject to subpoena). Revocable if used to spam, threaten, scam, etc. Filterable at end points: “only accept calls from real identities” etc.The room listened thoughtfully and the FBI guy said “dangerous idea” and the guy from NSA said “I love it” so I knew the idea was dead right there.

    In retrospect, I don’t think the US government can be trusted. Public digital services should be operated by endowed foundations with strong governance frameworks. Eg: “our founder set it up so if we start running ads our endowment is taken away”

  9. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Step 1: nuke twitface from orbit
    Step 2: tell everyone ‘pull shit like that, you’re next’
    Step 3: enjoy

  10. Oggie: Mathom says


    I don’t think the US government can be trusted

    True. Then again, I would trust the US Government before I would trust a for-profit corporation. And I would trust non-profits (be they government funded non-profits (USPS), private non-profit corporations (CPB), or privately endowed nonprofits over federal government or for-profit corporations. I also think that the US government is much more trustworthy than state governments — some are trustworthy, most are not (see Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma . . . .).

    At the same time, I see the level of trustworthiness directly proportionate to the activity of the part of government — very little trust in the intelligence community (then again, not trusting, or being trustworthy, is an important part of their raisin date*) or agencies that directly limit the behavioural aspects of for-profit companies (lots of opportunities for political appointees to favour a particular industry in return for a directorship once out of office).

  11. says

    One problem with social media in the US, as we see with TikTok is that the US intelligence community assert hegemony over all data and threaten dire consequences for noncompliance. It’s an unfortunate side effect of nationalism. Iceland? Finland? Nothing would be acceptable to the US unless it maintained full spectrum dominance, and any public service would be structurally suborned as it was being built.

  12. StevoR says

    @12. Oggie: Mathom & Marcus Ranum : I wouldn’t necessarily trust any govt. I think there needs to be transparency here whoever runs it.

    Also it is great news that Parler has met its demise. Hopefully Gab and other nazi far reich wing platforms will sooon follow showing its actually :

    “Go anti-woke (& nazi) and go broke!”

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    LMFTFY: Poor Twitter. It was fun exploitation and exacerbation of global attention deficit disorder while it lasted…

  14. billseymour says

    Twitter run by the post office would be kind of neat, actually.

    Uh…I wouldn’t count on it.  As a former coder for the Postal Service, it seems to me that they’d probably try to write it in Java (although there was some talk about Python about a year ago when I retired); and it wouldn’t have any concurrency controls. 8-)


    If this were my [former] employer’s opinion, I wouldn’t be allowed to post it.

    — Norman Diamond

  15. says

    I wouldn’t necessarily trust any govt. I think there needs to be transparency here whoever runs it.

    … which is why the patriot act includes national security gag orders: transparency is not allowed. You give access to your users’ data or the FBI shows up with semis and takes your entire data center.

    We can’t trust corporations either. How did Verizon and AT&T respond to the huge spike of data access requests by government agencies since 9/11? They turned fulfilling those requests into profit centers.

  16. JoeBuddha says

    I use Twitter for amusement, to reach out directly to entitled asshats and tell them what I think. Not that they will read it, mind you, but it makes ME feel good.
    Facebook is for keeping in touch with family and friends and an occasional chuckle from my feeds.
    If you’re not relying on them as anything but strictly social, they’re not bad.

  17. wzrd1 says

    One problem with USPS running such a service. They don’t do emergencies. Emergencies halt USPS services. Add in a major issue, all USPS services are paid for by stamp taxes, so you’d need a USPS twitter stamp to utilize their services.
    If only there was some agency that managed emergencies, a federal emergency management agency, perhaps.

    Oh, that Twitter API researchers were using is also being utilized since COVID to track nascent pandemics. That’ll be going away too, because pandemics are good for the economy or something.

  18. billseymour says

    wzrd1 @19:

    One problem with USPS running such a service. They don’t do emergencies.


    Emergencies halt USPS services.

    No, they don’t (except when some natural disaster halts all transportation of any kind).

    … all USPS services are paid for by stamp taxes …

    You’re just making stuff up now.  The Postal Service has several revenue streams besides the stamp that you stick on your first-class letter (which, by the way, is payment for service rendered, not a tax).

  19. KG says

    Andrew Carnegie, a genuinely horrible human being, created a foundation with an endowment to provide public libraries. – Marcus Ranum

    I’d be interested in your source for ” a genuinely horrible human being”. Certainly he was a monopolist, anti-union and not averse to corruption, but he was also a genuine philanthropist (by his death he had given away around 90% of his wealth and he’s known for saying “The man who dies rich dies disgraced”), an anti-militarist and anti-imperialist, and for his time, his racism was relatively mild – paternalistic rather than hateful. I know very little about his personal relationships, but he was said to be charming. I lived for a time in the town where he grew up in poverty, Dunfermline in central Scotland. As well as a library (the first of the many he endowed) and swimming bath, he gifted to the town the park which he had gazed at through its fences as a child, wishing he could enter. It’s now known as Pittencrieff Park. I’d say he’s a genuinely paradoxical figure.

  20. says

    I would argue that perhaps ownership needs to change -maybe they need to be placed in public hands…

    How about NPR? Pro-Publica? CPB?

  21. wzrd1 says

    billseymour, so USPS doesn’t halt for emergencies, save for emergencies. Oddly, I remember a few times transportation resumed, but delivery services were held up. Hard to service an area when one’s postal workers can’t get in to work or their service areas.

    No, the USPS predates and is written into the Constitution. Back when tax stamps went on damned near everything. Why do you think every parcel, package or letter gets machine endorsed with a stamp with the price paid? It’s literally a stamp tax. My state still uses a stamp tax on tobacco products, NFA firearms remain a tax stamp required item, alcohol is a tax stamp item federally and in some states as well, some properties have federal tax stamps attached to the deeds and the list goes on and on. Tax stamps are written into the Constitution, income tax is not, but is under Congress’ duties to levy taxes as necessary.
    Annoyingly, Google searches for federal tax stamp are heavily contaminated with NFA tax stamp results, but property and alcohol tax stamps do return mixed in.

  22. says

    I’d be interested in your source for ” a genuinely horrible human being”. Certainly he was a monopolist, anti-union and not averse to corruption, but he was also a genuine philanthropist

    Meet you in hell, by Les Standiford

    He got his financial start, which allowed him to build his massive steel empire, by insider trading on the railroad company he worked for. Then, he screwed a few of his business partners using board-level maneuvers to gain control of his business, replacing them with highly competent and equally ruthless capitalists like Frick. Describing him as “anti union” is like saying “Hitler didn’t like some people.” Carnegie played all kinds of cute games with his workers, such as assessing their production over holidays, when production was down, then paying them the full year based on that. Of course the unions complained, so he locked the plants to starve them out, then hired strike-breakers (Pinkertons) with an armored gunboat to come blast the shit out of some workers negotiate on behalf of the company. He locked out the workers, caused sniper towers and boiling water cannons to be installed on the perimeter, and settled in for the long run; after all he was loaded with money and could afford to wait and the workers couldn’t. Thus, he triggered the battle of Homestead, which is sometimes described as “a massacre” – except the Pinkertons initially were the massacre-ees. Carnegie didn’t care. He just called the governor for military assistance and broke the union. He took advantage of his new leverage to increase the workers’ hours without increasing their production targets, basically “work more get paid the same.”

    But that’s not the tiny fraction of it. He made gigantic, ridiculous, embarrassing amounts of money, yet never once missed a chance to chisel his workers by underestimating their production, or increasing their targets but not their wages. He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t just walk past an injured worker, he’d kick them in the nuts for good measure and then take the contents of their wallet.

    You parrot the usual “philanthropist” bullshit because you’re too lazy to do your own research or thinking, apparently. So, let’s talk about his philanthropy. Carnegie was a social climber who would have embarrassed Elon Musk (but not Donald Trump) – when he realized that the Old New York Money wanted nothing to do with a jumped-up Scottish warf-rat, he began endowing public works in a conspicuous display of wealth aimed at his desired new social class. Did he build hospitals or sanitariums for the steel-workers who were dying of heavy metals poisoning? No, he built concert halls, libraries, and museums for the bottom tier of the upper class he aspired to attain. Some philanthropist, indeed. And he got into a mansion-building contest with the Astors and other New York elites, basically showing he could be a big acre philanthropist just like them. And he left all that to his useless frog-spawn, who are still insanely rich. I haven’t bothered to figure out what they’re up to but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were standard American elites like the Sacklers, Trumps, etc. It’s not unfair (I think) to say he was the Donald Trump of his time except he actually did manage some very successful businesses.

    I know very little about his personal relationships, but he was said to be charming.

    Well, from one perspective, a shark does have pretty teeth.

    I’d say he’s a genuinely paradoxical figure.

    The only paradox about Carnegie is that anyone fell for his “philanthropist” rehabilitation.

    The most telling remark I can think of about Carnegie was something Phipps (his lawyer) once said about him (at least, I think it was Phipps) “The only time that man ever got close to the heat of a steel mill was when he walked through the gates of hell, which were open for him.”

  23. says

    Addendum: He was a typical American billionaire, like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and others. Bezos “has had some conflict with unions” in the sense that he’d rather spend $100mn to keep a union out of his work-hell warehouse than to just, I dunno, pay workers better. I would be surprised if Musk wouldn’t cheerfully armor a plant with boiling water cannons, too, to resolve labor disputes – except in the tech market he’s got a more mobile workplace and could actually lose a strike.

    And, oh! Carnegie was an anti-racist! Or, at least, he imported poor black miners from the south, and ukrainian and polish immigrants from eastern europe, so he could set various factions in the labor forces against eachother to make it harder for unions to form. So, yeah, he was a philanthropist in the sense that there are several black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh (still!) and he helped trigger a few race riots.

    The Frick museum and the Phipps (his coal company manager, and lawyer respectively) are pretty nice. So are their opulent mansions, or at least Frick’s which I have visited. Their philanthropy was also aimed at the social class they aspired to join, rather than the workers whose lives they squeezed in the mills. Frick had a “come to jesus” moment in which an anarchist came into his house and shot him, failing to send him to jesus, and he did – according to accounts – ponder why people didn’t like him so much.

  24. wzrd1 says

    What an interesting take, Carnegie was so busy killing babies, raping the cattle and stampeding the women, it’s a wonder that he had time to make any money!
    And Frick and Phipps were saints.
    How odd that history records the polar opposite. Carnegie hired people to make money and pretty much ignored everything as long as the money came in, obviously evil and he should’ve overthrown the government and installed communism or something.
    If Carnegie was so busy, as sarcastically outlined in my opening, he’d have had no time to have gotten involved in a certain resort that flooded out Johnstown.
    But, the real world is simply this, in an era rife with bastards and sinners, there was decidedly a dearth of saints.
    Or maybe it’s the fault of Carnegie that the Colorado National Guard machine gunned striking coal miners in their camp, just for lulz, since he had nothing whatsoever to do with Colorado coal…

    It was an era where one was either a robber baron or plebe worker. Some are working actively to return us to that era, never realizing that unlike then, today the plebes are nearly as well armed as the military that they’d want to send in to suppress them.

  25. drsteve says

    What’s the source of wonder? Do you really think a guy like that got to his position without deep knowledge of the best ways to monetize baby killing, cattle raping, or anything under the Sun?

  26. drsteve says

    I mean, Jonathan Swift’s blueprint for the first one of those has been common knowledge for centuries!

  27. StevoR says

    @17. Marcus Ranum :

    StevoR: “I wouldn’t necessarily trust any govt. I think there needs to be transparency here whoever runs it.”

    … which is why the patriot act includes national security gag orders: transparency is not allowed. You give access to your users’ data or the FBI shows up with semis and takes your entire data center.

    We can’t trust corporations either. How did Verizon and AT&T respond to the huge spike of data access requests by government agencies since 9/11? They turned fulfilling those requests into profit centers.

    (Italics and quotation marks added for clarity.)

    Oh, I’m definitley NOT saying corporations can be trusted or are better here! The big companies cannot be trusted to a degree that’s greater than the govts not being able to be trusted since at least govts have some democratic basis and represent people,well voters, at least in theory. Neither can be trusted and but for profit private companies are LESS trustworthy especially the Big Businesses which tend to be owned and run by sociopaths and have obvious vested interests.

  28. StevoR says

    @27. wzrd1 : “What an interesting take, Carnegie was so busy killing babies, raping the cattle and stampeding the women, it’s a wonder that he had time to make any money!”

    Not an expert on Carnegie so I don’t know either but how did he make his money? It is it possible that like many millionaires, billionaires and just obscenely rich people he mad ehis money from metaphroically “killing babies, raping the cattle and stampeding the women” or at the very least inheriting, exploiting and outright stealing from others?

    Very few people ever come by great wealth honestly or ethically in my view.

    I do get that Carnegie was a philantropist who did some good things with his Smaugesque hoard of treasure later in life but that doesn’t mean he aquired it ethically and deservedly any more than Smaug did.

    Lessee :

    Scott also helped him with his first investments. Many of these were part of the corruption indulged in by Scott and the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, John Edgar Thomson, which consisted of inside trading in companies that the railroad did business with, or payoffs made by contracting parties “as part of a quid pro quo”.[27] In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express Company, which contracted with the Pennsylvania to carry its messengers. The money was secured by his mother’s placing of a $600 mortgage on the family’s $700 home, but the opportunity was available only because of Carnegie’s close relationship with Scott….


    In 1864, Carnegie was one of the early investors in the Columbia Oil Company in Venango County, Pennsylvania.[32] In one year, the farm[clarification needed] yielded over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and petroleum from oil wells on the property sold profitably. The demand for iron products, such as armor for gunboats, cannons, and shells, as well as a hundred other industrial products, made Pittsburgh a center of wartime production. Carnegie worked with others in establishing a steel rolling mill, and steel production and control of industry became the source of his fortune.


    Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations ever owned by an individual in the United States. …(snip)… Besides Carnegie’s market manipulation, United States trade tariffs were also working in favor of the steel industry. Carnegie spent energy and resources lobbying Congress for a continuation of favorable tariffs from which he earned millions of dollars a year.[37] Carnegie tried to keep this information concealed, but legal documents released in 1900, during proceedings with the ex-chairman of Carnegie Steel, Henry Clay Frick, revealed how favorable the tariffs had been.

    So, yeah, Carnegie worked hard, came from a poor background and was philanthropic – because of course he could be and wasn’t the worst human being in the world – but certainly more to it than just hard work and his wealth came from business connections and some dirty tricks, and rigging of things in his favour it seems.

  29. John Morales says

    Seems to me that there aren’t regulations in place that mandates that social media must be run for profit.

    It follows that it’s already the case that social “media shouldn’t be for profit” — it can be, but need not be.

    Nothing is stopping anyone from putting up a not-for-profit social media platform.

  30. rietpluim says

    Capitalism poisons everything. It’s the most evil human invention ever. It must die and never resurrect.

  31. moonslicer says

    @ Marcus Ranum #26, etc.

    Hi, Marcus! Your remarks, and those of others, concerning Carnegie, have given me something to think about. I’d say probably my observations here might be seen as a bit off-the-wall, but then lots of my observations are, so I’ve stopped worrying about that.

    Until recently my son and I were living in a rented house, and while there we often hired a local fellow, a handyman, to do various little jobs for us. We were always happy enough with his work, and we did our best to make sure we were paying him a fair wage. He never complained about what we were giving him.

    So, fine, recently we found a house of our own, and as is often the case when you move into a house there are various jobs that need to be done, and our handyman assured us he was up to the task. So we hired him, and we were about half-way into the business when we began to realize he was screwing us over, and not for pennies.

    E.g., we were giving him money to buy materials and he wasn’t showing us any receipts. Also, we’d agreed on a rate of €100 a day, which didn’t strike us as very much. €100 for 8 hours barely comes to €12 an hour, so we were planning on increasing that rate. Until we realized that for him “a day” meant showing up and doing a bit of this and that for 3-4 hours. And finally he didn’t even finish the job. He left some bits and pieces lying about, which put us in a bind. Because where are you going to find a man who’s willing to come in and tidy up some other fellow’s mess?

    I, throughout my almost 70 years, have never learned how to deal with people like this. For one thing, if it comes to an out-and-out fight, this fellow, along with his assistant, have us badly outgunned. And my son was telling me he felt uneasy about our handyman. He felt that he could be truly dangerous. Well, I wish he’d told me that earlier because I’d never got such vibes off the guy, but once my son says so, I can see why he might say so.

    So at the end of the day we just decided to take our lumps, pay them off and get rid of them forever (and try to learn from the experience). But with this handyman, you’re talking about a fellow who has no conscience whatsoever. He’s dealing with two people who’ve always been fair to him, but when he sees the chance to stick it to them, that’s exactly what he does. He has no sense of honor, not even any sense of professionalism. He’ll leave a job unfinished if that’s a bit to his advantage.

    What I’m trying to say is that fellows like Carnegie have always been incomprehensible to me. How can people be so bad? But when you see that sort of thing on a tiny scale, when you see some local pipsqueak dealing with people so unethically, it helps you see why the big boys will do so much damage. When you have absolutely no conscience, the sky’s the limit. You’ll do whatever you can, depending on your capabilities, and it doesn’t bother you in the least.

  32. says

    So, yeah, Carnegie worked hard, came from a poor background and was philanthropic

    Carnegie also wrote The Gospel of Wealth which is basically a book length explanation that people like Carnegie who are up early every morning putting the screws to their workers are gods favorite people and their wealth is a proof of god’s love. That idea remains part of american capitalism’s filthy underinnings. I bought a copy a few years ago, planning to review it over at stderr, but it was too disgusting and my brain couldn’t take it.

    Imagine if Elon Musk wrote a book arguing that free speech is a manifestation of god’s love and that’s why he owns twitter. No, wait, that’s a spoiler.

  33. birgerjohansson says

    “Too disgusting and my brain couldn’t take it”.

    Same goes for most of the memes and meme complexes that still run human societies.
    See: religion, Ayn Rand, social darwinism, master race, just about everything on Fox News and the Brit gutter press + Bild-zeitung.

  34. jenorafeuer says

    It seems to me that Parler died at least in part because the niche for ‘pro-Nazi Twitter’ has more recently been filled in by… Twitter itself. There quite frankly isn’t any need for Parler if Twitter isn’t actually enforcing anti-hate policies.

  35. jenorafeuer says

    Also, Twitter’s attempts at dismissing other media outlets continues apace:
    CBC pauses Twitter activity after being labelled ‘government-funded media’
    Along with NPR, PBS, and the BBC.

    Annoyingly, our Conservative Party leader has been cheering this and calling the CBC ‘Trudeau Propaganda’. Which suggests he’s very deliberately ignoring various scandals the CBC reported on such as the SNC-Lavalin affair, in which Trudeau very definitely did not come out looking good. Then again, this is the same guy who was palling around with the people occupying Ottawa during the ‘trucker’s rally’, so nobody should be particularly surprised at him ignoring history when it conflicts with his narrative.