Day 263: Monopoly: The Death Of Capitalism

Facebook is preparing to roll out a new feature for its Messenger app which allows users to place free voice calls to friends.

The feature is so far available only to iPhone users in Canada and is buried within the latest update to the app, but it will eventually allow users to make free internet voice calls, known as VoIP calls, to any Facebook friend.

Experts are saying it represents an attempt by the world's largest social network to dominate the social world by taking on the default calling function in mobile phones.

The new feature comes at the same time as Facebook Messenger rolled out a new feature worldwide which allows users to record and send a voicemail-type message to friends.

Working in a similar way to video messaging in the company's Poke app, users press and hold a red record button, speak their message, and it appears in line as part of the conversation.

However, while Facebook is not charging users for the service, the call is not technically free since it will use data on users' existing mobile plans.

Despite Facebook's previous brief partnership with Skype, the new service is not based on that technology but has instead been built on open-source software.

TechCrunch says that the move into voice messaging and VoIP can be seen as an attempt by the social network to take on the default, mobile network operated calling function on smartphones.

'Facebook wants to own social, and that means a lot more than the news feed and profile,' Mr Constine wrote on the tech news site.

'Knowing who you’re close enough with to send voice recordings and calls helps it refine its relevancy-sorted content streams, too.

'If Facebook has its way, eventually you’d only use it for friend-to-friend communication.'

Another tech commentator sees the roll out of VoIP on Messenger as an attempt to reinvent the phone, replacing numbers with a far-more personal interface.

Daniel Herzig wrote on the TechBlitz website: 'Facebook has reinvented the phone number. Instead of a 10 digit code to contact someone, Facebook is replacing an outdated system with names to call people.

'There’s no more middle man: you are the phone number.'  - MailOnline

What happens in a world where the very essence of human society is trade, but then some of the products and services that once were paid for by consumers now can be found for free? Those people selling the products, whose very survival depends on their trade, have now lost their customers to the "free market".

Wikipedia has ensured that encyclopedias being sold in book form (or in any form for that matter) are obsolete. The internet has invalidated DVD's, books, magazines, newspapers, the postal service (for letters at least), information gathering and more. Big corporations destroy businesses with their unbeatably low prices and special offers. There simply is no competing with corporations and the internet.

Free stuff causes a loss of income for those who were selling the stuff previously, which leads to job losses. The big corporations bully the little guys out of competition with cheap products, allowing them to eventually monopolize the market. People who previously lost their incomes because of the corporations will most likely end up working for the corporation in some low level position, without much hope of advancement.

The premise behind capitalism is infinite growth. What happens when the only ones with the ability and opportunity for infinite growth are those few who own the corporations? Can such a controlled market place still correctly be called "capitalism"? So many people advocate for capitalism because it is supposed to provide opportunity for whomsoever is willing to work hard and reach for their goals - but in our current situation, there is no room to grow or to reach for the individual upon entering adulthood, there are only a limited number of opportunities available for a handful of lucky individuals.

For those of us who are trying to do good by creating all this free stuff, we haven't clearly considered the consequences thereof. How many people will lose their jobs if we continue to allow free stuff to  monopolize certain markets? The way that our society currently functions does not allow for incremental implementation of free products and services without dire consequences. If we really want to implement a system which allows for and encourages the sharing of free products and services it would need to be implemented all at once on a global scale. That simply doesn't seem likely, as there are so many opposing opinions and ideologies across the world.