Limiting Freedom In the Name of Freedom

Freedom is invaluable at least for most people in the contemporary world, if not all people, on a planet that is largely ruled by liberating democracies and by resistance-encouraging dictatorships that have still managed to survive the vast democratization of the world. But of course, without restrictions enforced by one or more local authorities, such desired freedom could easily lead to a state of anarchy, which can be described as the darker shade of freedom -- a regime where there is no regime strong enough to ensure the officially and practical unification of a nation. That in turn leads to many problems, such as high rates of crime, the development of terrorist and rebellious cells, and general governmental incompetence as a ruling body.

However, there is another negative shade of unrestricted freedom that isn't as necessarily talked about as anarchy and its consequences; we should also remind ourselves of the dangers of having too much freedom that doesn't lead to anarchy, but one that leads to the exact opposite, at least in certain areas of our lives as they are today -- the conquest of global corporations on our daily lives, on our privacy, and most especially -- on its vast power to provide information to their consumers and to censor said information, leading to a possible, global state in the future, where the world is governed and managed not only by local governments but by revenue-greedy, competition-eliminating corporations; corporations which have risen to power by economic and ethical freedoms, granted by said democracies.

In other words, with the same freedoms granted by local and international laws, said freedoms could theoretically lead to an oppression of said freedoms by corporations big enough to not only eliminate competition, but also to have a monopole in one or more areas of our lives, resulting in both domination and in the possible restriction of our own freedoms. In Israel, for example, we have the Electric Company, or Hev'rat Ha'chashmal, a corporation powerful enough to be the sole provider of electricity to the entirety of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Just imagine being so influential of such an essential resource today, that with your power you're able to determine the quality of the lives of many, all who depend upon you to manage it alone, with no competitors to oppose you.

And indeed, corporations should not be underestimated, for they have the potential of becoming even stronger than some countries, especially because of their international power that could be stronger than the geopolitical dominance of a well-considerate country. And, because we tend to underestimate the powers of such corporations, to the point we are willing to skip entire documents such as privacy policies and user's agreements with little-to-no reading, which in turn we give them even more power. Behold how the herd mentality is used here -- you know you want to access a corporations product, such as having an account on Facebook, and you know that there are many others who are also on that platform, including your own circle of either friends, family or followers -- now ask yourself, how much time are you actually going to dedicate to consider having a Facebook account when the gratification of doing so, even if so short-term, is available to you with a push of a few buttons?

And since there is, arguably, little-to-no regulation on global corporations who managed to rule the virtual world, for instance, said corporations become their own regulators, thus filling the void of potential rulership. Once such corporations reach a state where they become an authority on its customers/consumers, the freedom lost by the lack of competition, decreases even more when these new regulators have an optimal state of control of many people's private information, what new information will be received into its public and semi-public spaces, and most importantly, on the information that would be censored from justified reasons such as ethics, from more controversial motivations such as genuine censorship, making said corporations becoming capable of being actual dictatorships, and even if said "corporate dictatorships" are not political, they can be described as such when it comes to civil/human rights such as the right of privacy, the right of expression, and the right of protest.

Should such corporations not be regulated enough, the world might evolve to a state that is a less-exaggerated from the world of the Tekken lore -- a state of existence where corporations are much more powerful than governments themselves (In Tekken: the Mashima Zaibatsu). Other good examples from the fictional realms are LexCorp from DC and the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil series.

Basically, even if the dominant corporations of the future won't be as immensely strong as your stereotypical dystopian corporations, they can still have a considerate degree of negative influence on our individual freedoms if we are not to be too passive and too conforming to what their services has to offer us. Thus, I suggest to consider regulation on the most powerful corporations out there, not only for the sake of ensuring competition from people looking to make a decent living, but to avoid said companies to become too powerful to the state they will be some form of corporate dictatorships.

I speak personally when I claim that as an internet writer, some censorships that exist on various websites, can often be absurd, to the point of unfair censorship, which in turn limits my and others' freedom of expression, most likely in the name of preserving as much traffic as possible in the original website. Only recently I've noticed that Facebook didn't only censored my website's link, but basically any share with the name "Philosocom" written in it, to violate its policies. For those not in the know, I left Facebook after they didn't allow any further sharing of its articles to occur. People that I know told me that apparently my website contains hate speech, or something like that, which is non-existent as many of you have probably already experienced. For more information on that, read this article.

To conclude all that has been written, if we desire our freedoms as human beings among the civilized world, we ought to encourage at least some regulation on corporations that could take said freedoms away from us, and therefore we should, as users, consumers and customers, limit some freedom in order to save the potential loss of our own. It is like the democratic process of "Checks and Balances" between the governmental branches, only economically and socially.


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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher