The politics that mattered weren't the ones with Chavez, it was the US pressure on anybody else. Cuba's a really convenient place to run cable, and there's some cable there, but the amount of actual service that it was carrying was very tightly restricted because of the US embargoes. The telcos would have been happy to run a lot more of it, but weren't allowed to.
It's not completely wireless; to get any reasonable bandwidth out to the users, you need fiber to the towers, not just T1 or radio uplinks, but that's not too hard to do. (As another poster says, the telco's run by the government, so they shouldn't have a problem getting permits, just the usual issues with new construction in old cities.)
No reason to use old phones - the newer standards are much more efficient at spectrum usage.
And there's been fiber to the island for a long time; the problem has been that the US embargoes on trade with Cuba severely limited the services the telcos could provide. To the extent that that was caused by Treasury regulations (which Obama can change for two years) rather than law (which requires the Republicans in Congress to cooperate), they can get some of that service running quickly.
It'll be interesting to see how they choose to go. Perhaps they'll actually get something set up that is owned by the people, as their social system alleges a strong preference for.
It'd be fascinating to see how it works without big corporations in there making choices for them on a constant basis, if they can manage to avoid that.
Somehow, though, I keep coming back to the fact that no socialist or communist system has ever been seriously tried without some kind of de-facto dictatorship making the end goal impossible to reach. Equality is fine until the idiots who disagree want to be equal, too... All systems seem to have that particular fundamental problem. Equal unless different, otherwise ostracized.
My cynical side tells me palms will be greased, corporations will heavily engage, and your Cuban surfer will have a pretty typical bill to pay. Be delighted to be proven wrong, though.
But let's suppose you're right for a moment. This is your shell game. These are companies responding to the incentives you put in place. This is your supposed problem that you created. You have two choices as I see it: eliminate the welfare that leads to these alleged subsidies or suck it up.
I am right. But it's not my shell game, although it certainly is a problem that affects me. You naively assume that I, or more generally, the voting public, have control. I/we do not. First, we cannot craft legislation. This is not a democracy. It is, nominally in form at least, a republic. So we can only vote for representatives. However, the great majority of representatives are immediately and completely suborned and corrupted by corporate influence in the form of campaign support, straight-up bribes, assurances of employment, special deals, speaking engagements, and so on. The companies and other rich, well-connected entities actually set the rules. It is their shell game. It's a shell game called oligarchy masquerading as a republic-in-place. Only the politically naive still believe that it works by shuffling the representatives around. If it affects corporate earnings in any significant way, the tiller is taken from the representative's hands, and the course is set by the corporations themselves. That's how it actually works. I appreciate the warmness and fuzziness that might be grasped by imagining that the government is operating as a republic, but it just isn't so.
I think this is the most obnoxious part of the welfare state. The tool that created the unintended consequence gets used again and again, creating more and more unintended consequences as it goes. There never is any learning from failure by the masters of the tool of welfare. It's always the fault of all those counterrevolutionaries/greedy corporations/Tea Baggers/whatever who don't behave the way they're supposed to behave.
You think this because you subscribe to an illusory model of how things work. Until you become aware of the actual levers and forces of power that are in operation in and upon our government, the actual causes and effects, you will remain bewildered by the surface picture.
If the minimum wage were raised. (1) Business profits will drop -- as they should. (2) Government assistance will drop -- as it should. (3) The real costs of goods would be exposed -- as they should be. (4) The ability to lower taxes arises -- as it should.
Here's the problem: (1) will never be allowed to happen due to (2) (and the actual execution of (4) isn't very likely either.) The reason 1 will never be allowed to happen is that everything from lobbyists to "fact-finding" trips to post-political career sweeteners and far-flung friends and relatives and purveyors of opportunity will be sudden winners in the game of luck, all working to enrich the legislator. They will almost all fold, just as they always do, and the corporate choices become the legislator's choices. And in the process, a great hue and cry will arise from the bewildered, such as yourself, crying "throw the bums out", completely oblivious to the fact that the next set will act exactly the same, because the incentives being offered amount, in the end, to the ability grasp great wealth and power through the auspices of the corporations. There are very few poor legislators by the time their time in congress is over. This is why. Aside from internal corruption like voting themselves the ability to engage in insider trading, of course.
We can't change the game and we can't quit. The finger pointing between left and right is no more than a source of amusement to the corporations. Unless it's a purely social issue, they own enough of the playing field to positively control it. Should it happen that they don't, they will acquire more. They are rich and can concentrate their efforts. We cannot. We have nothing to offer that is legal other than election (generally from pre-selected party members, worse yet), and should we try to play it their way, enriching them and empowering them, even assuming we could, we'd be meeting the FBI immediately.
So who had TV in 1960? Not the poor, I'll tell you that. A phone from the year 2000 is still one hell of a lot better than the phone I had in 1965.
Sure, at some point, what we have today moves out of our economic grasp. But you simply cannot sensibly deny that the standard of living, lifespan, and contentment of the lower levels (not the lowest... that's another problem entirely, a legal one) are continually rising.
Money is a proxy for exchange of work. If the work is being done by automation that does not require exchange, money is not required.
o Mining: automated
o Agriculture: automated
o Livestock industry and/or artificial meats: automated
o Manufacturing: automated
o Ordering: Network based, zero cost
o Network maintenance: automated
o Transport: automated
o Delivery: automated
o Power: Solar and storage based, instead of local fuel-based
So what's left for you to do in this production context?
Consume. That's all. Outside of that, enjoy yourself. Hump a lot (robot partners or real ones.) Consume entertainment. Sleep. Exercise. Pursue hobbies. In a word, enjoy your leisure.
o Firefighting: automated
o Policing: automated
o Emergency response: automated
o Medical care: automated
o Scientific advance: automated
o Travel: automated
And of course:
o Repair of automation: automated
Only things of inherent scarcity would still have value; land, spectrum, that sort of thing. Those are going to be the initial "crunch points" in any transition we attempt to make. There will be others, such as extreme consumption (hand build vehicles like Lambos, huge domiciles, yachts, like that.
Well said. Except for one thing. It's not the government who pays them. They're just like a banker, they're just handling the money as it passes by. (Poorly, but that's another post.) We pay them. So the burgers do indeed cost more, it's just that the cost is hidden by moving the payment to the tax collection step.
Corporations don't vote.
You couldn't be more wrong. Corporations vote through extremely powerful multiplying proxies variously described as bribes, campaign contributions, assurance of later employment and so on, often via extremely powerful channels known as "lobbyists." These votes carry more weight by far than any collection of constituents. You can change the players, that is, vote congress in and out repeatedly, but this does not affect how corporations and the rich control the actual legislative outcomes in any significant way. It just changes who gets the bribes and so forth.
It's like your server changing at McDonald's. New guy or gal, they're now getting the the income the previous employee no longer receives, and they're still telling you "I'll see to it you get a great burger, sir!" but you're still getting the exact same burger. Every time.
Of course, this control isn't actually a voting process, instead they represent a much more direct and effective mechanism of control (direct meting out of money and power and opportunity), but the effect is that your vote and my vote isn't worth a plugged nickel in controlling what legislators do, or don't do. It's just like being outvoted, only much more consistent and effective. The only time your vote appears to matter is when you are voting for the same ideas the rich and the corporations are pushing.
There are very, very few legislators who retire poor. Funny thing, eh? Oligarchy: Look it up, read it, and weep.
Of course they're benefiting from government assistance. When employees cannot survive on low wages, the government makes up the difference, thereby providing business with the continuing ability to pay lower than adequate wages. No health care? Government. Not enough food? Government. Can't pay the rent? Rent assistance. Not enough for day care? Childcare assistance.
And guess who pays for all this? Not walmart or pizza hut or subway... no, we do.
It's a shell game: hiding the actual costs of producing and serving and supplying goods (eg pizza, walmart's merchandise) behind a curtain of indirect government support. If the pizza server and walmart employee earned an adequate wage, this would show up in the price of goods. They don't want that. So instead, your taxes go up, the politicians shrug, and the walmart family is one of the wealthiest in the country, more than a little bit based on those indirect compensation boosts they don't have to pay.
What you're missing is that they think eliminating the need for THEM to be a slave to somebody is a good thing, as long as YOU are a slave to them. Because that, in a nutshell, is the situation that wealth concentration creates.
I should be rich.
You should do what I tell you to do, and I'll reward you miserably for it. Or not at all, if that can be managed.
Ahhhg. Soylent Green was "bad movie all the way down."
Read Harry Harrison's "Make Room, Make Room" so you can (a) have a wonderful read and (b) see what a corrupted, idiotic mess Hollywood made out of a perfectly good story.
Soylent Green is the poster child for the message of a scene in The Majestic. Here's a great summary from the Intertubes:
The movie begins in a Hollywood story meeting in the early 1950’s. Before we see anything we hear a group of studio executives (hilarious vocal cameos by some of Hollywood’s top directors) eviscerating a script by casually throwing in every possible movie cliché. As they call out “How about a dog!” and “The kid should be crippled!” the screenwriter sits there, stunned into silence. Finally, he musters up a diplomatic, “That’s.amazing.”
I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome our new primarily welcoming overlords and underlings.
We need to ask whether ownership of production will survive a radical change in economic fundamentals.
For things to be valuable, they have to be scarce. Things would no longer be scarce. This implies some kind of change in the economics that isn't accounted for by the idea of owning production.
Further, artificially restricting access to non-scarce items probably won't fly. They'll probably try it, but once these technologies are out of the box, they're almost certain to lose control of them.
Scarcity is "natural" only for things that have inherent hard limits. So property / elbow room, scenic vistas, spectrum, those sorts of things.
Just a few things have to arrive to disrupt the heck out of our present economic structure:
o non-destructive local energy sourcing and storage (from solar, primarily... plenty of that to go around.)
o adequate robotics to provide household maintenance
o custom and template-based production of objects on demand from generalized raw materials
o custom and template-based production of foodstuffs on demand from generalized raw materials
These, taken together, would utterly change the lives and lifestyles of human beings with access.
It'll be interesting to watch, anyway.
That is unmitigated, blinder-driven nonsense.
Art can be an expression of joy; of nothing; of interest; of form; of function... and it can still be art, even *great* art, no matter if some particular critic or consumer finds it unworthy, or not. It can be found in paintings, weapons, carved shells, code, fiction, sexuality, clothing, history, religion, philosophy, architecture, pottery, bonsai, the manner of one's death, kitchen appliances, on stage, in music... and a whole lot of other places... and all of it can arise with -- or without -- struggle. Struggle is not a required foundation, it's just a circumstance that in some part gives rise to some artworks, as can be said for virtually any facet of the experience of life, of the nature of reality, of the nature of fantasy.
Your view of art is so narrow I'm surprised you even admit there is any.
And *I* am a bloody Philistine, lol.
AI will be ahead on all of these curves if they see sufficient benefit. And just like our current masters who would just as soon we sat drooling in front of the idiot box, the best thing you will be able to do for an AI is stay out of its way. It will have things to do and likely those plans don't include you. Order another pizza in, bank your government dole, and watch the next episode of "My Favorite Robot." Hump regularly, take your high-end, ultra-high quality AI-produced drugs, and learn to love your new freedom to do nothing.
Or be recycled.