Matthew Shaffer writes at NRO’s the Agenda (Reihan Salam’s blog) about a question posed by The Fund for American Studies, asking people if they would give up the internet for $1 million. Shaffer essentially agrees with the idea that the question poses that there is a gap between worth, how much you pay for something, and cost, but he disagrees with how the question is framed, because while the internet has contributed to a leap in well being it hasn’t necessarily increased wages or standards of living.
“The FAS’s question biases each respondent to imagine what his life in today’s world would look like without the internet. And that is pretty grim. Since so many of our interactions, party invitations, apartment- and job-findings, conversations, etc., are mediated over the internet, any one person who gave up the web would miss out on a lot. But that’s just because the internet moved these goods and services online, not because it created or necessarily improved them.”
Shaffer goes on to say that a more interesting question to ask would be if you’d live in the Nineties for a million dollars? He seems to think that is an obvious yes, but I wonder if we have already romanticized the Nineties. Not to mention the fact that not everyone had the same experience in the Nineties. But, here’s another important thing to remember thing to remember when you ask someone if they’d give up the internet: that question only applies to 30.2 % of the world’s population.