the (middle) man

the truth is, we are more reliant on the middle man now more than ever.  it is the same as before.  millions of unseen middle men who are no longer middle men at all but computers receiving and forwarding information, search engines seeking, finding and returning information, delivery services who no longer deliver to a shop but directly to your home.  the store no longer holds products, but rather the links to those products.  the store’s essential purpose and attraction has not changed; and that is that it is a collection of desired objects.
the reason that wal-mart and meijer are so successful is the same reason tha amazon and dell are so successful..  convenience.  sure, you could buy all the parts of a dell computer directly from the vendor and assemble it your self.  but just finding all these parts would take days.  and where do you draw the line.  a motherboard or graphics card is a collection of thousands of electronic parts that come from god knows where.  this is the fact of the political society we live in.  can you find a product which you agree with the method of production and delivery 100%?  of course not.  we can only choose between the lesser of evils (like election day).
and what if we did know it all?  what if we were conscious consumers?  what if we did know that maxwell house was owned by kraft, owned by philip morris?  does that change the fact that the choices are relatively limited?  does that change the fact that the place we are buying it through – i.e. wal-mart, pea-pod, etc. is gaining in power?  does it change the fact that it is still delivered – either to the store or to your door?  does it change the fact that you only have so much time in the day.  convenience and comfort are drugs.  there is no way around the middle man except to abstain.

who really stands to win from all of this convenience?  the people who control the physical connections.  companies like tci and at&t.  you can order something directly from the manufacturer but their information has to get to you, and your order to them, and finally the product has to be shipped to you.  it is the companies who control the delivery method – the cable lines, the fiber optics, the satellites, the encryption, who control the process.  the profit, the battle, is waged and won in-between, invisibly behind closed doors and without consumer or user knowledge.
‘The NSA’s interest in the Internet is no secret. The agency’s mandate is to intercept and decode electronic messages worldwide. If that doesn’t describe the Net, nothing does. Some
NSA-watchers claim the agency has already begun spying on Net traffic.
Madsen wrote. “A knowledgeable government source claims that the NSA has concluded agreements with Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape to permit the introduction of the means to prevent the anonymity of Internet electronic mail, the use of cryptographic key-escrow, as well as software industry acceptance of the NSA-developed Digital Signature Standard (DSS).”
Also, according to at least one expert, the NSA already has in place an ambitious Internet surveillance system that “sniffs” key Internet router sites for key words and phrases, records origination, and destination message headers.'(webreview – nsa)

“Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?”
— Jubal Harshaw