Cloud computing and its effects

This is my analysis of how a current consumer trend really changes the way we think about ownership and its implications on the debate between capitalism and communism; which capitalism has clearly won at the moment.

Consumer capitalism where personal ownership becomes more prevalent was what drove the American economy post WW II. One of the issues that collaborative consumption tries to tackle is how to leverage technology to make the optimum use of all the resources that we own, but are sitting idle without being productive. This is primarily a shift in our notion of not needing to own but rather being able to use tools to perform what we want to do. Even though most people might disagree with my view, I see that this is different from capitalistic thinking and aligns more with what communism is about.

Cloud computing, I feel, provides an even better example of the change. Previously, you purchased and owned music, which you listened to. However, since the copies of music were so easy to copy, there were rampant problems with loss of revenue through piracy. Now with the rise of cloud music services like Spotify, Pandora or any other that you use, the way we consume music is changing. Also, this provides solution to the piracy problem since there are no copies of music to be pirated from!

When was the last time you purchased music? Well, I have not purchased any music in a long time since I can listen to music on the cloud and being connected 24 hours with the internet, I see no need to own any music. I just need to enjoy it and I do that on a subscription model. The cloud music provider allows me access to the music and I do not even know whether they own any of that music either. This might not sound like communism, but it is. We are using a single source for music i.e. Spotify.

It is the same with any other cloud service where you do not need to own anymore e.g. Netflix, Dropbox among others. This is vastly different from the second half of the 20th century where you owned something to be able to use it. You might not like it, but I think cloud technology is pushing us more towards communism from a philosophical perspective.


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