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It’s not really free, you know

We take a lot for granted in this “free” culture of ours … but maybe we should take a few minutes to appreciate what we have.

Everyone is freaking out about a fee on debit cards. But who pays for millions of ATMs? The telecom lines to run them? The service people to fill them with cash? The debit card terminals that every small business has to buy? The fee that the small business pays to process your debit card?

YouTube isn’t free. It costs 1/2 BILLION each year to run the servers and bandwidth to host all your videos. If Google can’t find a way to make it profitable, they’re going to have to charge you for it — or shut it down. (Remember newspapers?)

Facebook isn’t free. It takes thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars to run it each year. If they can’t find a way to make money by selling your data to advertisers, they are going to have to charge you for it — or shut it down. (Remember MySpace?)

We’re a selfish people. We expect everything for free. We scream if they change a rule or a policy. But we scream louder if anyone suggests we pay our fair share. Imagine the firestorm of whining if Facebook charged us $1/month. (We don’t want government doing it either … but imagine life when every road was a for-profit toll road.)

There is a book about this that you might have read.

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