How long before everything becomes worthless? And is that a good or bad thing? The market economy seems to be moving toward the gift economy. And to keep loyalty from consumers, ever more products are being offered as free incentives. For example, there was a time when texts cost 10p per message, now they’re free. Email’s free. Most landline deals have free calls. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all free. Before long there will be little service that consumers will be willing to pay for. With free tutorials online covering everything from fixing a dripping tap to repairing a car and beyond, those that wish can learn to be a five-minute ‘expert’ plumber, mechanic or even doctor (although the latter I wouldn’t recommend!)
At Marvin’s Magic School we’re increasing our online teaching. YouTube offers a lot of advice on how to perform magic and much of the content is either wrong or just bad for a beginner to the craft. If it’s free and anyone can upload anything, then how do you know which is correct or the best out there? Maybe that’s one way of judging the true value of something; if there’s a price for the product then those producing it value the knowledge they are passing on.
And if we do end up with a true gift economy, how many will continue to create and do the job they’re now doing for the love of actually doing it?