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July 23, 2011

The Cause of Piracy: Are We Too Used to Living Beyond Our Means?

As our economy spirals out of control while people ignorantly adhere to partisan discussions (fun fact; both sides are wrong), it is becoming increasingly apparent that Americans are too used to living beyond our means. We take out loans for cars we can't really afford. People take out loans for homes even though their credit score is average at best. You can walk into the home of an average person that lives in an apartment and you'll find cable television, flat screen HDTVs and a video game console. What I am getting at, is that we are in an age where consumerism is at an all time high, and everyone is striving to live a life of affluence even if their wages are meager.

That brings me to piracy. Once upon a time, if you couldn't afford a movie, that was it. You waited to rent it. You waited for it to go down in price. You saw it at the dollar theater. Piracy in the past was not wide spread, least of all, digital piracy (there was no pirate bay in the 90s, to torrent a movie. You could get bootleg VHS tapes if you lived in the ghetto, or pirate your own if you could afford a dual deck). These days, with piracy, people do not have to wait until they can afford something. They can simply take what they want and further divert their funds for other entertainment expenses.

It seems to me that rampant piracy is a reflection of culture rather than just economics. People are accustomed to having as much as possible. People run up their credit cards, max out loans and acquire a lot of meaningless property, all in the pursuit of having more. Is it possible that if we as a nation changed our cultural habits, that we could actually diminish the amount of piracy that occurs?

Pirates are selfish people who believe they are entitled to everything for no reason, some think. Like most things on the internet piracy is based on an anonymous system of morality. We're happy to take things from stangers we've never met. We probably wouldnt mug an old lady but vague notions of a big faceless corporation we're copying stuff from isn't really a problem. I totally agree though to make it a policy never to spend money I don't have. Big credit card bills and no income is for morons.