According to analysts, the UN would almost certainly start small — perhaps levying tiny “fees” on certain Web-based activities, or regulating content that virtually everybody would find objectionable — before quickly expanding the global Internet regime to raise vast sums of taxpayer cash while censoring free speech. The battle, however, is likely to be fierce.
Among the most troubling scenarios envisioned by multiple experts is the very real possibility that, by imposing taxes on Web use, the UN would finally be able to free itself from the last remaining constraint on its growth and power — the fact that it currently depends on member governments for funding. Indeed, at least one university professor is even sounding the alarm about the new “robber barons” at the UN, salivating over the prospect of imposing planetary taxes via control of the Internet. However, Prof. Karl Borden, who teaches financial economics at the University of Nebraska, warned in a Wall Street Journal column that the threat posed by UN taxers would be even more severe and hard to fight.
The original “robber barons,” he explained, were 13th century extortionists along the Rhine River who forced passing ships to pay tribute in exchange for passage. If the UN gets its way on global Internet taxes, though, the damage would be far worse than the havoc caused by powerful German thieves of centuries past. “Should the U.N. end up in charge, it would have a chokehold on the global economy and a vast stream of revenue that would make it even more unaccountable than it already is,” Borden explained, adding that global Internet taxes would start modestly before ballooning out of control, much like the U.S. income tax.
“Power follows the money, and bureaucratic appetites are voracious,” he continued. “Who will there be to stop the process, after all? Where is the elected legislative body that will answer to the world's population that finally pays these ‘fees’?... With constitutional government it becomes at least possible for citizens to say ‘No—No more!’ No such checks are in place for a global bureaucracy that will have the power to reach into every pocket on earth.” With the Internet set to become the essential infrastructure for participating in the global economy, Borden said, controlling the “rivers” of the future will permit the financing of a perpetually expanding international bureaucracy.
The implications are frightening — especially because getting rid of the global extortion would be extraordinarily tough once it got going. “The robber barons of the 13th century were finally stopped only when the Rhine League, consisting of merchants and aristocrats, banded together to tear down their castles and hang them,” Borden concluded. “The robber barons of the 21st century may be much more difficult to deal with.”
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