Okay, well, Dr. Greg (I can't say Dr. Downey, for that was the name of my childhood dentist) showed me how to post a message. Better late than never, I reckon.
Felt like I had a few more things to contribute to discussion today, but I didn't get the chance. So here goes:
For one, I guess I disagree that we're all in agreement that we necessarily have consented to live in a purely capitalist nation. I think that the social welfare state is a preferable alternative, and I personally advocate for an extension of the New Deal/Great Society model of the middle part of the last century. One of us made the comment that we shouldn't rely on government to tackle the pressing issues of the day, though I do not believe that the 'free' market offers better solutions to the problems of inequity and inequality. The expansion of privatization since Reagan certainly hasn't improved the divides between the social classes. In fact, quite the opposite has occured. The difference between the have-lots and the have-littles are almost as incomprehensible as the divides between developed and less-developed nations. What has the 'free market' done for those among us with the least?
Second, I think it's unfair to argue that, given unfettered access to digital information, those who gain new access might waste the chance to 'better themselves', so therefore, we may justify less access for certain groups. The same arguments were made a generation ago to counter the idea that African-Americans should have a chance at an equal education. Who would have foreseen even ten years ago the strides India would make in programming and technical support? Certainly not many of those who populated the U.S. classrooms and felt reasonably secure in their choice of a high tech career in computer science. Who can say what might arise from wiring the 'Colonias' of South Texas or the neighborhoods of the south side of Chicago? I know I can't predict that. I believe that we must work to maximze access for all, rather than assume that the 'more deserving' among should enjoy whatever privileges come their way.