One of the enduring disconnects is the gulf between clever people and everyone else. Clever people look for complicated reasons for phenomenon that are in fact very easily explained. There’s a reason that 90%+ of Internet users don’t avail themselves of the opportunities it affords for greater knowledge and understanding: most people simply don’t care.
There’s no big plot by Big Business to keep us captive consumers; we’re thrilled to do that all by ourselves. Why do people eat McSlop even though 30 years of information is out there that lets us know it’s an atrocious food option? Because people don’t care. McSlop is easy, it’s familiar, its cheap, and its salt-fat-sugar hits all the most basic taste requirements. Who wants filet mignon in a demiglaze truffle reduction when you can have the joys of a DoubleBypass Burger with SuperSized Fries and an extra-large Diabetes-Cola?
Humanity is never ready for anything but still a few clever people invent things that gradually make most people’s lives a little better, even though it’s instantly taken for granted. We’re not homo sapiens so much as homo moronicus. The Internet would always have turned out this way; the only alternative is the Sino-Russian model of Big Brother. Doubtless the USA will eventually end up with the worst of both: rampant consumerism coupled to NSA surveillance. But that’s not the fault of the Internet. We ourselves are entirely to blame.