It would be a shame to let OneWebDay pass without a musing or two about the Internets.
A few days ago, a valued reader (okay, at this point at FutureOfCapitalism.com, there are no unvalued readers) forwarded an email with a series of quotations attributed to Thomas Jefferson, including the founding father's claim that "banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." The Internet can make it easy to circulate falsehoods. But they also make it easy to check them out, and both snopes.com and truthorfiction.com have pages dedicated to fact-checking these emails. Beyond the fact-checking sites, it is now possible, without leaving your desk or having to visit a brick-and-mortar library, to browse Jefferson's writings online via the University of Virginia, the Library of Congress, or the Online Library of Liberty. For those of us who appreciate this sort of thing, it is amazing stuff. And while the repositories of the Jefferson texts are either federal (the Library of Congress) or state (the University of Virginia) or non-profit (the Liberty Fund's Online Library of Liberty), the search engines and Internet service providers that take us there are for the most part for-profit enterprises. The Jefferson quote above is an accurate one, though not all of them circulating on the Internet are.
Two other links appropriate to OneWebDay: The city of New York has launched NYCHealthLink, which is a Web site that allows shoppers for individual or small business health insurance to compare prices and benefits. I explored the site a bit today and it is pretty nifty. Increased price transparency and the ability to comparison-shop more easily is one of the ways that the Internet makes capitalism work better for consumers. Usually FutureOfCapitalism.com is skeptical of government programs. It may be that the government is competing with insurance brokers, or that some private company could have established such a Web site in the same way that, say, bankrate.com allows consumers to compare banking services and insure.com does for insurance. New York isn't the first place to do this; Massachusetts has a similar Web site as part of its "RomneyCare" effort to expand health insurance coverage. There may be some unintended adverse consequences I am missing. But on first glance, this looks like a pretty useful way for the government to use the Internet to make it easier for consumers to shop intelligently for health insurance. If enough states and local governments did this, President Obama's proposed federal program to create exchanges for people to purchase insurance in might not be necessary.
Finally, over at Mike Shatzkin's Idealog.com, which focuses on the book publishing industry, there's a post that I found interesting about "Aggregation and Curation: Two Concepts That Explain a Lot About Digital Change." We are doing our best here both to aggregate and curate, though at times the line between aggregating and aggravating may begin to appear blurry.