Dream wrote:Sorry again about all the analogies, but it seems to work for this issue. If a forest fire is threatening a town, and a person from a neighbouring, so far safe town has a heavy lift helicopter and water bombing equipment, I think she has an obligation to help, even though the town in danger can't pay for that kind of defence. I think it is especially true if the people of the town in danger are out there with mops and buckets doing their ineffectual best in a very bad situation. And then of course, the town that has almost burned to the ground asks if they can rent the helicopter, and the helicopter owner says no, that the town can't afford her rates because she has to pay off the loan, and the helicopter sits idle while people die.
The helicopter owner is the ethical lynchpin here.The whole situation exists as it does because of her decisions. She has the power to change everything, and chooses not to. That places a greater moral and ethical burden on her than on non-helicopter owning bystanders. Our imperative is to help whatever way we can. If we are there for the fire, we carry water. If we are not, we give money to help rebuild. Millions of us do this, as a rule.
We also pay taxes, so that we pay public entities to do this (or that money is used to pay private people, such as the helicopter owner). You can call the owner evil all you want, but if they don't have money to pay for maintainance on the helicopter, then the next people who need it and can pay wont even get the option, or worse yet, if she needs it to save her own town.
Oh, and you can stretch these analogies all day, that doesn't change the fact that giving something away for free doesn't help the company producing it, and there is no guarantee they have the means to do so anyway. Sure, it's a nice goal, but money makes the world go round.