The new technologies must pay for the old:
Google and Facebook should offer financial support to help fund a network of professional court reporters across the UK, the former Culture Secretary has suggested.
Tory MP, John Whittingdale, said the technology giants were making huge profits on the back of regional and national newspapers and so ought to consider giving something back by helping to fund local journalism.
He said one possibility was for them to contribute to the local democracy initiative launched last year, which sees the BBC invest £8 million of licence fee money in order to fund 150 local reporters.
We're really pretty sure that we didn't insist that the car companies should pay for the farriers they put out of work. Nor the computer makers for the typing pool, smartphones for the people who collected the money from phone boxes and so on.
In fact, it would have been ridiculous if we did. For the very point of a new technology is that it destroys the old way of doing things, freeing up labour and other economic assets to go and do something new. That new thing being done being the wealth we all gain from the new technology's adoption of course.
It is, of course, entirely possible - no, we don't believe it but we're always open to persuasion - that there is some social, national or even public interest in having a network of professional court reporters. If there is, if that case can be made, then tax is the correct source of funding. If, of course, the case can be made. Rather than trying to charge some private organisation something extra to support the technology it is wiping out.
Or, you know, people could read the online sources available?