If you want to understand why this world is as fucked up as it is, you need look no further than the internet.

Heralded as a great liberating technology, the internet is often seen as a leveller, an equaliser of playing fields where everyone has a voice and anyone can become successful.

But one look at the world wide web’s largest companies makes a lie out of that fantasy. Because these companies are not equalisers, they’re not promoters of meritocracy and opportunity.

The Googles and Facebooks and Yahoos of this world are all advertising platforms.

Advertising is what made Google what it is today. You, as a user of Google’s search engine and email service and video platform and everything else it offers you, are not Google’s customer. You are the product.

Advertisers are Google’s customers. Google sells your time and attention to advertisers. All those free services are the bait to keep you coming back to Google so it can show you more ads.

On Facebook you may think you’re socialising with friends and chatting about common interests and activities. But what you’re actually doing is giving Facebook more information that it can pass on to advertisers so they can target you more effectively.

Advertising is the engine that drives the internet economy.

Think about that for a moment. And think about what advertising actually is, in and of itself.

It’s corporations screaming messages at you to BUY MORE STUFF. Advertising does not teach us anything. Ads don’t enlighten us in any way nor enrich us in any way shape or form.

In fact, advertising makes us poorer – mentally and financially, in ways both direct and indirect.

The internet began as an intellectual endeavour to aid the sharing of knowledge for the betterment of all mankind. It didn’t take very long for it to become a gigantic corporate engine, designed to bombard people with advertising 24/7, which in turn is designed to make you shut up and buy stuff.

Welcome to the future.