moderated Re: From Freedom Scientific: Freedom Scientific is extending the Free Home-Use Software For Those Affected by COVID-19
No question, Vispero has done a good deed by making its software available for free to Americans and extending a 20% discount for subsequent purchases during this phase of the pandemic. But it makes sense for people who feel excluded from the offer to resent it.
Since this issue has aroused interest on this list and I've been urged to support my previous post, here goes.
As Brian wrote so emphatically, Vispero/freedom Scientific is not a charity. It follows that they didn't give away temporary free use of their software for purely altruistic reasons. Presumably, they hope to attract new customers, and they hope to retain those customers by offering a 20% discount once the "free" offer expires. But it's this relationship between a seller and its customers that makes demands by excluded customers completely reasonable even—actually, above all—in what Brian insists is a capitalist model. Customers have every right to ask to be included. I'm not sure why anyone would lash out at them.
The word "capitalism" comes from "capital." As Adam Smith, considered the father of capitalism explained, family businesses had been unable to grow from generation to generation. It was only when they gained access to third-party financing that they could expand, hire people outside the family and thus improve quality of life for society in general. At least, that was the theory, and it makes sense so long as government provided a safety net for those unable to participate fully in the capitalist model. Smith understood and advocated this role of government. It's the part of his capitalist model that notoriously got overlooked for a very long time.
Vispero and similar accessibility businesses would not exist were it not for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Through the ADA, Congress put the law and governmental resources behind the movement to enable disabled people to participate fully in society. To this end, government combined with businesses to advance a social objective along Smith's capitalist lines.
Nations around the world have adopted laws similar to our ADA. Since Vispero says it operates in ninety countries, we would expect its policies to be consistent, the way they are here in the U.S. While Vispero is not a charity, it is participating in a broad social movement backed by the law and government policy.
But even if you don't accept a reciprocal relationship between a business's mission and social policies, I go back to my original point. What is wrong with a Vispero customer in New Zealand, Canada or elsewhere speaking up for treatment similar to what Vispero provides Americans? Like any business, Vispero ultimately depends on the goodwill of its customers. Think of all the companies around the world currently issuing statements in support of Black Lives Matter and, to take a specific instance, Quaker Foods elimination of the Aunt Jemimah brand because of its racist connotations. You don't have to agree with these actions to see how social movements affect customer relations.
I didn't understand the harsh rejection of posts from non-Americans urging similar treatment by Vispero in their countries. Their posts made perfect sense from both business and philosophical points of view. That's why I felt compelled to post.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Behalf Of Cristóbal
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2020 12:06 AM
Subject: Re: From Freedom Scientific: Freedom Scientific is extending the Free Home-Use Software For Those Affected by COVID-19
Seriously… No good deed goes unpunished.
Vispero didn’t have to do the initial offer to begin with or even extend it to anyone at all.