I must admit I am quite baffled by two instances I’ve seen in less that 24 hours where people seemed (to me) to get irrationally upset about other people earning money for the products they make. One was over an app – someone in a thread had asked whether the app was worth subscribing too and a few responders seemed very angry about the fact that creator of the app was earning money from the app. They seemed to have this internal standard of what was an appropriate amount of money for someone to earn from this type of thing, and after that amount it was unreasonable.
I also came across a post where the The Girl with the Curly Hair Project (so Alis Rowe) was defending the fact that she earnt money through the TGwCHP – explaining that it wasn’t a charity but a social enterprise. Which got me wondering, who made her feel like she had to justify herself in the first place? She is providing products and services, and should be paid for those products and services. If you don’t want to access them – then don’t pay for them.
I’ve seen it online in a few other autism forums and threads as well – although never quite so explicit – from both families and autistic people. That apps should be free, resources should be free, books should be free (I should be clear here – I am not referring to any services that should be covered under insurance or by the NHS and they are somehow trying to get out of providing – I’m talking about things provided by individuals or small groups of people). People complain about not being able to do x, y or z; then when resources or books are suggested turn around and say they’re not paying for it.
I’m not going into the debate about the cost of resources for special educational needs or disabilities in this thread – we can all agree that a lot of them are far too high and are exploitative in price – but where did this idea come from that we should receive products and services for free? People wrote those books, made those resources, designed and drafted and spent a long time creating these items. They are as entitled to ask for a price for it as you are entitled not to buy it. The maker of the app I mentioned is well within his rights to ask for money for the app that he spent a lot of time making; just as Alis Rowe is well within her rights to charge for the products, resources, and time that she spends on her social enterprise.
Maybe it’s because there are so many things available for free (think of all the free apps that exist or of all the blogs offering advice for free) that people seem to have this skewed idea that they are entitled to things for free? Once I get around to finishing writing my books, you can guarantee that I’m not going to just give them away for free – because I spent a lot of time and effort to make those products so I will feel more than justified in charging what I consider to be a reasonable price for them. Just as anyone else will be completely justified in choosing not to buy it.