Tough question. But I’m trying here. Let us count the ways:
1) Letter-writing could make a comeback. The Internet has pretty much wiped out the days when you’d communicate from afar by feeding a sheet of paper into a typewriter, and crafting something that would survive the test of time — or at least the time needed for post office delivery. (Of course, the post office is on its way out of business. But one step at a time… .) But if Web communications are subject to the same system that brings us the UN budget process, we may all be driven back to the joys not only of letter writing, but of transmitting information by pen, ink, and pony express.
2) Folks would have a lot more free time. All those hours spent surfing the Web, connecting with people, doing business, research and other activities of that sort, would start to look a lot less cost-efficient. Hobbies such as knitting, darning socks and weeding the vegetable garden might start to look a lot more attractive, especially as the global economy, choked off from the current wave of communication and information, heads into a real nosedive.
3) Greater certainty, which — let us admit it — brings its own brand of relief. You wouldn’t have to wonder anymore if government censors are spying on your communications. You’d be sure of it.
4) No more worries about whether the UN is trying to take over the Internet. Instead of living in a state of anxiety every time the UN’s club of governments gathers to debate proposals for global regulation and taxes, instead of fearing encroachments on your wallet and your freedom, you could relax, secure in the knowledge that it’s a done deal.
5) More jobs at the UN’s ITU. Admittedly, that’s not a help to most of the world’s population. But for the lucky few, there will likely be more of these UN posts which on top of handsome base salaries offer, to the right applicants, such amenities as assignment grants, dependency allowances, education grants, travel and home leave reimbursement, health insurance, rental subsidies and exemption from income tax.
Perhaps there are other benefits as well to a UN Internet grab. That’s the list I’ve been able to come up with. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go exhume my old manual typewriter from the back of the closet, and go online, while that’s still a reasonable option, to hunt down some vintage typewriter ribbons.