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  1. #431
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    Without some balancing force, those companies would just crank out marketing propaganda because it's cheaper and easier than changing. Nearly every company's website has some BS about how green they are, when in reality, without the government and the press, we'd never know the truth, and since they're often selling advertisements to the same companies, you don't really know how trustworthy the press is anymore either. That's why you always have to read three or four stories on a news item, or you'll end up like JMerv.
    This is where transparency comes in. Suppose there are two companies that sell cheese, both with outrageous claims about how green their processes are and how nice they treat their workers. Both companies keep secrets about things the customers don't care much about: machinery, research, training, office management, etc. But one company allows anyone off the street at any time to put on a hardhat and goggles and go in to watch the assembly lines, dig through their garbage, shoot video, question workers, and take samples of their ingredients. The other company doesn't allow any of this, but promises really hard that they're nice. Which company would you buy cheese from?

    Wow, with all that money they're not forking over in tax, they've set up competitive ways to please the fussiest of customers and improve their reputation. How else would they compete without 100k laws being added each year?

  2. #432
    IncGamers Member LozHinge the Unhinged's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Why not have a Cheese Cartel? Saves spending out on all that unproductive and expensive crap like, oh, transparency. Everybody wins! Well, everybody in the cartel wins. Which is just as good!

    ... mmm ... cheese cart ... mmm ....

  3. #433
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    How is it unproductive if it gets more customers? And can't a new guy come along and work outside of the cartel, taking their customers because of his transparency and the cartel's lack thereof?

  4. #434
    IncGamers Member LozHinge the Unhinged's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    I suppose history is full of independent operators who take on cartels and soundly thrash them. The point is, if a cartel exists - say, because collusion is less costly than the spending required to differentiate the service that you provide from that of your competitors - it won't suffer the existence of outside competition.

    I am reminded of a true story centred around the town I live in. It's true because I saw it play out, before my very eyes. A large, national, bus/coach/train company provided a somewhat lacklustre local bus service - let's call that company "Stay Coach". An independent operator, let's call it "Starz", turned up and provided a very decent service covering just the town. They had no other routes and no other operations elsewhere.

    The first thing I noticed was the local buses, which used to appear infrequently, now not only ran twice per hour, they also ran in pairs - one Stay Coach and one Starz vehicle, one after the other. They used to race each other around the bus routes - which was exciting for the passengers, I can tell you!

    The next thing I noticed was that the fares, which were originally around 2 or so, depending upon where you wanted to go, were now down to a 10 pence flat rate.

    See! Unregulated competition works! The little guy stepped in and the big guy upped his game and the consumer was the beneficiary.

    Except - no one can run a purely local bus service with a 10 pence flat rate pricing structure. The big company could do it for as long as it takes, as it was subsidised by its national operation. The little company went out of business.

    Needless to say, the fares when straight back up after that and the frequency of the buses went straight back down.

    Now, certain laws were broken in this scenario, monopoly, anti-competition, anti-trust, etc. In order to be fair, the national company should not have been permitted to subsidise the loss-making local operation using its national resources. Indeed, it was a failure of government to prevent this from happening. It did not keep happening though, in other towns. Stay Coach had received a reprimand and was not allowed to use the strategy again (in theory - I imagine that in practice it may have found a way to do it, but I haven't heard of such).

    Now, tell me how this would have played out differently with no governmental oversight, and tell me how it would have gone in other towns, afterwards.

  5. #435
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Well, it sounds like Stay Coach would win out like you said by keeping their prices down. However, they have earned this spot by having built up their massive chain of buses. In the end, I don't care if there is one bus line/cheese maker to rule them all. The important thing is that, as manager of Cheese & Stuff, I don't want a huge chunk of my profits taken to fund wars or someone else's heroine addict grandparents. I'll be very honest; I don't care about someone's grandparents nine provinces away from my factory. As a greedy manager, I'm evil like that.

    In fact, I'm really cold. Jumping ahead a post or two, say the biggest unregulated companies rule the day like in Shadowrun. Suppose they put carcinogens in the vats to give the cheese that extra longevity and color (like they do with sandwich meats now) and people die. Well, it serves those consumers right for not demanding transparency. They should have bought from the little upstart before he closed business.

    People currently get cancer on purpose anyway.

    If the bus service was bad enough (as you say), then people still have the freedom to drive more, walk, cycle, or car pool. It seems like your worst case scenarios are happening now anyway, so there's no where to go but up.

  6. #436
    IncGamers Member LozHinge the Unhinged's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Interesting POV, stillman. I especially like the way that everyone in that world has an alternative, regardless of their circumstances, financial status and able-bodiedness. However I wish I could believe though that there is no other way before us than "up". I see a lot of "down" for the foreseeable future.

    That said, every day, I get a little less tolerant of all the deliberately unemployed people whose housing, food, holidays and beer I pay for. Perhaps I sympathise with your feelings of resentment over having your cash taken from you, even though I see yours stemming from a hatred for "society" (OK, society in its current form).

    I might be willing to give your world a go, but I insist upon being allowed to arm myself in any way that I can afford, first.

  7. #437
    IncGamers Member Stevinator's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Glurin View Post
    "Liberals" does not equal "scientists", nor is the reverse true.
    I never said they did. in fact, I said that when you say things like "worship evolution" you are feeding the MYTH that the right has no ideas. If I refer to something as a MYTH, it means I don't think it is true. There are lots of good ideas on the right. You just destroy their credibility when you take an anti-science stance.



    It's that type of reasoning that gives the left the mantle of close minded arrogance and, frankly, blind stupidity.
    Please quote the specific reasoning to which you refer.


    Strange that you don't see the irony, though not unexpected.
    I already addressed the irony thing.

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/what...with-examples/
    For some help with what is and is not ironic.

    And the site they mention in the article:
    http://www.isitironic.com/

  8. #438
    IncGamers Member Glurin's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    I never said they did.
    Yes, actually, you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator
    Quote Originally Posted by Glurin
    It is a bit ironic that the group most vocal in supporting these laws is the same group that almost worships evolution.
    that's not "ironic" nor do scientists "worship" evolution.
    You also claimed that what I said is an anti-science statement (twice now actually), which anyone who isn't completely taken in by the typical left wing dogma can plainly see is not the case.

    You're inability to see the irony in what I pointed out is no concern of mine. Your straw-men, however, are somewhat annoying.

  9. #439
    IncGamers Member Stevinator's Avatar
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by stillman View Post
    Well, it sounds like Stay Coach would win out like you said by keeping their prices down. However, they have earned this spot by having built up their massive chain of buses. In the end, I don't care if there is one bus line/cheese maker to rule them all. The important thing is that, as manager of Cheese & Stuff, I don't want a huge chunk of my profits taken to fund wars or someone else's heroine addict grandparents. I'll be very honest; I don't care about someone's grandparents nine provinces away from my factory. As a greedy manager, I'm evil like that.

    In fact, I'm really cold. Jumping ahead a post or two, say the biggest unregulated companies rule the day like in Shadowrun. Suppose they put carcinogens in the vats to give the cheese that extra longevity and color (like they do with sandwich meats now) and people die. Well, it serves those consumers right for not demanding transparency. They should have bought from the little upstart before he closed business.

    People currently get cancer on purpose anyway.

    If the bus service was bad enough (as you say), then people still have the freedom to drive more, walk, cycle, or car pool. It seems like your worst case scenarios are happening now anyway, so there's no where to go but up.
    I'm having trouble sorting the sarcastic from the not sarcastic. So are you supporting agencies like the FDA? Do you really think it's good to let monopolies do what Loz described? Sometimes there aren't good alternatives. If you're city folk and taking the bus here, half the year walking and biking is not an option. Of course, the CTA doesn't care anyway, because no one else is allowed to start a bus route. So more government isn't always the answer either. Live here for a while and you'll see, my state is really messed up.

    I think the point is that we do need a government, we just need to re-evaluate what it is we want it to do for us. Some things like food safety are valid. Running pension programs is really not.


    Quote Originally Posted by glurin
    Yes, actually, you did.
    Please, quote me then.

    You also claimed that what I said is an anti-science statement (twice now actually), which anyone who isn't completely taken in by the typical left wing dogma can plainly see is not the case.

    You're inability to see the irony in what I pointed out is no concern of mine. Your straw-men, however, are somewhat annoying.
    Are you kidding? So telling you the difference between religion, which is worshiped; and science, which is studied makes me trapped in "leftist dogma"? You've GOT to be kidding. And on top of it you're telling ME I'm being ironic? Please, keep responding, you're just proving my point.

    Evolution IS NOT something you worship. It's not a faith based belief system. It's a scientific theory. Theories are are not sent to us from via revelation. We develop them from studying the natural world. When things don't fit, we make changes to our theories so that they are useful--they make predictions which can be tested. The theory of evolution is one of the best developed theories in science. We are to the point where we're essentially certain that live evolves over time, and we even know much of the mechanisms for that to happen, and we even have a pretty good idea about how the fossils we've found are related to each other. We still move stuff around a little in what is related to what, but there is no evidence that I've ever seen that counterdicts that life changes over time. To the contrary, we've seen the effects of human breeding of lots of different species into completely different looking ones. Dogs, bananas, corn, are all examples. Even things like the flu evolve every year or so to subvert our natural defenses.


    This is not "leftist dogma".

    This is science, and it annoys me when you say things like that because I don't think either party should "own" science. When you make reference to science as though it is just another religious belief, and it's theories are something to be worshiped, and thinking otherwise is "leftist dogma" you're ceding that your side does not deal in facts. I think that's the biggest problem with the GOP today.

  10. #440
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    Re: The Greatest Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    I'm having trouble sorting the sarcastic from the not sarcastic. So are you supporting agencies like the FDA?
    My mistake. To clarify, I'm not really evil, but I'd like to point out that most of you, like me, probably don't want to support a large number of the supposedly heroic social programs and wars. If you do, voluntary donations are a more ethical avenue rather than taxing through force. My own belief is that giving a million dollars in health services to a junkie (like we do in Canada) is only rewarding his bad behavior and providing a huge incentive to maintain his abusive lifestyle. Why stay healthy if a team of doctors, physiotherapists and nurses will provide "free" round the clock care for decades until you die?

    I would support a FDA if it was not funded through tax. If you're worried that people will poison food and market harmful drugs without it, then I'm afraid this is already happening as we speak, so it's not like the state is solving the problem. There are solutions to those concerns, some of which I mentioned already. I realize envisioning a non-statist FDA equivalent requires some imagination which the majority of the population is in short supply of. Alas, most people are right-handed and left hemisphere dominant. Ideas are not their specialty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    Do you really think it's good to let monopolies do what Loz described? Sometimes there aren't good alternatives. If you're city folk and taking the bus here, half the year walking and biking is not an option.
    Yes, I think they should use their monetary might to defend their business like any company would. Other bus companies would then have incentive to find solutions that address people's need for transportation. It may not be through buses, but taxis or something. People do find alternatives. Build apartment complexes within walking distance to the factories where hundreds of people work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    Of course, the CTA doesn't care anyway, because no one else is allowed to start a bus route. So more government isn't always the answer either. Live here for a while and you'll see, my state is really messed up.
    If only people were allowed to start up business without spending fortunes on lawyers and cutting through red tape.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevinator View Post
    I think the point is that we do need a government, we just need to re-evaluate what it is we want it to do for us. Some things like food safety are valid. Running pension programs is really not.
    The problem is, you have no say in what they do or regulate. They do what they want and have no accountability to us. You can reevaluate and wish for all the tweaks you want, but nothing will come of it. It's quite simple: if a company in the free market poisons the food, another company will come along that doesn't poison its food. There will be companies that can prove they haven't poisoned anyone in X years and they have huge incentive to keep their reputation clean. Sick, dead, or angry customers aren't helpful for the company.

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