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  1. #11
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    And people catch on to this. Consumers know American automobiles don't last as long as Japanese automobiles. No one harbors any illusions that the stuff you buy at Wal-Mart isn't junk, but they still lots of junk despite their reputation.

    This doesn't sound like much of a defense. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. It sounds like you're saying that companies here make crap, and people know it's crap but buy it anyway, perhaps out of complacency. That isn't really a good thing... Especially since it is implied here that other countries make better products (the Japanese, and an implicit reference to all countries that beat America's auto-market). This would be an especially bad defense since historically Japan and Germany have had higher government influence on business than the USA, and as such might imply that countries with higher regulation are making better products...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Well, the people who run large corporations just love to give money away to CEOs who don't deserve it. That's why they're in business in the first place, to give money away to a single individual who wasn't even around when the company was founded. It has nothing do with the ability of the CEO to raise company profits by more than his compensation. Nope, not at all.

    Since corporations make their money by raping children, CEOs are effectively paid millions to rape thousands of children. Despicable! I think I'm finally starting to get it...
    I might be giving this too much credit by calling it a strawman argument. That's the best description I can come up with for it, though. You provide no substance of your own in this commentary, you reference none of my own reasoning, and you inflate and distort a persona of me and then attack it, as if this thing you've created represents my position and my character.

    This is not good practice and It's not going to do you any good. Not with me, not with anyone.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #12
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post

    This doesn't sound like much of a defense. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. It sounds like you're saying that companies here make crap, and people know it's crap but buy it anyway, perhaps out of complacency. That isn't really a good thing... Especially since it is implied here that other countries make better products (the Japanese, and an implicit reference to all countries that beat America's auto-market). This would be an especially bad defense since historically Japan and Germany have had higher government influence on business than the USA, and as such might imply that countries with higher regulation are making better products...
    You are missing my point. There are alternatives, higher quality alternatives. You seem to ignore this fact in order to make your point.

    I might be giving this too much credit by calling it a strawman argument. That's the best description I can come up with for it, though. You provide no substance of your own in this commentary, you reference none of my own reasoning, and you inflate and distort a persona of me and then attack it, as if this thing you've created represents my position and my character.

    This is not good practice and It's not going to do you any good. Not with me, not with anyone.
    Magic Poriferan, meet sarcasm. It's not your view, but it's not that far off, either.

  3. #13
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    As many destractors as supporters? You're using a popularity contest to determine MS's value? You're the one who says Democracy is fetishized and that supporters are ignorant and persuaded by shallow pandering.
    No, I was just disputing your assertion that a company like MS can get big enough to "write the history of the market it's in." I don't believe that to be true at all. And I do think that democracy is fetishized. Its supporters aren't necessarily ignortant, but a good portion of the electorate (in all countries) is. I'm sure the majority of MS consumers don't know much about the history of the company, but it's available to find out if you seek it.

    Quality is always subjective, it's true. For instance, quality to person A could be really crappy for person B, because person B comes from a world where the companies don't make garbage, so he gets to use things that are actually affective. Meanwhile, person A has had so little access to companies that are inclined to put effort into things that he can't imagine what a truly affective product is like, so he thinks crap is quality.

    You're comment that, if products were truly bad no one would buy them, is only half correct. A company like MicroSoft has to make a produc that functions in serving a needed purpose. That, however, is all Microsoft has to do. That's what I mean when I say "bare minnimum". The company doesn't have to make anything at a level of quality beyond just barely functioning in order to sell it. This, if for no other reason, is because a monopoly doesn't have to fear that customers will get any better options. And no, I'm not a Mac user. I could hardly go into splitting the details of all of MicroSoft's transgressions, but I'm sure somebody, if not tons of people, have collected a list.
    People tend to notice quality a lot more when their money is involved. Poorer people may be priced out of higher-quality products (competition at work), but no company is setting out to make things that don't work. They wouldn't sell. Doing the "bare minimum" is perfectly fine. There is demand for no-frills products, just as there is demand for luxury goods. And, last I checked, MS wasn't a monopoly. I can buy Macs or Linux-based computers that don't have Windows at all. I am not defending MS as a paragon corporation, but they aren't some malevolent Bond-villain transnational terrorist organization, and they have done at least a few things right to be where they are today.



    I honestly don't have statistics on that, do you? It would probably be blurred by definition issues anyway. So let's do somelogical analysis on the subject, since at the moment we can't do empirical analysis.

    You're point doesn't hold for the following reasons: While it is true that government regulation can and sometimes has reinforced monopoly, it is also true that government regulation has the potential to be the best way to destroy monopolies. In contrast, there is absolutely no reason to think that a lack of regulation would reduce monopolies.


    I'm a little vexed, because so far, this is one of the most unfounded arguments you have used, and I don't know where it came from. How would a lack of regulation prevent monopoly? The theoretically model of monopoly developing behavior outlines something that could develop out of total anarchy. No regulation is necessary. Human nature and a multitude of people living together is all it takes. We may be talking about business and monopolies here, but this is not a strictly economic model. This applies to political power, and it applies to military power. It's flatly just a power model.
    People, without regulation, will seek to dissolve all competition to reap the undoubtable benefits of being an unchallenged power.

    Now, if a government had established several policies in favor of monopolies, than monopolies will do even better than in an unregulated environment, duh. Government reinforcement tends to strengthen things. But on the other hand, government, unlike a situation without regulation, can also inact means to directly prevent monopolies from taking place. Government stands as something that can actually stop monopoly.

    So in summary:
    Government regulation done wrong = monopolies .
    Government regulation done right = no monopolies.
    Lack of goverment regulation done in any way you can imagine = monopolies.
    So it makes more sense to go with government here.
    I don't agree here at all. I think that regulations can do more harm than good when it comes to monopolistic behavior, because they raise the barriers of entry to the industry so high. And there is no reason to believe that monopolies will always arise with a lack of regulation. Why are some industries more regulated than others, then? It's a matter of government policy that has a LOT more going on than whether or not economists believe that industry is ripe for monopolization. Regulation does NOT equate with competition. Look at the airline industry. There is way more competition in it the last 30 years, since it was deregulated. And it's far cheaper to fly, and just as safe. You can't just say "there will be monopolies in every industry without government regulation." In some, probably. In most (with low barriers to entry), not at all. Do you think every clothing store would be Abercrombie and Fitch if there were no regulation of who can sell clothes? Since there is almost no regulation about selling clothes, and there are tens of thousands of companies who do, I would say no.


    Most of your points about the affects of demand are still only based on the assumption that we are not dealing with monopolies or mutually affectionate companies.
    I never said that monopolies or oligopolies didn't exist. However, the vast majority of industries are not; they are in "imperfectly competitive" markets.


    Yes... if there is competition, and a company that doesn't seek sucess by simply repeating the shitty product tactic.
    If they are any good, we'd hope not.


    Also, your point about McDonald's needs to be reframed.
    Are there more restaurants using the fast food model than restaurants that are not? That's a better question, because it's not a reasonable comparison to pit one chain against an entire model.
    No, there are more non-fast food restaurants than fast food restaurants. You can easily see that by walking around outside in most areas. I believe there are about 12,000 McDonald's, which is the #1 fast-food restaurant here. Estimates of total number of restaurants is over 500,000. A large chunk of restaurants are fast-food, but more are either "casual dining" or higher cuisine.

    How are you so sure that most people don't share my opinion? A lot of people in this country are disgusted with how rich the rich are, and that sentiment has been getting progressively worse as of late. It's even more important when considering that the USA is unusually friendly to the rich by most standards in the first place. Internationally I definitely have the majority on my side.
    I disagree. You severely overestimate the amount of class envy in the United States. As a whole, we are nation that aspires to be wealthy, not to spurn those with wealth. And I wouldn't brag about class envy, either. It's a horrible trait to possess, and scapegoating is never productive. You'd be surprised about the opinions of people internationally, as well. Why would so many foreigners come to the United States to go to our superior universities and then return to their native countries? It's not to be highly-educated poor people, I can tell you that.

    Your comment about oil profit margins is unknown to me. I have to wonder some things.
    Is this before or after taxes?
    Is this with or without tax breaks and subsidies?
    Is this based off of the public statistics provided by the oil companies themselves?
    What do you mean by oil company anway? It's vague.
    I suppose you could be talking about the fact that Exxon is not making money off of gas stations, and as such is selling them, but is that what you're talking about?
    After taxes.

    With tax breaks and subsidies. Their margins would be even lower (rightfully, IMHO) if they didn't have help. They shouldn't be subject to "windfall" taxes, though. That is just stealing.

    You can't really fake profits (or the lack thereof). They are required by law to report them to their stockholders publicly. If they have crooked accountants, then they are committing fraud, which is not what we are discussing. They get a presumption of innocence, just as everyone else does.

    I was talking generally about the six "supermajor" private oil companies. The vertically-integrated giants (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Total S.A.).


    That's very important. What is the rate of success for those resteraunts, and what is the rate of success for an oil company? Let's say in the last fifty years...
    I don't have the numbers handy, but the average industry has an 80-90% failure rate. Restaurants (depending upon location, cuisine, etc.) are probably on the higher end of that range. New oil companies are hard to come by, since it's really expensive to get into and highly regulated by the government.

    And no matter what the answers are to these questions, I still have the right to complain about the money made. We are talking about companies that employ a few thousand people but make billions of dollars, and most of those employees don't even get paid very much. How do we justifiably explain the amount of money CEOs make?
    CEOs justifiably make whatever the board of directors will pay them. As long as they are not defrauding the company or artificially enriching themselves through manipulating stock prices, they have every right to make as much money as they want, the same as you or I or the poorest people in America do.

    Your point almost helps me in some ways, because if you actually are right, then what we've learned here is that a company could have shitty profit margins and the guy running it could still be rich enough to live without making anymore money for the rest of his life.
    That doesn't help your argument in the least. Do you know what "profit margins" means? It's not the same as "economic profits." Certain industries have higher profit margins than others. Grain farmers are in highly competitive markets, so their (potential) margins are low. Restaurants are in slightly less competitive markets, so their (potential) margins are high. If they are unsuccessful farmers or restaurants they may not have profits, but that is a completely different topic than what I was discussing. Oil companies have lower margins than many restaurants. They have tens of billions of dollars of profits per year because the volume of their business is so high. Everyone in developed societies (and most in developing societies) consumes petroleum in some fashion every day.

    The income per capita is ultimately the thing that is important for peoples' lives. There's obviously no way that much money is going to resteraunt owners.
    I wasn't arguing that restaurant owners are richer than oil company executives. Just that restaurants tend to have higher profit margins.



    I wasn't suggesting you said that, but I do think there's a conflict here. You seem to have so little trust in the government that I don't know why you'd put any stock in the illegality of fraud. You seem like someone who would suspect the investigators more than the investigated. After all, you said the business people might be liars, but politicians have to be liars, and then said that most people in the government are unelected toadies (that last part was a paraphrase, of course).
    If you can explain how having little trust in government is equivalent to believing that fraud isn't (or shouldn't be) illegal, I'll give you a dollar. That makes no sense whatsoever. Fraud is blatantly criminal. That's why you have a government around. To arrest people who steal or kill or rape, etc.

    And yes, I am wary of government prosecutors (who are usually unelected). There is a history of politically-motivated prosecutions in this country and others. Elliot Spitzer (before that jerk went down hard) did it to Wall Street. Wilson did it to Eugene Debs. Lincoln did it to dissident anti-war newspaper publishers. There must always be serious oversight whenever the government engages in its functions.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  4. #14
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    You are missing my point. There are alternatives, higher quality alternatives. You seem to ignore this fact in order to make your point.
    I didn't deliberately ignore anything. What made your point seems bizarre is the fact that people still constantly buy from Wal-Mart, so that implies that the consumers are not seeking higher quality.

    Now, let's suppose people are more prone to buying Japanese or German cars than American ones (I don't know if they do), then you are talking about globalized alternatives. These are legitimate alternatives, but I vastly prefer using anti-monopoly policies to expand domestic alternatives. This leads to a debate about free trade vs fair trade, which is something else entirely.

    Also, some companies like MicroSoft become virtual world monopolies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Magic Poriferan, meet sarcasm. It's not your view, but it's not that far off, either.
    I know it's sarcasm. It doesn't change the fact that what you said was useless. It is not my view, it is not close by my measure, and you cannot possibly know my own view better than me. There is no where that I stated such a view, so what you put forward is entirely your own conjecture about things I might say, but notably haven't said. So you can't even blame me for phrasing things poorly in this case.

    Do you find it more satisfying to fight creations of your imagination than actually opponents?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I didn't deliberately ignore anything. What made your point seems bizarre is the fact that people still constantly buy from Wal-Mart, so that implies that the consumers are not seeking higher quality.
    This statement is totally wrong. Wal-Mart doesn't sell worse products than other stores. They sell the same products that people want for cheaper prices.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  6. #16
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I didn't deliberately ignore anything. What made your point seems bizarre is the fact that people still constantly buy from Wal-Mart, so that implies that the consumers are not seeking higher quality.
    Consumers seek value (quality vs cost). Wal-Mart is very good at that game. That's why they're so successful.

    Now, let's suppose people are more prone to buying Japanese or German cars than American ones (I don't know if they do), then you are talking about globalized alternatives. These are legitimate alternatives, but I vastly prefer using anti-monopoly policies to expand domestic alternatives. This leads to a debate about free trade vs fair trade, which is something else entirely.

    Also, some companies like MicroSoft become virtual world monopolies...
    If someone came out with an operating system that was actually superior to Windows, Microsoft would have to adapt or they'd lose some of their market share. But the reality is, no one has. Sure, people can argue that Linux is better, but it's complicated. Computer novices (a vast majority of people are novices) want something simple, and they're better off with Windows.

    The reason Microsoft has a monopoly is because no one has come up with anything better (for the masses).

    I know it's sarcasm. It doesn't change the fact that what you said was useless. It is not my view, it is not close by my measure, and you cannot possibly know my own view better than me. There is no where that I stated such a view, so what you put forward is entirely your own conjecture about things I might say, but notably haven't said. So you can't even blame me for phrasing things poorly in this case.

    Do you find it more satisfying to fight creations of your imagination than actually opponents?
    The part about corporations raping children was over-the-top, but my first paragraph about CEOs was right on point. You think they're unjustly compensated. I think they deserve whatever stockholders are willing to pay them. Overpaying a CEO is stupid. My analysis of your stance is that you believe stockholders are stupid.

  7. #17
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    All of the arguments would probably be a lot better, and would attract more people, if you would link to information, or give examples, to back up what you are saying. (Notice that so far this thread has just been three people arguing the same points of their respective political views over and over. More specifics may give people more chances to throw their experiences/information in.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Magic Poriferan, meet sarcasm. It's not your view, but it's not that far off, either.
    I did ask earlier that people avoid the types of posts, and if you keep going, they will probably get moved around/edited. The sarcasm is quite insulting to the person with the view (Who's life experiences, education, etc. have been different from yours, and may have quite a good reason for having that view), and if you wish to show that the person's view is off base, there are better ways to do it.

    Edit:
    The part about corporations raping children was over-the-top, but my first paragraph about CEOs was right on point. You think they're unjustly compensated. I think they deserve whatever stockholders are willing to pay them. Overpaying a CEO is stupid. My analysis of your stance is that you believe stockholders are stupid.
    You mention here that this is a stance of yours, which by its nature is an opinion with incomplete information. Another person will have different information and a different opinion, and there is no good reason to insult them for it.

  8. #18
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post

    they [CEOs] have every right to make as much money as they want, the same as you or I or the poorest people in America do.

    I'm sure you'll tell me I'm twisting your logic too far, but this statement indirectly implies (to me) that the poorest people in America are poor because they don't want to make as much money as a CEO or you or I. Is a person's poverty necessarily a direct reflection of laziness or lack of initiative? Is a wealthy person always wealthy because they truly earned it? And should being wary of individuals who make vast amounts of money always be viewed as a matter of class jealousy? There are some terribly hard-working poor people out there who due to multiple factors that may be outside of their control will never be able to raise themselves above their current stations in life. Luck and circumstance contribute to a person's station in life nearly as much as hard work and initiative. Should insistence on competition be allowed to overshadow human reality?

    Unfortunately this does ultimately boil down to a debate of opposing political/economic viewpoints, and I don't want to get caught in a debate of dogmas, so maybe I shouldn't have even said anything .

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    I'm sure you'll tell me I'm twisting your logic too far, but this statement indirectly implies (to me) that the poorest people in America are poor because they don't want to make as much money as a CEO or you or I. Is a person's poverty necessarily a direct reflection of laziness or lack of initiative? Is a wealthy person always wealthy because they truly earned it? And should being wary of individuals who make vast amounts of money always be viewed as a matter of class jealousy? There are some terribly hard-working poor people out there who due to multiple factors that may be outside of their control will never be able to raise themselves above their current stations in life. Luck and circumstance contribute to a person's station in life nearly as much as hard work and initiative. Should insistence on competition be allowed to overshadow human reality?

    Unfortunately this does ultimately boil down to a debate of opposing political/economic viewpoints, and I don't want to get caught in a debate of dogmas, so maybe I shouldn't have even said anything .
    That is a weird inference to make. I was simply pointing out that there should be no upper limit on what ANYONE should make. You wouldn't suggest that there be a maximum income for secretaries, would you? Well, assuming you believe in equality before the law, you couldn't logically cap anyone's income. There are absolutely things beyond people's control that prevent them from earning more (education, innate intelligence, which industry you choose). Some skills are more valuable than others. There is nothing wrong with rewarding them more economically. And, of course, how rich you are is only a function of how valuable you are to the economy, not how much value you have as a human being. Money is great. I hope to have tons of it later in life. But I don't define myself by it. Class envy DOES define people by their wealth, and assigns positive or negative qualities to how much you have. Which is the same as saying that poor people deserve to be poor because they're inferior as human beings.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #20
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    I'm sure you'll tell me I'm twisting your logic too far, but this statement indirectly implies (to me) that the poorest people in America are poor because they don't want to make as much money as a CEO or you or I. Is a person's poverty necessarily a direct reflection of laziness or lack of initiative?
    It's a direct reflection of the supply and demand of their skills. CEOs have very rare skills. I have the feeling that people who think CEOs are overpaid may not believe this, but this explains why they're paid so much money. To have the ability to run a large corporation, the aptitude and dedication, is a rare gift. To be able to flip burgers 60 hours a week at McDonalds is not. Professional actors/musicians/athletes also make a lot of money, but I see no complaints. What is so bad about CEOs? They're simply using their superior organizational skills, just like a singer uses his superior voice.

    Is a wealthy person always wealthy because they truly earned it?
    Define 'truly earned'.

    And should being wary of individuals who make vast amounts of money always be viewed as a matter of class jealousy?
    I don't think so.

    There are some terribly hard-working poor people out there who due to multiple factors that may be outside of their control will never be able to raise themselves above their current stations in life. Luck and circumstance contribute to a person's station in life nearly as much as hard work and initiative. Should insistence on competition be allowed to overshadow human reality?
    Without competition, mankind lacks the drive to improve itself. Without competition, civilization falls into decay.

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