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Comment Re:I don't want a fucking TV channel! (Score 1) 277

Seriously. I grew up in a household without cable and one day found myself at a friend's house with cable, and he turned it on. Awesome! I was probably eight or ten or twelve years old. We watched a segment then the ads came on.

I was honestly confused because I thought the entire point of cable TV was to not see ads. I never, ever let go of that feeling. Today I have all sorts of habits which reduce the amount of advertising that surrounds me.

Comment Re:I don't want a fucking TV channel! (Score 1) 277

Yep. I gave up four or five years ago because they didn't have stuff I wanted to watch anymore. I had a few dozen items in my queue and I noticed that they just started disappearing. When my queue whittled down to junk that I didn't really care to see (why was it even in my queue at all?) I stopped paying the $12 per month.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

If anything you said were accurate, then we would have had all those wonderful free-market services with no fraud and happy jolly unicorns, or whatever, before the era of big government.

But no, people looked around and were grossed out by the human flesh in their sausage, and decided they'd rather have big government than eat peoplemeat. Likewise, all other big-government regulations.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

"In addition to the other rebuttals, labeling is in the interests of the producer because it gives the consumer confidence that the product is what it says it is."

If it were true, then we wouldn't have regulations forcing food makers to put labels on food, because the labels would have always been on food.

It is false to assert that consumer interests imply business interests. They don't. Occasionally they overlap, more often they don't.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

Seat belts were invented, then hardly used. Car manufacturers didn't want the public to think cars were unsafe. Only because of legislation did the modern seat belt come to all cars. But, then, of course they are there because of the law. We don't pass laws requiring things that are already satisfactory.

Growing your own food would take most of the free time that most people have. That's why most people don't do it, and that makes it similar to building your own car. It's not the same because, tautologically, it's not the same. Both of those are examples of things that people don't do because they would make modern life impractical. And by "modern" I mean for the last thousand years or so.

Critique food labels if you want to, but we didn't have them before the laws. Now we do. I like them and use them frequently and every time I do, the benefit I receive is because of regulation, not because the manufacturers are swell folks.

You know what would be super awesome? If we lived in a universe where people were honest, caring, ethical, didn't lie about what was in the products they sold, wanted to sell safe products, where market forces were good enough to produce good safe products, and where we didn't need big government to legislate where the market fails. That would be awesome! Alas, here we are, stuck in this universe.

Comment Re:I'll believe it when I see it.... (Score 1) 52

You can consider whatever you want but the world won't and shouldn't expend the resources to meet your threshold when the other threshold is the only one that matters.

"Take this pill, you'll never experience side effects or symptoms."
"But... I still have the virus! I'm not cured!"
"I don't care. Take or leave the pill, whatever, it's the same to me."
"Uh...! okay."

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

"Labeling most certainly is in the interest of the producer because it's an interest of the consumer."

This is nonsense, a rejection of reality. If it was in the interests of producers, then why weren't they already doing it before we forced them to by passing a law? Food producers fought labeling then just like they fight it now, it's poppycock to say it's in their interests because it's in the consumer's interests.

"This is definitely *not* the only alternative available. "

Here are the options.

1. Starve to death
2. Miraculously be the only person in history to personally grow all of the food they need to survive
3. Live in an alternate universe where food is labeled because markets respond to consumer interests
4. Don't know what's in the food you eat
5. Legislate labels

I prefer #3 but alas, it's not up to me what universe to live in, so I go with #5.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

I'm unconvinced.

1. Yes. Some companies put some other labels on food. The kosher thing is a particularly good example of a rare circumstance where consumer pressure was effective. Yay for the Orthodox Jews! If that were the typical case then we wouldn't need other labeling laws.

2. Yes, they might, or they might not, but they didn't. There was zero reliable food labeling before we legislated it, therefore we don't need to wonder whether they might or might not, because we know the answer: NOT. Hence, we addressed the problem with legislation.

3. You seriously just said "if people don't like it, then they can just grow all of their own food". I consider that ridiculous along the lines of "if people want seat belts, they can just manufacture their own automobiles". You can disagree if you want, and think it's not ridiculous, but meanwhile I live in a world where seat belts and food labels exist despite enormous opposition from producers.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

The lawsuit canard is common, but it's made by people who are lying, because they (you) know that launching a lawsuit is difficult, and any offense smaller than the difficulty will be unaddressed. It is made by people who, therefore, want companies to be able to defraud consumers in small ways, but not large ways.

I am opposed to that, and those people; I don't want companies to defraud consumers even in small ways.

Yes, we could all sit around forever waiting for markets to maybe fix a problem, or we can just fix it, like we did with food labeling and a zillion other nice things.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

I was once having this debate with a free-market-promoting friend, when I managed to actually win it.

1. I asked him if he liked food labeling, and he said yes, but that if people like labels then they could just demand them in the free market.
2. I said yes, but labeling isn't in the interests of any producer, so if none of them labeled, then would customers just choose to starve to death?

Done. I won. He even admitted it and I think he slightly softened his rhetoric after that.

Markets do not respond to the demands of customers. They respond to the demands of producers, who have a more-than-zero-but-still-tiny connection to customers.

You can focus on the more-than-zero-but-still-tiny if you want to, and everybody concedes that is true, but it's almost completely overwhelmed by the rest of market forces.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

There is a tiny nugget of truth in the original statement ('people pick products they prefer') and there is a tiny minority of examples of it working in practice ('DRM in music').

I generally focus on the huge majority of cases when it isn't true, but I don't disagree that sometimes, in rare cases, it does actually happen.

Help me, I'm a prisoner in a Fortune cookie file!