The listing terms that the HKEx finds objectionable are centered around the proposed structure of the company, which would allow their 28 partners to control a majority of the board - even though they only own around 13 percent of the company.
Apparently, the HKEx regulators still cling to the quaint notion that small investors are important. I guess those HK guys have a thing or two left to learn about how real capitalism works.
There was a time when the New York Stock Exchange didn't allow that, either. They caved about a decade ago. Now, both Google and Facebook have two class "president for life" stock issues.
That's all very noble and intellectual, but the simple fact is that in the real world, we all value different things to different extents. Money is the concrete, quantified representation of that value that we as a society have chosen to standardise.
You say that we don't want to be raising our children on stories full of sex and violence, and yet as you say yourself, sex and violence sell, so evidently lots of people do value those stories even if you don't or they're not valued as children's entertainment. In any case, I doubt most parents I know are planning to keep their kids safe from the evil that is Harry Potter as they grow up, and there's plenty of violence in those books.
I'm afraid you are imagining an idealised, deeply cultural world that doesn't exist even though you'd like it to, and then you are assigning the blame for its non-existence to the presence of mere economic niceties rather than the more fundamental cause, which is that the human condition just isn't as nice as you'd like it to be.
I couldn't agree more. This is the thing that always winds me up about people who suggest that there is no evidence that copyright is working and the only way we can possibly tell if we'd do better without it is to completely scrap it and see what happens. If there are all these viable alternative models that are so much more promising as incentives to create and share new work, why aren't people already using them?
Your argument all sounds perfectly reasonable until you consider that people have tried choose-your-own-price experiments before, and it turns out that almost no-one pays anything. People have given their stuff away for free and perfectly legally from the original source, and some people still pirate it from elsewhere!
So while I'm not for a moment defending today's absurd extremes of copyright, the one thing the copyright model has in general that your alternative proposal doesn't is that it actually works, which is slightly important.
I'm firmly in the "reform copyright" camp. That is, I think copyright is a useful economic tool for promoting creation and distribution of new work, but the current implementation of copyright law is deeply flawed and no longer fit for purpose in most of the western world.
That said, I want to challenge this statement you made, because I think it's too strong:
However, no matter how optimistic you are, what becomes clear is that if copyright dies in a practical sense, you cannot make a living as an artist.
I don't think this is a black/white question, but rather a matter of probability, scale, and variety of options. Many people do make a living in creative industries without really relying on copyright all that much.
For example, most of the work I do is subject to copyright protection, and in some of my roles I would normally transfer the copyright to clients/customers at the end of a job. However, often neither I nor my customers much care about that, because if we're talking about software that is running on their web server or embedded in their device, it has much more practical protection against someone ripping it than copyright affords, and in any case the software would have limited value in isolation so there's not much incentive for others to copy it.
Not everyone in software works on projects where that would be the case, so for others copyright offers a better incentive. But in those cases, other models might also work. I have some hope for the crowd-sourcing idea, as the likes of Kickstarter have already shown that even quite substantial projects staffed by solid industry veterans can pull in a decent amount of funding to match. Potentially there's a lot of middleman removal as a pleasant side effect, all the while still allowing the overall cost of developing a moderately large project to be amortised over many customers (and unlike typical copyright-and-sale business models, potentially allowing different customers to contribute more or less according to their means, so perhaps better satisfying your "democratic model" criteria). I think we need a few more of the bigger projects to actually deliver before drawing too many conclusions here, and of course even the biggest are still orders of magnitude smaller than what copyright-backed industry has achieved, but the early signs look positive from here.
So while I'd agree that the scales proven so far and the odds of success are not as good without copyright as with it, at least for those kinds of creative work where copyright is fundamental to the existing business model anyway, I think it's too strong to say that you can't make a living as an artist without it. What we should be concentrating on is whether more people wind up making more and better work that is ultimately enjoyed by more people with different variations of copyright or other IP frameworks. The idea is to maximise creativity and productivity for the benefit of society as a whole, IMHO.
Yeah, but Disney don't really need to pay their artists. There are loads of people in the world who draw and animate just for fun anyway, so it's not like using professionals is adding any real value.
Besides, just being associated with Disney will look great on their resumes when they apply for their next non-paying jobs, and while they're still at Disney they can even use the free PR to promote their live performances and make plenty to live on that way.
What might solve the Google problem is to increase the penalties for attaching advertising to someone else's work. People who make content available for downloading but don't put ads on it are doing it as a hobby, and they're not going to become too big, because serving that data costs money. It's the ones who pirate material and add ads that are the problem. They're doing it as a business.
When I'm in charge of hiring, a degree doesn't really factor into my decision. I can tell if you're the sort of person who enjoys programming. I'd take a high school dropout over someone with a Master's, if the high school dropout had a substantial portfolio of open source code he could show me. Assuming the guy with the Master's didn't, naturally. If they both did, I'd want to hire them both, and I'd make a damn good argument to management about it.
I've always thought of San Francisco as the new Sodom and Gomorrah.
That's a decade or two out of date. Maybe more. Here's this weekend's list of sex and fetish events in SF. There's a nostalgia tour for tourists of SF's sex history, and a screening of porn films from a Berlin festival. Yawn.
The fact is that technology may not have driven the purchase price of a car down that much, but it HAS driven the cost of transportation down significantly, while at the same time dramatically increasing reliability, comfort, and safety
I don't think this is supportable by evidence. Cars, including total cost of ownership and operation, are more expensive than ever. Mostly because people are willing (and able) to spend for it. Our entire culture and civilization is designed around subisidizing the hidden costs of transportation, to the point where it's buried into everything we buy or make or sell.
1909 cost of a Model T Touring edition = $850, inflation adjusted 2012 dollars, $23,394.41.
The problem with this comparison is there is rough equivalence in value between a 1908 car and a modern car. There was no such thing as commuting. There was were no highways. There were no paved roads. No auto shops, nothing. It was the wild west. There is no equivalence of value. People in the early days of television used TV much as it is today. There is arguably more value now because of many choices, but the uses and how it fits into a value tree decision are essentially the same. There are also a few new users (i.e. as a general purpose digital display) which add value that was not useful in 1950 since there we not other sources other than broadcast for content. But I think either way, the comparison is useful.
VW is notorious for selling its old models in foreign countries.
The original VW Beetle was manufactured in Mexico until 2003.
The VW Bus is finally getting canceled in Brazil (and that's being fought).
The 2nd gen VW Passat was sold in China for almost 30 years until it was updated.
Yes, this is exactly right. It cannot be done in the US because of increasing regulatory burden, and the availability of cheap credit (which I will get to in a minute). The examples you give support my position. In Mexico, increasing standards are what also finally killed it, and led to major revisions in three different model years. The Beetle in Mexico, despite rising standards and material costs, was reduced in price several times over it's production run, and it is likely that if new standards had not have been added, it would have continued to drop in price. See http://www.csmonitor.com/1990/... for example.
a. it's never cheaper to buy a new car.
This is absurdly wrong. You can argue that it's not a better value, but it can be frequently less money, especially short-term, to buy a new car. And it's often easier. If you are facing a large repair bill and have even mediocre credit, you can almost always buy an entirely new car for less money out of pocket than fixing your old car. And with special terms and whatnot, you can appear to save monthly as well (except that the term and therefore costs long-term are very expensive). Cheap credit, predicated on financing, makes it attractive to buy cars over unreasonably long terms, continuing the ability of car makers to hide the costs behind a seemingly low monthly payment.
b. One of those regulatory agencies crash tested a 1959 Chevy Bel Air with a 2009 Malibu
This video speaks for itself.
You are arguing that increased costs somehow are good for people because it puts them in safer cars. There is no argument that a 1959 Bel Air is not as safe as a 2009 Malibu, however, that is not the only piece of the equation. Why shouldn't the government (not insurance companies by the way) force every company to make a car as safe as a top of the line German built car?
Now you're just arguing with a straw man.
We're talking about the cheapest car of 1970 and the two cheapest cars of 2014
Yes, but the 2014 cars have many, many, many upgrades that are just plain flashy. People lived before air conditioning. People lived before automatic transmissions, CD players, airbags, LATCH, TPMS, etc.
I think you are right, but it was not focused on like bundling. Bundling was the charge that the DOJ thought they had MS nailed on, and it was their best chance at victory.