Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
This story isn't from some a libertarian website, but from the Atlantic. It describes the routine abuse of power by agents, often resulting in the theft of cash.
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
As nice as communism sounds, there's an inherent problem with rentals.
Yes, but I'd argue that most those problems are introduced by capitalist renting out in the first place
Anyone who's been a landlord knows that people don't take care stuff they don't own. Rental cars are abused, apartments are damaged and left uncleaned, taxis are smelly, public toilets are filthy and broken down.
Rental cars are abused because generally because as the renter you know you are already paying overheads and they are built into your rental fee. Rental cars are often cleaner than privately owned cars because they are cleaned between every rental, i.e. every few days. The insurance on rental cars is expensive compared to insurance I can get privately, so yeah, I'll happily leave fast food wrappers in the car and not hassle about a scratch, because it's covered. I've already paid for the repairs and the cleaning anyway.
Then let's look at taxis. They get used roughly 8x more than privately owned cars hour for hour. They also are generally not a cheap form transport. It's the taxi owner/driver's responsibility to keep it clean, and they generally charge appropriately. Whether they actually clean or not, different story. To be fair though, 8x usage does mean cleaning gets difficult, and there's a reasonable expectation on the driver/owner's side that people are going to treat the taxi with some respect and not puke or litter casually. However, in the course of a day, scrunched up till slips, gum wrappers, etc accumulate no matter how much care is taken.
Public toilets, covers a wide variety of installations. Some have cleaning tools available for users to clean u after themselves, so can brush out the bowl if necessary. But those get stolen (god knows who'd want to steal a toilet brush from a public toilet though) and broken. Again, they are generally cheap plastic tools that are used far more than they were ever designed to be used. Then you get toilets where there are no tools, but cleaning staff. Those tend to be clean, and you either pay for those directly, or they're subsidized like mall toilets. From personal experience, toilets get filthy through use. Night clubs and bars are the worst because they probably see the most usage with the least cleaning. Free public toilets on the street would be next, but I wouldn't call either of those rentals.
And now housing. This is the first case where usage between the average rental and the average privately owned property is generally the same. Except, if as the owner of a house, I scratch or scuff the wall, I can use crack filler and paint carefully over it to my own satisfaction. As a renter, the same offence means I have to repaint an entire wall, which is the owner taking a chance in my opinion. I suppose it comes down to expectations. If you owns your own place, you're happy to put with minor cosmetic issues, but if you rent, you expect perfection. So in the case, the owner is perhaps justified. The non-cosmetic differences are generally the owner's responsibility to take care of, and here you are absolutely right. Rental apartments are never taken of by their owners as if they were their own. If my toilet/geyser/plumbing breaks, I call get it repaired within 24 hours. If I'm renting, especially through an agency, it can takes days, often nearly a week. Then there's cleanliness. Where I live, if you're renting, when you move in the place is supposed to be clean (it often isn't very) and empty (assuming unfurnished rental). When you leave, you must leave it clean, and agencies administering rentals will call in a cleaning service, prior to inspection, to clean the place, and deduct the costs from your deposit. Since that happened to me the first time, I asked the rental agency every time if this was they're MO, and if it was, well since I'd already paid for the cleaning service regardless, I'd happily leave the place as a wreck.
I can't think of any rental system off the top that consistently presents clean and well-maintained equipment without enormous amounts of time and effort.
There's a thing in economics called "unequal knowledge" which explains why used cars have little value. The seller knows whether the vehicle is robust, but the buyer has no realistic way to tell. You can't tell whether the transmission needs replacing or the engine oil was ever changed or if other expensive repairs are needed. Because the buyer can't verify whether the vehicle is good, he will only pay "average" price. Because buyers will only pay average price, sellers won't sell vehicles which have above-average value.
Construction equipment costs upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can't see someone renting out a bulldozer and taking a chance that the renter didn't run it without oil for a weekend.
There are plenty of rental systems that are consistently clean, but yes, they do take lots of time and effort. Hotels, upmarket car rentals, expensive apartment blocks... to name a few. The key is that where the rental usage is much higher than privately owned, you have to clean/service/maintain/replace the consumer grade equipment far more often than if it were privately owned and sitting on a shelf for 90% of it's life span. Private cars are designed to be driven maybe 2 hours a day, and to have a fifteen year lifespan on average. Rental cars are probably driven twice as much if not more, so why would you expect the lifespan to stay the same. Also, when it comes to short term rentals, the "unequal knowledge" argument doesn't apply, because as a renter, if the item I'm renting is defective, I can return it, and either get my money back, or get a replacement item. I don't care whether it has latent defects, because it's not my problem.
Okay, God forbid, I'm actually going to try and treat this fairly. Firstly, recent incarnations of MS Word work using semantic styling, but don't force you to use it. This is much the same as in OO/LO. In general MS tools load files a LOT faster, and are more visually appealing (granted, eye of the beholder and all that), however they don't handle large files. Try opening a 400Mb
Now, the "basic tasks" concept. Basic tasks for word processing to me include: writing a letter, writing business document (contract, memo, invoice, quote, waybill, meeting minutes), creating/using templates for those standard documents, designing home flyers (lost dogs, bake sales etc) . These generally require the following 'features' from the software: text manipulation, text formatting, image insertion and basic manipulation (resizing, placement, possibly cropping), tables, tab stops, template editing, headers, footers, page numbering, and text->image conversions (e.g. for banner headings). Both OO/LO and MS Word do all these about equally well imho.
Advanced features: Mail Merge, Mathematical equation editing, Track changes/revision control, cross referencing (index, citations, bibliography, table of contents, list of images etc)
As far as the spreadsheets go, excel and gnumeric are very similar in features as far as I've used them. Never used OO/LO Calc, so I can't say. I suppose charts might be a distinguishing factor, but again, I rarely use charts generated from spreadsheets.
Presentation software (Powerpoint, Impress) seems to be where things really start to differentiate. More transitions, and more bling, in general, is available to PowerPoint users, and compatibility is HORRIBLE even between between powerpoint versions, let alone PP and OO/LO.
In summary: as far basic word processing goes, I don't see a marked difference apart from aesthetics. For Maths, they're both pretty horrible. Track changes they're both about the same (revision control in word processing sucks generally), and I'm not sure about mail merge