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Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 611

by bluefoxlucid (#48626595) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Actually, we have farm subsidies because the oversupply was increasing the price of food. There were so many suppliers with so much land they had to take a loss on land (missed profits) and would risk a loss on production. Basic prisonner's dilemma: 10 farmers each producing 100 tons of food, but only 800 tons are bought; each farmer can't get an agreement with the other farmer, so they all produce 100 tons of food instead of 80 tons, because if you can sell your 100 tons then you can make more profits. Unsold food means unrecovered expenses in irrigation, pesticides, crop maintenance, seed costs, and so on; the risk of unsold food translates to costs, and the costs are rolled into the food price, so the cost of food goes up. Consumers pay for 1000 tons of food, but only buy 800 tons of food.

Comment: Assuming they escaped, the penal system worked! (Score 4, Insightful) 54

by mmell (#48626255) Attached to: Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have
Think about it - they obviously didn't reoffend, right? If they had, they'd have been detected and returned (probably with a few extra bruises) to the Rock. Therefore, in the case of these three men the system worked perfectly - whether they escaped or not.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 611

by bluefoxlucid (#48626189) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

The only way for removing minimum wage to reduce what a worker is paid is if the labor supply is being restricted by minimum wage, thus increasing the price given the supply/demand.

The labor supply isn't restricted. We have a huge labor supply; it's the money or job supply that's restricted.

You think denying people a paying job ($0/hour) is better than them having a paying job?

It's complex.

As I said, people now must have a job to have a survivable income. A job without a survivable income is still going to help you scrape by; it raises your chances, and is better than nothing. Thus you don't have enough negotiating power to negotiate for fair compensation: If the labor will KILL you, but food and healthcare will sustain you, the proper payment is the cost of food and healthcare that will sustain you, PLUS compensation for your time; however, without an income, starvation will kill you faster, so you will work a job where you pay $10 worth of your health and receive $5 in compensation, thus dying more slowly. This is, conceptually, what happens in our current system.

It becomes complex when you consider rebalancing. Raising minimum wage does create some job scarcity, but only where the worker is less valuable than an alternative (e.g. automation, although there are many management strategies which are more expensive but more effective than others, and so become cost-effective when labor is expensive). This happens when the net profit using the worker is lower than the net profit by other means (when unprofitable, net profit by not doing anything is $0, and net profit by employing labor is negative). This means a minimum wage raise has an effect of moving money from some laborers to others.

With that in mind, you must consider: One million laborers slowly killing themselves; or half a million starving, half a million surviving? In one model, we conceptually lose everyone: no one is really better off; they merely suffer longer. In the other model, we outright give up on half of them.

This is why I prefer to ensure survival outright, to disconnect life from work. The comforts of life should be tied to employment; living itself, uncomfortable and unsympathetic, should not. Then we have no dilemma: all laborers, even unemployed, are cared for; and laborers can reject unfair employment terms, negotiating a fair deal, requiring no intervention by the government on their behalf. A great many moral questions are eliminated, as are many economic uncertainties, and many risks, many costs, and many ineffective social safety nets which try to address these problems in current.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 611

by bluefoxlucid (#48626067) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Increasing supply is not always a good thing. We have farm subsidies to prevent farmers from producing too much food; the US Government buys 500,000 tons of sugar every year specifically to reduce supply in the market.

If the supply meets demand at 500 million tons of grain, producing 20 million tons more won't do anything but create too much grain. Other suppliers will have excess, and will store it as seed grain; the next year, they'll cut back on production. They'll purchase less new seed grain.

Wealth only increases if there is actual scarcity and a new method of production reduces energy. If you invest 5 units of effort to create 10 units of product, you can increase wealth by learning to invest 4 units of effort to create 10 units of product. If you stand up a new facility which must invest 5 units of effort to create 10 units of product, you are still investing 10 units for 20, or 1 unit effort per 2 product. Wealth has not increased; scarcity may decrease. If, however, supply meets demand, adding more production facilities only consumes finite resources while creating oversupply, which doesn't increase wealth (may decrease wealth by creating waste).

Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1) 169

by Tom (#48624793) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

So you switched from nationalisation of certain industries to taxpayer-funded cronyism?

I don't know all the details, but basically, yes.

The Deutsche Bahn was a state-owned monopolist for long-distance rail transport (both goods and people). During the privatization craze of the 90s or so, the government decided to turn it into Deutsche Bahn AG - a private company, listed at the stock exchange.

After a short transition, the C level started to think and act like C levels do, and - with a little help of big consulting companies - decided that public transport isn't all that interesting and profitable and that they would simply use it as leverage to become a huge, global, logistics company. You can already see where it all went wrong.

In order to raise capital, the government planned to sell its shares. But to make it interesting to buyers, the company first had to become profitable. So all that I've described happened. People in small towns suddenly found out that they were not using the train enough, so train service was discontinued and the station closed. Of course, now they had to use cars more which meant more traffic, roads maintainence costs increased, more roads had to be built - as a singular entity, the government before had included all those factors and decided that train service to this town was the right decision, even if the ticket sales by themselves didn't cover costs - but if you figure in the costs of not having a train service, suddenly it does make sense. As a private company, the Deutsche Bahn AG only considered the side of the equation it owned, and that didn't show a profit.
This happened to hundreds of train lines and stations.

Total damage to the german economy - unknown. Some estimates I've read are in the billions.

Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 2) 169

by Tom (#48624743) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

The reasons they were privatized and the like was that the other wasn't sustainable

Get a clue before you enter a discussion. Many of the companies that were privatized were doing as good or even better than the private companies that replace them today. That doesn't always mean they are or were profitable - for some things such as public transport or universities or garbage collection maybe the benefit to society should be the important factor and not ROI and shareholder value.

You are repeating the ignorant blabbering of typical right-wing americans who think that anything that's not cut-throat capitalism is automatically communism. The thought that a world inbetween the extremes could exist has never crossed your mind, has it?

The strange truth is that the very america that had McCarthyism was very interested in and actively promoting the social market economy model of western europe, because they realized that if they had attempted to install the no-hold-barred brutality of pure US capitalism, most of post-WW2 europe would have become communist by free choice.

That economic model was the synthesis (to use philosophy terms) between the two equally wrong extremes. It gave us all the advantages of free markets, free choice of jobs, private companies and competition while at the same time protecting those areas where pure capitalism does more harm than good, like health care, public transportation or natural monopolies.

Sadly, the two competing extremes didn't fail at the same time to the same degree, so we've now been janked towards the "winner", and all the advantages are slowly evaporating in favor of higher stock prices and an economy based on bubbles and bullshit.

I'm not in favour of communism at all - had capitalism failed first, the same would have happened in the other direction and we'd be equally bad of. But on almost every metric you choose, western Europe was in a better condition 30 years ago.

Comment: My pet peeve about modern software (Score 1) 1

by mcgrew (#48624715) Attached to: 0.38 Seconds of Hate

Today's programmers suck. Why in the HELL should holding a mouse over a control for a few seconds activate it? The mouse shouldn't do anything but move the pointer unless I click. And when I click the "file" menu, that's the menu I want. Why does the "edit" menu open if the pointer strays off of "file" after I click "file"?

Is it stupidity of maliciousness? Are today's programmers just trying to piss us off or are they all idiots?

Comment: Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (Score 2) 169

by Tom (#48624705) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Who said anything about redoing the cabling every time you change providers you complete fucking retard?

I did, because that's what your ignorant argument would lead to.

Situation now, in almost all homes: There is one cable going to the nearest street node. This is the famous "last mile".

You want that cable owned by the ISP, which means for every home where the inhabitants are not customers of the current cable owner, either the new ISP needs to buy the cable, or put down a new one, since these are the only two ways in which he can be owner of the last mile.

If they switch ISP again, this repeats.

If a new ISP company wants to enter the market, suddenly the barriers to entry are much, much higher than they are now. Goodbye free market.

And let's talk about multi-story houses with a dozen or a hundred flats, and lots of different ISPs serving different flats...

Instead of admitting your argument was stupid, let's insult people around you who put you straight.

Going through the streets, you have a similar situation.

Not at all. The office building example is at the other end of the last mile. We're talking about the cable connecting the (office or whatever) building to the telco network in the street. Completely different things.

Comment: Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (Score 2) 169

by Tom (#48624675) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Right, because there is no other possible way to lay cable then the way they've always laid cable.

If you actually could re-invent the cable-putting industry, you'd not be posting in /., you'd be busy making your first billion. (you'd already have your first million)

Any place that had frequent changes to the cabling would either have an accessible conduit system or run the cables on poles.

You'd have to install the conduits first, which means digging up all the streets. A hunch tells me that is even less likely to happen in the near future.

Poles are not really practical in the places that the majority of the population in the west lives in. These places are called "cities". Cities are where the money is in telecommunications, so if your solution can't work in cities, it's dead in the water.

Disclaimer: I've actually worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years.

Comment: Re:So perhaps /. will finally fix its shit (Score 1) 316

by techno-vampire (#48623535) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites
We are living in a world where the west is increasingly persecuting people for ideas.

There's nothing new about this. If you look at history, you'll see things like this happening over and over. Look at how Rome treated Christians, look at the Spanish Inquisition and their expulsion of Jews, look at the Holocaust, look at Stalin's Great Purge. For that matter, remember that the Pilgrims weren't interested in letting everybody worship they way they wanted, they were interested in creating a colony where everybody had to worship the way the Pilgrims said they should. Up until recently, the US has been an exception to the general trend of mankind to punish anybody who doesn't think the same way as the ruler does, but I'm afraid that this is coming to an end. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't fight the trend, just that we shouldn't fool ourselves by thinking that this is something new in the world, because it isn't.

Comment: Not a bad idea. (Score 2) 316

by mmell (#48622673) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites
It won't do any real long-term good, but not a bad idea. Sadly, my experience is that the average internet user won't know or care what SSL even is. C'mon - we had a hard enough time getting the internet's user base to understand "locked green padlock = good, unlocked yellow/red padlock = how bad do you want your pron?".



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If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.