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Comment Re:Suzie can vote. Suzie can get a pitchfork. (Score 1) 954

I think we are heading into new territory now. Up until now, automating simple, repetitive tasks has improved the human condition. Thus far, demand for other services has always pulled these people back into the labor force. Just because it has been that way for 30, 300, or even 3,000 years does not mean it will always continue that way.

I think we are on the verge of creating a new category of structural unemployment. No longer will it just be a problem for the 50+, and medically disabled crowed. I think we will be adding people who's only marketable ability is their visual and auditory recognition systems.

Certainly the majority of the work force will be able to adapt. But I'd guess we'll shift at least 5% of the work force into this structurally unemployed group. I doubt we'd see more than 30% of the workforce shift into this group, at least I really hope not. Either way I think it will be large enough to cause major economic shifts, which will in turn lead to political shifts.

Those holding on to the reigns of power who choose to ignore that, will discover they have a spooked team of horses pulling their carriage towards a cliff. They best figure out a system that accommodates this new reality in a palatable way.

Comment We need congestion pricing (Score 1) 479

If I use 100GB/month, but only when nobody else is online, I'm not impacting anyone else and I'm only very marginally increasing the ISP's cost. If you want a pricing structure that actually reflects what the market will bear and would adjust buyers habits at the appropriate times, you need congestion based pricing. But I can't think of a good way to implement that, which isn't confusing.

Comment Re:You see! (Score 4, Interesting) 78

Yes. And that's one of the reasons why we need regulated capitalism. It's a means of harnessing sociopaths. In unregulated capitalism, the sociopaths will run rampant with their businesses. In communist societies, lacking other outlets, the sociopaths seem to take power in the government where they tend to do a lot more harm.

Comment Lose, Lose (Score 3, Insightful) 171

When Amazon says that they'd like to sell some books below wholesale, and claims that the agency model prevents that, they are lying their asses off. They could easily get around that restriction. The simplest way being by offering an account credit on certain books. The problem with that approach from Amazon's perspective is that it would reveal how large the subsidy is. Doesn't matter to the consumer, but it is competitive information they wouldn't want public.

On the other hand, if the agency model prevents Amazon from negotiating a different wholesale price than Apple pays, then that is collusion. I'm not sure it rises to the level of needing a government crackdown, but it is slimy none the less.

And the flip side of this is that Amazon of course would be happy to subsidize book sales and Kindles to drive people to the Amazon store to buy other things. Which in turn could have the anti-competitive effect of making tablets from Apple, Samsung, and others over priced by comparison and push them out of the market.

It doesn't matter which way the courts rule on this one, the consumer loses.

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