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Comment Re:That's Not What The Article Says (Score 1) 775

You are confused about the legal nature of a piece of property. Ownership of a physical piece of property has always been defined as a bundle of legal rights. For many, perhaps most items of property, that bundle of rights is all encompassing in the sense that you can do whatever you choose to do with that property. But for many items of physical property, the bundle of rights that are sold to you when you purchase the physical item are not all encompassing and never have been. If, for example, you were to purchase a nice piece of backwoods property in much of Appalachia, you had best check and make sure you are also purchasing the mineral rights to that land. In many cases, the ownership of the right to extract minerals has been split from the right to, say, build a house on the land. Similarly, in the American West, the purchase of land with a stream running through it does not automatically convey the right to use any of the water from that stream. The water rights have been unpackaged from the land ownership. This unbundling of land and water rights, in fact, goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.

The legal history of physical property ownership has been one where, over time, the bundle of rights sold with the property has been split into finer and finer bundles. DRM, DMCA, etc. are just a continuation of this trend. When Sony sells you a PS3, they have sold you a bundle of rights that includes some uses of that property, but excludes others. Sony is under no legal obligation to sell a complete set of rights when they hand over the PS3 in exchange for the customer's cash. If you don't like the exclusions in the bundle of rights Sony has sold you with the PS3, don't buy a PS3.

This unbundling of property rights is actually a good idea. If you were to force Sony to sell a complete set of rights as you seem to understand ownership, Sony would have to charge a higher price for the PS3. Since most people do not care to mod their PS3, removing that right from the bundle that is conveyed during a sale of a PS3 reduces the cost that most customers have to pay for the actual rights that they do care about.

Comment Re:Parents will appreciate this (Score 1) 421

if I was trained in construction or plumbing or auto repair, I'd still have a job...

No, you wouldn't have a job. These skills have some of the highest unemployment rates at present. It is those of us w/ MS degrees and years of experience whose mailboxes are full of "Are you available, we need a software architect" emails.

The trick to a modern college degree is to get a 2 year degree w/ a technical skill like, say, medical lab technician, and use that to pay for the 4 year degree. Where I live, more and more of the high schools are offering the opportunity to complete a 2 year associates degree along with your hs diploma. That cuts the cost of a 4 year degree in half.

Comment Re:Car insurance is illegal, then? (Score 1) 795

Its more complex than simply giving a hand out to the insurance industries. It has to do with insurance risk pools. Given a pool with a certain number of high, medium, and low risk individuals, set a price based on the average number of each type in the pool. At that price, the low risk individuals say to themselves that the price is too high given their risk level and so they would choose to drop out. This changes the average risk characteristics of the pool and so a new, higher price must be set. But this proves too high for the medium risk class and so they drop out. We are left with a high risk pool with a high price.

The bottom line is that low risk individuals must be forced to join and subsidize the higher risk individuals. The low risk is usually associated with younger individuals so we have to have a system where younger, healthier individuals end up subsidizing older individuals. This is OK since the young will eventually grow old and need the subsidy in their turn.

HCA also has provisions for subsidizing the poor. This is because the poor are most often the users of the highest cost services since they tend to buy health care at the emergency room rather than through cheaper preventative maintenance services available from general practitioners. It is cheaper to subsidize their purchase of insurance rather than make all the rest of us pay more for our ER visits to cover their expensive ER visits that could have been better handled earlier elsewhere.

Comment Re:Better still (Score 1) 197

This was one of the reason that the Soviets and Americans signed the ABM Treaty. Both sides realized that the cost of building launchable decoy ballistic missiles or filling your MIRV with a combination of real and fake warheads was way cheaper than the cost of building anti-ballistic missiles.

Comment Re:As the economy improves??? (Score 3, Interesting) 608

The current business surveys show that lack of demand is why most businesses are holding back on hiring. The uncertainty claims are mostly a tea party fiction. The number of businessmen complaining about regs and taxes is about what it has been for the past 20 years. The number complaining about lack of demand has skyrocketed. NFIB surveys have the data. Also, the current research suggests that stock returns always do best during the 3rd year of a President's term regardless of which party holds Congress or the White House and that gridlock has a small negative effect compared to non-gridlock. Don't believe the hype that stock returns will be great because the Republican's won. The data don't support that.

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