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Comment Would they sell? (Score 1) 292

Imagine you're an ISP who paid your congressperson to vote for this law. Someone wants to use your freshly-purchased law to embarrass you and your law vendor.

If I were in that position, I would tell Search Internet History, "Sorry, we don't sell that." (At first, and then when I later got caught selling it to others, it'd become a more combative "Sorry, we don't sell that to you.")

Comment Re:Several things (Score 1) 203

It can't be dead due to the enormous security risk, because the industry has supposedly accepted proprietary EME "content decryption modules." The one aspect of Flash that really mattered is still with us; it's just theoretically smaller (provided people abstain from installing the ones that will have them join botnets, mine bitcoins, etc).

Comment Re:What a world.... (Score 1) 260

"Free market" is a political buzz phrase with no real meaning in economics (look it up).

While I agree that "free market" is mainly a political term... in economics the same concept is simply referred to as a "market". There is no need for a term like "free market" in economics because in economics all trade is assumed to be voluntary, and consequently all markets are free markets. Occasionally economists will speculate on the likely effects of non-economic influences like price floors or taxation, but the very existence of these influences undermines the most basic foundations of economic calculation. This is part of the reason why economic predictions tend to go off the rails when you start introducing distortions like patents, copyrights, monetary policy, and taxes, all of which are decidedly non-free: they belong to the domain of political action rather than economics.

There is also no such thing as a free market when there is no regulation...

That is the same as saying "there is no such thing as a free market." A regulated market cannot by definition be a free market. The "free" in "free market" means that all interactions within the market are voluntary: the permissible actions are exactly those which do not infringe on others' property rights, no more and no less. Regulations are imposed involuntarily. The two are not compatible.

A free market may well include monopolies and cartels, but in general these are due to the presence of regulations, not their absence. The more heavily regulated the market the higher the barriers to entry and the more prone it becomes to regulatory capture, both of which favor a small number of large, well-established players.

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 365

I would imagine that most places that take cash only advertise it when you walk in. You know going in that you need plastic. If there's no notification, then there's a reason to argue.

"Places that take cash only" would be exactly the opposite situation. We're discussing cases where the merchant only accepts electronic payment—no cash. And it doesn't matter whether they post a sign saying "credit card only, no cash"—if a debt exists, you can pay it with legal tender. Even if they had your signature on a written contract, to refuse your offer to pay in full in legal tender would amount to forgiving the debt. They can blacklist you for it, but they can't legally claim that you still owe them anything. If a merchant doesn't want to deal with cash at all their only option is to avoid giving customers anything on credit, even short-term credit such as one incurs at a restaurant.

That is what legal tender is: a payment method of last resort which can be used to settle any debt, regardless of any prior agreement you may have made to pay by a different method.

That is the legal situation, more or less. As for the morality of the subject, I perceive legal tender as a bit of a grey area: I disagree with the current political methods but also think that the situation would not be significantly different if limited to legitimate (voluntary) means. On the one hand, legal tender laws are being imposed on the merchant by force, and a customer or party to a contract who agreed to pay in one form should not attempt to escape that voluntarily accepted obligation—I consider that contract-breaking and tantamount to theft. On the other hand, it would not be unreasonable for a court charged with resolving such disputes to impose the condition that the plaintiff must agree to accept some standard form of compensation as a condition of receiving the court's assistance, rather than the specific property in dispute. Some cases would be impossible to resolve without that constraint; the defendant may not even have the disputed property. On the other other hand, the government's courts claim a monopoly on arbitrating such disputes, which means any conditions they impose are at least partly based on force. If you don't agree to their conditions you have nowhere else to turn.

Comment Re:Well blame Hollywood for creating their own ene (Score 1) 310

because if anyone can make a movie for $50k and show it to the masses and make 200mil then the studios would lose their controlled market. and since they have no way of knowing which indie film will be a success they can't justify marketing all of them and losing money on 50% of them.

if they buy all 100 movies and distribute all of them, only 20% will be successful, if they buy all 100 movies and only distribute 20 of them, they have a chance for 80% of them to be successful since there is that much less actual content for people to see.

makes sense from an accounting point of view right? well business is the only thing they really care about.

Comment Re:Yeah, nah. (Score 1) 365

Here it works where I am. I pump, I end pumping, I go inside and I pay.

Pay-after-you-pump disappeared from the US sometime in the '80s: it was still here when we left in 1984, but was pretty much gone by the time we returned in 1988. Paying cash before you pump an unknown quantity of gas is a pain in the ass as a result. Even if you just want $20 worth of gas and know it's not going to be a fill-up, you're still wasting time going inside unless you happen to need something more than just gas (and if I need to go inside for something, I do that after filling up and moving to a parking space to free up the pump for someone else).

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 365

A place not accepting cash doesn't mean that you can just walk out with the merchandise, though. Your perception that you've created a debt by attempting to purchase something is off. There's no debt because the transaction hasn't been completed, and there's no contract, verbal or written, setting up payment at a later time.

I don't know if this is the same in Australia, but in the US it depends on whether payment is required up front. Most restaurants here give you the food first and have you pay your bill just before you leave, so there is a debt—and if they refuse your offer of cash to settle that debt then they simply don't get paid. (They are under no obligation to make change, though: if you order $5 worth of food and only have $20 bills, you can either offer to pay $20 cash for a $5 meal or make your payment in the form the merchant prefers.) A coffee shop might work the same way or might require payment up front when you place your order. In the latter case there is no debt, so the legal tender rules do not apply; in this case, as you said, the coffee doesn't belong to the customer until payment is made in accordance with the merchant's criteria.

Comment Re:Yeah, nah. (Score 4, Insightful) 365

I pay cash at the filling station, at the grocery store, at restaurants, and more. Why? Because it tends to be faster. While others are waiting for their card to clear through the computer I've got my change and I'm gone.

On what planet do you live? How is going inside, waiting in line, paying for gas, pumping it, and going back inside and waiting again for your change faster than just swiping your card at the pump (or holding your phone up to the NFC reader), pumping your gas, and hanging the nozzle back up when you're done? For the others, you're trusting that the people involved can do basic arithmetic quickly enough and accurately enough to get your change right in a timely manner. On the occasions that I do pay cash, if I hand over $4.10 instead of $4.00 for a $3.85 purchase, maybe half the time I get a blank stare in return. Hand them plastic and you don't burden their feeble minds with having to make sense of that.

There are plenty of good reasons to hang onto cash, but transaction speed isn't one of them.

Comment Re: Why the media blitz over this? (Score 1) 293

Simple solution: The snowflakes should become unemployed.

In considerable measure, they already are not just unemployed, but unemployable. Think about it: for what work is your average women's studies graduate qualified, beyond asking if you'd like fries with that? Even that's asking too much of them, given the likelihood they'd spit in your burger if they accused you of directing your "male gaze" at them for so much as a microsecond.

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