Commentareum

  • Recent Comments

    • AvatarCurtis Adams on The Case for MonopolyMonopoly is good for teaching how unfair real estate driven capitalism is, but it was a mediocre game in the 20th century and a lousy one now with the boardgame revolution. If it has a place, it would be in the classroom, where people are often expected to engage in tedious and frustrating work anyway.
    • AvatarPinky in reply to Stillwater on President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons OthersMy gut says life without the possibility of parole.
    • AvatarAaron David in reply to CJColucci on The Market is Eating CapitalismAnd why did we, as a political body, move to create that? I know what Chip is trying to say, but there is a reason we developed the idea of intellectual property. It both protects the interests of the creator, and at the same time gives them control over what financially happens with it. Indeed, it helps the creator become an even greater part of the economy. And to inject some stability into the world. That if I create something, the next large ape with a big rock cannot come an simply take it. Yes, it is some sort of collective illusion, but so is money, which it is part of, in very specific way. It, the songs and other art, are no different than a building plan. Or a automobile blueprint, a piece of gold. They are created wealth. Indeed, this is why we have created gov't. We have moved past the simple act of whose strongest to a deliberative body in order to protect what we feel is ours. That it is our money, our husbands, our place to sleep. And as we grow bigger, these things grow bigger, thus creating an economy. Chip is an architect. That the world needs and or wants people who can do this and have the ability to pay for it is a direct feature of that fact. As opposed to sleeping around a small fire, spears pointing out.
    • AvatarMike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw on The Market is Eating CapitalismBezos has been right so far. There are sound theoretical grounds for reinvested dividend being a solid investment for a growing company, but like most of that stuff, it's true until it isn't and no one can predict when that will come.
    • AvatarKristin Devine in reply to fillyjonk on The Case for MonopolyMILLE BORNES FTW
    • AvatarKristin Devine on The Case for MonopolyGreat piece!! Enjoyed it!
    • AvatarMarchmaine in reply to CJColucci on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasI'd suggest that's a reason to accept a VP offer, not an incentive to drop out of the race. In this context I'm using incentive as a thing the Party can do to change behavior even in the event Biden loses the general, or worse, doesn't even get the nomination.
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to CJColucci on The Market is Eating CapitalismGiven enough money and political connections, I could have the government grant me the right to the entire catalog of Shakespeare's plays. I could have it grant me the right to the house in which you live, the car you drive, the clothes you are wearing right now. Jurists, theologians and political scientists have tried to formulate principles by which we can resolve how property rights arise. Most of them turn on some sort of moral intuition whereby people have a natural ownership claim over the fruit of their labor. But ironically the marketplace itself causes that to become diffuse and weak. The clear moral intuition that causes everyone to accept that Paul McCartney owns a song he writes, is hard to discern after the rights are sold and resold, then as time passes those rights are passed down from generation to generation like an antique clock or something. Its a bit like if someone in Eastern Europe were to discover some ancient scroll that gave deed to a piece of land, and it turned out Chip Daniels was the sole surviving heir. Legally it might be clear, but its hard to mount some clear moral argument that I am entitled to the land, as opposed to the people who have lived and worked it for centuries. Phrased like this, it's an amusing thought experiment. But things like this are playing out all over the world, in places like Jerusalem and Kashmir and Crimea. Who owns it? Why should we recognize their claim? Free market economics has no role to play here; It isn't capable…
    • AvatarCJColucci in reply to Marchmaine on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasThe incentive to take the 2d spot to Biden is Biden's age.
    • AvatarDark Matter in reply to InMD on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las Vegas+1
    • AvatarCJColucci in reply to Aaron David on The Market is Eating CapitalismI think Chip's point was that, whoever owns the rights to Paul McCartney's songs, no one owns the rights to Paul McCartney's songs until some government says someone does and sets up a system by which others can be forcibly prevented from using them without paying for them. (There wasn't always such a system; Shakespeare had no recourse if someone else wanted to publish or perform his plays.) Whatever lousy deals the original holder of this governmentally-approved monopoly makes afterward may be his own look-out, but there isn't anything to make good or bad deals about until the government steps in and imposes some sort of order.
    • AvatarPD Shaw in reply to gabriel conroy on President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons OthersI agree the sentence was too long (and commented so when the rumors of commuting circulated); the reasons matter though. He didn't go to jail for "just politics," but a shakedown of a children's hospital.
    • AvatarCJColucci in reply to Aaron David on The Market is Eating CapitalismI saw it, too, but it seems to be gone now.
    • AvatarPD Shaw in reply to Stillwater on President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons OthersThat conviction was overturned. The Court of Appeals ruled that its not bribery or extortion when political officials offer an exchange of political favors. Blagojevich was guilty of extortion for offering to increase physician reimbursement rates for a children's hospital for campaign contributions.
    • AvatarAndrew Donaldson in reply to Kristin Devine on Corn Dog: The Beef Wellington of Common Folks, On a StickThank you so much Kristin
    • AvatarKristin Devine on The Truth Behind DresdenI thought this was a fascinating piece, and I'm glad to see you writing here.
    • AvatarDark Matter in reply to North on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasWhat would he do? The President appoints the heads of all of our regulatory agencies, many of them can effectively create law. Obama let the head of the Education department force Universities to restructure how sexual investigations are handled resulting in presumption of guilt. Trump has let ICE run wild and fired up a trade war. Those are very limited examples because they come from administrations that were/are sane and normal other than these issues, a real socialist would be setting their sights a lot higher. A President Bernie could force any company which has a union trying to organize to let them organize. He could appoint people who want to restructure worker pay and impose problems on any company which does business with the government who has a CEO/worker pay ratio over a certain amount. He could let the EPA get very serious about believing Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant and effectively outlaw economic activity. He could have the FDA not approve new drugs unless they're "available for everyone". He could vastly expand the regulatory state by taking the most permissive view of what each agency can do and control. Misusing the regulatory equipment which already exists in an effort to create a socialist utopia is the lower bound for what he can do. The upper bound is he gets Congress to pass at least some of his agenda... and unfortunately that's the way to bet. I get that as a Venezuela style socialist he doesn't believe he's trying to trainwreck the economy, but tha…
    • AvatarSaul Degraw on The Market is Eating CapitalismThere was a story I saw this week inn Vox I think about how Wal-Mart needed to pay 13 billion dollars in dividends in its most recent fiscal year and Amazon paid zero in dividends. Jeff Bezos was somehow able to convince investors that it is good to take profits and reinvest them in the company and new ventures. The "shareholder value" theory is enshrined in Delaware law where many corporations are incorporated but I think the big issue with the short-term strategy is that it seems enshrined in the outsized way finance pays in economic life.
    • AvatarMarchmaine in reply to Jaybird on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasAs the venue was filling up and near capacity... they should have thrown broken glass in front of the entrance and told the crowd of 10,000 that last 500 open seats were available to those who would crawl to them. Just to test an hypothesis.
    • AvatarMike Schilling in reply to Aaron David on The Market is Eating CapitalismJohn Fogerty didn't own the rights to his songs, because as a young guy he signed a crappy deal with Saul Zaentz to get a record contract. Years later, when Fogerty owned the right to songs he'd just written, he still sounded like himself, so Zaentz sued him for plagiarizing the songs Zaentz owned.
    • AvatarMarchmaine in reply to fillyjonk on Weekend Plans Post: TaxesYeah... I said to my accountant, "but we supplied them the calculated purchase cost that Quicken tracked over the years." Accountant: "Yes, but Ameritrade e-filed the equivalent of :shrug: and :smiley: emojis... so you now have to show the work that quicken did over the last 20-years to prove your number is more accurate than no number. Its a little bit like you've lost your parking garage ticket and while you know you were only there for 2-hrs, the sign says, no ticket = 1 day... you have to prove you were there for 2-hrs." Me: "I don't know how I'd do that other than point to Quicken and wave my hands." Accountant: "Exactly... you could pay me to retrace all the historical filings ... but that would cost about as much as the fine. Maybe more. And its still possible Quicken was wrong and you'll still owe some money. Not as much as the IRS says... but then you'd still have to add the cost of verifying the original figures." So it was more efficient to pay taxes and a fine on taxes I didn't owe than prove I didn't owe the taxes. Now, I'm not saying taxes are theft... but it was starting to feel a lot like extortion.
    • AvatarKristin Devine on Corn Dog: The Beef Wellington of Common Folks, On a StickI know I told you this already, Andrew, but I really really really enjoyed this article. I'm not too proud to admit I eat a frightening amount of corn dogs. For some reason, I really like them and ever since we moved to the Basin where affordable restaurants are few and far between, and yet we have to spend hours driving to get anywhere, they've become my go-to since they're easily available at convenience stores and grocery delis.
    • AvatarAaron David in reply to Chip Daniels on The Market is Eating CapitalismMcCartney and Lennon didn't own the rights to the songs, they were held in partnership with others in a publishing venture. And as time slipped away some of the partners sold their stakes to those songs to a higher bidder (ATV music). In the end, the estate of Michal Jackson sold them to Sony music, which last I heard, McCartney was trying to steal them from. He thought that he could sell stuff for money needed at the time, but be given it back because "reasons" and "feels". Laissez-faire capitalism works perfectly, but some people feel that they need "a few modifications that I prefer.”
    • AvatarKristin Devine on Getting to Ten Times BetterInteresting post, I enjoyed reading it!!
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Jaybird on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasI talked to my boss to get a report from him about what happened. Sporting a sunburn, he said that he stood in line for 5 hours and he didn't get in. They turned away 10,000 people, he told me. So they turned away more people than they let in. And getting there 5 hours early was not getting there early enough.
    • Henrietta Lowellfillyjonk on Video: Blagojevich Is A NaturalThank God for small favors on that last bit*. (I say this as a former Illinois resident and someone with relatives still there) (*the not-permitted-to-run-for-President bit)
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to North on About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las VegasPresident Bernie might, oh, personally direct government aid to favored industries to pick winners and losers: "President Trump vows new farm bailouts as China purchases appear weaker than promised" https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/21/all-caps-tweet-president-trump-vows-new-farm-bailouts-china-purchases-appear-weaker-than-promised/ President Bernie might shower his favored constituents with cash from the Treasury in the form of tax cuts, thereby exploding the budget deficit. Truly, such a madman should never be allowed near the levers of power.
    • AvatarKristin Devine on That Time I Played a Game and Liked ItThis sounds really fun! I tend to get overly competitive when I play (imagine that) so I find these types of community games appealing. Thanks for sharing!
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to Brent F on President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons OthersI agree with that (or rather, I believe you....it's not like I'm an expert or anything).
    • Henrietta Lowellfillyjonk in reply to Marchmaine on Weekend Plans Post: TaxesYeah, that's kinda-sorta what happened to me, except my brokerage SUPPLIED the cost basis for the CPA, and yeah, I did still owe the money. (FWIW: this was a schedule K-1, which are hellish to deal with and I was angry my broker talked me into taking that as part of a package of stuff) then in like January this year I got another bill for $300 from the IRS. Maybe I am a fool, but I just couldn't with it then so I just paid it and ate rice and beans for the rest of the month. I just hope it doesn't happen again but I fear there might be some kind of flag on my account now with the IRS 🙁 Like, "This one doesn't fight back" Which is why I'm using a CPA instead of trying to do it myself or hiring one of the shoddy big-box places.
    • Avatarjason in reply to fillyjonk on Weekend Plans Post: TaxesYeah, we got a letter from the IRS from when we claimed the cost of our IVS treatments. It was several years later. The frustrating thing was that we when called THEIR numbers, we didn't actually get IRS people, but contractors who told us what we needed. After sending them multiple documents we finally got it sorted out without having to pay them anything (because our deductions were legal). But it was extremely frustrating. I didn't think to contact our tax guy and he later told me he would have taken care of it for us.
    • AvatarBrent F in reply to gabriel conroy on President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons OthersOf course 14 years is too much, but that's more the norm than the exception when it comes to American Federal sentencing law.
    • AvatarInMD in reply to Chip Daniels on The Market is Eating CapitalismI go back to the old saying that markets are a wonderful servant but a terrible master.
    • AvatarSlade the Leveller on Weekend Plans Post: TaxesTaxes are done, thankfully, and refund has been transmitted by Uncle Sam. I gave up trying to calibrate withholding a long time ago. It's a fool's errand. Saturday is a Mardi Gras party and I'm bringing beignets. If you have any tips for those, this first time beignet maker will take them. Sunday is a best of Broadway thingy for the local charity I'm involved with. I really don't like musical theater, but I go to these things to support the organization.
    • AvatarJS in reply to Brandon Berg on Getting to Ten Times BetterOf American billionaires? About half total inherited or were given at least a million in start-up capital. About half of those (21% or so of the total) were born on home plate, as it were -- given or inherited their first billion. So depends on where you define "third base" -- if it's "Born to wealthy enough parents that they can give you your first million" then half.
    • AvatarKristin Devine on The Market is Eating CapitalismI really enjoyed this!!! Thanks so much for writing it, and welcome aboard!
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq on The Market is Eating CapitalismAs we've discussed here before, "laissez-faire" has a fuzzy indistinct meaning. Picking up on my comment to Marchmaine on the other thread, in a laissez-faire market, would Paul McCartney still own the rights to his songs? In other words, how does the marketplace assign property rights? It doesn't, of course. Property rights, and markets themselves are a constructed device erected by the collective body. How to dispose of the property of people when they die is another construction defined by the collective body. "Laissez-Faire" usually is just the term people use for "The status quo, but with a few modifications that I prefer."
    • AvatarLeeEsq on The Market is Eating CapitalismPeople generally like stability in their lives. They want to wake up and have Tuesday be more or less the same day as Monday assuming Monday wasn't a bad day. The problem with the more doctrinaire laissez-faire advocates is that an entirely free market at least feels incredibly unstable to most people regardless of whether it is stable or not. Laissez-faire was described as creative destruction by one its' advocates for a reason. The destruction part isn't so nice if you are on the receiving end of it though. So even if laissez-faire is theoretically the best form of economy possible, the number.of humans that have the personality to handle it is rather on the low side. That some, not all but some, laissez-faire advocates take a sort of social darwinistic delight in seeing people who fail under laissez-faire doesn't help there case. In a Facebook conservation regarding tenure, one of the commentators remarked that tenure was bad because it makes professors lazy. People should always be online so they remain rough, active, and competitive. I think that for many people extreme laissez-faire has that sort of attraction. They believe themselves to be tough enough to handle it and don't want a system that they see beneficial to the weak. It's sink or swim to them.
    • AvatarBrandon Berg in reply to Doctor Jay on Getting to Ten Times BetterI think that there are programmers who create ten times as much value as the average programmer, consistently. That may actually be an understatement. As you say, it's not really a matter of performing typical programming tasks ten times faster than a normal competent programmer. From having observed one, I think the key advantages are: 1. Knowing what to work on. He'd go poking around in some graphs on a whim, find some inefficiency, and three days later push out some change that saved the company $100,000 a year. Multiple times. 2. Writing better code. The fewer bugs you have, the less time you spend fixing them. The less time you spend fixing bugs, the more time you have for new feature work. 3. Having a good grasp on software design principles, which means less time spent thinking about how to design a particular feature or component, and reduces maintenance costs in the future. 4. Knowing a lot, which means less time spent looking up information. Surprisingly, he wasn't very good at all at mental arithmetic. I always assumed that was something that correlated very strongly with programming ability because of working memory requirements.
    • AvatarAaron David in reply to Brandon Berg on The Market is Eating CapitalismI am seeing also.