Comment On Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

You Wore a T-Shirt?! (from John) [expand full text]
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Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 02:25 • by Gunslinger (unregistered)
397154 in reply to 397065
Narfff:
No, he declined because the Manager repeatedly did not listen to him explaining things, and even after repeatedly being told that the candidate knew the answers because they were already asked before, still chose to believe that this person was the smartest student EVER.

I don't know if I would have declined, but it does say a lot about the company.


It says that the guy likely was the smartest guy they had interviewed, and he should have taken the job. He could have been CEO in less than 2 years.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 02:35 • by iogy (unregistered)
397155 in reply to 397143
TK:

However, if the "charity" comes from the government, then it's your right, dammit! I don't need to work, just gimme my moneys!


That just shows that you're stupid.

You could've been loafing and doing nothing all day, but instead you choose to go to work and pay taxes. Efficiency is putting in as little effort as possible to get maximum gain - so quit your job and go collect welfare.

You won't be off worse - or are you of such sub-standard intelligence that any lowlife with no education and no ambition can somehow beat the system, but you can't? Because the way you describe it, they are.

I mean, it's not like you give a shit about the rest of the population, so the excuse that you are a pillar of society propping it up because you have a job is, well, bullshit.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 02:45 • by John Hensley (unregistered)
397156 in reply to 397153
Rand Fan:
As a Rand fan (really an Adam Smith fan, which I find simplified as well, but Rand provides a simplified version of Smith...)

Bwahaha. Smith wrote some things about markets that would make Rand pull her hair out, but you won't find them in free-market propaganda tracts.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 03:24 • by Drak (unregistered)
397157 in reply to 397049
Smug Unix User:
1 pirate gets 100 coins and kills the others. They are pirates they don't share.


Actually, as I have heard, the Quartermaster decided how the loot was split.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 04:17 • by Norman Diamond (unregistered)
Some pirates were actually incredibly smart, and incredibly rational. Some of the booby traps they set would even put IOCCC contest entries to shame.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 05:07 • by Schmee (unregistered)
397159 in reply to 397071
Paul:

5. The other islanders observe that weakness is rewarded and strength is penalized, so they all stop working. Everyone starves to death.


Oh, do fuck off.

I think back to one of my acquaintances from a few years back, who was a small-time weed dealer and highly experienced benefits cheat. He'd done about a week's actual work in five years, had his rent and bills and food needs all covered by his benefits and spent the profit from his (short) deals on stuff he liked.

Irritated me quite a lot at the time.

Fast forward a few years. He's still the same. He's living in a shitty house in a shitty down eating the same shitty food. He's still getting the same amount in benefits, somehow... on the other hand, I've got a good job and whilst I work harder than he ever will and he effectively lives off my tax, my life is fucking awesome by comparison.

I live in a decent house in a nice city. I get regular ski, windsurfing and mountain biking holidays. I can afford a decent car and a fancy computer and a fast net connection and I get to eat good food whenever I like. I have enough spare cash to get decent insurance, pension funding and savings and still have more than enough left over to look after my dad.

Am I supposed to go on fucking hunger strike like a three year old having a temper tantrum because I have to work for my lifestyle? Hey, you wanna have a screaming fit about how society has parasites, you go right ahead. I'll be over here with a smug, self-satisfied smile on my face because I can cope with a small proportion of my earnings being wasted on the lazy. Feel free to whine yourself into an early grave.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 05:31 • by Numerius Negidius (unregistered)
397160 in reply to 397071
Gee, I wonder which president you voted for in the last election.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 05:53 • by chris (unregistered)
397161 in reply to 397160
Numerius Negidius:
Gee, I wonder which president you voted for in the last election.

So that's a vote for the temper-tantrum-and-hunger-strike philosophy then? ;-)

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 06:13 • by Tynam (unregistered)
397163 in reply to 397092
It's hard to describe any place where she didn't, frankly. An understanding of the economics of enterprise bypassed her completely.

Atlas Shrugged draws no distinction between "being competent", "being economically important" and "being rich". These are not the same thing, and any theory based on the assumption that they are will fail miserably in real-world economics.

This fallacy does, however, explain why her work is so popular with rich people. (Note how weak, how straw-man, the arguments of her protagonist's opponents are; she couldn't handle writing *plausible* opposition, because she doesn't have a plausible counterargument.)

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 06:28 • by Numerius Negidius (unregistered)
397165 in reply to 397161
Nah, I just voted for one of the many viable third parties where I live :-)

Politics is so much more reasonable when it's not good versus evil or light versus darkness. The world just isn't that boolean.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 08:55 • by dude (unregistered)
397190 in reply to 397071
You've missed the bit where most of them work every spare minute but still aren't given enough to survive so they have to take out loans from the richest at extortionate interest.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 09:02 • by Peter (unregistered)
397192 in reply to 397190
dude:
You've missed the bit where most of them work every spare minute but still aren't given enough to survive
So how is it they can all afford cable TV and 2000-texts-a-month cellular plans?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 09:33 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
397196 in reply to 397125
An innocent abroad:
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Not sure if trolling or woefully ignorant... Most of Rand's writing is non-fiction and can be found in the philosophy section of your local bookstore.

Yes, but that's mostly because my local bookstore is shit. It has all kinds of popular science books mixed up with spiritualist crap on a single 'science' shelf.

The only reason I can see for Rand stuff not being in the fiction/literature part of a normal bookstore, is that it is so incredibly badly written. For a philosophical tome you kind of forgive/expect it to be hard going, so it's a natural home. It's turgid, incoherent, switches from narrative to dry lecturing and back haphazardly, there's no overarching structure / narrative arc, etc etc.

Admittedly, I've only read Fountainhead (didn't see the movie, natch) and Atlas. Which make up the vast bulk of her sales, and are definitely in the Fiction, not the Philosophy shelf of a decent bookshop.

Even the 'pirate' puzzle already shows Rand is wrong on her fundamental assumptions: the absurd outcome is only due to the assumption that humans/pirates are coldly logical. The rise of cooperation/altruism in everything from bacterial colonies, human and animal societies, and game theoretic models is another good indication. She doesn't even have a grasp nor explanation for occasional 'you scratch my back & I'll scratch yours' opportunistic cooperation.
I think you'll find her philosophy books are even worse. She tried to create a system of ethics from first principles, but let ethical considerations leak into said principles, making for a nice bit of circular reasoning.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 10:06 • by gnasher729 (unregistered)
397199 in reply to 397129
some guy:
bgodot:
I had an interview at a Microsoft-wannabe place once.

They asked the cliche riddle of "Where is the one place you can walk south one mile, west one mile, and north one mile, and end up exactly where you started?"

The traditional answer is the North Pole.

However, given a little thought, there is also an infinite series of concentric rings (> 1 mile, and <= (1+(1/2pi)) miles I think) around the south pole, where you can walk towards the pole, do a whole number of laps, then walk one mile north to your starting point.

They refused to understand that possibility, and I don't think they were just seeing how well I would stick to my position (because I didn't budge from it)


This is probably because you were wrong about. The final step is to walk north one mile. There is no place from which you can move north, and reach the south pole when you're any distance away from the south pole.


He is of course absolutely right. You start for example 1.159155 miles away from the south pole. You walk south one mile and are 0.159155 miles away from the south pole, which happens to be 1 / 2pi miles. Walking one mile to the west covers exactly one round, 360 degrees, and you are back at the same point 0.159155 miles away from the south pole. Walking 1 mile north means you are now 1.159155 miles away, exactly where you started.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 10:15 • by PRMan (unregistered)
397201 in reply to 397060
I turned down an offer once because I felt like God told me not to take it. The recruiter was surprisingly understanding and respected me for having the guts to admit that.

She tried to get me another job soon afterward.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 10:39 • by foo2 (unregistered)
397204 in reply to 397092
Ozz:
The sad thing is, some people actually believe this.
So tell me, where does Ayn Rand have it wrong?


Well, we all know socialism is bad.

Unless of course you are dying and broke, so it's ok then. You're not really getting a handout from the government in that case because, er, um, because, um, just because, ok? Because I paid taxes! Yeah, that's the ticket, just getting back what was mine! I did pay, honest!

But socialism is still bad, ok?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 11:50 • by fa2k (unregistered)
Paul, in the featured commend you're conflating two unrelated issues, the economics of inflation and a welfare system. Having inflation does not make people lazy by itself, it rather encourages people to spend money instead of hoarding it. In practice, stable governments don't use inflation to finance the welfare system, they use taxes instead.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 11:52 • by Anonymous Coward (unregistered)
397213 in reply to 397192
Numerius Negidius:
Gee, I wonder which president you voted for in the last election.

Given that they used the words "pension," "holiday," and "whilst," I'm guessing neither because they are British or Australian.

Peter:
dude:
You've missed the bit where most of them work every spare minute but still aren't given enough to survive
So how is it they can all afford cable TV and 2000-texts-a-month cellular plans?

My TV and phone bills cost less than one month of food. Less than a quarter of my rent. I do not go extravagant in the food or housing categories by any means.

But don't let pesky facts get in the way of a good hate-on.

Alternate response: Are you saying poor people shouldn't be allowed any creature comforts whatsoever?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 11:56 • by regeya (unregistered)
397217 in reply to 397092
So tell me, where does Ayn Rand have it wrong?


If you have to have it explained to you...

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 11:57 • by Mr.Bob (unregistered)
397218 in reply to 397104
Svensson:
Wildcatmike:
So, the WTF is that as a college student this got a great job offer, presumably starting after graduation, and it obviously comes with the option to decline at any point down the road (at will employment and whatnot), and the idiot declined the offer just because a manager got mixed up and accidentally gave him the answers ahead of time? Did I get that right, because, yeah, WTF?


If he accepts it and then quits after 6 months, he will spend the next 10 years explaining to HR people why he left his first job so quickly -- that is, those HR people who will ask instead of just shoving his resume to the bottom of the pile.


Hard to predict the future, but as a new wet-behind-the-ears college grad, I would rather risk the odds of explaining the 6 month job with a full belly and a tank of gas, than explain the 24-30 months of unemployment that I experienced right after college. Bird in the hand, and all that.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 12:04 • by regeya (unregistered)
397219 in reply to 397111
Interesting. The first link doesn't at all support your claim that Ayn Rand had pretty much everything wrong; the second is from GQ. Not that there's anything wrong with GQ, but expecting philosophical rigor from them is like going to an auto parts store for groceries.


And yet, we're talking about the philosophical rigor of a Hollywood screenwriter...

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 12:46 • by abico (unregistered)
397221 in reply to 397078
Anonymous:
I think it's stupid to judge the whole company based on one stupid person. There are stupid people in every company (except for maybe Google...)! Turning down the job is one thing, but to say "needless to say" I think is taking it too far. Besides, how many companies have managers that are intelligent and a joy to work for? Management attracts people persons, not intelligence.


There are actually plenty of morons in Google as well.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 12:47 • by abico (unregistered)
397222 in reply to 397082
Mark Bowytz:
A group of villagers with pitchforks and torches just got off of the elevators here on my floor.

I flipped the category bit on the article hoping that it would calm them, but it only made the situation worse.

I can hear banging on the cabinets in the kitchenette and the chants are growing ever louder.

Someone just screamed - something about how the multifunction printer is out of toner I think.

I fear my time is drawing short - I don't know how long it will be until the mob navigates the cubicle maze to my desk. Hours or days - I just don't know.

Please tell my wife and children that I love them and tell Alex that tomorrow's Error'd is already done.



Inside jokes are not funny outside.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 12:47 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
397223 in reply to 397219
regeya:
Interesting. The first link doesn't at all support your claim that Ayn Rand had pretty much everything wrong; the second is from GQ. Not that there's anything wrong with GQ, but expecting philosophical rigor from them is like going to an auto parts store for groceries.


And yet, we're talking about the philosophical rigor of a Hollywood screenwriter...
...who went on to write a bunch of philosophy books. We've gone over this earlier in the thread. Please try to keep up.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 12:49 • by Jazz (unregistered)
397224 in reply to 397121
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Jazz:

To be fair, if you're wondering why [some work of fiction] by [author who writes only fiction] is wrong
Not sure if trolling or woefully ignorant... Most of Rand's writing is non-fiction and can be found in the philosophy section of your local bookstore.

Disclaimer: I don't agree with Randian philosophy either.


In this case I was woefully ignorant. I shudder to think of Rand being treated as a serious philosopher, but TIL.

Either way, I think my argument still stands if you remove the word "only." I think it's silly to expect academic-grade philosophical rigor from what is fundamentally a piece of literary criticism.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:05 • by jay (unregistered)
397226 in reply to 397111
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Brogrammer:
Pretty much everything, truth be told. There are plenty of resources out there on that fertile topic.
Interesting. The first link doesn't at all support your claim that Ayn Rand had pretty much everything wrong; the second is from GQ. Not that there's anything wrong with GQ, but expecting philosophical rigor from them is like going to an auto parts store for groceries.


Any time I ask, "What's the flaw in this reasoning?" and get a reply like "Everything!" or "Only morons would believe that!" or "All the experts say it's wrong!", I interpret that to mean "I can't actually give you a rational argument, but it would make me feel uncomfortable if it was true, so I have to believe that it's false."

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:24 • by Ben (unregistered)
397228 in reply to 397071
Somebody doesn't get that welfare is a way for the government to invest in its citizens. I've had to use food stamps, pell grants, and sundry other Government aid to get through college as a teenage parent. I'm currently working retail, but I'll graduate and find a real job soon enough. Then I'm sure I'll be paying enough in taxes to pay all of it back, and more.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:37 • by jay (unregistered)
397231 in reply to 397125
An innocent abroad:
jay:

Yes, because idealistic young people leap on capitalism because they're naive and simplistic. But it's impossible to imagine idealistic young people leaping on socialism because they're naive and simplistic:

Where did socialism suddenly come from?! Or is this your entry in the "Weakest Strawman of the Year" competition? It has the same logic as "You're against Stalinism? Then you support Nazism!". I know it's the endorsed American view that you're either with or against 'Us', but do grow up, the world is not Boolean. (Not even extended-Boolean with an 'unsure', 'file-not-found', 'etc' category.)


I didn't say that if you don't follow Ayn Rand's philosophy you must be a socialist. I don't see where you get such an idea from my statement. I was criticizing the practice of "rebutting" a philosophical idea by amateur psychoanalysis of its adherents rather than debating the merits. Thus, I was attempting to show the emptiness of this line of argument by applying it to a competing philosophy. I didn't say that the example I used was the only possible competing philosophy. Ayn Rand's philosophy is generally described as being an extreme form of capitalism. The opposite of capitalism is generally understood to be socialism. Thus I used what most people would consider the opposite for my example. This made a good example, I thought, because the most vocal critics of Ayn Rand are generally socialists. That does not mean that the only critics of Ayn Rand are socialists. I disagree with many of Rand's ideas and I am not a socialist. I suppose I could have made the same point by using as an example a philosophy or theory that has nothing to do with economics or politics. But I was trying to use an example that would describe a large percentage -- though, I reiterate, by no means all -- of the people who would agree with the original attack on Rand.

If someone says that Mr X must be French because he speaks English with an accent, and I say that this conclusion does not follow and note that Mr Y also speaks English with an accent and he is from Germany, this does not mean that I think that Mr X must be from Germany or that I think that France and Germany are the only countries in the world. I am just using two examples.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:42 • by Mason Wheeler
I had something similar happen to me in an interview once. I was given a question by the first interviewer (let's call him Dave) that went like "given a set of data with characteristics X, can you create a function to determine fact Y about this data?" When I answered, he added "and can you make it work within constraint Z?" After a few attempts, I couldn't think of a way to satisfy the constraint, and he said that most people couldn't, and here's the answer.

I got invited back for a second interview, this time by Bill. Bill asked me the same question, so I gave him the answer that Dave had given me. He looked amazed and said that I was the first person they'd ever interviewed who could answer that right the first time. I said, "well, that's because Dave went over it with me on my first interview," and we both had a good laugh about it.

He then proceeded to ask me a bunch of other questions about programming, which I was able to answer to his satisfaction. I ended up getting the offer, and I accepted it.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:47 • by Mason Wheeler
397234 in reply to 397148
JustSomeGuy:
Socialism was never going to work because of its underlying essence: "from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need".

The reason it would never work is because, while resources are limited, desires are not.


While I agree that socialism was never going to work because of its underlying essence, I don't agree with your analysis of "its underlying essence." The concept of "From everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need" is quite sound, and as has already been pointed out, need is a very different thing from desire. Had this principle actually been implemented by some socialist system, they would have flourished.

The true essential problem is that socialism expects that The People will find it in them to abandon selfishness en masse for the sake of the greater good, while also explicitly denying and condemning the only facet of human nature that has been shown, throughout history, to be strong enough to motivate people to do so: the religious impulse.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:48 • by jay (unregistered)
397235 in reply to 397159
Schmee:
Paul:

5. The other islanders observe that weakness is rewarded and strength is penalized, so they all stop working. Everyone starves to death.


Oh, do fuck off.

I think back to one of my acquaintances from a few years back, who was a small-time weed dealer and highly experienced benefits cheat. He'd done about a week's actual work in five years, had his rent and bills and food needs all covered by his benefits and spent the profit from his (short) deals on stuff he liked.

Irritated me quite a lot at the time.

Fast forward a few years. He's still the same. He's living in a shitty house in a shitty down eating the same shitty food. He's still getting the same amount in benefits, somehow... on the other hand, I've got a good job and whilst I work harder than he ever will and he effectively lives off my tax, my life is fucking awesome by comparison.

I live in a decent house in a nice city. I get regular ski, windsurfing and mountain biking holidays. I can afford a decent car and a fancy computer and a fast net connection and I get to eat good food whenever I like. I have enough spare cash to get decent insurance, pension funding and savings and still have more than enough left over to look after my dad.

Am I supposed to go on fucking hunger strike like a three year old having a temper tantrum because I have to work for my lifestyle? Hey, you wanna have a screaming fit about how society has parasites, you go right ahead. I'll be over here with a smug, self-satisfied smile on my face because I can cope with a small proportion of my earnings being wasted on the lazy. Feel free to whine yourself into an early grave.


Hmm, so as best as I can figure out, you are saying that you think that living off government benefits is bad for the individual and bad for society, but if someone else says that living off government benefits is bad for the individual and bad for society, they are whiners and screamers and lunatics.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 13:50 • by Mason Wheeler
397237 in reply to 397153
Rand Fan:
As a Rand fan (really an Adam Smith fan, which I find simplified as well, but Rand provides a simplified version of Smith...), I put forth the following claim: Both her perspective of capitalism as well as the ideas of socialism are simplistic. I further put forth, having read Marx' Communist Manifesto, that communism was a grab for power and an attempt to make the workers revolt against the investors.

If you've never read them, I strongly recommend reading all sources mentioned. It's illuminating.


If you really think this, I can't help but wonder if you have ever read them. What Ayn Rand calls "capitalism" is nothing like the principles that Adam Smith described. If you go around advocating the ideas of Smith's capitalism these days, there's a pretty good chance that modern "free market proponents" (influenced by Rand) would call you a dirty commie.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:00 • by Gobias Industries (unregistered)
397239 in reply to 397052
I think you may have made a huge mistake...

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:00 • by jay (unregistered)
397240 in reply to 397122
bgodot:
I had an interview at a Microsoft-wannabe place once.

They asked the cliche riddle of "Where is the one place you can walk south one mile, west one mile, and north one mile, and end up exactly where you started?"

The traditional answer is the North Pole.

However, given a little thought, there is also an infinite series of concentric rings (> 1 mile, and <= (1+(1/2pi)) miles I think) around the south pole, where you can walk towards the pole, do a whole number of laps, then walk one mile north to your starting point.

They refused to understand that possibility, and I don't think they were just seeing how well I would stick to my position (because I didn't budge from it)


How interesting. When I first heard this problem many years ago, I thought of a single circle around the south pole. Namely:

Start 1+pi/2 miles from the south pole. (It's not necessary to say in what direction from the south pole, as the only direction from the south pole is north.) Let's call that point X. Walk south 1 mile. You are now pi/2 miles from the south pole. Let's call that point Y. Walk 1 mile west and you make a complete circle around the south pole -- a circle with radius pi/2 has a circumference of 1 -- bringing you back to point Y. Walk 1 mile north and you are back to X, you're starting point.

But I guess you're saying that if the problem is understood to allow you making multiple laps around a tiny circle -- which I guess isn't ruled out -- then you could start closer to the south pole. If, say, you start 1+pi/4 miles from the pole, then you walk south 1 mile, walk west 1 mile means 2 complete laps around the pole, then 1 mile north to your starting point. So under those rules there would be an infinite number of concentric circles that you could start from. Of course in practice, eventually we are talking about walking in a 2 inch circle many thousands of times, etc. I'd never thought of that before. Who says this web site is just a time waster?

Does it count if you start exactly 1 mile from the south pole, walk 1 mile south, spin on your heals a few thousand times, and then walk 1 mile north?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:32 • by jay (unregistered)
397243 in reply to 397137
Bern:
Well, you know that's only a hypothetical example.

In the *real* world, one of the five (let's call him Bill) has, through fair means & foul, managed to amass 90% of all the gold coins.

Three of the remaining four, needing gold coins to trade, want to do work for Bill to earn them. Bill says, "Sure, but I'll only give work to the lowest bidder."

The others are so desperate to get coins, that Bill not only gets his own needs fulfilled, but hires others at a discount to do the work that he gets paid gold coins for in the first place, taking 50-90% of all the income generated.

The end result is that Bill lives a life of luxury, ends up with an even higher proportion of the coins, the 'middle class' get barely enough to scrape by on, and Larry spends his days poring through the trash heap, eating scraps and hoping like hell someone will throw out a blanket before winter arrives...


Let's consider this post as if it was intended seriously.

I don't know of any advocate of capitalism who condones acquiring wealth by "foul" means. If Bill got rich by breaking into people's houses and stealing their wealth, or by making false representations about what he was selling and so tricking them out of their wealth, etc, then he should be caught and punished and the money returned. Even the most extreme libertarians agree that contracts should be enforced and theft and fraud punished.

So let's assume Bill acquired his wealth legitimately: by his own hard work and ingenuity.

So now, in your scenario, he no longer does work himself, but instead hires others to do the work and then resells the fruit of their labor at a profit. Okay. There are three possibilities here.

One: Bill is managing the operation. That is, he is making plans, dividing up the labor, co-ordinating efforts, etc. While this is not grunt-force labor, it is still a job that needs to be done, and he deserves to be compensated for it.

Two: Bill is assuming risk. No one knows for sure if the venture will be successful or not. So Bill pays people to do the work. If the venture fails, they have still been paid. They lose nothing from the failure. They go on to get other jobs. Bill is out the cash that was paid to them. So it's only fair that if the venture succeeds, Bill should get some profit to compensate him for being willing to take the risk. After all, why is it that most people don't start their own business? Surely it is because they are afraid to take the risk. They know that if the business fails, they could lose everything they own. They'd rather go to work for someone else and let that person take the risk. But why should the business owner be willing to take the risk of losing money unless there is some hope of gaining money?

(Might be a combination of 1 and 2, of course.)

Three: Bill contributes absolutely nothing of value. He just skims x% off the top of everyone else's income.

But in case 3, how does Bill keep this up? Why would anyone go to work for him if he provides no useful service? It doesn't work to say that they have no choice because Bill has all the money. If that was really the case, then to whom does he sell the products that his serfs create? Bill may have more money than anyone else, but he doesn't have all of it. So someone else could start a competing business. If it's really true that Bill hires Fred to work for him, pays Fred 4 gold coins, and then sells the fruit of Fred's work to someone else for 10 gold coins and keeps 6 for himself, then why can't Fred just quit working for Bill and start his own business, selling the same work for, say, 5 gold coins. Now he makes more money than he did before. He can easily win away many of Bill's customers because he's charging half the price for the same product.

The only way Bill can keep this going is if he can use force to prevent people from competing against him. That is, if he can make himself the government or get the government to support him. Then the 6 gold coins that Bill skims off the top are called "taxes" or "subsidies" or "stimulus". But now we're not talking about capitalism any more; we're talking about socialism.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:33 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
397244 in reply to 397224
Jazz:
I shudder to think of Rand being treated as a serious philosopher, but TIL.
If it's any consolation, she only wrote a bunch of philosophy books. She was never treated as a serious philosopher.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:37 • by foo (unregistered)
397245 in reply to 397235
jay:
Schmee:
Paul:

5. The other islanders observe that weakness is rewarded and strength is penalized, so they all stop working. Everyone starves to death.


Oh, do fuck off.

I think back to one of my acquaintances from a few years back, who was a small-time weed dealer and highly experienced benefits cheat. He'd done about a week's actual work in five years, had his rent and bills and food needs all covered by his benefits and spent the profit from his (short) deals on stuff he liked.

Irritated me quite a lot at the time.

Fast forward a few years. He's still the same. He's living in a shitty house in a shitty down eating the same shitty food. He's still getting the same amount in benefits, somehow... on the other hand, I've got a good job and whilst I work harder than he ever will and he effectively lives off my tax, my life is fucking awesome by comparison.

I live in a decent house in a nice city. I get regular ski, windsurfing and mountain biking holidays. I can afford a decent car and a fancy computer and a fast net connection and I get to eat good food whenever I like. I have enough spare cash to get decent insurance, pension funding and savings and still have more than enough left over to look after my dad.

Am I supposed to go on fucking hunger strike like a three year old having a temper tantrum because I have to work for my lifestyle? Hey, you wanna have a screaming fit about how society has parasites, you go right ahead. I'll be over here with a smug, self-satisfied smile on my face because I can cope with a small proportion of my earnings being wasted on the lazy. Feel free to whine yourself into an early grave.


Hmm, so as best as I can figure out, you are saying that you think that living off government benefits is bad for the individual and bad for society, but if someone else says that living off government benefits is bad for the individual and bad for society, they are whiners and screamers and lunatics.
Well, as best as I can figure out, he was contradicting the claim "that weakness is rewarded and strength is penalized" by giving counter-examples to both.

Of course, I can't read his mind, but I can read what's written (note the quoted paragraph), which seems to be a lost art in these debates ...

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:43 • by Your Name (unregistered)
397246 in reply to 397228
Ben:
Somebody doesn't get that welfare is a way for the government to invest in its citizens. I've had to use food stamps, pell grants, and sundry other Government aid to get through college as a teenage parent. I'm currently working retail, but I'll graduate and find a real job soon enough. Then I'm sure I'll be paying enough in taxes to pay all of it back, and more.
Somebody doesn't realize that the government should not be doing half of what it does.
I donate more to charity in a year than I pay in taxes, however I still resent some the causes for which my tax dollars are spent. The American government's welfare system is a trap. I spent the first portion of my life in it. I would much rather choose which programs I financially support.
The charities I donate to have better outcomes with less overhead and (in the case of welfare charities) less recidivation than the governments welfare programs.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 14:55 • by foo (unregistered)
397250 in reply to 397243
jay:
Bern:
Well, you know that's only a hypothetical example.

In the *real* world, one of the five (let's call him Bill) has, through fair means & foul, managed to amass 90% of all the gold coins.

Three of the remaining four, needing gold coins to trade, want to do work for Bill to earn them. Bill says, "Sure, but I'll only give work to the lowest bidder."

The others are so desperate to get coins, that Bill not only gets his own needs fulfilled, but hires others at a discount to do the work that he gets paid gold coins for in the first place, taking 50-90% of all the income generated.

The end result is that Bill lives a life of luxury, ends up with an even higher proportion of the coins, the 'middle class' get barely enough to scrape by on, and Larry spends his days poring through the trash heap, eating scraps and hoping like hell someone will throw out a blanket before winter arrives...


Let's consider this post as if it was intended seriously.

I don't know of any advocate of capitalism who condones acquiring wealth by "foul" means.
Ah, that's the problem right there. They don't need to condone it, but it happens in the real world. Just like it's never possible to have perfect market information, it's never possible to stop all playing "foul". Big difference between theory and practice. I think, just like socialism's big mistake is assuming most people are willing to work for the "greater good", capitalism's big mistake is assuming most people will (or can be forced to) behave honestly.

Furthermore, if you are to introduce "pure capitalism" in this real world, you'll start from a distribution of wealth accrued over centuries of often unjst behaviour. So even if the system itself was fair, how would you at least give a fair starting point to everyone? By taking all existing wealth from everybody (and maybe redistribute it), so they all can start the same? (I guess so. :)

There are three possibilities here. [...]
Four: He has a monopoly, e.g. on that island he has acquired (even if in a fair way) all drinking water which everyone needs to survive. He now can literally force anyone to pay him whatever he wants or die.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 15:01 • by Capitalist (unregistered)
397251 in reply to 397228
Ben:
Somebody doesn't get that welfare is a way for the government to invest in its citizens. I've had to use food stamps, pell grants, and sundry other Government aid to get through college as a teenage parent. I'm currently working retail, but I'll graduate and find a real job soon enough. Then I'm sure I'll be paying enough in taxes to pay all of it back, and more.
Don't you know that anything the government can do, the market can do better? So don't let the government "invest" in you, find a sponsor who gives you some spare food when you're in college, and in return you give him some % of all you earn later in life. (And no, this has nothing to do with selling yourself into slavery. This is a free market solution after all.)

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 15:17 • by Mason Wheeler
397253 in reply to 397251
Capitalist:
Ben:
Somebody doesn't get that welfare is a way for the government to invest in its citizens. I've had to use food stamps, pell grants, and sundry other Government aid to get through college as a teenage parent. I'm currently working retail, but I'll graduate and find a real job soon enough. Then I'm sure I'll be paying enough in taxes to pay all of it back, and more.
Don't you know that anything the government can do, the market can do better?

I know no such thing. I know that free market proponents like to make that claim. Still, I have yet to see the market produce a better Interstate highway system, a better Internet, or a better Post Office.

So don't let the government "invest" in you, find a sponsor who gives you some spare food when you're in college, and in return you give him some % of all you earn later in life. (And no, this has nothing to do with selling yourself into slavery. This is a free market solution after all.)


Simply claiming that "this has nothing to do with selling yourself into slavery" does not make it true. That's essentially what you're proposing. (Technically, it sounds a lot more like indentured servitude, but with one important distinction: indentured servitude was for a fixed period, and then it's over. You propose that the sponsor should have some claim on "all you earn later in life," without any time limit. That sure sounds like slavery to me.)

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 15:22 • by Capitalist (unregistered)
397256 in reply to 397253
Mason Wheeler:
So don't let the government "invest" in you, find a sponsor who gives you some spare food when you're in college, and in return you give him some % of all you earn later in life. (And no, this has nothing to do with selling yourself into slavery. This is a free market solution after all.)


Simply claiming that "this has nothing to do with selling yourself into slavery" does not make it true. That's essentially what you're proposing. (Technically, it sounds a lot more like indentured servitude, but with one important distinction: indentured servitude was for a fixed period, and then it's over. You propose that the sponsor should have some claim on "all you earn later in life," without any time limit. That sure sounds like slavery to me.)
No, no, no! If you're my slave, also your children and grand-children are my slaves. I made no such demand! (I'm generous today.)

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 15:28 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
397257 in reply to 397253
Mason Wheeler:
You propose that the sponsor should have some claim on "all you earn later in life," without any time limit. That sure sounds like government to me.)
FTFY

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:05 • by abico (unregistered)
397260 in reply to 397142
flabdablet:
Paul:
Do you ever wonder why the do-gooder politicians don't just take their "solutions" seriously and have the government write a ten million dollar check to everybody? What could possibly be more fair? Then we'd all be wealthy. Wouldn't we?


My God, you're right. Why have I not seen it before? Your explanation has made things so obvious! We just leave Larry and Karl in charge of all the banana leaves and their enormous and growing wealth will naturally trickle down on all of us, yes?


No - we'd all be equally poor. The difference is that everything would cost a lot of dollars (e.g. item that costs $1 today would cost $100,000). This is called inflation and it has happened many times in history.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:14 • by Capitalist (unregistered)
397261 in reply to 397257
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Mason Wheeler:
You propose that the sponsor should have some claim on "all you earn later in life," without any time limit. That sure sounds like government to me.)
FTFY
No, as I said, it's a private sponsor. If government does is, it's bad. If a private person does the same, it's good because it's not government. It's so simple.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:27 • by WhiskeyJack
Can we please get back to being funny?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:42 • by abico (unregistered)
397265 in reply to 397143
TK:
Anon:
Clearly. I mean, not once in the entire history of man has someone who worked their ass off ever starved to death or died penniless.
Of course capitalists never made such a claim.

To those who pointed out that capitalism is flawed because people don't always act in their own best interests: you're absolutely right! In fact, you are so correct that you've also found the reason why socialism and communism don't work either!

Capitalism isn't perfect. It just sucks less that the alternatives. But by itself, it is not enough.

And that is where Ayn Rand fails. She does a great job of explaining how Big Government is always doomed to failure, but her answer is overly simplistic.

A successful society needs to respect private property and the right to keep the fruits of your own labors, but it also must encourage voluntary charity to the poor. Once "charity" becomes an "entitlement," (something you are "entitled to") then everything goes to hell like Ayn says. If it's a voluntary gift from those who are successful to those down on their luck, that entitlement mentality (envy, really) is less likely to trap the poor. It's a self-correcting system: if they stop being grateful for the charity of others, that charity is likely to dry up.

However, if the "charity" comes from the government, then it's your right, dammit! I don't need to work, just gimme my moneys!

This attitude is not sustainable, and it's bankrupt nations around the world.



If I was the president, I wouldn't discontinue feeding the poor or even those that do not want to work. However, I would not give them a penny. Instead, they would need to drag their ass to a public kitchen and consume their meal there. Sick and disabled could have their friends bring food to them, but proper documentation would have to exist. Those who don't have their houses, I'd provide barracks for. The last essential thing is clothing and basic healthcare. Basically, minimum expenses.

Today's government does similar but with less effect: they issue food stamps and real money, which a large portion of people spend on beer and drugs - and they again don't have a meal, and they go out and beg and steal. My way, they'd at least have a meal every day. Basic life - but if you want more, find a job.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:48 • by abico (unregistered)
397266 in reply to 397150
[quote user="foo"][quote user="JustSomeGuy"]Socialism was never going to work because of its underlying essence: "from everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need".

The reason it would never work is because, while resources are limited, desires are not.[/quote]Need != desire.


That doesn't matter. The reason it fails is because most people stop being willing to work more than others around them, which results in less resources to share with those that don't or can't work, which circularly affects those that work hard because they start getting less. At the end, the system collapses to extremely rich (who are mostly criminals or ex-criminals) and extremely poor.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 16:57 • by abico (unregistered)
397267 in reply to 397201
PRMan:
I turned down an offer once because I felt like God told me not to take it. The recruiter was surprisingly understanding and respected me for having the guts to admit that.

She tried to get me another job soon afterward.


So, what does that prove? That you found one honest recruiter? Nobody really meant that 100% of recruiters are dicks. Almost 100% of requiters are dicks. Better?

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?!

2012-12-14 17:04 • by abico (unregistered)
397268 in reply to 397213
Anonymous Coward:
Numerius Negidius:
Gee, I wonder which president you voted for in the last election.

Given that they used the words "pension," "holiday," and "whilst," I'm guessing neither because they are British or Australian.

Peter:
dude:
You've missed the bit where most of them work every spare minute but still aren't given enough to survive
So how is it they can all afford cable TV and 2000-texts-a-month cellular plans?

My TV and phone bills cost less than one month of food. Less than a quarter of my rent. I do not go extravagant in the food or housing categories by any means.

But don't let pesky facts get in the way of a good hate-on.

Alternate response: Are you saying poor people shouldn't be allowed any creature comforts whatsoever?


Yes - poor who depend on gifts (grants) solely because they do not want to work should not be allowed anything else but basic meals (nothing fancy here), basic clothing (again, nothing fancy, second-hand donations), and basic lodging (minor leaks ok). They should in no circumstance receive cash - even if this means creating more jobs to serve those bums. Less cash bums have, less chances they spend it on beer and perhaps that'll result in little less crime (beer and drugs make you feel invincible). And, blah-blah... The point is: no, they shouldn't get any luxury.

Sick and handicapped excluded, with proper proof and rigorous approval process (you better not have a leg then come to me claim disability pretending to have a bad-back problem).
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