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 17:15 • by Snowbody (unregistered)
397269 in reply to 397243
So let's assume Bill acquired his wealth legitimately: by his own hard work and ingenuity.


Libertarians must necessarily believe this is already the case for all existing wealth; otherwise the mental conflict they feel about perpetrating injustice is too large. They are basically adherents of the "just world fallacy" -- the idea that the world right now is perfectly just and the best of all possible worlds.

Also, "hard work and ingenuity" may mean something different to a libertarian than to the general public: most people believe that tricking someone into signing an unfair contract is fraud; to a libertarian it's just good business practice, the weak naturally being devoured by the strong. Most people believe that offering a take-it-or-leave-it contract to someone with no other choice is unjust; to a libertarian that's just good business practice.

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.


Because the market has large barriers to entry, or Bill and Fred are colluding to create a cartel, or Fred's capital is not enough to both live on and start a business.

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

2012-12-14 17:15 • by abico (unregistered)
397270 in reply to 397243
jay:

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



What came to my mind are recruiters, as they fit this case. And probably real-estate agents. Both over-compensated for the service that they provide. Yes, there is some value in what they provide, but not ongoing (in case of recruiters) and definitely not relative to the sale price (real-estate agents). I hate them both. Dicks...

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

2012-12-14 18:47 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397273 in reply to 397071
Paul:
Parker:
There are five pirates splitting 100 gold coins...
Just burn copies of the coins for everyone!
Apparently you've confused "pirates" and "politicians".

Here's how it works:

1. The five inhabitants of island ... [and so on until]

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

* * *

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?


So true.

Did you know BTW that the German Pirate Party attempts to install welfare for all for free? Even the left-over leftists of the (former Eastern Germany) Socialist Party demand that welfare should not go to people who decline reasonable job offers without giving good reason.

Don't they understand it's time for austerity?

http://philebersole.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/1099cbcomic-desert-island-recession.jpg?w=620

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

2012-12-14 19:15 • by foo (unregistered)
397275 in reply to 397273
BushIdo:
Did you know BTW that the German Pirate Party attempts to install welfare for all for free? Even the left-over leftists of the (former Eastern Germany) Socialist Party demand that welfare should not go to people who decline reasonable job offers without giving good reason.
I suppose you mean the basic income guarantee (Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen). Did you know that one of its most prominent proponents is Götz W. Werner, the founder and co-owner of one of Germany's biggest drugstore chains. Bloody communist!

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

2012-12-14 19:21 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397277 in reply to 397268
abico:
They should in no circumstance receive cash - even if this means creating more jobs to serve those bums.


So let's fany this works in real life. Say bum A has some illness and needs special food. Your job creating catering service has to take care of this. Then bum B has a child who needs needs pencil and paper for school. And so on. Subito you are in charge of running a full fledged parallel economy. This is sure to create some jobs. Than of course you might want to avoid getting fooled by bums who e.g. simply sell the stuff you give to them to get money anyway. More jobs for police detectives to come. Soon you are also in charge of running an entire parallel state organization. That's not going to be your typical small government thing. There are reasons for giving poor people money which have little to do with being generous: e.g. you might just want them of your ass.

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

2012-12-14 19:44 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397278 in reply to 397275
foo:
I suppose you mean the basic income guarantee (Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen).


Yeah thanks. That was the terminology. Only wanted to write something pirate themed anyway.

foo:
Bloody communist!


Sure he is. They are everywhere these days.

http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug/2012/10/04

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

2012-12-14 20:13 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397279 in reply to 397153
Rand Fan:
No, but desire does not magically disappear when socialism is instituted.


But even concerning desires (as opposed to needs) how many sex robots would you like, considering that two are too many, three a crowed and four your death?

How much increase in productivity do you need to produce and maintain these? There seems to be an engineer's solution even to the typical engineer's problem.

Rand Fan:
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.


That was the modus operandi of achieving the goal of installing communism, as there was some opposition by the investors to the idea of simply retreating peacefully, but how does this relate to its value as an economic theory?

Rand Fan:
I strongly recommend reading all sources mentioned. It's illuminating.


This may very well be the case, but how about instead of starting with Euclid's Elements go fast forward to some more modern approach to begin with, say e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maynard_Keynes

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

2012-12-15 03:51 • by Harrow (unregistered)
397285 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)

That's why the traditional form of this question properly must include a bear:

"You walk south one mile, encounter some bear tracks, follow the tracks west one mile, encounter a bear, run north one mile, and end up exactly where you started. What color was the bear?"

There are no bears in Antarctica, restricting your starting point to the singleton at the North Pole. Bears found within a few miles of the North Pole are white.

-Harrow.

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

2012-12-15 11:16 • by foo (unregistered)
397287 in reply to 397285
Harrow:
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)

That's why the traditional form of this question properly must include a bear:

"You walk south one mile, encounter some bear tracks, follow the tracks west one mile, encounter a bear, run north one mile, and end up exactly where you started. What color was the bear?"
Green. (The scientists at Amundsen-Scott Station were having a costume party.)

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

2012-12-15 17:22 • by 300 club (unregistered)
397291 in reply to 397287
foo:
Green. (The scientists at Amundsen-Scott Station were having a costume party.)


No. Pale pink.

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

2012-12-15 21:49 • by Founder (unregistered)
397295 in reply to 397071
One pirate decides to fence off the coconuts and firewood, paying another pirate to kill anyone who goes there without permission. He then hires 2 other pirates to collect the wood and coconuts so he can sell them to the others at a profit.

Soon, none of the other pirates have any gold coins to buy coconuts. After a while, even the employees don't have enough as they are paid less than they have to pay for food and wood.

Everyone starves as 1 pirate has all the coins but does no work, and the other pirates cannot afford food.

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

2012-12-16 10:30 • by Ben (unregistered)
397298 in reply to 397246
My point has nothing to do with charity. My point is that a smart government will recognize that supporting its citizens is in its own best interests.

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

2012-12-16 17:20 • by Seb Wiers (unregistered)
397300 in reply to 397071
[quote=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?[/quote]

No, but I have wondered why people who seem to think welfare is such an overly generous handout, never just quit working and go on welfare. After all, its what EVERYONE ELSE would do, right?

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

2012-12-17 00:24 • by Jeremy (unregistered)
397304 in reply to 397071
Get your crappy made-up economics out of my Daily WTF.

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

2012-12-17 06:25 • by JimFin (unregistered)
397309 in reply to 397071
I really don't understand why that flawed political argument was promoted to a featured comment.

Biological fact: People don't starve to death if they are given money for nothing. They starve to death if they don't have food.

Psychological fact: If people stop harvesting food & eating it just because banana leave money is given away for free, they die of plain stupidity.

Sociological fact: Those countries where small amounts of money is given away for free under specific conditions don't have mass deaths because of starving.

Economical fact: Because Karl has unlimited supply of banana leaves, he can use them to buy any amount of food whenever he wishes. He can also buy people to use them to protect his banana leaf monopoly without risking anything. No matter how hard other people work, Karl can still buy more food without doing anything. That, dear Paul, is rewarding weakness and penalizing strength.

Re: Tales from the Interview - You Wore a T-Shirt?! (all I got was T-Shi_t)

2012-12-17 07:34 • by SnarkyBoy (unregistered)
397311 in reply to 397071
It'll be even more efficient when all money is electronic so you can be automatically paid, taxed and tracked, and "currency" debauched before you can spend it!

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

2012-12-17 11:43 • by NotHere
Once, a recruiter called asking if I wanted to go on a particular interview. With nothing better to do I said sure.

He then spent 15 minutes telling me about previous candidates he had sent and that they hadn't accepted the job offer which made his company look bad. He went on about how I need to be "serious".

So, I told him I had no intention of wasting anyone's time and if the job was a fit then I'd take it.

A week went by. The recruiter called and asked if I was interested. By this time I was already starting to interview elsewhere, which I told him about, and that if the company was interested in me then the interview needed to happen pronto. He then went into the 15 minute discussion about previous candidates again.

An hour later he called with an interview time for that day, which I went to.

A little background: I'm a Sr. Dev; with over 15 years coding, the last 10 of which being new projects and I have zero interest in doing maintenance work.

The interview went pretty well and the work sounded interesting. Later that day I got a call directly from the company with an offer.

The offer was: For the next 12 months I would make half what I'm used to. In addition, I wouldn't be coding, just providing tech support. After I had "proven" myself, my salary would jump to 75% of what I'm used to and I would work with the maintenance team. After two years of that, I could possibly be promoted to work with the new stuff at the rate I'm getting today.

I literally laughed and asked if they were joking. They said no... To which I replied: "Good luck" and hung up. The recruiter called an hour later screaming about how I obviously wasn't serious and mad that I had wasted his time. I hung up on him. [side note: I'm not normally abrupt, but this was insane]

But wait, there's more.

A friend of mine was called by that same recruiter, went on the interview and accepted the same deal I turned down. He worked there for the requisite 12 months. In addition to being relegated to tech support, he couldn't take calls on his cell phone while on property. Heck, he wasn't even allowed to bring his own coffee cup or pens. At the 12 month mark they said he needed to be in support for another 6 before being promoted out as they were still unsure if he could code. It was then that he finally "woke" up and left.

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

2012-12-17 12:16 • by Chaos-Engineer (unregistered)
397343 in reply to 397071
OK, I see where you're confused. You're missing some key information.

One of the islanders - let's call her "Marie" - is a good worker, but she's even better at bargaining. She'll do 1 gold coin's worth of work, but she'll try to convince you that she's done 10, and she's such a fast talker that a lot of islanders believe her. She's also a bit of a miser and hates to spend money on anything, so she winds up with a continually-growing share of the available gold coins.

So we reach the point where Larry would like to do enough work so that he can eat, but Marie isn't hiring (because she hates to spend money), and nobody else has extra money to spend.

There are two ways this can end. The traditional one is for people to say, "You know, a lot of us really can't make a decent living under this social order; maybe we should overthrow it and start from scratch." That usually ends badly for Marie.

The other thing we can do is try to figure out how to get Marie's gold coins back into circulation. One way to do this is to introduce inflation. (The banana leaves in your story.) If Marie tries to hoard money then it'll lose value, so she's got more incentive to spend more of it on goods and services. It's possible that this could lead to the sort of hyper-inflation that you warn about in your story - but most people aren't completely stupid, and they'll certainly notice if they're starving to death and make another set of changes to the social order.

That said, inflationary pressure is just one of the tools that can be used to keep money in circulation. A progressive tax code is another way to solve the problem.
We could even try to instill Marie with a sense of "noblesse oblige" so that she'll spend more money voluntarily. That one works pretty well on Downton Abbey but it's less effective in real life.

Also, are you sure that Larry is just lazy? From your description, it sounds like he's got Type 1 Diabetes. I know that we're not going to get Comprehensive Health Care Reform on an island with five people, but can't we try to keep him alive as long as we can, in case a rescue ship comes by?

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

2012-12-17 14:33 • by jay (unregistered)
397353 in reply to 397250
foo:
jay:
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.


Sure. If anyone supposes that creating a system of "pure capitalism" would instantly result in all the world's problems being solved, he's hopelessly naive. In the real world, there will always be people who are both dishonest, and smart enough or lucky enough to get away with it.

Socialists are quick to point out how greedy and dishonest people manage to take advantage of capitalism. Then they offer socialism as the solution to this problem. But they never explain quite HOW it will solve the problem. What prevents greedy and dishonest people in a socialist society from taking advantage of THAT system?

Leftists are always saying how the rich and powerful use the government to exploit the poor and weak, how the government is a wholey-owned subsidiary of the big corporations, etc. And their solution to this is to make the government bigger and more powerful. Umm, won't that just make it an even more effective tool for the rich and powerful to exploit the poor and weak? Just writing on a piece of paper, "In my utopian socialist society, everyone will be equal and everyone will love everyone else and treat them fairly and honestly" will not make it so.

foo:

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.


It is almost impossible, if not literally impossible, to have a monopoly in a free market.

In real life, people will say that "company X has a monopoly on oil". Even if this was liteally true:

(a) This does not mean they can "charge whatever they want and people have to pay it". Suppose tomorrow one company somehow monopolized all the oil in the world and announced that they were now charging $100 a gallon for gas. Would you grumble but continue to use just as much as you do now and pay the $100 per gallon? Most of us would find ways to reduce how much we drive, switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles (bicyles if necessary), etc. And surely some clever person would start researching alternative fuels. Suppose they demanded $1000 per gallon. Would you just pay it? At that point you'd likely move to an apartment closer to work so you could walk, etc, whatever was necessary to reduce your gas consumption to near zero.

(b) What people want is not "oil", but "energy". If one company monopolized all the oil in the world and tried to jack the price up ridiculously high, people would switch to coal or natural gas or solar or nuclear or hydroelectric or some other source of energy. The same is true for almost any so-called "monopoly". Even if one person could monopolize one product, there are, in real life, always other products that one could switch to. If someone monopolized beef production, people would switch to chicken and pork. If someone monopolized cotton, we'd wear more clothes made of wool, etc.

That's why the free market works in real life. Because there are, in practice, ALWAYS alternatives.

Even take an extreme case like you suggest, someone monopolizes all the drinking water on the island. I guess that would mean he controls the only fresh-water springs on the island. He still can't "charge whatever he wants": If everyone dies of thirst, he's lost all his customers. Maybe he'd coldly calculate a price that maximizes his profit even though it results in some number dying of thirst. But more realistically: Is there literally no other source of fluids? People can't get coconut milk or squeeze the juice from oranges or some such? It doesn't occur to anyone to collect rainwater or produce drinking water from sea water?

Okay, I suppose you could spin a scenario where he has bought up all the beaches so no one can access the seawater and he owns all the plants on the island and somehow he can prevent people from collecting rainwater. But now you've created such a far-out scenario, one can only say, So what? You could ask that kind of extreme hypothetical question of any system. You say you believe in public schools? But what if the teachers' unions become extremely powerful and threaten to shut down all the schools in the state unless you give them a huge pay raise? You say you want socialism? But what if some demagogue comes to power and corrupts the whole system to make himself dictator?

As hypotheticals go, the idea that a demagogue could take over the entire government is far less far out than the idea that a powerful businessman could take over the entire economy. The first has, in fact, happenned many times in history. The second has never happenned.

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

2012-12-17 18:14 • by Dummkopf (unregistered)
397360 in reply to 397192
"So how is it they can all afford cable TV and 2000-texts-a-month cellular plans?"

The Cable TV is bundled into their housing costs and the phone is covered by consumer subsidies.

https://www.fcc.gov/lifeline

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

2012-12-18 05:43 • by JimFin (unregistered)
397370 in reply to 397353
[quote="jay"]That's why the free market works in real life.[/quote]
In real life, there are no free markets. That's why the so-called free markets seem to work: they really don't exist so there is no exemplar of them failing!

As long as there is government that imposes any kind of legislation, every business operation is regulated in some way. You may still call it free if you wish, I think I call it regulated because that is what it is.

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

2012-12-18 05:58 • by Cbuttius
We do not know whether these candidates, who turned down the jobs, either:

1. were applying from another job that they were considering leaving. When you are in that situation, you do look at WTFs and the interviewer and how you would enjoy working in the company more than staying put. I had a WTF'ery interview where I decided staying put was the better option, even though my current post at the time was boring and I was desperately looking to move elsewhere.

2. Whether the candidates had applied for multiple jobs (probably, who only applies for one?) and got several offers and used these experiences as reasons to pick a different one.

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

2012-12-18 07:42 • by Edmund (unregistered)
397374 in reply to 397071
If anyone cares these problems always have a simple solution with a negative number of coins (almost invariably -1) and a family of solutions modulo some number. After mentally checking -1 works announce the solution is m^n - 1 (obviously choose m and n appropriately) and look like a genius.

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

2012-12-18 09:51 • by Jim Blog (unregistered)
397406 in reply to 397071
5. The other islanders observe that weakness is rewarded and strength is penalized, so they all stop working. Everyone starves to death.


Not really. On an island where food is plentiful, few things will motivate people to get up and hunt/fish/forage more than starving to death. In real-world cases where the local currency (such as scratched banana-leaves) has collapsed, due to the hyper-inflation that's usually brought on my reckless increases of the money supply, people will often resort to the barter system or some other currency in order to continue living their lives.

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

2012-12-18 18:07 • by claymade (unregistered)
397489 in reply to 397353
jay:
Even take an extreme case like you suggest, someone monopolizes all the drinking water on the island. I guess that would mean he controls the only fresh-water springs on the island. He still can't "charge whatever he wants": If everyone dies of thirst, he's lost all his customers.

Of course he can charge whatever he wants without losing his customers; he just needs to also "generously" provide LOANS to people who don't have the money for his exorbitant rates. That way he can bleed them dry for what they have, and the rest of the difference serves to put them even further under his thumb, in a way that he can wreck them if he wants to. Like, say, if they have the temerity to try and start a competing business. Or even try to go to work FOR one.

This is not hypothetical. This is economic exploitation 101. That kind of ever-growing insurmountable debt is exactly how people keep others in effective slavery, even today, in places that haven't instituted protections against it. And that's one of the reasons why we have regulations impinging on the purity of laissez-faire: to keep crap like that from happening.

jay:
But more realistically: Is there literally no other source of fluids? People can't get coconut milk or squeeze the juice from oranges or some such? It doesn't occur to anyone to collect rainwater or produce drinking water from sea water?

In volumes that can reliably provide for everyone on the island, or even the majority? If not, our water baron is still going to be able to put most of the island into effective slavery in fairly short order, and then leverage all that power to go after his competitors (whose power base is going to be a mere shadow of his). Any bets on who's going to win?

jay:
As hypotheticals go, the idea that a demagogue could take over the entire government is far less far out than the idea that a powerful businessman could take over the entire economy. The first has, in fact, happenned many times in history. The second has never happenned.

It's true that businesses, historically, have been second-teir powers. Ones that got too big for their britches usually would get slapped down by their associated governments. They are, in the end, the ones with the guns. And I do, in fact, agree that I'm more worried about governments getting too much power, in the overall sense.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't go the extreme of saying that we need no other protections from the actions (even the "fair" actions) of more powerful businessmen than the market's free hand.

Thus, I think bankruptcy laws have a definite place, even though they're an example of governmental intrusions into the "natural" flow of economic transactions, of debt and repayment. Nor am I so convinced as you seem to be that a shrewd/ruthless businessman couldn't achieve, (through the snowball-effect of power and/or natural, non-governmental barriers to entry) a naturally occurring (and expanding into other business areas from that power base) monopoly that could make things VERY unpleasant in the absence of any possibility of invoking anti-trust law against it.

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

2012-12-18 18:44 • by Norman Diamond (unregistered)
CAPITALISM OVERCOMES SOCIALISM BY SHOUTING LOUDER.

On the other hand, ...
... ....... um.....
someone help me, what do social case letters look like?

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

2012-12-19 14:59 • by AN AMAZING CODER (unregistered)
397628 in reply to 397353
jay:


It is almost impossible, if not literally impossible, to have a monopoly in a free market.

In real life, people will say that "company X has a monopoly on oil". Even if this was liteally true:



(b) What people want is not "oil", but "energy". If one company monopolized all the oil in the world and tried to jack the price up ridiculously high, people would switch to coal or natural gas or solar or nuclear or hydroelectric or some other source of energy. The same is true for almost any so-called "monopoly". Even if one person could monopolize one product, there are, in real life, always other products that one could switch to. If someone monopolized beef production, people would switch to chicken and pork. If someone monopolized cotton, we'd wear more clothes made of wool, etc.

That's why the free market works in real life. Because there are, in practice, ALWAYS alternatives.

Even take an extreme case like you suggest, someone monopolizes all the drinking water on the island. I guess that would mean he controls the only fresh-water springs on the island. He still can't "charge whatever he wants": If everyone dies of thirst, he's lost all his customers. Maybe he'd coldly calculate a price that maximizes his profit even though it results in some number dying of thirst. But more realistically: Is there literally no other source of fluids? People can't get coconut milk or squeeze the juice from oranges or some such? It doesn't occur to anyone to collect rainwater or produce drinking water from sea water?

Okay, I suppose you could spin a scenario where he has bought up all the beaches so no one can access the seawater and he owns all the plants on the island and somehow he can prevent people from collecting rainwater. But now you've created such a far-out scenario, one can only say, So what? You could ask that kind of extreme hypothetical question of any system. You say you believe in public schools? But what if the teachers' unions become extremely powerful and threaten to shut down all the schools in the state unless you give them a huge pay raise? You say you want socialism? But what if some demagogue comes to power and corrupts the whole system to make himself dictator?

As hypotheticals go, the idea that a demagogue could take over the entire government is far less far out than the idea that a powerful businessman could take over the entire economy. The first has, in fact, happenned many times in history. The second has never happenned.




Jay, your argument is respectable, but not infallible. You're ignoring a key factor in monopolies -- they do whatever is necessary to remain in power. A monopoly isn't a company that has a majority control of a product or industry, a monopoly is a company that uses predatory tactics to maintain control in the name of profits which are harmful to competition and humanity.

Whenever I say that, I always get "the company's goal is to take out the competition!". I'm not referring to producing higher quality product at a lower price, and putting the competition out of business. I'm talking about them using non-competitory tactics to do so.


The hypothetical island problem you're describing is a big example. If company X controlled all of the water, without protection provided somewhere within the island's society, they could easily squash any uprising competition. This happens all the time in our MODERN economy, but it goes unnoticed because money is what's important in our economy, not water. It can be done by price fixing to "flush out" the competition, or by aquisition.

Lets say Company X notices Person A's effort to produce "cheaper" water. It's starting to catch on, so people are coming to him for water. Since he's new, he can't keep up with the demand for water, so he can only supply a few people at a time. Since they have a super-majority control in how, Company X responds to this by flooding the market with cheap water. They sell this water so cheap that it's no longer viable to buy water from Person A, either due to his prices or due to his ability to fill demand. Person A drops his efforts and just takes the cheap water. Now that the competition is gone, Company X slowly raises it's prices back to "nominal" levels.

Before that occurs, Company X would probably attempt to bribe Person A out of producing water by giving him 10 years supply of water for him and his family in exchange for his business. The island equivalent of a buy out.

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

2012-12-20 01:10 • by Name Withheld (unregistered)
397675 in reply to 397071
Isn't this just what the US calls quantitative easing?

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

2012-12-20 06:04 • by Paul (unregistered)
397687 in reply to 397112
Jack 27:

No, the next alternative is dead-99-0-1-0.


Not necessarily. If you are the last pirate and you say 'no' to the first pirate's offer, will the first pirate just say 'OK, then kill me, I don't care'? Or, maybe, would he say 'OK, I'll give you 2 then'?

So, the whole question is flawed.

If the last pirate says 'no', the first pirate could offer 1 coin to the 2nd or 4th pirate, but the second wants the first one to die, so will say no, the 4th may say 'yes', but he will know that if the first pirate dies, the same initial logic means that he will still get the chance of 1 coin from the second pirate, so he may say no in the hope the first pirate dies.

So, the answer depends on the relative importance of greed & staying alive AND the risk-taking stance of the various pirates. The level of risk taking is not stated in the question, therefore it cannot be answered.

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

2012-12-20 06:22 • by Paul (unregistered)
397688 in reply to 397285
Harrow:

There are no bears in Antarctica, restricting your starting point to the singleton at the North Pole. Bears found within a few miles of the North Pole are white.


Assuming it is a native bear. Was that stated? Or could the bear be with a travelling circus? or lost?

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

2012-12-21 16:08 • by damen (unregistered)
397860 in reply to 397071
And this, grasshoppers, is why we don't let an IT guy do an economist's job.

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

2012-12-22 18:59 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397886 in reply to 397406
Jim Blog:
On an island where food is plentiful, few things will motivate people to get up and hunt/fish/forage more than starving to death.


And that's a problems with calling a person lazy, who doesn't work. You first have to prove that he could make a living out of his work. We have a money society, so the only way to make a living is to make money. As a poor person just you try to move to the city park, cutting down trees to make a shelter and hunting animals. I doubt that they'll praise you for your initiative and ambitions.

Adam Smith wanted people not only to earn at least enough money for their living, but also for the living of their family. He rejected mimimum wages set by the state, because he thought them unnecessary to achieve this (chapter 8), because the invisible hand could do this better. Well, seems it doesn't.

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

2012-12-22 19:15 • by BushIdo (unregistered)
397887 in reply to 397353
jay:
Socialists are quick to point out how greedy and dishonest people manage to take advantage of capitalism. Then they offer socialism as the solution to this problem. But they never explain quite HOW it will solve the problem. What prevents greedy and dishonest people in a socialist society from taking advantage of THAT system?


Dunno. Go ask them.

Finally we can draw an analogy to coding: If you install a system, intended to pay by lines of code or number of changes or whatever, you have a similar problem: folks will just outsmart the system.

jay:
Leftists are always saying how the rich and powerful use the government to exploit the poor and weak, how the government is a wholey-owned subsidiary of the big corporations, etc. And their solution to this is to make the government bigger and more powerful.


Where did you get that idea? Their solution is to make a lot of structural changes to the government and to pass a lot of laws. Of course that's also what conservatives want to do, but with different changes and different laws. Of course it's not just a matter of size. Size follows function.

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

2013-04-16 23:41 • by x0f (unregistered)
[quoteNeedless to say...[/quote] like hell it is, why would anyone turn down an offer for a job just because one person that probably asked a hundred or more people the right set of questions while dealing with job stresses forgot and asked the wrong set of someone and offered them a job based on what he thought was sheer brillianc? THAT just seems asinine to me.

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

2013-05-10 11:06 • by BlueCollarCritic
407772 in reply to 397093
Bill:
Ozz:
where does Ayn Rand have it wrong?
She threatens my religious belief that productive people are always either evil thieves or drunkards who inherited wealth from their parents, who were always either evil thieves or drunkards who inherited wealth from their parents...

And also my other religious belief that once a profiteer gets elected to government at any level they turn good and have the benevolence and skill to know what is best for everyone and distribute goods fairly.



I don't believe Bill here has even read the book because if he had then he’d realize how uninformed his comment is. Disagreeing with the philosophy of ATLAS SHRUGGED is fine but be sure you at least know what the hell it is before you start bad mouthing it.

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

2014-01-25 14:16 • by Bad analogizer (unregistered)
425736 in reply to 397071
Brillant!
except you forgot the part where they are pirates, so they just steal each others coins then start killing each other.
Larry is the weakest , so he is the first to go. Except not, because Larry actually is the one who knows how to make rum, and sealing wax, and doesn't mind an occasional buggering. So they actually keep him around. Get real.
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