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Well THAT'S better - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Well THAT'S better [Jul. 22nd, 2008|11:06 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |mellowmellow]

Finally feeling human again. Even if it took getting up this morning, working a little while, and then collapsing for an hour's nap. It was quite strange: I can only describe it as my body shaking off the last of the sickness like a dog shaking water from its fur. Now all I have is that post-illness, quiet feeling. The one that says, don't get all carried away, bucko, and you'll be fine.

I had a strange dream last night. Actually, most of the dream was the standard sort of "aliens invading the world, try to find someplace safe to hide." fare. But all my allies were strangers to me, a group of doubters in a world otherwise enthusiastically welcoming the aliens. And the first place we found to hide was discovered by other humans whose eyes were opened by the actual raid. But when I found a second, more secure hiding place, I was determined only to share it with the original group and to leave the late arrivals to their fate. I thought they were stupid and didn't deserve to be saved.

This seems a rather strange attitude for someone who fashions herself compassionate toward the underprivileged. And yet when I think about it, it's not really contradictory. I am concerned with the growing education gap. I think it is the job of society to do what it can to give people an opportunity to get on the playing field, even though it will never be level. I believe that regulation is necessary to prevent upstream producers from dumping their cost of doing business on the little guy downstream.

But once people have the same information and the ability to process it, if they are going to continue being stupid and ignoring consequences, well then my compassion dries up and they're on their own.

You can believe in both social and personal responsibility. If one accepts that, then we are just discussing matters of degree.

(Yeah, that kind of rambled all over the place. Blame it on post-infirmity brain.)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: bustylis
2008-07-22 09:51 pm (UTC)
My problem with the 'free market' argument is twofold:

1. All consumers are not created equal. Some will have more money than others, allowing them more freedom of choice in economic decisions - which is the lynchpin of the free market, as I understand it. (Voting with your wallet.)

2. It is not always in the best interest of the business to be transparent to the consumer, therefore the consumer may not be able to make a truly informed choice.

Of course, I'm sure these arguments have been levied (much more competently by better-read people than I) against arguments for the free market in the past, so I'd like to hear the counter-argument for what I consider fundamental weaknesses.
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[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-07-22 10:40 pm (UTC)
Here are your fundamental weaknesses.

"1. All consumers are not created equal."

This is a fact that no one and no amount of regulation is going to change. I wouldn't change it if I could because that is called socialism or communism depending on far you push it. Neither option worked out well for nations that tried it.

Here is another fundamental flaw. In a regulated economy the options for the underdog to get ahead are severely limited. In a free market economy everyone has the same opportunity to pursue what ever business they choose.

They will sink or swim on their own merit which is as it should be. If I happen to find myself as the underdog, I would like to have the option of clawing my way up the food chain.

". It is not always in the best interest of the business to be transparent to the consumer, therefore the consumer may not be able to make a truly informed choice."

Why should any business have to be transparent to the consumer? I'm not sure what that has to do with a free market economy.

As for making an informed decision, you have got to be kidding me!

In this day and age? If you really believe that a consumer cannot find out about a product or a dealer let me take your hand and lead you to a couple examples:

For products, I selected Canon Cameras (I shoot a Canon EOS-20D) All you have to do is Google "Canon camera ratings."

For dealer ratings check out these web sights: Bizrate, StoreRatings.org, Consumeraffairs.org and ResellerRatings.com.

Or just Google the name of the business along with the word "complaints" or "ratings."

The US consumer has never had this kind of access to information and reviews on consumer products and dealers.

Edited at 2008-07-22 10:43 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-07-22 10:57 pm (UTC)
1. I totally agree that it is not the place of the market or the government to make sure that all consumers are created equal. Competition and market forces are vital.

2. Sure, you can find out about how well a product performs. But that's not what's being discussed.
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[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-07-23 12:30 pm (UTC)
Actually, bustylis wrote: "2. It is not always in the best interest of the business to be transparent to the consumer, therefore the consumer may not be able to make a truly informed choice."

I was responding to that statement.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-07-23 12:34 pm (UTC)
True, but I was speaking of a different kind of transparency and so, I believe, was she.
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[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-07-23 01:27 pm (UTC)
Okay, I missed it. What kind of transparency do you have in mind?
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[User Picture]From: bustylis
2008-07-23 02:53 pm (UTC)
Well, if a company is engaging in something I consider inethical (insider trading, using child labor, polluting a water supply), how am I supposed to know so I can refuse to buy their products (and tell everyone else to)?
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[User Picture]From: bustylis
2008-07-23 02:55 pm (UTC)
And, on another tangent, I still feel wary about letting any company decide whether it's product is 'good enough' for human consumption. It's one thing if your digital camera has a crappy battery life; it's another when your car's airbags don't deploy like they should.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-07-23 05:45 pm (UTC)
Transparency of business practices such as waste disposal. But we're calling a truce on this for now!
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[User Picture]From: bustylis
2008-07-23 01:38 am (UTC)
Are you seriously suggesting that the consumer would benefit from completely deregulated medicine or food? I'm fine with the FDA requiring a degree of rigor rather than letting companies determine how much testing is needed for their products by selling it to people.

If you were the underdog, you might be stuck buying products from a company that saves you money by using unsavory business practices, like letting you be a lab rat for their new drug. Regulation doesn't hamper the underdogs, it protects them.
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[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-07-23 01:40 pm (UTC)
Looking back you will see that I said 90% of the goods and services in this country should be hands off by the government.

The medical, insurance and banking industries are not part of that 90%. So we agree in principal. However, again anything the government does will be done to a fault.

With the FDA we are talking keeping potentially life saving experimental drugs out of the hands of near terminal patients. Patients that have been fully informed of the nature of the drugs, all the risks involved and who are going to die within three months for sure without it.

The FDA is very necessary. But they two need guidance when it comes to common sense.
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