Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

Maternity leave is all ready factored into the studies. Clearly, his statement is false.

2 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

I don't doubt that's the case. But it's not discrimination: it's hedging against risk; namely, the risk of spending resources on training someone and having them bail shortly thereafter. Regulations like mandatory maternity leave only serve to exacerbate the problem.

2 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

I have made no such claim that the market is flawless. But if you understand value theory (value is not a price, but is subjective; value ends up indirectly determining price), then you will know that the market is the *only* way to come to a sensible price. It is the only way by which we can calculate how scarce resources should be used amongst their alternative uses, in what quantity, etc. It may seem nonsensical to you, but if for some reason, all of the western world values a steaming pile of shit, shit will become a scarce resource and have a price associated with it. Just because I don't want shit doesn't mean other people don't and that its price should be lower than, say, a pound of rice. It may turn out that the desire for shit was misplaced sometime in the future, it is abandoned, but that doesn't prove anything at all.

2 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

Oh, how so? It outlines the same things that have been echo'ed here, that there women make decisions that negatively affect their earning power. That's not to say that those decisions are poor decisions--only an individual can decide if such a sacrifice is worthwhile. As for linking to a book, apologies. I only did a very brief search; it's a political topic and most of the results are political in nature, not scientific.

2 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

You are drawing conclusions from something that was not said. It may well be that the author is sexist and meant it in a sexist way, but I see no reason why we should assume it to be a sexist statement.

2 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

Sigh, arbitrary arguments over wage rates. The only way to find out what someone should be paid is by letting the market show us. There's no other way to aggregate the necessary information.

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

That varies depending on what data you look at. The link I provided above accounted for all of 4%. The other thing to remember is that there could be other factors that we just haven't thought of yet--that remaining 4-7% could very well make perfect sense, as has the other 17%. The point is that it's a very small deviation--small enough that any efforts to "correct" it, should it even need correcting, would almost surely hurt everyone involved more than help them. As I stated above (maybe in a different message), the market does not reward discrimination. That doesn't mean that it won't exist, only that a firm places itself at a competitive disadvantage if it discriminates[1].

[1] Actually that's really only true when society detests the discrimination in question. It could certainly be plausible that if a society detests brown-eyed people working in factories (for whatever silly reason), any company who attempts to hire a brown-eyed person to a factory job would be boycotted to the point where hiring that person would be a net loss, even though otherwise his hiring practices may be at a competitive advantage over the competition. Suffice it to say, I don't think society detests women being paid on par with men, given it is an apples to apples comparison, so I don't think this analysis applies.

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

Ultimately I think he communicated the same thing that you did, but in fewer words. He didn't say "women who act like men are paid more," just that when the behaviors are the same, which would include career choice, child rearing decisions, etc., the pay is the same. There is *nothing* sexist about that statement.

--
I rarely read signatures, but I did read yours.

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

It's a political talking point. Of course logic and reason have no place in the argument. I have a feminist friend who will make the "79 cents on every dollar" claim frequently; I will point her to research which very convincingly refutes the claim; later, she will say, "but we make 79 cents on every dollar." [ mind blown ]

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

In my relationship with my wife, as is the case with many families, I am the one who is tasked with earning the money. Some may take it that we're just playing into a stereotype, and that may be true to an extent, but it works for us and plays to both of our strengths. I admittedly did not plan my career around the possibility of myself getting pregnant and having to take a year off of work for each of my three young children, but to do so would be silly, since I am, after all, a man. In my family's situation, my earning more money (time spent working held constant) is synonymous with caring for my children. Like it or not, most women--even today--do plan their lives, at least to a certain extent, around being a mother. This affects the sorts of careers they go into and how quickly they move up the ladder. But is it wrong? No, I don't think so. They receive non-monetary compensation for their decisions. I do not get to experience my children all day long, which I consider a downside to my working; my wife does. Can't have your cake and eat it too. :)

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

Yeah I'm sure there are biases, but the reality is the market doesn't reward biases, as it puts an employer at a competitive disadvantage. That's not to say that an employer won't act on his or her biases--just that they're not rewarded. I would expect there to be more un-acted-upon biases than acted-upon biases, but that's purely speculative. :)

3 days ago
top

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (485 comments)

There are many studies that verify his claims. Once you account for various factors, the wage gap all but disappears. This sort of article does nothing but affirm the stupidity of comparing apples to oranges. *Of course* if a high-paying employer moves into an area and hires a bunch of one demographic, but not another, the group it hires will gain financially, relative the other group. If you bother to look up the data, you'll find that women *do* consider more factors than finances than men do; preparing to have and care for children is one of the obvious things they consider.

3 days ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

OK this will be my last response. First of all, aren't you conflating financials with economics? While on a balance sheet, you may be able to say that building out infrastructure is simply a shifting of assets, but that is simply not true economically. Economically, we cannot say that built infrastructure is worth the same as the money used to build it, as value is entirely subjective. Whether or not the infrastructure increases or decreases in value (as represented in units of dollars, although of course value and money are not the same thing) is determined by whether society (internet service consumers in this instance) prefer the resource in its former or latter state. If Comcast invested $500 million in a vast infrastructure that no one wants and thus has little or no value, then that is certainly not a $500 million asset (it may be when looking at a balance sheet, but not economically).

As for AT&T, you're completely changing the subject. Not only that, but you're just throwing random anecdotes around without anything to substantiate, such as: "They were a monopoly and they gouged us." Interestingly, then you concede the argument: that innovation overthrew the monopoly. Okay, yeah I'm being facetious. But you do get my point, right? Competition need not come strictly from another company trying to offer a very similar service or product.

I concede it may not be possible for Comcast to grow their cable business. I thought of the same constraints you mentioned before I submitted, but wasn't about to make your argument for you. :)

The last thing I take issue with is your idea of what a normal firm does vs what a monopoly[1] does. Both firms seek to optimize their prices and capacity as to obtain the greatest possible profit. A monopoly is not the only type of firm who may want to reduce output to increase prices and ultimately gain a greater return.

[1] For the record, I reject your definition of monopoly. It is arbitrary to assume that the optimum number of firms in a given market must be between x and y.

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

Operational income margins are the worst indicators of the big picture, as they don't include outstanding debt, etc. Like I said, to get an accurate picture we need to look over a greater length of time than just a year or quarter. What sort of return do the telcos get on their investment? That is really the question.

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

Your definition of monopoly is arbitrary, ultimately. My understanding of 19th century London was that it was filled with government-granted monopolies, and *that* is what made the public angry. I can't comment further until I do more reading on the issue.

As for AT&T, I'm referring to the beginning of the 20th century when many municipalities started granting AT&T monopolies, under the presumption of "natural monopoly." Of course, they ended up implementing some sort of price fixing, per the norm of regulating monopolies. My memory's fuzzy on the details, but the gist of what happened is that the prices may have been decent to start, but areas that didn't formalize a telco monopoly over time experienced much, much lower rates than AT&T. There has also been a habit of understanding the amount of competition, even with telco's; early 20th century telcos were no exception; apparently there was enough competition back then to make a noticeable difference. (Also, once again, the threat of competition is also very key. A single firm in a free market behaves differently than a single firm, as dictated by government.)

As for Comcast and other businesses that rely on leveraging very expensive infrastructure, the tendency is to invest massive amounts, then reap the benefits over time until more upgrades/investment must be done. If you look at Comcast's ROIC, you'll find that the annual reports are misleading. In essence, here's what's happening over several (let's say 5) years (arbitrary numbers):

  • Year 1: Invest $500 million in infrastructure, spend $100 million on operational costs, earn $200 million in revenue
  • Year 2: Invest $200 million in infrastructre, spend $100 million on operational costs, earn $205 million in revenue
  • Year 3: Spend $100 million on operational costs, earn $210 million in revenue
  • Year 4: Spend $100 million on operational costs, earn $215 million in revenue
  • Year 5: Spend $100 million on operational costs, earn $220 million in revenue

If you look at years 3-5, it looks like Comcast is making massive returns, but once all of the years are summed up, a more accurate picture is revealed. After spending $1 billion dollars over 5 years, the net return is only $1.05 billion. Obviously these are made up figures, but it's a simplified representation of what does happen. This is an opinion piece, but it's laced with interesting statistics that verify what I've been saying (too lazy to look up the actual numbers myself): http://dailycaller.com/2013/02...

If Comcast's cable was really that much more profitable than the rest of their business, why in the world would they not dedicate more of their resources to cable? Simple: Because that's not the case and Comcast knows it. (I'm not saying their annual reports are inaccurate, only misleading by nature.)

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

Some other profit margins for the last quarter from various high speed providers:

  • Time Warner: 8.71%
  • Century Link: 4.25%
  • Verizon: 11.7%

I realize Verizon's probably not the best example, as I couldn't find FiOS-specific numbers. But I can't find any numbers at all that indicate that profits are completely out of whack.

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

It's dubious because it isn't winner takes all. Even with classic utilities, the term is misleading. For starters, the term was, to my knowledge, not introduced by economists, but rather by politicians. The claim was that the monopoly was "natural", so we ought to formalize the monopoly (provide protections for it) in exchange for control over how it operates. The classic examples you mentioned very much fit with this. Every large city that I'm aware of (and by large, I don't mean very large at all) grants firm A a monopoly on the services for exchange for some control. It's not very "natural" if the government forces it.

Furthermore, it is quite a large assumption that, say a water company, must span an entire city. I am not particularly fond of the practices used with my city's water. If the market was free, even if infrastructure were not to be overlapped (I don't know if that would ever be economically viable), there's nothing from stopping the city from being divvy'ed up into different quadrants run by different companies. Whether or not this would happen or not depends entirely on the consuming public, just like any normal market. When purchasing a house in a city, one would want to consider the utility providers for that quadrant of the city. People generally take home buying very seriously; I doubt that such a factor would be ignored to the point as to not provide an adequate profit/loss test for the various companies.

If you haven't all ready, I strongly suggest you read up on what happened with AT&T and the so-called "natural" monopoly that it had, what the government did, and what the practical implications were for those actions.

As for Comcast's financials, where are you getting your numbers? I looked at http://ycharts.com/companies/C..., which indicates 15.44% profit for the last quarter (high, but not unreasonable) but almost all other quarters for the past 5 years in the 10% (or under) range. Granted that is for the company as a whole.

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

What is your point exactly? That cable companies should be coerced to service anyone and everyone? There are inherent consequences to housing choices.

about three weeks ago
top

Power and Free Broadband To the People

countach74 Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (262 comments)

"Natural monopoly" is a somewhat dubious term. Classically speaking, a single provider isn't enough to designate a company a monopoly (for instance, in a small town, one would hardly consider the only market that the town can justify a monopoly). Ultimately, the term assumes that in such a scenario, there is no competition and thus, the state should intervene to compensate. But there is *at least* the threat of competition, which seems to be forgotten all too often. There is also the possibility to (not always) substitute goods.

In the case of internet, there are plenty of suboptimal but, for most people, workable alternative providers. The cable providers are still constrained by the same profit restrictions as other markets. I realize this isn't a popular idea, as most people like to hate on ISP's (and I am generally not that happy with them most of the time myself), but they can't simply do as they please with complete disregard for their clients. The high barrier to entry only goes so far. Time and time again, economics has shown us that if a product is wanted enough, the capital can be raised. Also, a peek at Comcast's profit margin shows nothing obviously out of order, as would be expected if they were really doing something nefarious. I suppose you could argue that's because governments have saved us. But if the government increases costs for a "natural monopoly" and demand is truly inelastic, as many people seem to think, the cable provider simply has to charge the consumer more. What's possibly worse is that by interfering in the markets like this, what generally happens is that the overhead to enter, which was all ready high, is made even higher, as any competitor (or potential competitor) must also pay off the government.

To be clear, I'm not saying that the ISP situation is great (it isn't), but rather that government can't help in these ways. A better alternative would likely be for cities to start building out easily reusable infrastructure (that doesn't require tearing up roads) that would greatly reduce the capital needed for a new competitor to enter the market. (I mean infrastructure that allows running cable and whatnot, not the network infrastructure itself.)

about three weeks ago

Submissions

countach74 hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

countach74 has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?