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UK Announces 'Google Tax'

countach74 Re: There is no single "fair" value. (602 comments)

I am very aware of this argument, but it is wrong. Gold's viability and value as a currency comes earlier in the market process. There is a sort of paradox when transitioning to a non-commodity money; Ludwig von Mises thought it impossible. Like you said, one way to overcome the paradox is by force of government, and it's been assumed for quite a while that without the force of government, such a money would never come to be... well... money. The argument for this is compelling, but we know it to be wrong simply by looking at Bitcoin. Bitcoin had absolutely no worth, and as such, was completely arbitrary in exchange, yet someone thought it cool enough to try and eventually it stated to hold its own exchange value.

Lastly, *nothing* has intrinsic value: if you simply mean to say that a good has other use cases besides money, that is fine. But the use cases it has are precisely because we have assigned it such. Gold isn't "naturally" worth anything. It is only worth something because we have found uses for it.

about three weeks ago
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UK Announces 'Google Tax'

countach74 Re:There is no single "fair" value. (602 comments)

You are right in that Arden is wrong. Obviously there are commodities that can be collected to back a currency. My other comment was just to point out that gold is not a hill worth dying on and it's unfortunate that sound money people get so hung up on it.

about three weeks ago
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UK Announces 'Google Tax'

countach74 Re:There is no single "fair" value. (602 comments)

Physical currencies generally have more disadvantages to advantages when compared to virtual ones. There really is no reason, economically, for a currency to be backed by a commodity. There are, however, very real problems that are introduced by inflationary policies and the use of fiat currency. The biggest hurdle for virtual currencies to overcome is to get off the ground in the first place and to be assigned a value by society. (Remember, there is no such thing as "intrinsic" value: a thing only has a value if people assign value to it. Commodities like gold have other uses besides currency, which make them easier and more likely to bootstrap as into a state of money, but that does not mean a virtual currency can never come about as money. Bitcoin has proven that notion wrong.)

about three weeks ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 comments)

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

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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 ]

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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. :)

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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. :)

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

countach74 Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 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.

about a month ago
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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 2 months ago
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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 2 months ago
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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 2 months ago
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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 2 months ago

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