Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:36 am UTC

Dauric wrote:
Sableagle wrote:
elasto wrote:... what will the societal consequences be from this ever growing inequality?
Pitchforks?

Spoiler:
Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires


You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. ... What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent. ... Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.


I find this amusing given the same party contributing to revolution-inspiring income inequality is also the same party supporting the arming of the populace with the explicit purpose of overthrowing the government.


When the angry poor overthrow the government then the scheming rich can take over and be the new government.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:17 am UTC

Wait, has there ever been a revolution where the rich assholes didn't displace the ruling class assholes?

American Revolution: British monarchy replaced by rule of rich plantation owners
French Revolution: Nobility and Clergy replaced by rich merchant class
Russian Revolution: Nobility replaced by upper middle class intelligentsia, so far the least rich of the assholes to take over
Cuban Revolution: Mafia kleptocracy replaced by son of one of the richest men in cuba, currently ruled by other son

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:19 am UTC

So I was reading Wikipedia... Trump may be the first president in history to not have any pets. All that constant hissing and screeching whenever he walks near? Not even Polly, Jackson's swearing like a sailor parrot, could be near the guy.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:35 am UTC

I was thinking that, you know, whilst listening to Political Animals...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:03 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So I was reading Wikipedia... Trump may be the first president in history to not have any pets. All that constant hissing and screeching whenever he walks near? Not even Polly, Jackson's swearing like a sailor parrot, could be near the guy.

When a man tells me he doesn't like dogs, I trust him less.
When dogs tell me they don't like a man, I trust him less.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zohar » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:09 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
US billionaire Warren Buffet says his conglomerate has received a profit boost of $29bn as a result of President Donald Trump's tax reforms.

Maybe he should use some of these profits for lobbying for tax reform.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:12 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
elasto wrote:
US billionaire Warren Buffet says his conglomerate has received a profit boost of $29bn as a result of President Donald Trump's tax reforms.

Maybe he should use some of these profits for lobbying for tax reform.

I'm sure he could. It's quite possible he does. I'm equally sure the trillion extra given away to other firms would be used to counter-lobby though, making it a wash. That's not a battle he can win; Ultimately it's something that can only be cured at the ballot box.

And, reading about Buffett's charitable works, it sounds like he'd rather spend his final days on this earth curing diseases than lining politicians' pockets with bribes as you suggest.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:19 pm UTC

I expect them to spend the money on acquisitions, which will worsen the problem in the long run. Even the most charitable of rich people tend to do more harm than good to our economy.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Yablo » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:43 pm UTC

Warren Buffett gives away a substantial portion of his personal wealth and stake in his company, and it's not just to conservative and republican groups. He gives a ton to the Gates Foundation which in turn gives a lot to liberal and social welfare organizations. Though, to be fair, the Gates Foundation has three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby emceng » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:14 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
I suppose the Republicans aren't wrong when they claim this tax cut will produce economic growth but what will the societal consequences be from this ever growing inequality? Yet it's hard to see how this 'race to the bottom' won't continue when you have multinationals who can basically choose what regime to pay their taxes in...

link


The question is - what kind of growth? Where is that money going? It seems to me that it is being used to consolidate power and wealth. The rich are using their wealth to buy more assets, which push out potential middle class earners. For example, Home Depot gets a huge pot of money from the tax scam bill. So they open 50 more stores. People that used to go to small, locally owned stores are now going to Home Depot. Their profits rise, the middle class guy that owned his own business is now out of work. Copy and repeat with other markets - real estate, finance, etc.

On the one hand yeah, you get a more efficient market. Big companies have procedures, shared risks and overhead, etc. But it fucking kills the middle class.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:55 pm UTC

emceng wrote:On the one hand yeah, you get a more efficient market. Big companies have procedures, shared risks and overhead, etc. But it fucking kills the middle class.
... and this is one of the pitfalls of the relentless pursuit of "efficiency" as a societal goal. (I originally mistyped "societal gaol", but I think that pretty much hits it).

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:13 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
emceng wrote:On the one hand yeah, you get a more efficient market. Big companies have procedures, shared risks and overhead, etc. But it fucking kills the middle class.
... and this is one of the pitfalls of the relentless pursuit of "efficiency" as a societal goal. (I originally mistyped "societal gaol", but I think that pretty much hits it).

Jose


Not really, you just need to have the balls to tax the corporate profits to synthetically create a middle class even larger than would be happened without the omni-corps, or yes, even have some sort of organized labor of the form in Germany or Sweden so that the profit doesn't exclusively go to the owners.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:27 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
emceng wrote:On the one hand yeah, you get a more efficient market. Big companies have procedures, shared risks and overhead, etc. But it fucking kills the middle class.
... and this is one of the pitfalls of the relentless pursuit of "efficiency" as a societal goal. (I originally mistyped "societal gaol", but I think that pretty much hits it).


Why is it a pitfall? When a local business is less convenient and more expensive for the customer, I fail to see why supporting them is something we should be trying to promote. I mean I have the exact hardware store example in my area, where there's a local expensive store, with super small supply and there's a larger Home Depot with better prices and huge supply. I don't want there to be more small, expensive stores around where I'm not even sure they'll have what I need, making me jump from one to another.

Local stores with unique products or services fine. But some things are better for everyone to just be found in large generic stores. There are other ways to promote the middle class than to do so in a manner that is worse for customers.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:51 pm UTC

I have no problem with efficiencies of scale so long as they do not degenerate into oligopolies. In a healthy marketplace with plenty of competition the benefits go to the consumer; In dysfunctional ones they go to the shareholders. The job of government is to promote healthy competition and break up monopolies.

In addition, in healthy sectors there is a balance of power between capital and labour. If labour gets too powerful there needs to be some union-busting or the like. That hasn't been a problem for many years now though; Right now in most sectors capital is the side with too much power.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:54 pm UTC

The problems of the big box stores vs local are that
1) the profits leave the town, enriching the HQ while draining the town every single day like a corporate vampire
2) society as a whole becomes more stratified in terms of wealth, with small business owners being replaced with assistant managers and low wage clerks, while the executives get ever increasing compensation.

These are both legitimate issues that need to be addressed, in order to get better outcomes from the system. Like I said, having the balls to tax profits, then using the taxes to hire people directly as a synthetic middle class, e.g., more research grants, more teachers, etc.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:13 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:1) the profits leave the town, enriching the HQ while draining the town every single day like a corporate vampire

I'm not sure how much I agree with this. Theoretically wages are the same, as are local taxes, utilities etc. This feels like the majority of the cashflow accounted for. In both cases stock probably comes from outside the local area, so that makes no difference.

And how much money would the owner really be recycling into the local economy? Buying a fancy house? House prices being pushed up is probably a net negative to the locals. Buying a fancy car from a local dealer? Perhaps. Unless he's an idiot he's probably putting most of the profits he's not reinvesting into a pension scheme though. Overall I don't really see how he contributes much more to the local economy than a big box store manager would - especially when a local store is a net negative to locals through higher prices.

Like I said, having the balls to tax profits, then using the taxes to hire people directly as a synthetic middle class, e.g., more research grants, more teachers, etc.

This I 100% agree with.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dark567 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:22 pm UTC

Off-topic on big box stores and small business
Spoiler:
The narrative of "Big box store pushes out small businesses" has some truth to it, it doesn't seem to be the main driver away from small business. There are plenty of small towns that don't get big box stores who also have seen similar declines in their small business sector(this is particularly true of the rust belt, WV, and parts of the south. Why consumers in these areas have moved away from small business is an open question but it doesn't seem like the big boxes are the only or even largest reason.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:51 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:1) the profits leave the town, enriching the HQ while draining the town every single day like a corporate vampire

I'm not sure how much I agree with this. Theoretically wages are the same, as are local taxes, utilities etc. This feels like the majority of the cashflow accounted for. In both cases stock probably comes from outside the local area, so that makes no difference.


Let's ignore the differences in wages, products, etc. Imagine there are two identical burger joints, except for the fact that one is owned by someone in town, and the other by someone three states over. Prices are the same, wages the same, etc. The joints both have profits of $100k. In the case of the locally owned one, that $100k is spent on more clothes, local plays, the local pub, hookers, etc. In the other, the money leaves for good. Now, local clothes stores and such still have money leaving town as part of cost of goods sold; this is the nature of the economy, and the town has to export goods and services in order to keep importing other goods. But, the other joint has the money leave faster, causing a trade imbalance that impoverishes the town until the town can't afford to import the other goods.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:52 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:Why consumers in these areas [without big box stores] have moved away from small business is an open question but it doesn't seem like the big boxes are the only or even largest reason.
I wonder if the internet might have something to do with it. Though it's a virtual box, Amazon is a big box store that everyone has in their own home. Sometimes literally, listening 24/7 via Alexa.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dark567 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:54 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Dark567 wrote:Why consumers in these areas [without big box stores] have moved away from small business is an open question but it doesn't seem like the big boxes are the only or even largest reason.
I wonder if the internet might have something to do with it. Though it's a virtual box, Amazon is a big box store that everyone has in their own home. Sometimes literally, listening 24/7 via Alexa.

Jose
That probably is a factor today, but this has been a trend before Amazon started to be so dominant.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:50 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Let's ignore the differences in wages, products, etc. Imagine there are two identical burger joints, except for the fact that one is owned by someone in town, and the other by someone three states over. Prices are the same, wages the same, etc. The joints both have profits of $100k. In the case of the locally owned one, that $100k is spent on more clothes, local plays, the local pub, hookers, etc. In the other, the money leaves for good.

Let's assume the local joint has an owner paying himself $150k a year, and the box joint has a manager paid $50k a year.

Both will be buying clothes, going to plays, employing hookers etc. The owner will probably either reinvest a good proportion of his excess income in the business or in other businesses/stocks/rentals/pensions though - else how did he save up the money to become an owner to begin with? 100k profit a year implies, what, around $1m in capital investment? (And if that capital is merely borrowed then a good proportion of his excess profits will be going to pay off the loan instead.)

In addition, if you're assuming both joints have profits of 100k, the local-owned one is sucking more money out of the local economy through higher prices: Money spent at this store can't be spent at another local store. So even if the local owner is slightly more profligate than the box manager, it may end up six of one, half a dozen of the other.

As Dark567 says, there may be a slight degree of truth to your theory, but I think it's pretty marginal.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:00 pm UTC

Back to Trump. The guy says that if he was at the shooting, he would've rushed into the building. The guy who got out of Vietnam with a "bone spur" on who knows which foot, is the all around badass who would beat a school shooter senseless with his massive dick. Here's a thought, Mr Badass, how about you go without secret service protecting your candyass, save the taxpayers some money, since apparently your balls can deflect bullets.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Yablo » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:34 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Back to Trump. The guy says that if he was at the shooting, he would've rushed into the building. The guy who got out of Vietnam with a "bone spur" on who knows which foot, is the all around badass who would beat a school shooter senseless with his massive dick. Here's a thought, Mr Badass, how about you go without secret service protecting your candyass, save the taxpayers some money, since apparently your balls can deflect bullets.

Yeah. I thought that was a bit ridiculous at first. I've been attacked in this thread for reading Trump's words differently than others do, and I'm sure it'll happen here, too. The way I read it, I feel like he meant if he were a law enforcement officer on scene, he's have rushed in because that would have been his job and his duty. It doesn't really matter that he wouldn't have allowed himself to be on a path which would have put him in that position to begin with. I think his message is more "If your job is to protect and serve, get your ass in there and protect and serve," than it is "I'd be like freakin' Rambo!"
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:00 am UTC

Unions in the US may be dealt a crippling blow in Supreme Court case. Public sector unions in numerous states require membership as a condition of employment. That is now before the Supreme Court, which is likely to vote 5-4 against the unions. As the employees can get the benefits of being in the union without paying dues, few will voluntarily give up a chunk of their paycheck to the unions, and thus the union can't fund many of its activities.

Personally, I'm conflicted. I don't like the idea of a union requiring all workers to join on freedom of association grounds and would prefer to strengthen labor through other means, but the fact is that union and labor power has been eroded so much in the past few decades that, well, it's a nasty rule but it's kind of necessary.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:21 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Unions in the US may be dealt a crippling blow in Supreme Court case. Public sector unions in numerous states require membership as a condition of employment. That is now before the Supreme Court, which is likely to vote 5-4 against the unions. As the employees can get the benefits of being in the union without paying dues, few will voluntarily give up a chunk of their paycheck to the unions, and thus the union can't fund many of its activities.

Personally, I'm conflicted. I don't like the idea of a union requiring all workers to join on freedom of association grounds and would prefer to strengthen labor through other means, but the fact is that union and labor power has been eroded so much in the past few decades that, well, it's a nasty rule but it's kind of necessary.

What I don't understand is why they don't have segregated employees. We have it already in manufacturing. The senior'real' employees are unions, highly paid and skilled. The new younger guys are lowly paid. Simple for the union to work with. You don't want union dues, you get less wages.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:10 am UTC

Yablo wrote:I think his message is more "If your job is to protect and serve, get your ass in there and protect and serve," than it is "I'd be like freakin' Rambo!"
No. And that is the disconnect that is one of the reasons Trump is so abhorrent. He's very happy to have other people do the dirty work, while he takes the credit.

Now I agree that the security guard did not do his job. We pay him to take the risk so that we don't experience the danger. That's what a security team does. But Trump would like us to believe that this is due to a failing on the security guard's part that Trump does not have. And that is a lie.

So, the message that he wants us to absorb is that he'd be like freakin' Rambo. That is the message that glorifies Trump and denigrates the security guard, and that is what Trump is about. Trump fans can read it another way if they like, to make it "not a lie". But there's no question that the subtext is there. In fact, it's the actual text. Subtle, Trump isn't.

sardia wrote:
CorrputUser wrote:Personally, I'm conflicted.
[....]You don't want union dues, you get less wages.
Well, I'm kind of of the opinion that your wages should reflect your abilities, not your political leanings. Government's job is to protect the weak from the strong. In this case, the strong are the unions and the corporations. The weak are the workers who don't want to pay homage to the unions. It can be left to sort itself out if the corporations and the unions are not that strong with respect to the employees, but that's not the case any more.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Leovan » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:28 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Yablo wrote:I think his message is more "If your job is to protect and serve, get your ass in there and protect and serve," than it is "I'd be like freakin' Rambo!"
No. And that is the disconnect that is one of the reasons Trump is so abhorrent. He's very happy to have other people do the dirty work, while he takes the credit.

Now I agree that the security guard did not do his job. We pay him to take the risk so that we don't experience the danger. That's what a security team does. But Trump would like us to believe that this is due to a failing on the security guard's part that Trump does not have. And that is a lie.

So, the message that he wants us to absorb is that he'd be like freakin' Rambo. That is the message that glorifies Trump and denigrates the security guard, and that is what Trump is about. Trump fans can read it another way if they like, to make it "not a lie". But there's no question that the subtext is there. In fact, it's the actual text. Subtle, Trump isn't.


I agree. I usually get annoyed when people look for ways to misinterpret Trump's statements. But in this case there's no non-douchey way to interpret this as far as I can see. It's like when he said if he were president he'd find the perfect solution to make everyone happy, and it'll be beautiful. It sounds good and people want to believe that they would be better than the current job-holder but it's usually just being a Monday Morning Quarterback. In his case though he's proven that he's not willing to be the hero when called upon, which adds a bit of irony to his statement and makes it even worse. I totally understand the desire not to be in a war and I'd be claiming bone spurs too if I could, but I'm not going to go and denigrate the people who serve then fail.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:51 am UTC

Chen wrote:
ucim wrote:
emceng wrote:On the one hand yeah, you get a more efficient market. Big companies have procedures, shared risks and overhead, etc. But it fucking kills the middle class.
... and this is one of the pitfalls of the relentless pursuit of "efficiency" as a societal goal. (I originally mistyped "societal gaol", but I think that pretty much hits it).


Why is it a pitfall? When a local business is less convenient and more expensive for the customer, I fail to see why supporting them is something we should be trying to promote. I mean I have the exact hardware store example in my area, where there's a local expensive store, with super small supply and there's a larger Home Depot with better prices and huge supply. I don't want there to be more small, expensive stores around where I'm not even sure they'll have what I need, making me jump from one to another.

Local stores with unique products or services fine. But some things are better for everyone to just be found in large generic stores. There are other ways to promote the middle class than to do so in a manner that is worse for customers.


Well, I agree that it's desirable for anyone to be able to successfully go into business. But yeah, sometimes small shops are far less desirable than big box stores.

CorruptUser wrote:The problems of the big box stores vs local are that
1) the profits leave the town, enriching the HQ while draining the town every single day like a corporate vampire
2) society as a whole becomes more stratified in terms of wealth, with small business owners being replaced with assistant managers and low wage clerks, while the executives get ever increasing compensation.


Point 1 looks a bit like mercantilism, only on a really small scale. In practice, trade is generally enriching. Sure, if the small town produces nothing, they'll have a hard time of it...but profits are only one chunk of a business(and usually not a terribly large one). If both are selling goods from China, ultimately, roughly the same amount of cash is heading out to China for a given number of hammers, be it home depot or a family shop. The town exporting nothing will have a hard time of it either way.

And hell, economic isolationism/self sufficiency is pretty limiting. Even ignoring taxes as a thing which breaks that, isolated economies suffer a number of challenges. The big box store is often necessary. CEOs are mostly irrelevant. Home Depot has one CEO, and while the $4mil a year he makes is pretty good compared to local store owners, there's...2,200 stores in the US. So, each store is contributing about $1,800 yearly to that. That's a pretty thin slice of the yearly take for it. It's just not sufficient to explain the decline of small towns, particularly when small shops suffer declines with no big box around to take the blame.

CorruptUser wrote:Back to Trump. The guy says that if he was at the shooting, he would've rushed into the building. The guy who got out of Vietnam with a "bone spur" on who knows which foot, is the all around badass who would beat a school shooter senseless with his massive dick. Here's a thought, Mr Badass, how about you go without secret service protecting your candyass, save the taxpayers some money, since apparently your balls can deflect bullets.


I mean....he might have wandered into a situation, confident that he could handle absolutely anything. I can see that. If this is a good idea or not, now....open to interpretation. From what I know of his background, he doesn't exactly seem experienced for an active shooter scenario. It's possible that he would do something, lack of experience be damned, though. He appears to have a very high estimation of his own abilities. That and most people like to think they are brave, of course. We're unlikely to get direct confirmation either way. I saw some articles claiming that at some point he stopped his limo to stop a mugging, but it's literally just copypasta of the same article. Can't confirm it actually happened.

Should the officer on the scene have gone in, though? Given that that's the apparent topic? Yeah, sure. Literally his job to do so.

sardia wrote:What I don't understand is why they don't have segregated employees. We have it already in manufacturing. The senior'real' employees are unions, highly paid and skilled. The new younger guys are lowly paid. Simple for the union to work with. You don't want union dues, you get less wages.


Mostly because Unions don't want that. When that happens, a sizeable portion elect not to pay the dues and participate, which Unions naturally dislike. Arguments over "free riders", etc abound...but it isn't strictly necessary that non union people get whatever bennies the Unions negotiate for, I agree.

elasto wrote:In addition, I read an article about how school mass-shootings are a relatively recent phenomenon. Up until a couple of decades ago it was basically unheard of for a pupil or ex-pupil to go shoot up a school; However, there was a history of teachers shooting up schools which basically petered out (only to eventually be replaced by pupils doing so).

The suggestion from the article was that if we reintroduce armed teachers, we might cycle back around to the previous 'fashion'...


Given that the USA has eight states in which teachers are armed, and they have murdered precisely zero of their students or each other as a result, I think we can safely chalk this up to fearmongering.

elasto wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:...because killing a dozen people is a guaranteed way to get your picture in every newspaper in the country for a few days? It's really not difficult to understand

You are missing my point. School shootings are essentially a US phenomenon despite being a guaranteed way to get your picture in every newspaper in any country.

The US appears to be 'special' in this regard. Why?

(To give an example of an theory some put forth: The US has very high rates of psych medication handed out compared to most industrialised countries, and a very high proportion of such shooting sprees are carried out by people on medications such as anti-depressants. Maybe there's a link there?)


The US is less special in this regard than it appears. The US is a very large country, and furthermore, mass shootings are very rare. At a school, at a concert, eh...the difference seems marginal. In deaths per capita, compared to Europe, the US would rank in the middle of the pack, which seems...unsurprising(Source: Crime Prevention Research Center, 2009-2015). Norway ranks worst, but as this is due to a single shooter, it'd be a bit unfair to say they have any sort of cultural problem overall, either. They're otherwise pretty good in most criminal rankings, and you get weird outliers when dealing with infrequent events like this.

Furthermore, while there's a mental health component here, anti-depressants are likely less the cause, than a shared effect. Mass killers are usually suicidal. Either killing themselves, or overtly committing suicide by cop. Depression and suicide have kind of an obvious link, so it's not surprising that anti-depressants do as well. I bet that you'd find that in general, the general population of suicidal people are more likely to have been prescribed anti-depressants, and thus, it's not unique to mass shootings. The medication points in a direction, sure, but it's not a root cause itself, and I highly doubt that a medication crackdown would fix it.

ucim wrote:Why do we have psycopathic killers? Answer that and you've solved the problem.


Because we're human. No, seriously, some percentage of the population has always been killers, and, if we're looking at it historically, that number has been consistently dropping over the long term. We're getting better at dealing with it. Why killers exist is pretty easy to answer. And, by and large, we've ALSO solved how to fix them. Not entirely, but for quite a number, and it's not unreasonable to think we'll continue to do so.

ucim wrote:I see it as seething anger and frustration coupled with powerlessness and a sense of complete irrelevancy to the world around them. That, to me, would explain mass murder. That is the target we need to aim for. It is what led to Hitler, it is what led to Trump, and it will lead to massacare if we're not careful. Remember, Trump was the one that said there's "not enough violence anymore" (referring to sports, but still...).


Disagree. People generalize every social problem to include Hitler. Hitler was kind of a special case, though. Yeah, history has a lot of authoritarian types, but it doesn't really have a lot of Hitlers. A kid who might become a school shooter might or might not be very much like Hitler.

Spoilering further gun topics, because they're getting a bit afield of Trump:
Spoiler:
Quercus wrote:The whole defense against tyranny argument seems really odd to me, I support it in principle, but focusing it so heavily on the ownership of small arms seems to me a curiously ineffective way of actually mounting such a defense in the modern world. I suspect that it's more to do with gun ownership being easy and fun than an actual considered plan for such a defense. Otherwise you would see a hell of a lot more focus on campaigning for improved education with a focus on critical thinking and the questioning of authority, a demileterised police force, a robustly independent judiciary, a curtailment of the over-reachy bits of the president's pardon power, reduced use of digital surveillance and the maintenance and free use of robust digital encryption.


It's both. Guns are definitely a hobby as well as protection. Much like how a fan of comic books will be inclined to talk up the value of collectable comics if he has them. His desire to purchase them may not have stemmed wholly from their investment value, but the investment value is still there. Humans often have a lot of overlapping motives.

You DO, however, see all these things. What, exactly, constitutes an improved education is up for debate, but right/left do definitely argue about education a great deal. The NRA sorts are generally distrusting of police forces, and the larger/more militarized they are, the more they view them with a bit of concern. It's a fine line, because they're pro-police in some circumstances, but frequently talk about abuses in a concerned way. It's actually quite similar to how the far left views police. As with most lobbies, their like or dislike for judges is strongly informed by the stance those judges take. Digital surveillance gets talked about negatively as well, though I don't think every citizen really understands encryption.

Not seeing how a presidential pardon really matters here.

At the more extreme end, once you're in an actual shooting war with your own government the availability of small arms somehow never seems to be the limiting factor when this happens around the world.


Sure it is. Most wars are dominated by logistics, and while small arms are generally not THAT hard to get, many a battle has been decided by who has better access to arms and ammunition.

That said, I believe a stronger belief is in deterrence. Much like the principle of a fleet in harbor exerting influence without leaving, the existence of sufficient arms to conduct a war is likely to be taken into consideration in advance, and ideally, such a situation is avoided as a result. They have a strong belief that a sufficiently armed population won't be subjugated, because it's simply not worth it for anyone to do so.

duodecimus wrote:Follow up to that: I'm Canadian and have never seen a magazine gun in real life: What is the actual process to buy an Assault rifle? Because that 'intensive background check+well kept records and military training course' thing the Swiss have going on seems a no-brainer to me.


It's a rifle. Magazine or not is not important at a federal level, though some states(mine included), only allow sale of fairly small magazines. Magazines being cheap and portable, this means in practice that sales of them happen just across the state line, which is perfectly legal. Kind of a silly restriction, all things considered.

Both rifles and pistols(all firearms save for really old blackpowder pieces, and things like bb guns) have a background check if you buy them at a store. There is no check if, say, you inherit the gun from your father, make it yourself from a block of metal or receive it as a present. Knowingly buying guns to give to people who can't pass a background check is a very serious crime(up to10 years in prison, quarter mil fine, if memory serves). Fully automatic firearms are highly restricted, very expensive, and utterly irrelevant to crime. Gun stores keep records of purchases, which can be looked through if a crime happens. If a gun store closes up shop, the records go to the government.

Generally, folks pushing for additional regulations are looking to close up the non-store transfers(private sale, inheritance, gifts), or to reduce what kinds of firearms can be purchased at a store. It is generally the case that, strictly speaking, firearm possession by mass shooters is illegal under existing law, as there are pretty strict bans for mental health. Unfortunately, enforcement of said laws is crap. Also, note that you cannot buy a firearm at a shop until you are 21(handguns) or 18(long guns). It is common for laws to be proposed in the wake of a shooting that would have done nothing to have stopped that shooting.

Zohar wrote:Aren't most of these shooters coming from more-or-less middle class backgrounds? I don't remember a narrative of them being particularly poor.


That is correct. I agree that an anti-urban attitude exists in many rural areas, but it seems unconnected to mass shootings(or widespread violence of any type, really). Seems limited to traditional regionalistic talk that justifies the speakers area as great, and other areas as less great. Meh. Mass shooters frequently target areas that are within their social circle, not outside of it. Where they went to school, where they work, things like that are pretty common. So, I don't think the urban/rural divide entirely explains it. This ain't hillbillies coming to town to shoot it up, in general. You might have individual cases of hatred against a group, but if so, it seems to be connected to something else. Race, or a grudge against someone...not merely that they live in a city.

Dauric wrote:I find this amusing given the same party contributing to revolution-inspiring income inequality is also the same party supporting the arming of the populace with the explicit purpose of overthrowing the government.


The folks that care a great deal about income equality and those who care about firearms are generally not on the same side of the highly partisan political divide.

Don't really see it working out that way.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:07 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Back to Trump. The guy says that if he was at the shooting, he would've rushed into the building. The guy who got out of Vietnam with a "bone spur" on who knows which foot, is the all around badass who would beat a school shooter senseless with his massive dick. Here's a thought, Mr Badass, how about you go without secret service protecting your candyass, save the taxpayers some money, since apparently your balls can deflect bullets.


I mean....he might have wandered into a situation, confident that he could handle absolutely anything. I can see that. If this is a good idea or not, now....open to interpretation.


Kinda doubt it.

From what I know of his background, he doesn't exactly seem experienced for an active shooter scenario. It's possible that he would do something, lack of experience be damned, though. He appears to have a very high estimation of his own abilities. That and most people like to think they are brave, of course. We're unlikely to get direct confirmation either way.


Most people think they are brave until they actually hear gunshots. Trump is an arrogant man, with an absolutely massive ego and wildly inflated opinion of himself; so it's very likely that in his imagination, he'd rush into the school, dodge some bullets, and finally choke-slam the shooter into submission. My guess is that he'd stop well short of actually entering the building.

I saw some articles claiming that at some point he stopped his limo to stop a mugging, but it's literally just copypasta of the same article. Can't confirm it actually happened.


Did he stop the mugging or ask his driver to stop the mugging?

Should the officer on the scene have gone in, though? Given that that's the apparent topic? Yeah, sure. Literally his job to do so.


The officer claims that he thought the shots were coming from outside the school. And, there was apparently radio chatter about a victim near the football field. If that is the case, then protocol would be to take a covered position outside of the building, attempt to assess the situation and be in position to communicate with backup as they arrive. Granted, it's possible he's just making an excuse after the fact; but if he did genuinely believe the shooter to be outside, then staying outside was appropriate.

A couple of other deputies are under investigation for not having gone into the building; they're now saying they were ordered to stand down. The town police force apparently went in right as they arrived.

I find it interesting that the town cops went straight into the school, apparently without hesitation; whereas the deputies stayed back. I guess it's possible that the town force just happens to be made up of braver folk; but to me it suggests that both groups were following orders.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:48 pm UTC

I for one am looking forward to the Shadowrun alt-canon we're all going to live in.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Yablo » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:23 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Unions in the US may be dealt a crippling blow in Supreme Court case. Public sector unions in numerous states require membership as a condition of employment. That is now before the Supreme Court, which is likely to vote 5-4 against the unions. As the employees can get the benefits of being in the union without paying dues, few will voluntarily give up a chunk of their paycheck to the unions, and thus the union can't fund many of its activities.

Personally, I'm conflicted. I don't like the idea of a union requiring all workers to join on freedom of association grounds and would prefer to strengthen labor through other means, but the fact is that union and labor power has been eroded so much in the past few decades that, well, it's a nasty rule but it's kind of necessary.

What I don't understand is why they don't have segregated employees. We have it already in manufacturing. The senior'real' employees are unions, highly paid and skilled. The new younger guys are lowly paid. Simple for the union to work with. You don't want union dues, you get less wages.

It's not just a matter of lower wages for no union dues. My union (general government; I'm an accountant for the State of Alaska) requires dues every pay period. In exchange they offer (very) weak negotiation, and they give substantial sums of money to various political groups. I get no say in which groups get money from my union. When it comes to matters on which all members vote, we're not told in advance, so we don't get to vote unless we hear a rumor or go asking around to see if there are votes coming up. When we fail to vote, the union takes every non-vote and counts it as a vote for whichever way they want the vote to go.

It's important to note, the Supreme Court isn't deciding on whether to abolish unions. They're deciding on whether unions can force people to be members in order to be employed. If the current case is successful (which is likely, given the conservative lean), unions will still be around and will still represent their members; they'll just have to justify their existence and the dues they charge to prospective members.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I for one am looking forward to the Shadowrun alt-canon we're all going to live in.

When corporations claim extraterritorial privileges, we all win!
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The problems of the big box stores vs local are that
1) the profits leave the town, enriching the HQ while draining the town every single day like a corporate vampire
2) society as a whole becomes more stratified in terms of wealth, with small business owners being replaced with assistant managers and low wage clerks, while the executives get ever increasing compensation.


Point 1 looks a bit like mercantilism, only on a really small scale. In practice, trade is generally enriching. Sure, if the small town produces nothing, they'll have a hard time of it...but profits are only one chunk of a business(and usually not a terribly large one). If both are selling goods from China, ultimately, roughly the same amount of cash is heading out to China for a given number of hammers, be it home depot or a family shop. The town exporting nothing will have a hard time of it either way.


Trade is awesome, when it's not unilateral and there's relatively little manipulation of currencies, evasion of tax or labor laws or pollution controls, and little other shennanigans. If the big box store moves in to town and replaces the mom and pops, AND the town produces enough extra so there isn't a longterm trade imbalance, the result is the people get the goods and services for cheaper and then spend their extra money on other things, such as wedding parties or art supplies or whathaveyou, and total wealth increases and most people are better off. This is how free trade is supposed to work. In reality, well, the shennanigans...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:49 pm UTC

Yablo wrote:It's not just a matter of lower wages for no union dues. My union (general government; I'm an accountant for the State of Alaska) requires dues every pay period. In exchange they offer (very) weak negotiation, and they give substantial sums of money to various political groups. I get no say in which groups get money from my union. When it comes to matters on which all members vote, we're not told in advance, so we don't get to vote unless we hear a rumor or go asking around to see if there are votes coming up. When we fail to vote, the union takes every non-vote and counts it as a vote for whichever way they want the vote to go.

It's important to note, the Supreme Court isn't deciding on whether to abolish unions. They're deciding on whether unions can force people to be members in order to be employed. If the current case is successful (which is likely, given the conservative lean), unions will still be around and will still represent their members; they'll just have to justify their existence and the dues they charge to prospective members.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I for one am looking forward to the Shadowrun alt-canon we're all going to live in.

When corporations claim extraterritorial privileges, we all win!

That's not how people work, and that ignores the actual ramifications behind the case. The statisticians aren't stupid, they know what happens if you pass "right to work" type acts. Substantial decrease in union membership. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/busi ... tives.html
Spoiler - size of rich conservative machine behind Janus.
Spoiler:
One of the institute’s largest donors is a foundation bankrolled by Richard Uihlein, an Illinois industrialist who has spent millions backing Republican candidates in recent years, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois.
Tax filings show that Mr. Uihlein has also been the chief financial backer in recent years of the Liberty Justice Center, which represents Mark Janus, the Illinois child support specialist who is the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case.
Continue reading the main story
And Mr. Uihlein has donated well over $1 million over the years to groups like the Federalist Society that work to orient the judiciary in a more conservative direction. They have helped produce a Supreme Court that most experts expect to rule in Mr. Janus’s favor.
The case illustrates the cohesiveness with which conservative philanthropists have taken on unions in recent decades. “It’s a mistake to look at the Janus case and earlier litigation as isolated episodes,” said Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a Columbia University political scientist who studies conservative groups. “It’s part of a multipronged, multitiered strategy.”
In doing so, these donors have not just brought labor to the brink of crisis but threatened the Democratic Party as well.

TLDR: Union membership drops 25 points after right to work passes.
Democratic political power decreases by 3.5 points after right to work passes.
This forces right to work across US government workers, which have substantially higher rates of union workers. You can wrap bullshit in the flag of freedom, but it's still stinks of bullshit. That said, it's probably gonna pass because the one who hasn't made up his mind is the Scalia twin.

PS Judicial nominations are some of the finest demonstrations that free will is a lie.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Opus_723 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:50 am UTC

When I first heard about the union case I thought it made sense for the unions to simply stop representing nonmembers. If someone told me that I could make another couple thousand dollars a year and get better health insurance by joining the union after all, I'd join pretty damn quick no matter how I felt about unions.

But then I thought about it some more, and I'm conflicted. The scenario I just described (and that I've seen many people use to claim that unions would be fine under right-to-work), is very obviously bad for the employer and strengthens the union's hand, so they won't go that route.

The employer doesn't actually have to pay nonmembers less, after all. It seems like the obvious optimal strategy for an employer is to keep nonmembers at the same benefit level, which gives everyone an incentive to leave the union to avoid fees. The employer passes up a (very) short-term opportunity to pay workers less, but they bleed the union dry over the long term, and that reaps rewards in terms of avoiding future pay raises.

It seems that the game theory pretty obviously favors the employers here, as they can essentially create a free rider problem.

Unless I'm mistaken. Can anyone see an effective counter to this that unions could deploy?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:05 am UTC

Unions are created by disgruntled employees in the first place, so as the union is bled dry and becomes less effective for its members (and by proxy the non-members the employer is giving the same benefits), the more obvious the need for the union becomes, including the creation of a new union if the old one dies. This also incentivizes unions to make sure they are actually acting to the benefit of the employees, and not charging excessive dues for those benefits, which seems like it's a good thing all around. Employees create unions to win them benefits, employers are incentivized to give even non-union members benefits to weaken the unions, weakening of unions creates deficit of benefits to employees, prompting them to recreate or bolster the unions again.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:25 am UTC

Opus_723 wrote:When I first heard about the union case I thought it made sense for the unions to simply stop representing nonmembers. If someone told me that I could make another couple thousand dollars a year and get better health insurance by joining the union after all, I'd join pretty damn quick no matter how I felt about unions.

But then I thought about it some more, and I'm conflicted. The scenario I just described (and that I've seen many people use to claim that unions would be fine under right-to-work), is very obviously bad for the employer and strengthens the union's hand, so they won't go that route.

The employer doesn't actually have to pay nonmembers less, after all. It seems like the obvious optimal strategy for an employer is to keep nonmembers at the same benefit level, which gives everyone an incentive to leave the union to avoid fees. The employer passes up a (very) short-term opportunity to pay workers less, but they bleed the union dry over the long term, and that reaps rewards in terms of avoiding future pay raises.

It seems that the game theory pretty obviously favors the employers here, as they can essentially create a free rider problem.

Unless I'm mistaken. Can anyone see an effective counter to this that unions could deploy?

The solution has always been political. You either vote in legislation that protects unions, or you win cases with friendly judges. Unions haven't had success with either end, and at best playing the pity card. *

*During the Wisconsin Walker union busting, Walker ignored the small demands of public sector unions (except for pro GOP unions, aka cops, who got an exemption) in order to push through right to work. The unions are pretty much a spent force in the US right now, unless you're a cop.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:01 am UTC

sardia wrote:
Opus_723 wrote:It seems like the obvious optimal strategy for an employer is to keep nonmembers at the same benefit level, which gives everyone an incentive to leave the union to avoid fees. The employer passes up a (very) short-term opportunity to pay workers less, but they bleed the union dry over the long term, and that reaps rewards in terms of avoiding future pay raises.

It seems that the game theory pretty obviously favors the employers here, as they can essentially create a free rider problem.

Unless I'm mistaken. Can anyone see an effective counter to this that unions could deploy?

The solution has always been political. You either vote in legislation that protects unions, or you win cases with friendly judges. Unions haven't had success with either end, and at best playing the pity card.

There is another solution which is that governments should act in the interests of workers directly rather than relying on individual union negotiations - living wage, paid sick leave, no firing without cause, maternity/paternity leave etc, as well as wider issues like single-payer healthcare and state-funded higher-education. But the parties are so in bed with corporations and the public so afraid of anything that smells like socialism that there's noone left looking after the little guy.

But that just leaves the door wide open to a fake populist like Trump who purports to want to stick it to Da Man who then turns around and appoints the richest cabinet in history and passes a tax reform bill straight from the wettest of Wall Street's wet dreams.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:03 pm UTC

That is why I love Teddy Roosevelt. Other than the casual racism that was endemic at the time, can't blame him for that, of course. Teddy strongly adhered to what he called the "Square Deal", that the public, the executives, the stockowners, and the workers all deserved a "fair shake" and that all sides were equal in importance. He was known as a trust-buster, and would be rolling over in his grave that companies like Proctor-Gamble are as friggen huge as they are in so many industries, to say nothing of the telecoms. He did a lot to protect the workers, strengthening early labor laws, but he was NOT pro-union.

Thing is, unions are an extra layer of bureaucracy and expense that only are of benefit when a more efficient system is unavailable. With strong, functioning government agencies, unions are dead weight. But as those agencies have been all but neutered over the past few decades, with Trump managing to defund them almost entirely... Amazing how far the pendulum swings. But it will swing back hard, until we remember why we clipped the unions' wings in the first place, swinging back again until we remember why we established unions in the first place, to swing back again...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby jewish_scientist » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:15 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:There are plenty of small towns that don't get big box stores who also have seen similar declines in their small business sector(this is particularly true of the rust belt, WV, and parts of the south. Why consumers in these areas have moved away from small business is an open question but it doesn't seem like the big boxes are the only or even largest reason.

There is a game called Night in the Woods that explains this pretty well.

Character 1: Why did [insert store name here] close?!
Character 2: I'm just going to hold up a sign saying 'The Internet' until you stop asking me.

Yablo wrote:The way I read it, I feel like he meant if he were a law enforcement officer on scene, he's have rushed in because that would have been his job and his duty.

I am all for giving people the benefit of the doubt and assuming that outrageous statements were taken out of context ("If you have got a business... you did not build that."), but benefit of the doubt does not last forever. After the first couple of times this happens to someone, they would write their speaks/ tweets* in such a way that people could not take them out of context. Trump is clearly not doing this, so the quotes must not be out of context.

*When I typed this word I felt a little sick

cphite wrote:Most people think they are brave until they actually hear gunshots.

Fun fact: police officers need special training just to be able to count gunshots (cue scene from the Batman movie where Joker is robbing a bank), so anyone saying they would charge the gunman when they stop to reload has no idea what they are talking about.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby orthogon » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:52 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
Dark567 wrote:There are plenty of small towns that don't get big box stores who also have seen similar declines in their small business sector(this is particularly true of the rust belt, WV, and parts of the south. Why consumers in these areas have moved away from small business is an open question but it doesn't seem like the big boxes are the only or even largest reason.

There is a game called Night in the Woods that explains this pretty well.

Character 1: Why did [insert store name here] close?!
Character 2: I'm just going to hold up a sign saying 'The Internet' until you stop asking me.


A few years ago I remember the CEO of Waterstones (a "big box" bookshop) complaining that Amazon (which at the time was an online book seller) was threatening his business. A decade or so earlier, Waterstones would have been the bad guy, a huge retailer muscling in and undercutting the small independent bookshops. There must have been a bit of schadenfreude from some at seeing them get a taste of their own medicine. But this is clearly a case where Amazon offers something besides price: the likelihood of having what you're looking for. I remember when I first joined my book club, naively expecting to find the month's book - it was a Graham Greene - in our nice local bookshop. I soon discovered that I couldn't even guarantee to find a particular book, even by an A-list author, in the largest of London's bookshops. Of course, physical bookshops are great for the happenstance, the chance find, and they create an environment that makes you want to read, and they're good if you're looking for a coffee table glossy book or one with lots of pictures. But, sadly, for buying a particular thing, Amazon is way better.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.


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