Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/01/antitrust_kills.html

Spoiler:
Since 2007, Bill Gates has given away $28B, 48% of his net worth. Frugal Dad estimates that he's saved almost 6 million lives. I haven't double-checked his sources, but it's a plausible estimate.

Back in the nineties, Bill Gates was experiencing far less favorable publicity - and legal persecution. The U.S. government sued Microsoft for antitrust violations. In 2000, Alex Tabarrok estimated that the antitrust case had cost Microsoft shareholders $140B. Yes, Microsoft ultimately reached a relatively favorable settlement. But Gates probably would have been billions richer if antitrust laws didn't exist.

You might say, "Who cares? He can afford it." But hold on. We're talking about a great philanthropist. If Bill Gates were $5B richer, he almost certainly would have increased his charitable giving. A conservative assumption is that he would have stuck with his current ratio, giving away 48% of the extra $5B. It's quite possible that he would have given away every dollar.

If Gates' philanthropy is as efficacious as most people think, there's a shocking implication: The antitrust case against Microsoft had a massive body count. Gates saves about one life for every $5000 he spends. If the case cost him $5B, and he would have given away 48%, antitrust killed 480,000 people. If the case cost him $5B, and he would have given away every penny, antitrust killed a million people. Imagine how many people would be dead today if the government managed to bring Microsoft to its knees, and Gates to bankrutpcy. It staggers the imagination.

You might object, "By the standard, Gates himself is killing millions by failing to give even more." If you're a consequentialist, that's exactly correctly; we're all murderers in the eyes of Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer. But if we stick to the common sense distinction between "killing" and "letting die," Gates is innocent, and the government remains guilty. Outsourced to philosopher Michael Huemer:
It is possible to harm someone not only by directly inflicting a harm, but also by actively preventing that person from taking actions to avert or remedy a harm. Suppose that, through no fault of mine, Marvin is in danger of starvation. He asks me for food. If I refuse to give him food, I thereby fail to confer a benefit on Marvin and, at the same time, allow Marvin to go hungry. If Marvin then starves to death, those who accept the doing/allowing distinction would say that I have not killed Marvin, but merely allowed him to die. And some believe that this is much less wrong than killing, possibly not even wrong at all. But now consider a different case. Suppose that Marvin, again in danger of starvation, plans to walk to the local market to buy some food. In the absence of any outside interference, this plan would succeed--the market is open, and there are people willing to trade food for something that Marvin has. Now suppose that, knowing all this, I actively and forcibly restrain Marvin from reaching the market. As a result, he starves to death. In this situation, I would surely be said to have killed Marvin, or at least done something morally comparable to killing him.
The same holds, of course, if someone robs a philanthropist who otherwise would have come to Marvin's assistance.
tl;dr: Bill Gates has saved millions of lives, the antitrust case against him costed him billions, which likely would have been used to save other lives.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

A few things. He didn't give a way a penny until he met Melinda, he did legitimately violate antitrust laws (and I'm pretty Microsoft still is, or is getting way too close to it for my comfort), and if it's anybody's fault that those people aren't alive, it's Gates for violating laws. If a necessary punishment hurts somebody other than the guilty, you blame the guilty. Also this isn't actually news.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:A few things. He didn't give a way a penny until he met Melinda, he did legitimately violate antitrust laws (and I'm pretty Microsoft still is, or is getting way too close to it for my comfort), and if it's anybody's fault that those people aren't alive, it's Gates for violating laws. If a necessary punishment hurts somebody other than the guilty, you blame the guilty.
I don't think you understand, had Gates followed the laws even more people would be dead.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

How do you figure? I'm honestly kind of skeptical that, by 2000, Gates could have been making more money than he already had, even while abusing his monopoly. And even if Gates didn't have the money, that money doesn't disappear: it ends up with other people, who also may donate it to charity. If charitable people are allowed to have money via unethical means, they it should be okay for them to just steal it, Robin Hood style.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
JBJ
Posts: 1263
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC
Location: a point or extent in space

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby JBJ » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

This article illustrates why economists shouldn't be ethicists.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:How do you figure? I'm honestly kind of skeptical that, by 2000, Gates could have been making more money than he already had, even while abusing his monopoly.
Bill Gates made billions by abusing his monopoly in the 90's. Had he not done that he would have been poorer, but also not had an antitrust suit that had costed him a lot of money. The way the most people live, is having the suit never filed against his monopoly.

Although all this presumes that his competitors aren't going to do things to save lives with their money.

JBJ wrote:This article illustrates why economists shouldn't be ethicists.
I don't think he's trying to be an ethicist, he's just applying economics to a common ethical theory(consequentialism). Most consequential ethicists would be okay with that, economics has a lot to say about the best way to maximize scare resources for the benefit of people.
Last edited by Dark567 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:03 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:00 pm UTC

relevant.

But I'm not even sure this argument makes economic sense. It acts as though the money just disappears, which it doesn't. And frankly, considering Gates charitable giving track record, an estimate during 2000 would have been that more would be donated in the hands of his competitors. And what bothers me is that the antitrust suit was too little, too late. Microsoft regularly abuses its monopoly, and its because of it I'm on a shitty Windows machine. Actually its an excellent Windows machine. But still windows.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3758
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dauric » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:05 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:A few things. He didn't give a way a penny until he met Melinda, he did legitimately violate antitrust laws (and I'm pretty Microsoft still is, or is getting way too close to it for my comfort), and if it's anybody's fault that those people aren't alive, it's Gates for violating laws. If a necessary punishment hurts somebody other than the guilty, you blame the guilty.
I don't think you understand, had Gates followed the laws even more people would be dead.


So being shitty to your competitors and customers and breaking the law is to be forgiven if one donates to <insert charity case here> huh?

It's a corporate PR dodge as old as the Industrial Revolution. It's fine to cheat and steal from your customers, deprive them the benefits of a competitive marketplace with one hand as long as you're 'doing good' with the other.

Even if you assume that the charity is honest generosity it's an endorsement of wealth-redistribution, except by corporations rather than government. The consumers clearly have too much money, so we'll engage in practices that inflate our profits and prevent competition from threatening our bottom line, so we can give that money to the poor.

Yeah, sorry. I gotta call bullshit on this one. Sure Gates has done good with his charity, but they're ignoring the harms of illegal monopolies to balance the equation.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Роберт » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

But if it weren't for microsoft's anti-competitive nature, maybe someone else would have saved even more people's lives. :roll:
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

Finally, a way I can back my position that MSCV and DirectX are crimes against humanity.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Qaanol
The Cheshirest Catamount
Posts: 3040
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Qaanol » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:the antitrust case against him costed him billions

I do not think that “costed” means what you think it means.
wee free kings

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:16 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:
Dark567 wrote:the antitrust case against him costed him billions

I do not think that “costed” means what you think it means.
You don't think he wouldn't be much richer if that case weren't filed? Maybe, "not earned" would be a better description, but there is at least one definition of cost in which "not earned" is synonymous.


Dauric wrote:So being shitty to your competitors and customers and breaking the law is to be forgiven if one donates to <insert charity case here> huh?
....
Yeah, sorry. I gotta call bullshit on this one. Sure Gates has done good with his charity, but they're ignoring the harms of illegal monopolies to balance the equation.
I don't think the article or myself is doing either of these two things. I will be the first to hate on Microsoft(I work for a direct competitor) and push for stronger antitrust(particularly against MS). That said, there are interesting effects going on here, namely, that this specific case probably resulted in a sizable amount of deaths.
Last edited by Dark567 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
Bubbles McCoy
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:49 am UTC
Location: California

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:But if it weren't for microsoft's anti-competitive nature, maybe someone else would have saved even more people's lives. :roll:

Yeah, I have to agree with this. The basic premise of this seems to be "if we let good people abuse the economic system, it'll help people." I suppose this isn't technically disprovable, but it takes speculation to a stupid level.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:22 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:
Роберт wrote:But if it weren't for microsoft's anti-competitive nature, maybe someone else would have saved even more people's lives. :roll:

Yeah, I have to agree with this. The basic premise of this seems to be "if we let good people abuse the economic system, it'll help people." I suppose this isn't technically disprovable, but it takes speculation to a stupid level.
Maybe, but Jobs, Ellison and other competitors were much less philanthropic than Gates. Odds are that if Microsoft weren't anti-competitive the money would have went to someone much less likely to use it to save lives.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

Gates wasn't charitable at all when he was sued. You're asking people to not have sued Gates for violating the law because he might grow to be so substantially more charitable than his competitors that it would outweigh the immorality of violating antitrust laws. The "Robin Hood" model of economics is not sustainable. Don't believe me? Google "Dennis Moore".
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Gates wasn't charitable at all when he was sued. You're asking people to not have sued Gates for violating the law because he might grow to be so substantially more charitable than his competitors that it would outweigh the immorality of violating antitrust laws.
No, I am not. I am not claiming the court should have done anything other than what they did. I am pointing out a oddity that can result from decisions like this. An oddity that effected millions of people.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Роберт » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Gates wasn't charitable at all when he was sued. You're asking people to not have sued Gates for violating the law because he might grow to be so substantially more charitable than his competitors that it would outweigh the immorality of violating antitrust laws.
No, I am not. I am not claiming the court should have done anything other than what they did. I am pointing out a oddity that can result from decisions like this. An oddity that effected millions of people.

Yeah, if Gates hadn't been sued, he probably wouldn't have stopped to think about what he was doing, and he would have never been philanthropic. Oh me yarm, the antitrust suit saved thousands of lives!
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
JBJ
Posts: 1263
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC
Location: a point or extent in space

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby JBJ » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
JBJ wrote:This article illustrates why economists shouldn't be ethicists.
I don't think he's trying to be an ethicist, he's just applying economics to a common ethical theory(consequentialism). Most consequential ethicists would be okay with that, economics has a lot to say about the best way to maximize scare resources for the benefit of people.

Problem is, he not even a very good economist.
The article wrote:Gates saves about one life for every $5000 he spends. If the case cost him $5B, and he would have given away 48%, antitrust killed 480,000 people.

The author makes the assumption that the number of lives saved is in direct correlation to the amount spent. What economist, or even anyone who has taken a basic level accounting class, would disregard fixed vs. variable costs? I seem to recall that the Gates foundation has been doing a lot of work to wipe out malaria, and that cause probably accounts for a good portion of the lives saved. The variable cost in terms of vaccination/treatment per person was probably quite low, but incurred huge fixed costs with respect to opening diplomatic channels, recruiting and transporting personnel to affected areas, etc...

Another assumption that the article makes is that there are innumerable people in danger of dying. If we just concentrate on the malaria issue, and Gates saved 6 million lives out of 8 million people who would have died, this economist will still somehow say that he could have saved 10 million lives, or 2 million non-existent people.

Crappy article is crappy...
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3758
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dauric » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Bubbles McCoy wrote:
Роберт wrote:But if it weren't for microsoft's anti-competitive nature, maybe someone else would have saved even more people's lives. :roll:

Yeah, I have to agree with this. The basic premise of this seems to be "if we let good people abuse the economic system, it'll help people." I suppose this isn't technically disprovable, but it takes speculation to a stupid level.
Maybe, but Jobs, Ellison and other competitors were much less philanthropic than Gates. Odds are that if Microsoft weren't anti-competitive the money would have went to someone much less likely to use it to save lives.


Here's the fundamental problem with this idea for determining judiciary action: If you're the government prosecutor how do you tell the difference between a Bill Gates who (as sourmilk points out was only repentant -after- the lawsuit in question) might in the future give to charity, or Jobs or Ellison, or even a Dennis Kozlowski or a Bernie Madoff?

If you let people run roughshod over the law because they -might- do good with those profits 1) you're still ignoring the economic harm they're doing by engaging in anti-competitive practices, and 2) you're going to get people abusing that very opening to create economic harm while -not- donating to charity.

To put it another way: Gates is an outlier, that's why his case could possibly result in an odd result. If they'd been talking about a -large- majority of the fortune 500 there might be a point to be made on Gates's example, maybe.* But that's not the information that's being presented here.

*You're still running in to issues about shotgunning the Rule of Law, that the wealthy can ignore the law as long as they can pay for it.

---
Edit:

Dark, you may be presenting it as an oddity of results,but the article is rather quick on the "ZOMG The U.S. Judiciary KILLED PEOPLE!!!"

But if we stick to the common sense distinction between "killing" and "letting die," Gates is innocent, and the government remains guilty.


---
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3671
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dark567 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:57 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:---
Edit:

Dark, you may be presenting it as an oddity of results,but the article is rather quick on the "ZOMG The U.S. Judiciary KILLED PEOPLE!!!"

But if we stick to the common sense distinction between "killing" and "letting die," Gates is innocent, and the government remains guilty.


---
That's standard consequentialism though. Shooting and killing someone via an accidental ricochet during target practice is just as guilty as murder as someone who shoots someone in the head at point blank range.

Granted I am not a consequentialist for all of those problems stemming from moral luck.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
Adam H
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Adam H » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:59 pm UTC

We're all philanthropists if you give us enough money.

The money that Bill Gates had to pay up didn't vanish. It was dispersed.
-Adam

User avatar
rigwarl
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby rigwarl » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:03 pm UTC

By that definition, we are all killing people by discussing this on a forum instead of doing charity work.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3758
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dauric » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:07 pm UTC

rigwarl wrote:By that definition, we are all killing people by discussing this on a forum instead of doing charity work.

Yeah, see I'm thinking that's "Standard Consequentalism" as well, since the article addresses this point...

If you're a consequentialist, that's exactly correctly; we're all murderers in the eyes of Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
emceng
Posts: 3090
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:38 pm UTC
Location: State of Hockey
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby emceng » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:14 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:
Роберт wrote:But if it weren't for microsoft's anti-competitive nature, maybe someone else would have saved even more people's lives. :roll:

Yeah, I have to agree with this. The basic premise of this seems to be "if we let good people abuse the economic system, it'll help people." I suppose this isn't technically disprovable, but it takes speculation to a stupid level.


Yeah, exactly. I wonder if there is a price sheet somewhere. How much do I have to give to charity for stabbing that hobo? What about crashing my car into the school bus full of nuns?
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. - CS Lewis

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3758
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Dauric » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:16 pm UTC

emceng wrote: What about crashing my car into the school bus full of nuns?


I think it depends on if/how much explosives you had armed in the trunk.</snark>
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7312
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

Of course, the gates foundation would never exaggerate the number of live they save.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8863
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:02 am UTC

I'd like to know what "life saved" means, statistically.

A person is about to starve. You feed him for a month. Life saved.
Now he's starving next month. You feed him again. Another life saved?
Said person has malaria. You provide anti-malarial drugs. Fraction of a life saved?
Same person is injured and needs medical help. More saved?
Giving this person food takes away food from starving children; are those lives lost subtracted from the lives saved?

But, realistically, it seems kind of expensive if it costs $5000 to save a life in Africa. Malaria kills about 1 in 10 children who contract it if left untreated. The drugs would have to cost $500 per use to cost $5000 per life saved. Quite sure they cost maybe $5 each to make and deliver.

If $5000 was spent on food alone, well, that probably buys more than enough goats/pigs/sheep/cattle that a village, with work of course, would be fed forever.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Bharrata » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:45 am UTC

The author, Bryan Caplan:

Bryan Caplan is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.


Not that the Cato Institute is necessarily bad, but it doesn't surprise me that someone who gets paid by the Koch brothers would be the writer of this article.


After a little more digging, here's one of his books:

The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (Amazon says it's frequently bought together with The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good)

From Publishers Weekly

Caplan, an associate professor of economics, believes that empirical proof of voter irrationality is the key to a realistic picture of democracy and, thus, how to approach and improve it. Focusing on how voters are systematically mistaken in their grasp of economics-according to Caplan, the No. 1 area of concern among voters in most election years-he effectively refutes the "miracle" of aggregation, showing that an uninformed populace will often vote against measures that benefit the majority. Drawing extensively from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy, Caplan discusses how rational consumers often make irrational voters, why it's in politicians' interest to foment that irrationality, what economists make of the (non) existence of systematic bias and how social science's "misguided insistence that every model be a 'story without fools,' " has led them to miss the crucial questions in politics, "where folly is central." Readers unfamiliar with economic theory and its attendant jargon may find themselves occasionally (but only momentarily) lost; otherwise the text is highly readable and Caplan's arguments are impressively original, shedding new light on an age-old political economy conundrum.




It's amusing, to me at least, that he proves that people are irrational when it comes to political choices but completely rational when it comes to consumption and economic choice.


Here's another article by him:

How Free Were American Women in the Gilded Age?

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/04/how_free_were_1.html


from the conclusion:
I know that my qualified defense of coverture isn't going to make libertarians more popular with modern audiences. Still, truth comes first. Women of the Gilded Age were very poor compared to women today. But from a libertarian standpoint, they were freer than they are on Sex and the City.

Vanzetti
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Vanzetti » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:36 am UTC

Oh, I love consequentialism. You can use it to prove anything. For example, all those saved people in Africa are going to reproduce and make more kids. Who will then starve, all thanks to Gates foundation. :lol:

johnny_7713
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby johnny_7713 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:51 am UTC

If I had a 100 billion dollars I would give Bill Gates 90% to use to save people's lives. Since it's in the power of the G20 nations collectively to give me 100 billion dollars and they haven't done so, they are guilty of murdering 18 million people. This line of reasoning is fun :). In fact anyone who hasn't given Bill Gates money is guilty of murdering X/(2*5000) people, where X is the amount of money you could give Bill Gates. :roll:

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:57 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:In fact anyone who hasn't given Bill Gates money is guilty of murdering X/(2*5000) people, where X is the amount of money you could give Bill Gates. :roll:

Sadly, we can't do anything about it, because putting any of them in jail would cost money, killing even more people.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Bharrata » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:59 am UTC

Just remember...this guy got a Ph.D. in Econ from Princeton.

Face meet palm.

Vanzetti
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Vanzetti » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:13 pm UTC

Oh God, just by eating breakfast today I probably killed like 10 people...

And now to drink tea. I like the taste of murder in the morning...

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7312
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Zamfir » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:25 pm UTC

Caplan seems to intend his story both as a reductio ad absurdum against people like Singer, while also somewhat sympathizing with the argument. Feels a bit like he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Steax » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

But doesn't saving lives this way mean these people get a chance to have more young, hence increasing the worldwide number of lives? Since the whole "saving lives" thing is only temporary (they'll die anyway), while giving birth to new young will definitely add another death toll somewhere, sometime.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Bharrata » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:33 pm UTC

I guess the question also becomes, how many lives have been saved by the anti-trust laws that were used to prosecute Gates and Microsoft?

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5652
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:41 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Caplan seems to intend his story both as a reductio ad absurdum against people like Singer, while also somewhat sympathizing with the argument. Feels a bit like he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

I have never understood that expression. Aren't "having cake" and "eating cake" synonyms? Shouldn't the expression be something like: "save his cake and eat it too". I guess that is what it means already, but why?
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
pollywog
Let's party like it's my postcount
Posts: 1999
Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 10:10 am UTC
Location: Coolest little capital in the world
Contact:

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby pollywog » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:50 pm UTC

At the moment, I have a cake. If I were to eat it, I would then have none. It's just an odd use of the word have. It's probably really old, from when words were a little different.
suffer-cait wrote:hey, guys?
i'm fucking magic

User avatar
thc
Posts: 643
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:01 am UTC

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby thc » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:The author makes the assumption that the number of lives saved is in direct correlation to the amount spent. What economist, or even anyone who has taken a basic level accounting class, would disregard fixed vs. variable costs? I seem to recall that the Gates foundation has been doing a lot of work to wipe out malaria, and that cause probably accounts for a good portion of the lives saved. The variable cost in terms of vaccination/treatment per person was probably quite low,


So what you're saying is, Gates would have saved even MORE than 480,000 lives if he hadn't been sued? :roll:

User avatar
JBJ
Posts: 1263
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC
Location: a point or extent in space

Re: Microsoft Antitrust suit killed thousands

Postby JBJ » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

thc wrote:
JBJ wrote:The author makes the assumption that the number of lives saved is in direct correlation to the amount spent. What economist, or even anyone who has taken a basic level accounting class, would disregard fixed vs. variable costs? I seem to recall that the Gates foundation has been doing a lot of work to wipe out malaria, and that cause probably accounts for a good portion of the lives saved. The variable cost in terms of vaccination/treatment per person was probably quite low,

So what you're saying is, Gates would have saved even MORE than 480,000 lives if he hadn't been sued? :roll:

Possibly. Or possibly not. What I was saying is that the author made an extrapolation without considering other variables.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CorruptUser, Pfhorrest, Thesh and 20 guests