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Yaron Brooks (ultra libertarian, and head of the Ayn Rand club) used this metaphor for anti-competitive behavior:
 
If there are two shoe stores, and one of those stores is able to lower their prices to absurd levels because a rich uncle is subsidizing the business, you as a consumer shouldn't care at all. As a consumer you should only care about where you get the goods for the best price, and if the other business goes under, in the long term the system will balance itself out. The subsidized company may even force the unsubsidized companies to creatively adapt and thus provide the consumer with an even better value.
 
The problem is, while we may not care about a shoe store going out of business, if you take the metaphor and apply it on a national level, where the United States is the shoe store playing by the rules, and China is the shoe store subsidized by a rich uncle, sure, in the long run the system will stabilize, but in the short run our country goes out of business. That's unacceptable.


Don't forget that burning down (or threatening to first, if you feel particularly diplomatic) your competitor's store/factory/inventory is an option to level the playing field... Hence why the US government employs many of us on this forum.

Blah blah war is politics through other means.

The problem I have with libertarians is they assume order and peace is kept through shared social norms (in your example, that a competitor won't resort to violence in response to an unfair market).
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Want to slash American carbon?  Build nuclear power plants.  

When MSNBC announced Trump's win in Iowa, there was an audible grunt from Rachel Madow. By the sound of it, she apparently sat on her sack wrong. Happens to the best of us.

Found this entertaining Because screw that bitch and her "it's my turn" mentality. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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So, I'm not usually a fan of Glenn Beck. I'm also not huge on Eric Weinstein. But holy shit was this an awesome conversation between folks on opposite sides.

I think it actually centers the issues and points out the path forward. Well worth the time.

Also, this says it won't go live until today at 3pm, but the audio form of the podcast is available via Apple Podcasts or other providers.

 

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Make America California Again? That’s Biden’s plan

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In the case of the gig worker rules California created — and which Biden favors — activists in the state are looking to the president-elect to revive protections like those undermined by Proposition 22. Robert Reich, Labor secretary in the Clinton administration, said in an email that Biden could potentially pre-empt California’s industry-backed initiative with federal action, a move he said would be “vitally important.”

Whether Biden will go that far is unknown. Either way, the incoming administration has made clear it is looking to California as it moves to overhaul labor rules. The state has “the nation’s foremost set of laws to protect workers,” Reich wrote. Those laws, he said, give employees more rights than anywhere else in the country on issues that include overtime, employer retaliation, wage theft, discrimination and protection from sexual harassment.

Hopefully they won’t export CA’s AB5 disaster to the entire nation. 

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1 hour ago, pawnman said:

Yep.  There goes Uber, Doordash, Favr, Fiver...

One wonders if they'll even try to expand it to places like EBay and Etsy.

I don't get why anyone supports regulations on these. Do people not like having convenience options for transportation and dining in their life? 

Yeah I get the taxi driver unions blah blah blah but you can't tell me the coal miner in Pennsylvania or the automotive part manufacturer in Michigan needs to recognize that certain jobs are not coming back due to technology, and then simultaneously stand on a hill of protecting other antiquated and obsolete jobs. Are you going to try and get rid of self checkout lines and ATMs as well? Would hate to put more cashier's and tellers out of work. 

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2 hours ago, pawnman said:

Yep.  There goes Uber, Doordash, Favr, Fiver...

One wonders if they'll even try to expand it to places like EBay and Etsy.

To be fair, the people of California passed Prop 22 in response to reverse AB5 (which, if you’re a political elite how is that not a sign that your platform was way off). What the political elites behind that AB5 platform seem to latch onto is that (predictably) Uber and Lyft put a lot of money behind Prop 22. What I thought was notable was the wide range of professions affected and against AB5. Freelance writers, wedding DJs, etc. 

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I don't get why anyone supports regulations on these. Do people not like having convenience options for transportation and dining in their life? 
Yeah I get the taxi driver unions blah blah blah but you can't tell me the coal miner in Pennsylvania or the automotive part manufacturer in Michigan needs to recognize that certain jobs are not coming back due to technology, and then simultaneously stand on a hill of protecting other antiquated and obsolete jobs. Are you going to try and get rid of self checkout lines and ATMs as well? Would hate to put more cashier's and tellers out of work. 


Technology displacing jobs can be an overly simplistic explanation, hence why all three examples have drastically different debates. Convenience is great, but should I support (or the government allow) businesses that exploit others? At the extreme (though not technology), should companies be allowed to use slave labor/indentured servitude where it's legal or ignored to deliver cheaper products to consumers (a clear benefit for consumers in a capitalistic world, though morally wrong)?

Uber undercuts prices of legacy taxi companies, driving competitors out of business. They don't use technology to change or disrupt the underlying fundamental business-it's still a car, driven by a driver, transporting you from point A to B, on demand. Their primary method is to not have employees, and rather have "independent contractors", which circumvents many protections for workers. It also doesn't really create jobs, just shifts them (while placing the burden of employee benefits such as commercial car and health insurance). Technology and automation hasn't really caused jobs to be lost in this case (though you could argue that taxi dispatchers lost out, and we're replaced by software engineers), denying employee benefits is what drives costs down.

Conversely, coal miners are being driven out of work by technology causing a fundamental shift in the underlying business of providing electrical energy. They aren't being displaced by other coal companies using gig workers to drive down costs, rather they are being replaced by other sources of electrical power such as wind/solar/etc.

A parts manufacturing job loss is a straight forward replacement by automation. This increases individual workers productivity, at the cost of needing fewer workers. So this job loss is normal business: a company is seeking ways to become more efficient, and there's no fundamental shift in the core business. However, it differs from Uber because the parts manufacturing company still employs the remaining employees, and doesn't contract the work out and solely pay "independent contractors" per widget produced, or require them to provide our rent their own tools like Uber does.

Though I guess if you're fine with unbridled capitalism/libertarianism, Uber's model is fine. But that has impacts within our society, and allows those with resources/power/influence to accumulate more, creating a divide between the haves and have nots.
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1 minute ago, jazzdude said:

 


Technology displacing jobs can be an overly simplistic explanation, hence why all three examples have drastically different debates. Convenience is great, but should I support (or the government allow) businesses that exploit others? At the extreme (though not technology), should companies be allowed to use slave labor/indentured servitude where it's legal or ignored to deliver cheaper products to consumers (a clear benefit for consumers in a capitalistic world, though morally wrong)?

Uber undercuts prices of legacy taxi companies, driving competitors out of business. They don't use technology to change or disrupt the underlying fundamental business-it's still a car, driven by a driver, transporting you from point A to B, on demand. Their primary method is to not have employees, and rather have "independent contractors", which circumvents many protections for workers. It also doesn't really create jobs, just shifts them (while placing the burden of employee benefits such as commercial car and health insurance). Technology and automation hasn't really caused jobs to be lost in this case (though you could argue that taxi dispatchers lost out, and we're replaced by software engineers), denying employee benefits is what drives costs down.

Conversely, coal miners are being driven out of work by technology causing a fundamental shift in the underlying business of providing electrical energy. They aren't being displaced by other coal companies using gig workers to drive down costs, rather they are being replaced by other sources of electrical power such as wind/solar/etc.

A parts manufacturing job loss is a straight forward replacement by automation. This increases individual workers productivity, at the cost of needing fewer workers. So this job loss is normal business: a company is seeking ways to become more efficient, and there's no fundamental shift in the core business. However, it differs from Uber because the parts manufacturing company still employs the remaining employees, and doesn't contract the work out and solely pay "independent contractors" per widget produced, or require them to provide our rent their own tools like Uber does.

Though I guess if you're fine with unbridled capitalism/libertarianism, Uber's model is fine. But that has impacts within our society, and allows those with resources/power/influence to accumulate more, creating a divide between the haves and have nots.

 

Alternatively, there seems to be a large section of Uber/Lyft drivers that enjoy the decreased commitment to that versus full employment, weighing that decreased benefits package vs flexibility. 

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To be fair, the people of California passed Prop 22 in response to reverse AB5 (which, if you’re a political elite how is that not a sign that your platform was way off). What the political elites behind that AB5 platform seem to latch onto is that (predictably) Uber and Lyft put a lot of money behind Prop 22. What I thought was notable was the wide range of professions affected and against AB5. Freelance writers, wedding DJs, etc. 


Can an Uber driver or door dash delivery person set it negotiate their own compensation for providing their service, like a freelance writer or wedding DJ can? Same with etsy or ebay?

That's the difference between when independent contractors are appropriate or inappropriate.
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12 minutes ago, jazzdude said:


 

 


Can an Uber driver or door dash delivery person set it negotiate their own compensation for providing their service, like a freelance writer or wedding DJ can? Same with etsy or ebay?

That's the difference between when independent contractors are appropriate or inappropriate.

 

And AB5 did a terrible job of making that distinction. Uber driver can always accept or reject a particular fare if they don’t think the compensation is worth the effort. 

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1 hour ago, FLEA said:

Are you going to try and get rid of self checkout lines...

I actual have a personal jihad against self checkout at stores, especially grocery stores when I always seem to have a ton of items in the cart. I do not work at the grocery store, nor do I want to!

Self checkout in grocery stores is more convenient for the store, not for me. FFS, I do not want to self checkout at a tiny kiosk when I have a week's worth of family groceries, but usually all but 1 of the "normal" lanes will be closed. I want to see the Grocery Store Clerks Full Employment Act (GSCFEA) of 2021 passed post-haste!

image.png.1c99c98870d8d59e345fb803aecb0953.png

image.png.3883157fc59c2bd86eaadc342ba49760.png

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Alternatively, there seems to be a large section of Uber/Lyft drivers that enjoy the decreased commitment to that versus full employment, weighing that decreased benefits package vs flexibility. 


Short term it can be great for an individual. It's nice to have flexibility on hours.

Long term, how do you handle access to medical care? Retirement (independent contractors have to contribute to social security on their own)? You could say they can make their own decisions and suffer consequences. But what happens if many people make "bad decisions"? You can't ignore them, especially if they band together.

Plus it can be an artificial choice: maybe a driver can't work a normal job due to other life factors (childcare, second part time job etc) that demand flexibility, but still have to make ends meet, so Uber ends up being their sole source of income. They get hurt by not being treated as an employee (which they still can). Uber could offer flexible hours (work when you want, or as much as you want, with benefits kicking in at some point). Or Uber could allow them to set their compensation rates as an independent contractor, though they'll be undercut by the next type of driver. But that would make Uber's model unsustainable, since now they have to compete with taxi companies on equal footing regarding employee rights.

Contrast that with an Uber driver who has other employment, or has benefits through a spouse- they are just making extra cash, and the low pay doesn't hurt them.
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And AB5 did a terrible job of making that distinction. Uber driver can always accept or reject a particular fare if they don’t think the compensation is worth the effort. 


Can they negotiate a higher rate?

Is the fare offered reasonable for the work performed?

If you have bills to pay, some money (accepting insufficient) is better than no money (rejecting the fare). Especially if you view not working as morally wrong, socially unacceptable, or against their values. It drives people to take whatever job they can get, and allow unscrupulous businesses to take advantage of people in that position.

If you take a pure capitalist view, then sure, this is the free market. But if you're going to take that stance, then don't complain when the free market "suppresses your rights" or takes advantage of the consumer in other portions of society, like say internet communications...
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56 minutes ago, nsplayr said:

I actual have a personal jihad against self checkout at stores, especially grocery stores when I always seem to have a ton of items in the cart. I do not work at the grocery store, nor do I want to!

Self checkout in grocery stores is more convenient for the store, not for me. FFS, I do not want to self checkout at a tiny kiosk when I have a week's worth of family groceries, but usually all but 1 of the "normal" lanes will be closed. I want to see the Grocery Store Clerks Full Employment Act (GSCFEA) of 2021 passed post-haste!

image.png.1c99c98870d8d59e345fb803aecb0953.png

image.png.3883157fc59c2bd86eaadc342ba49760.png

I love self checkout. Super useful if you're just going in for 1-2 things. If you have a cart, definitely go through a cashier. 

Alternatively we can go to the German system where checkout becomes the most stressful 6.9 minutes of your week. I wish self checkout would catch on there. 

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Regarding the Uber/lyft discussion, I've heard plenty of comments on how this benefits the drivers from being exploited. Let's be clear though guys; a regulation on contract services that ultimately makes it too expensive for gig apps to operate and they close shop is not good for uber or.lyft drivers. Now they are just unemployed. 

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1 hour ago, jazzdude said:

 


Technology displacing jobs can be an overly simplistic explanation, hence why all three examples have drastically different debates. Convenience is great, but should I support (or the government allow) businesses that exploit others? At the extreme (though not technology), should companies be allowed to use slave labor/indentured servitude where it's legal or ignored to deliver cheaper products to consumers (a clear benefit for consumers in a capitalistic world, though morally wrong)?

Uber undercuts prices of legacy taxi companies, driving competitors out of business. They don't use technology to change or disrupt the underlying fundamental business-it's still a car, driven by a driver, transporting you from point A to B, on demand. Their primary method is to not have employees, and rather have "independent contractors", which circumvents many protections for workers. It also doesn't really create jobs, just shifts them (while placing the burden of employee benefits such as commercial car and health insurance). Technology and automation hasn't really caused jobs to be lost in this case (though you could argue that taxi dispatchers lost out, and we're replaced by software engineers), denying employee benefits is what drives costs down.

Conversely, coal miners are being driven out of work by technology causing a fundamental shift in the underlying business of providing electrical energy. They aren't being displaced by other coal companies using gig workers to drive down costs, rather they are being replaced by other sources of electrical power such as wind/solar/etc.

A parts manufacturing job loss is a straight forward replacement by automation. This increases individual workers productivity, at the cost of needing fewer workers. So this job loss is normal business: a company is seeking ways to become more efficient, and there's no fundamental shift in the core business. However, it differs from Uber because the parts manufacturing company still employs the remaining employees, and doesn't contract the work out and solely pay "independent contractors" per widget produced, or require them to provide our rent their own tools like Uber does.

Though I guess if you're fine with unbridled capitalism/libertarianism, Uber's model is fine. But that has impacts within our society, and allows those with resources/power/influence to accumulate more, creating a divide between the haves and have nots.

 

Is your argument different when you take into account that Uber and Lyft are using human drivers as a stop-gap, and plan to shift to self-driving cars?  If they replace the drivers, is it still exploitation?  More fundamentally...are the people who download the app and drive for Uber/Lyft/whatever better off when that gig disappears?

There is also a huge number of folks in California that did not like being classified as employees, because they were taking those gig jobs due to the flexibility and ability to work on their own time, without being bound to a schedule.  A bunch of freelance writers lost their income, because they could no longer sell their pieces without being employees, and magazines/publishers that were willing to pay for their writing were not willing to hire them at a full-time rate.

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Regarding the Uber/lyft discussion, I've heard plenty of comments on how this benefits the drivers from being exploited. Let's be clear though guys; a regulation on contract services that ultimately makes it too expensive for gig apps to operate and they close shop is not good for uber or.lyft drivers. Now they are just unemployed. 


And there's the crux of the problem. Do we allow companies to design their business around exploiting workers so they can have at least a substandard job, and shift the social burden onto government (aka the taxpayer)/society at large?

If the argument is that Uber drivers are just making a little extra cash, then who cares if there's extra regulations? People aren't going to be out of work, they just lose some side income.

If it's that requiring Uber to pay fairly will cause people to be unemployed, well, those people are working in a field that is unsustainable anyways, so it's a matter of when, not if, they become unemployed. Yes, taking action drives a short term increase in unemployment, but where were these people working at before Uber came along? Uber's business model allowed society to kick the can on dealing with the unemployment problem.

Also don't forget Uber's long term vision, until very recently, was for driverless cars to provide transportation, so as soon as the technology catches up, the many drivers will be out as well anyways. Though it'll be hard to argue they are not a taxi service if they own the cars, unless they shift the ownership and maintenance to "independent contractors" as well.

If Uber uses their business model to drive taxi companies out of business, any bets on if they will raise rates in that area? Or if any of those raised rates will trickle down to drivers? After all, if they need to work to try and make ends meet, and nothing else is available, they don't really have a choice to go anywhere else despite knowing they aren't getting paid what they are worth.

Along similar lines to the AF pilot retention; there's a strong correlation between bonus take rate and airline hiring. When people have better options, they take them. And if they don't, many are inclined to accept a known struggle over making a jump into the unknown with a guarantee for short term hardship.
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Originally I was in favor of AB5 because the race to the bottom was progressing a little too fast. But after Prop 22 was voted in, I've realized that if people want to become wage slaves and live in a permanent underclass, then let them. Team Joe will get along just fine and then promptly pull chocks once the dystopia gets too real.

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On 1/16/2021 at 7:11 AM, Kiloalpha said:

So, I'm not usually a fan of Glenn Beck. I'm also not huge on Eric Weinstein. But holy shit was this an awesome conversation between folks on opposite sides.

I think it actually centers the issues and points out the path forward. Well worth the time.

Also, this says it won't go live until today at 3pm, but the audio form of the podcast is available via Apple Podcasts or other providers.

 

I listened to this podcast. I don't agree that Eric W and Glenn B are on opposite sides.  Weinstein is one of several IDW folks who claim to be liberal yet spend nearly all of their time railing against the left as well as being very sympathetic to the right. Of course, it is perfectly fine (and often intellectually honest/rigorous) to critique one's own side. However, virtually ALL of the Weinstein bros content is critique of the left and tacit support of the right.  They rarely mention or defend their supposedly liberal positions.  Similar, in a way, to Tulsi Gabbard.  Something's just not right with that.  Their liberal/left-leaning claims just don't ring true. Again, I think it's great to question all perspectives; however, I very rarely see that from the right except in very brief passing (i.e. 'Trump's a little controversial, BUT, the left is really bad, blah, blah, blah). 

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On 1/14/2021 at 6:07 AM, brabus said:

I’ve seen social media/news splattered with “getting kicked off for violating a TOS isn’t suppressing free speech, get over it cry babies!” What these people haven’t grasped is the majority are pissed about the double standard. Kick Trump off, that’s fine, but you better be kicking everyone else off too who violates TOS, regardless of political leaning, party affiliation, group affiliation, etc. If you don’t and are choosing to punt people off your platform you disagree with politically while looking the other way for people you do agree with, well that’s suppression. The double standard is what people are pissed about - to the point the ACLU is concerned about it, and the Twitter CEO admitted they need to work on being more uniform across the board because not doing so is dangerous. I’m sure Jack only said that to save face after the recent backlash. 

Rogan had a great discussion with Ira Glasser, former Exec Director of the ACLU, on this very topic.  My synopsis of Glasser's commentary:

- Double standards are of course problematic.

- However, there are existing legitimate restrictions on free speech (the proverbial yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater, or openly inciting violence). Upon request, the government adjudicates these via the legal system.  FWIW, Glasser's thinks Trump did incite the Jan 6th events, but that would need to be decided via the impeachment process.  

- The key point: Other restrictions resulting from less cut-and-dried issues (e.g. political rhetoric) are probably best handled by private companies. Not perfect, but way better than the government, who has a poor record in that regard.  Do you really want people like Trump, Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell having legal means to compel who can say what on private platforms?  If so, is the government (particularly conservatives) willing to subsidize these private companies since they are restricting their ability to manage their businesses? 

- Specifically regarding Trump:  Unlike most of us, he can step up to a podium and immediately say whatever he wants to the world.  So to claim that no Twitter access affects his ability to communicate is disingenuous. 

Interested in learning other perspectives from those who listened to the podcast. 

 

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Mixed bag today on we of the many EAs Biden is proposed to sign.  Some I like, others not so much. My big gripe is the reinforcement of executive power that tacitly happens when he does all this.  Congress basically allows it to continue by never saying/doing anything.  It's a problem. Checks and balances don't work when they checks only come in times of egregious actions on the part of the executive.

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Mixed bag today on we of the many EAs Biden is proposed to sign.  Some I like, others not so much. My big gripe is the reinforcement of executive power that tacitly happens when he does all this.  Congress basically allows it to continue by never saying/doing anything.  It's a problem. Checks and balances don't work when they checks only come in times of egregious actions on the part of the executive.


Congress doesn't really directly let it continue-the political parties allow it to continue. Either because they: a. support the action (maybe not personally, but to retain good standing and support from the party for continued reelection), b. because they can't get enough traction to do anything because option a., or c. They don't want to challenge the power so it's there when they can take control of that power because option a.
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Just now, jazzdude said:


 

 


Congress doesn't really directly let it continue-the political parties allow it to continue. Either because they: a. support the action (maybe not personally, but to retain good standing and support from the party for continued reelection), b. because they can't get enough traction to do anything because option a., or c. They don't want to challenge the power so it's there when they can take control of that power because option a.

 

I should have been more clear.  I was referring to the fact that their inaction in their primary legislative roles allows it to continue unabated. For a president to feel like they're accomplishing anything, they have to take action through EOs.  All Congress manages to do is fight each other.  Only time they pass anything consequential is if one party has a majority. Otherwise, it's bipartisanship is because it's some Mickey mouse policy that doesn't really matter.

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- The key point: Other restrictions resulting from less cut-and-dried issues (e.g. political rhetoric) are probably best handled by private companies. Not perfect, but way better than the government, who has a poor record in that regard.  Do you really want people like Trump, Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell having legal means to compel who can say what on private platforms?  If so, is the government (particularly conservatives) willing to subsidize these private companies since they are restricting their ability to manage their businesses? 


If far right conservatives want to have a social media outlet, maybe they should try harder and not just whine. Especially if they don't want government limiting their speech. And if there's demand for that service, it shouldn't be hard to get a business started around providing that service.

I mean, if Pirate Bay (or any number of other questionable at best websites) can figure out a way to stay online when being actually persecuted by governments...
https://www.vice.com/en/article/3an7pn/pirate-bay-founder-thinks-parlers-inability-to-stay-online-is-embarrassing
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