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They could charge sellers the greater of the purchase price or the market price of the ticket at the time of cancellation.

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They could, but to business like StubHub each seller is probably more precious than each buyer. I'm not saying it's fair, but it's a lot easier for them to find new buyers than sellers.

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... assuming that the seller didn't abscond with the payment and cancel the credit card used to guarantee the transaction long ago.

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The correlation disappears (when comparing the 50 states, or all countries, or all OECD countries) when you look at all homicides, not just homicides by shooting. In other words, there is no correlation between guns per capita and overall homicide rate.

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Empirically, how well do you feel the US government spends its budget currently?

There's often an assumption in these discussions that if a billionaire isn't spending their money in a socially optimal way, the government will spend it better. But if you look at how governments actually spend their money, you'll find very little evidence to support that assumption.

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We know at least an instance of how billionaires spend their money.

Just 158 families dominate U.S. presidential campaign contributions: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/10/158-families-do...

Inequality is not only about money, it's also about influence.

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Capitalism does a fine job at some things, but there are areas where governments deliver better outcomes.

Single payer health care is a good example.

We should strive to avoid dogma and choose the best available solution.

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Government run social welfare programs are actually pretty efficient since they have huge economies of scale [1].

[1]http://www.cbpp.org/research/romneys-charge-that-most-federa...

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I'd actually worry more about how efficiently the money is being used after it's been disbursed, not about how much government administrative costs eat up.

E.g. that chart says that ~96% of Medicare spending went to beneficiaries. That sounds good, but all it means is that 96% of the dollars were paid to hospitals/doctors/medical device manufacturers/etc. It says nothing about how efficiently those people are providing their services, i.e. how efficiently those 96% of Medicare dollars are being spent. A lot of those dollars get quickly chewed up by high prices (which I'd argue are themselves caused by the market distortions that these programs foster).

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FWIW: the government doesn't have to spend more if taxes on wealthy people get higher, you can just have lower taxes on the less wealthy (or increase the no-tax area at the bottom).

Government expenditures stay the same but rich people pay more and poor people pay less.

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There's some cognitive dissonance between how people nod sagely at this vs. how they react when FAA rules force Flytenow to shut down. Note the commenters' largely gleeful reaction to that here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10779607

You can't cry foul when a coin comes up tails if you were happy the whole time it was coming up heads. Agencies that have the power to make good decisions by force also have the power to make bad decisions by force.

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That's fallacious reasoning. It's like saying people are nodding sagely when doctors do successful surgeries then crying foul when they commit malpractice and operate on the wrong leg.

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The difference I'd point to is that surgery as a system generally works. Fresh med school graduates get hired, train for a few years, and mostly become competent surgeons. Incompetent ones mostly get weeded out, or boxed into careers that minimize any harm they do. And they're (rightly) forced by lawsuits to compensate victims of genuine malpractice.

Regulatory agencies, by contrast, are an extremely fragile system. That's in the sense that if the right people are in charge, it could go well, but if the wrong people are in charge, it's a disaster. And it's completely commonplace to find that the wrong people are in charge.

A good system either makes it very hard for the wrong people to gain control, or, to use a Milton Friedman line, "makes it profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing".

What I was trying to say with my comment is that neither of those conditions is true at most regulatory agencies.

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I don't think this is a good comparison. What karzeem is saying is more of a matter of principle: does any one or any group of people has the moral right to initiate force against two consenting adults agreeing to a mutual contract because we think we know better than they do about what's best for them?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you have no right to complain when it happens to something you enjoy consenting to because a group of people think it might not be best for you.

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> does any one or any group of people has the moral right to initiate force against two consenting adults agreeing to a mutual contract because we think we know better than they do about what's best for them?

Yes. Society broadly has this 'right' if you want to call it that (I would refer to it as a 'duty'), though we are wise to exercise power there in a reasonably limited fashion e.g. making up a 'Bill of Rights' etc. What you're referring to forms the basis of the FDA, of OSHA, of the EPA, etc etc., all of which have had an overall positive effect on our economic health, our environmental health, and our literal bodily health. Monopolizing force and using it to promote egalitarian principles is a fundamental part of what makes Western civilization.

You seem to be suggesting that if we as a people decide to enact and enforce laws via our elected government at all, then we give up the right to complain about laws we perceive to be unjust, and agitate for change. In fact, that is precisely how the system is meant to work. Just because you're miffed you aren't getting your way all the time, is no reason to tear the whole system down, and I think you'll find yourself part of a vanishingly small minority in believing so (very fortunately, even for you, even if you don't realize it).

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> Monopolizing force and using it to promote egalitarian principles is a fundamental part of what makes Western civilization.

Yes, I think giving up force to a monopoly is a terrible idea. Also, I don't see how forbidding two consenting adults from committing victim-less crimes (ie non-legal mutual contracts) is promoting equality. If anything, it's promoting tyranny.

> and I think you'll find yourself part of a vanishingly small minority in believing so (very fortunately, even for you, even if you don't realize it).

Yeah, I was told the same thing living in a very religious country when telling people about my atheism so I'm used to this kind of patronizing. Funny how Statism sounds exactly like religion. Bastiat was right when he said the State replaced the Church with little differences.

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> Bastiat was right when he said the State replaced the Church with little differences.

Yes, yes. Good for you that your threw off the yoke of your oppression or whatever the shit you're blabbering about. If the preference to live under the rule of law makes me a fucking "statist" then call me a statist.

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The problem is that the State doesn't respect the rule of law and basic human rights. The war on drugs, spying on citizens, habeas corpus, the Patriot Act, illegal wars, torture and so on are just a few examples that come to mind.

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In most democracies "The State" is more responsive to the will of the people than you give it credit for, though I will agree with you that it is not as responsive as either of us would like. Moreover they are orders of magnitude more responsive to the will of the people, than whatever strongman or military junta would inevitably fill in the enormous power vacuum left in the wake of dismantling every government in the first world, assuming human civilization could indeed survive such an event in the first place. (And who would quickly reestablish a monopoly on force anyway.)

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Nobody cares about two parties contracting. Regulation of contracts exists because of the systematic effects of particular types of contracts

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A large portion of the costs of building last-mile infrastructure come from regulations imposed by local governments.

http://www.wired.com/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-jus...

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which may serve more big investors building yet more sprawling suburbs than regular people

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A well-paid lawyer makes several hundred thousand dollars more per year than the comparison group they're referring to (which as you suggest, is probably deliberately defined to be low-earning). Those are tough jobs to get, especially coming from an uncompetitive law school, but for those who manage to do it, their lifetime earnings could plausibly be $10 MM higher. It only takes a few of those to pull the average up by $750k.

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Opening the link in an incognito window also works.

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"In health care, changes in the way we organize our work will most likely be the key to improvement. This means training students and physicians to focus on the patient despite the demands of the computers. It means creating new ways to build teamwork once doctors and nurses are no longer yoked to the nurse’s station by a single paper record. It means federal policies that promote the seamless sharing of data between different systems in different settings."

I think the author is right about the problems, and these solutions seem sound. These are the kinds of things ossified institutions always say, and they're actually usually right (e.g. Bill Gates's prescient Internet Tidal Wave memo which predicted the ways in which Microsoft would fail to become a dominant player on the web, or the peanut butter memo at Yahoo).

The trouble is that actually implementing changes like these at an incumbent institution is hard. Really hard. So hard, in fact, that failure is overwhelmingly the rule. In most industries, the way that plays out is that incumbents fail to change, new competitors emerge with the new processes baked into them from the beginning, and they then kill the incumbents. A few years later, those new folks ossify and then themselves get killed by the next wave. And so on.

A healthy industry offers all its players a choice: "Evolve or die. Do whichever one you want, but one of those two things will happen." There's no third option, "Do your best to evolve". The institution succeeds at changing or it dies, and that's all there is to it.

The trouble in healthcare is that incumbents do get that third option. And the reason they get it is that for the most part, there are no new competitors to kill them off.

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Why does the article blithely take it for granted that we should treat investments by rich foreigners suspiciously while investments by rich Americans are no problem? The big problem in New York real estate is lack of supply — the vacancy rate in rentals hovers around 1%, and building new apartments is a nightmare. So of course, prices go up as demand keeps growing and supply is prevented from growing.

There may be some extremely marginal contribution to housing costs that you can blame on these ultra-premium buildings, but it's not the root cause, and playing whack-a-mole with these symptoms is what got the city's real estate so expensive in the first place.

Do folks think that if One57 hadn't been built, a building full of $150k studios would have gone up in its place? Because of the difficulty and cost of building, these money towers are increasingly the only thing that developers can afford to build. Build something more palatable and you'd go out of business.

The backlash to these buyers is IMO a misguided blend of economic misunderstanding and xenophobia. Something tells me that if the rich buyers were all from Colorado, people wouldn't have quite so much to say about it.

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economic misunderstanding and xenophobia. Something tells me that if the rich buyers were all from Colorado, people wouldn't have quite so much to say about it.

It's not kind and successful foreign Tim Cooks who just want a place to live.

It's foreign criminals who are laundering money gained illegally through either graft or outright murder/exploitation into US property. Once money turns into property, it becomes "pure" and the chain of illegalness vanishes from view.

American politics has the revolving door between congress critters and lobbyists, but it's not nearly as bad as other countries. The US can't become a safe haven for all the powerful bad people in the world to hide from the consequences of their actions.

Vlad Pootie is worth over $40 billion dollars. Think he's just "a really good businessman?"

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This may be too Talebian a reaction, but isn't the track record of "take this-doesn't-occur-in-significant-quanities-in-food chemical and your health will improve" quite poor? Non-food chemicals are often very useful for acute interventions (e.g. antibiotics, chemotherapy), but at least in modern times, they almost always do more harm than good when taken long-term.

(To avoid getting sidetracked by chronic medicines that some people swear by, I'm directing this point more at non-food drugs that are designed to take people from normal health to great health rather than from a disease state back to normal.)

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Googled "Talebian" and came up dry, but yeah. One thing that comes to mind that's used widely to thicken things like non-dairy milks (Soy/Rice/Almond) or anything that needs to be thickened/gelled is carrageenan, a seaweed extract that's been tied in multiple peer-reviewed animal studies to cancer.

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Google instead "Nassim Taleb", in particular his ideas surrounding iatrogenics (harm done by the healer), and "via negativa" as a heuristic for fixing systemic problems, i.e., removing things (chemicals/drugs) from a system (human body) to reduce the complexity of interactions and side effects.

See also, http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/af-glossary.pdf

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Probably referring to Nassim Nicholas Taleb [0], who puts emphasis on the importance of random, rare events.

0. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb

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Where do you get "your health will improve"? The point of caffeine is not to improve your health. It's to improve your mental functioning. Mental functioning is not something our brains evolved for. In fact our brains are quite profoundly flawed for that task.

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