Archive for capitalism

It’s not your program!

Posted in politics with tags , , , on September 12, 2010 by maxpower3141

I’ve been busy lately – all work and no posts make Max a dull boy.

Oh well, anyways I just bumped into this case on one of my favorite websites; To put the story short for you the idea is that a guy was selling autodesk CAD (tm, C, R whatnot) sw he found in some garage-sale of a bankrupt company on ebay (or something equivalent). The sw had never been used and autodesk sued the guy for “selling something that wasn’t his”.

So, what’s going on here? Once you buy something shouldn’t you be able to resell it always? Especially if you didn’t use the product yourself? For example if you buy a cd with music you can sell it later, provided you didn’t make copies of it for yourself. Is there a difference here? Well, the SW company will say that you did not buy the product, but merely a license to use it – therefore they could have a different price for those who want to license over to those who want to resell it – retail anyone? Makes sense?

How about concert tickets? You buy a “license” to listen to the musical performance once, but you are always allowed to sell this license to somebody else in case you can’t make it. On the other hand the cheapest levels of airline tickets are such that you must use the ticket yourself – why? I guess any changes to airline tickets cause some costs to airlines (the name, well the identity, of the user is important here, so they have to do something actively if it changes), but on the other hand this should be a minor cost (that could be put on the licensee). On the other hand airliners say that this way they can differentiate themselves on pricing, but again everybody knows that airline ticket-pricing algorithms are just CRAZY, with some tickets actually ending up costing to the airline, where other tickets then compensate the difference – this means that if you are buying your ticket on the last minute you get high price fighting for the last seats of the airplane and end up paying part of the trip of your fellow travelers that did buy their tickets on time – nice no?

So what’s the end-result? Consumer benefit? Uh, maybe not exactly. One of the issues here is that big companies have way too much money compared to their employees and hence big companies should pay more for the same sw (/other stuff as well) than the employees as individual consumers. This is because the companies themselves know this (of course – they are not dumb). The field is littered with examples.

So the verdict you are waiting for? Uh, the thing is that this situation sucks – basically I think that this is a variation of the issue of durable products I touched on my post about why Capitalism Sucks. It is in the best interest of the sw-company to get into a situation where the client has to pay a tax-like small license fee preferably as often as possible and buying this service on discount on ebay constitutes cheating this system. Putting aside utopian fixes to problem of capitalism (and human happiness) I think this problem would be solvable inside a capitalistic system as well – just make the rules clear: if your company sells products as services then make the customer go to your website to get the license – selling this kind of license in a box is equivalent to entrapment and should not be allowed – you sell a box means you give rights to the client to resell the box. I mean, should people really start reading the EULAs? 🙂 Come on.. 🙂

Ok, back to sleep – I leave you with this photo:

Odd CG-scene by me a looong time ago

Why Capitalism sucks ?

Posted in politics with tags , , on August 17, 2010 by maxpower3141

Simple question, with some nice bias built into it.

The answer is this: It does not lead to the best products in most product categories. It does work exceptionally well for products that are still being developed and improved, but a lot of the products are not this way.

It fails especially in producing durable products. I remember hearing from a friend, who had been talking to a local retailer in a small town, that they had to stop selling a particular brand of shoes in the store, because the customer wouldn’t come back for a looooong time to buy new shoes after buying a pair of that particular brand.

Therefore capitalism actually favors those kind of products that have shorter lifetime and keep sending the customer back for more. This ultimately leads to products with somewhat sloppy design and a lot of cut corners, that want to impose a certain type of tax for us. Just think about print cartridges – you know, the ink stuff? Ends up costing you tons of money if you print at home! With most computer equipment this is alleviated by the fact that the new computers are faster than the old ones, and therefore it is a smaller risk for computer manufacturers to build something that actually lasts – the optimal solution is one, where the computer usage starts to get more cumbersome and slow after a long time, making you long for that upgrade. Sounds familiar yet?

The thing is, that this list could go on and on, but I guess I have made my point already. So what can we do? Nothing? Well – that’s my first thought, since sadly capitalism is the only system we know that even remotely works. Of course in these sort of problem scenarios, we should step back, look at the big picture, identify path to solution and then go work on the details that one day will lead us there, but unfortunately political sciences – being the worst failed science of all – is somehow utterly incapable of employing this sort of thinking.

I think it might be due to capitalism – it seems very much, that in our modern western society, capitalism has employed politics as one of its tools in self-optimization, not the other way around.
Which is why Capitalism sucks.