Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Planned Obsolescence

The big white ogre is down due to a serious bicycle accident, so blogging will be light. Here's an interesting documentary that explores how our economy is wasteful by design.


Chad said...

Saw the pics on FB, what were you riding? Hope your better.

Jon said...

It's a trail bike. Not quite as rugged as a mountain bike.

Examinator said...

I know how you feel 6weeks ago I too had a bike accident complete with broken cheekbone,possibly 2 teeth two broken ribs, a cracked collar bone, and a brain bruise. it smart big time!
I'm currently waiting for a MRI brain scan so I can drive again.
oh yes the bike didn't come out too good either. Damn the government it was their fault, all that wasted public money on the bridge steel railing nanny state and all that! and then there's the Socialist heath care system that provided what I couldn't afford . Damn Nanny state! Hey Chad ?
If it hadn't been there I wouldn't have had the injuries........I'd be dead
PS Chad did you know that 75% of personal US bankruptcies are because of health care bills?
and that's after the Market caused GFC toxic debt swap bubble!(US figures)
Jon I hope you recover soon.

As for your video disgusting isn't it, such profligate waste.
"any one who believes in endless growth in a finite world must be either mad or an economist (or a free market advocate)"
Sir David Attenborough (ex CEO of the BBC, film maker and naturalist)

Chad said...

How is the fact that you have not appropriately earned and saved enough money to pay your bills my responsibility again? Did I ride down a trail and unathletically fall and break my face? When did I get an email saying that the Examiner is about to make a personal choice, click here if you want to pay for his actions or click here to opt out.

Your choice to do an activity that could and did result in your injury is not my responsibility. Maybe you should have chosen to not buy a bike in favor of saving that money for future medical bills then.

Examinator said...

Clearly there is a flaw in my email provider's software ..... I sent you the email to you and 300 million others advising them that I intended to bash my face etc into the railing. And I got 150 million +1 agreement to pay for the medical expenses ;)

You are ignoring several factors
1. With the current state of technology it's impossible to predict an individual's genetic potential for a list of nasty diseases, conditions, syndromes, disorders et al.
2. It is also IMPOSSIBLE TO GET MEDICAL ISURANCE to cover them all and or in full.
3. Insurance companies aren't charities they are out to make profit and as such they have costly items exclusions . Don't kid your self that your insurance covers all possibilities including all possible medications.
One example I have seen is HIV drugs. One child I know of was born with a very rare blood disorder and needed specialist blood product transfusions. After much argy bargy the insurance company paid up but...when a bad batch of the product sourced while on an O/S trip gave the child HIV the insurance company pointed to their exclusion ….the family went bankrupt and before they family could win their case ...the child (16) died. The statistical chances of the disorder was in the millions to 1 add to that the chances of a bad batch add a further 10,000 to 1.
4. Have you ever tried to sue a HBO for large amounts ? It's a bit like MacDonalds fight against two people who drew attention to their correct claims that the food was potentially England at the time their buns had so much sugar they could have been rightly described as a confectionery! Well maccas spent $5.6 million to avoid a change of product and to support their image... could you support that sized bill if you lost a claim against a HBO on a technicality? Sadly corporations play for time and to bankrupt litigants.
End part 1

Examinator said...

Before you trot out 'shit happens' I'm prepared to bet you and your insurance doesn't cover ALL possibilities. Additionally I wonder how you would react if you or yours were faced with an unexpected /un- anticipateable problem. i.e. like the one above. Or a million others?I'm sure you don't need me to list the 20+ pages of risks.
Also HBO's aren't noted for providing (one off ) policies that cover every thing and every possible contingency and if they did the fee would be beyond feasibility to all but the 1% who wouldn't buy it anyway.
1. Fact. Bulk buy/bulk risk is the cheapest out come for ALL. It amortised the potential cost across a very large base... individual costs are lower.
2. BTW some insurance companies here ENCOURAGE HEALTHY ACTIVITIES for people of my age to minimise the long term risk of more expensive say heart disease. They have rebates for gyms and exercise equipment IF NOT ALWAYS FOR THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES.
3. No 'reasonable person' is able to consider and/or plan for all possible. e.g. Consider the innocent injured from the Lockaby Terrorist plane crash or 911.
I did business with firm located in the WTC but not on that day . Those people chose to work there and as Americans they were targets as a result of American foreign policy ….
It is naive to think one could cover all. secondly it is likewise inane to think that USA foreign policy etc doesn't have consequences.
'be alert' 'god loves lerts!'

Examinator said...

Oh yes I almost forgot.
Did you know that 'lifestyle' (sic) diseases constitutes a comparatively minor part of the medical costs. about 10-15%
That is after you discount 'spontaneous' those diseases that have no apparent cause except genetic or circumstances.
(i.e. my (adopted family) aunt died of lung cancer she never smoked or drank and lived on a farm.)
A child born to parents in the proximity to a mine and moved 2 years later....40 years later developed Mesothemeoma...

Chad said...

Nearly fell asleep reading the sermon and learned nothing.

So again, I ask the question you did not answer, why are your choices my responsibility? I save for medical, pay for the best medical plan available and would not ask you to pay for a broken ankle so why do you require me to help you pay for your broken face?

Kinda ignorant thinking right? You can make decisions without owning the responsibility for your actions.

Examinator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Examinator said...

DAMN I've done it again ...Gibberish Ignore the previous post and take this one

Sorry you missed the point.
You aren't paying for my broken face. Under a safety net we are all paying into the Community POT of Tax who's to say whose $ goes where? Based on 300 million people you would be unlucky to have contributed as much as .001of a cent to my broken face!
Your argument is logically bogus as it could be mounted by a person who pays the same as you but never claims more than their contributions against someone who claims way more. If a heap of others didn't contribute to your HBO then it wouldn't be able to offer you an affordable policy either. As it is the number of contributors is far less than a single payer system(government) and so is the efficiency of the Capital used. (bang for Buck). In addition the HBO is a profit making entity and will exclude those items that will restrict profit (all the above is Basic Capitalism mantra). The difference with a government funded health system is that it can gain better bulk buy discounts and NO exclusions or limits.
The “efficiency use of capital” argument isn't sustainable in fact.
All that would change is who you pay the money to. For example for total coverage the actual figure as proportion of income is about 1-2.5% of your pre tax income.
It seems to me that you don't really understand the business (aka Capitalism's principals like Amortisation of costs. “Freedom of choice” is as crock of poo put out by those who benefit from the system as it is......HBOs.... It is based on general ignorance to the Actual costings.What is never costed are the “externalities” like the amortised cost to the community for pe,ople who go bankrupt due to medical bills including all that flows from 35% of the population being at risk unwell and all the 'hidden' costs that engenders.
Part 1

Examinator said...

BTW the system here is a bit of both. i.e. there is a safety net (Basic public hospital care) that is paid for by the public purse.. And an extra market health insurance by HBO's for Preferential services (read private Hospitals or Queue jumping for non urgent procedures and choice of specialist)etc.
i.e. Drs have theatre time allocated in public hospitals for their private patients.
To ensure the financial viability of the HBO's it is mandatory that every employee takes out employer independent insurance and gets a tax deduction and subsidies for the premiums.
If you don't take out private insurance by your 30th birthday you are taxed at an additional 1.5% and the HBO premium goes up with each year you don't have insurance. Everybody gets a drink and no one is turfed out of a hospital or denied service.
I can comprehensively assert that there would be civil war if any government tried to eliminate the system here...A few years back a government tried to mess with the government owned HBO and was unceremoniously routed at the polls.
On a broader context Freedom of speech and choice are conditional if you live under any western Democracy.
Suppose I'm anti war do I get to determine where my tax $ goes i.e. I disagree with the US Citizen having to subsidise Military ordinance and hardware to 'clients' who may or may not use them against us a la Iraq, Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan ad nauseum.

Part 2

Chad said...

You still have not answered my question after more rambling. When you post - every time - it reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies - Varsity Blues. "You show me the kinda smarts that makes me wonder if you know the difference between a sneeze and a wet fart". It is comical though, even my Liberal friends call your posts 'nuts' at best.

Why am I responsible for your actions sir? Even if my contribution for your face break situation is .001% - why is it even that high? It should be 0%.

If gov't ideas are so wonderful and smart why are they not optional?

Examinator said...

If you want smart ass then I'm not interested.
The truth is I DID answer your question.
The whole point of society IS MUTUAL benefit.
You simply want to have the deal ALL your way pay for only the things you use.
So by your reasoning you would be happy to pay MORE for your Health Insurance and get LESS just so no one else can benefit from the bulk buy and capital efficiency. That is your right and unlike you I won't denigrate you for your choice.
Your problem is that you are fixated on spin without any real experience or knowledge of the ACTUAL REALITY OF The variations single payer of health Insurance.
Frankly you are hung up on misinterpreted (spin) terms like 'socialised' (oogie boogie word) medicine.
I've lived in 4 countries that have had 4 different versions of Oogie Boogie word medicine and when it comes to the ACTUAL COST THEY ARE ALL CHEAPER for the individual AND WITH BETTER OUTCOMES THAT THE American system.
The US system is ranked about 15th on world standards.
I respectfully suggest you get past the emotionalised words and look at the actual facts.

Chad said...

I know your smart and I am just a dumb VP for a sales company, but I must ask by what measure/standard is the US ranked 15th? Have yo really done any homework? Are you using the WHO? Or maybe your looking at the CDC ratings for infant mortality.

All data mining - the US counts every single birth - every one. Other countries only count babies that are a certain height, weight or not all based on phony math - look it up.

Norway, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, shows no better infant survival than the United States when you factor in Norway's underweight infants that are not now counted, Healy says, quoting Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

And on and on. If your dying in this world, you come to America to get treated and that is how I rate health care. If my child was sick, they would be taken right to UM Hospital and no where else.

Like Unions have found out - just because you think that putting 330 million people in one barrel to 'negotiate' healthcare premiums will by default get you the best healthcare is absolutely laughable and extremely short sighted - borderline ignorant on your part. Sure the buying power would dictate a low price for a drug, but who is going to develop the cure for cancer with the promise that they will be compensating so poorly? No one. Drug companies would stop development, advancement would stop. How about doctors - make them treat hundreds of patience with second rate equipment and low pay - sign me up. Your ideas will drag medical advancements to a halt and worse. Let's not even start to mention the wait times.

Bottom line without competition - free market competition - you have nothing, nothing at all.

Examinator said...

this is getting out of hand you are personalizing the discussion.
Your my job titles are irrelevant. nor am I claiming to be smarter than ANY one else least of all you.
I merely stated a credible international survey that measured OECD and other western style countries on their medical systems. There were 17 pages of conditions and mathematical analysis (boring as wood pecker poo)that made up the analysis. 4 of which I've lived in and in all cases health cover cost to me was less that at home in the States ( $ differences equalised ).
The rest of the discussion was about drawing conclusions from independently arrived at fact or clear Capitalist principles.
The problem with American discussions on topics like this is that many of the meaningful terms have miss appropriated and redefined in many cases the opposite to what the academic means were/are.
People also tend to truncate beyond meaningful minimums.
To give you some examples, Conservative principal actually allows for social services and like issues.
Current Republicanism is :-
a. not conservative as such but a variant that applies some of the characteristics.
B. isn't the same as the republicans of say Lincoln or even Ronny.
Likewise what I am now living through isn't 'socialised medicine' it is a hybrid.
Socialised medicine is Cuba and precious no where else.
i.e. there are no private doctors etc no choice at all.
What Obama originally wanted was at best a hybrid system.
One of the biggest miss nomers is that COMMUNISM= Russia and the USSR or China.....they have a tributes of 'communism' but they are NOT SYNONYMOUS with it.
Its a matter of accuracy in terminology.
I am NOT opposed to Capitalism or Free enterprise per se neither am I arguing against it. Then again neither are are MOST 'Lefties' its all a matter of degree. Unbridled Free market is Pure Malthusian that even by him will collapse in to chaos.
The argument to me is more about where to draw the line and finally there IS No singular line for all situations/ industries et al.
Old wisdom says that is the answer is simple it would have been done already.
My view is if the answer is simple it's wrong or it was the wrong question and look out for the hidden devil in the detail!
Having said that I think we should close the topic

Chad said...

No, no - Don't go away my friend, this is a good discussion. I will apologize for the smart azz comments - they are unwarranted, but remember you called me out at the very begginning of this.

Actually I agree with some of what you do say - also I agree with some of what Jon says as well especially on this topic.

A hybrid is something that I do subscribe too. I believe that there should be a version of a single payer State ran health care system. If I knew how to Bold text then I would have bolded the word State FYI.

I simply do not accept and will not accept that the answer is government ran health care, government ran anything (other than defense), but I will admit that my views are more on the extreme side. With that said - I also believe to my core that making you subscribe to my ways is also wrong so lets come back to reality some.

A hybrid is something I like and would accept to be honest. I think that we need to - as a society - help the less fortunate. I do it in my ways and I am sure you do it in your ways, but again how can we do it successfully? My bad attitude and smart azz'ness is part of the problem here and I know that - I will try to do better.

My thought is to allow each state to decide how health care works. Please hear me out here. What would be better than 50 different versions and let the people decide what is best? You have to admit that what Californians want in life is probably way different than Ohioans - agreed? Texans are a different cut of meat entirely from New Yorkers so why do we continue to try and find the one size fits all system? Why couldn't California adopt a public option and Texas decide they are strictly Private? You have to pay for it without gov't money, it has to be solvent and you can't tax Ohioans for California's bad policies.

Part 1

Chad said...

Ask the government of the US to lay out some standard guidelines - a road map if you will, but then hand the keys over to the State. Let the people decide - in that State - how health care and education works. If you don't like how it is working in California you can move to Ohio and vice versa.

It would mirror how each State chooses tax rates and how they treat businesses today. Wisconsin kicked the public Unions butt - good for them now if you don't like that move to Illinois where the unions rule. New York banned sugar drinks - ok let the people decide if that will stick.

I think if we just allow States to control these pieces a couple things will happen. First - if a state is doing it right, unemployment is down, health care is up and test scores (education) rival the top contries other States will have a proven model to follow. If a State is over run with bad policy they may crumble and be forced to adopt a different way. If we just allow the States to be more independent, we might just find the answer.

California is only allowed to act the way it does because it is prop'd up by tax payer money from Ohio/Indiana and Texas. Let them stand on their own 2 feet - let their policies dictate their future, but stop handing them money from the federal gov't to continue making poor decisions.

Second thing that will happen is by default the tough decisions that now belong to the State will be of the responsibility of the citizen of that State. Another words - if you want to have a State Universal Health Care System that pays for everything - great, but you must figure out how to pay for it meaning that state must also become increasingly more business friendly, that state will require gereater revenue and therefore may (by default) be looking to entice new businesses/people. By default California may say - no way to illegal immigration because 1.2 million people showed up and said - gimmie.

I would predict that it would - over time - balance everything out to something more in the center. Personal responsibility at the State level would work. If your straight Left your State will die, if your Straight hard core Right - your State may die in a different way - this would force each of the 50 States to solve their own issues.

Competition is a very good thing.

Examinator said...

What you are actually advocating is a CONferacy not a federation per se
I'm a little concerned about life in some of the poorer states under that system. My problem with state by state is that one loses benefits with being a long term client or even access to health Insurance, when one has to move state for health or other reasons.
Health care would be awful. e.g. Forida the really poor and retirement (Medicaid state). Keep in mind that as one ages and there are certain conditions NEED warmer climes. The reality is that employed (i.e. those with Employer Health insurance) residents with access to or able to pay for Medical insurance are a minority of the population.
My view is that Health insurance should be decoupled from employment.
Note that the two biggest problem to extreme capitalism are : under employment (casualization of the work force) and capital investment is cheaper O/S. Wages is the biggest recurrent expense on most Company's balance sheet and by moving labor off shore = less expense= more profit for the same output which means top management claim Bonuses because the profitability has gone up. How much smart does it take to work that out ...yet they get paid the same as if they actually did something clever!
I knew of people who had to take 3 casual jobs (low wages) to survive and had no access to Health insurance. Were they lazy stupid … no way jose! No opportunities.
As for business generating invention or innovation, well it isn't that clear cut.... business tend to cash cow and even fight innovation ..there's more/easier profit.
1968 tires in the state were all cross ply not as safe as radial but radial were banned in the US because business would have had to spend big on R&D and less profits because of the superior innovation. 1948 an Australian invented an auto that ran on almost any combustible fuel... what happened? Ford bought the patent and burnt it....if they hadn't the oil companies would have … their business model would have collapsed because of the invention. This isn't unique cases US business history is full of them. Most big companies actually buy or pirate research from universities or govt research organizations ….if you want surprising examples they are there but businesses don't want the public to know.
Part 1

Examinator said...

WiFi technology was pirated from Australia's CSIRO... it took 8 years and the pockets of the government to get their royalties from 8 US Corporations on the steps of the US supreme Court. My point is that unbridled free market tends to become Malthusian and F**** everyone else.

HBO's should be forced to compete on the open market not some sweet heart deal with a political party or businesses.
The hybrid system is in my view the best for all.
A govt funded safety net albeit you may have to wait. Except in a triage needs based situation i.e. a dose of diarrhoea( it can and does kill comes AFTER a head trauma or a heart attack etc. And awaiting list for non life threatening surgery.
Then there are as it happens 7-8 private company run insurance companies that cover all states... so if you move interstate you can take your Health insurance with you.
Because of the reduced number of National competitors it means more clients and hence it reduces the actuarial rates (cheaper insurance). efficient use of capital.. the whole point of Capitalism.
Now by logic this means that a single source of safety net (government)must be cheaper more efficient. If it's not then the problem is the Government not the 'socialised' medicine.
If you are going to then deduce that the US Governmental system is broken then welcome to my party...Clearly your invite was late delivered.
But again they are TWO SEPARATE ISSUES! One can't confuse the two if you want a solution.
Simply put IMHO the problem is that Human self interest can't be trusted. Locks only keep honest people honest. there's not a lock in the world a determined crim couldn't crack.
FYI neuro-psycologists and behaviourist research has shown that a very large proportion of TOP MANAGERS tested ARE OR HAVE THE MARKERS FOR BEING SOCIOPATHS.
PS Don't forget if people don't have jobs they can't buy and that leads to ......down the Capitalism gurgler.

Chad said...

Big federal gov't programs will always be broken and thus the reason to break it up into 50 sub gov'ts. You mentioned poor States, yes it will happen and policy will need to change to support the type of people they attract. Again not to go in great detail, but if your position/policy is free healthcare, we welcome all illegals, we offer 99 weeks unemployment, we want no coal, no gas and we will tax businesses and individual incomes heavily to pay for it all - yes you may have a big problem in that State and hence the point sir. In order to survive, in order to run a State without borrowing money they may just have to pull back on certain policies. This is where the Liberal/Progressive movement really falls short in a bad way. When I mention this idea Liberals start shifting in their chairs and get red in the face because they know darn well their policies will never stand alone. Many try to shift the narrative as well.

Allowing a single source to decide everything for 330 million people is absurd.

You mentioned, again, the pig capitalism portion of business. It's frustrating to read over and over again how terrible certain aspects of business is, But here is the thing, maybe the biggest difference between you and I. You see all this greed happening, decisions based on business greed and what I see is an opportunity to do it better and cleaner than the next guy. Get with Jon, go to the bank or find investors who are like minded (take a smaller portion of profits) and get off the soap box and go compete. If they (your competition) is inappropriately handing out money by salary or earnings- well you now have a market advantage. If they mis treat employees then you do it better taking the best (if you can) employees from your competition. I really get aggravated with that type of discussion because it's not you starting up in a garage making $500/week, it's not your company and you haven't put in the hundreds of hours to make it work but suddenly somehow you understand what it is that person should make. It's not your capital out there - you've got no skin in the game.

Me and the President of my company took that chance. He was a VP for a 600 million dollar company, I was working my way up the later as well - we were comfortable, we were safe, but we thought we could do it better. WE QUIT, we invited litigation against us, we started with nothing and we went to work. 3 years later we are growing and hopefully will continue to grow. Point - go do it - become your business owner and then you can make these decisions.

I am sorry to hear about your friends struggles - personally my group of friends are all employed. Can honestly not think of a single close friend not working. A lot has to do with the fact that we are all former athletes so we know how to work, how to work as a team and how to bring real value to the team.

I've been there - worked three jobs and slept in my car for a while. It built character and it developed an outstanding work ethic. A fire to succeed was stoked in my belly and now I appreciate that because no matter what happens in this world I know that I can bring value to employer.

Examinator said...

I think you still misunderstand my context.
To understand what I'm saying it is imperative that you fully understand that I am NOT speaking in absolutes. i.e. I'm NOT saying all execs, politicians are sociopaths or have sociopathic markers/traits. only that many do.
I'm using it in a scientific psychological sense not the 'common man in the street' one. In the latter case Sociopath= some nut with a knife, a vicious obscenity....Wrong! That is a psychopath and even that needs to be tested and to qualify they need to meet a long list of criteria... not all killers are psychopaths.
BTW Mad, insane et al are NOT MEDICAL, Scientific or Psychological terms!
Traits are like features in the various different political philosophies they are rarely limited to one philosophy . i.e. Social welfare was invented by Conservatives not Communists or Socialists.
Nor are 'anti social' traits (plus or minus) limited to sociopaths etc. we all have them.
There are degrees of mental illness or syndromes or sociopathic tendencies/traits.
In fact many of the traits that make up a sociopath are shared with with 'average people' (what ever that means).
Likewise sociopaths are can be highly functional people. Simply put just because one is an exec doesn't mean they are 'insane(?)' or dangerous etc. There is no need to bristle as though I'm having a dig at you ...I'm not!

It is not my intention to preach etc. In essence all I'm really doing is being precise, avoiding common man (Ab)use of absolutist “right wing” 'left wing' diatribe ( pigeon hole) an analyse/examine the reality of the complexity of the topics.
People in general tend to look at topics over simplify them and ignore contra details/facts in favour of a predetermined response. Be that genetic INCLINATIONS, conditioning or circumstances or other factors.

Examinator said...

There was a TV documentary that highlights what I'm saying. In the show the Top Scientist (neuro psychologist) was asked to examine 16 MRI s for patterns etc ….he found a pattern common to 12 of them but missing in the other 4. The 12 were all pre meditated murderers the other 4 weren't.
His mum told him that her grandfather was a murderer and had been executed. In his research he enlisted a number of his family and none of them had those markers.... BUT he did. His grown up children and wife all agreed he had certain personality traits, single mindedness, lacking in empathy, bad tempers, do as I say tendencies, more clinical than normal etc. Even something as simple of taking the last cookie on the plate and not asking anyone else.
NB these traits don't become a problem until they're in extreme.
He wondered why he was a high functioning person and not a killer. He then went into the backgrounds of the 12 killers ALL had horrible abused /abusive child hoods.
This he reasoned was why people without or the marker were only slight could have appalling childhoods could turn out good people.
Of course there are pages of statistical analysis and caveats that went into his paper.
My difficulty with conversing with you is that you tend to use idiomatic terms that are in a precise sense misleading or wrong. God and you know what you mean by Liberal ...FYI liberalism is a 'right wing philosophy' it doesn't apply to to what I'm on about.
My views simply don't belong in any pigeon hole.