Monday, June 29, 2015

paris taxi drivers rioting gets *Uber* execs arrested.

I can guarantee that almost none of those drivers paid for a medallion.
The *company* they drive for likely did (and owns the medallion).
But what they're really fighting is the fact that Uber is not required t(and refuse to) set fees according to what French regulators think taxi fees should be. Meaning that Uber drivers don't charge what taxi drivers charge and the taxi drivers, in addition to raking in huge fees (due to this government price setting) also pay out huge costs (because the medallion owner eats most of what the taxi driver makes).
So, *right now*, the taxi drivers are in a bind - they still have these large up-front operating costs, but Uber is cutting into their income by offering a better service (cheaper and/or better *service*) which the taxi drivers *legally* can't do.
The real solution would be for the taxi drivers to quit and drive for Uber (or start their own ride-share programme) - but they'd rather have the status quo. The devil you know and all that.
When facing a competitor with an unregulated business model, no one *ever* has asked that they be de-regulated, only that the competitor be regulated just as hard.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Non-vaccination as an externality.

I would think the best way to handle this problem is to treat it like a  externality.

For example:

We wish people to take a 'positive' action (get vaccinated) because a vaccinated population is a public good. 

We are essentially saying that a public good (vaccination) is being produced less than it should be - So why not pay them?

The other option of course is to force *them* to pay (Pigouvian tax).  But keep in mind, unlike a producer who pollutes, the un-vaccinated are not *taking an action*, simply refraining from one.  As such it would seem that the burden of the tax should fall on those who want a 'cleaner environment' to pony up to encourage those who don't care to fall in line.

And to forestall arguments about who is or is not 'acting' in this case - we *all* considered not buying health insurance to be a non-action that Congress didn't have the power to force onto people.  This is the same sort of thing.
No. If the vaccine doesn't work or if the disease is not very contagious, of course not. It all depends on the facts and the circumstances.
We've had a similar discussion on quarantine.

If you give the government the power to compel something, they *will* use it in the manner *they* deem fitting.

And what they deem fitting will certainly hinge on 'facts and circumstances'.

Facts and circumstances like what helps my political career or expands the scope and budget (along with my personal power) of my agency.

You want the government to have the power to compel vaccination, you have to show that the government can be trusted to not abuse that power.

Which vaccinations though?

 The key thing here is that this really is a slippery slope.

We have effective vaccines for a variety of dangerous and very communicable diseases - I would agree that these are fair game for government violence to enforce their use.

But then you run into the edge cases.

Is the HPV vaccine something that should be required?

What about off-label use of anthrax vaccinations? Even when there are known quality control issues? Because I was forced to get those.

Flu vaccinations - I am (and was) a healthy, fit individual, statistically the group least likely to suffer dangerous complications from influenza. But I was forced to get *that* vaccination simply because someone decided it was less costly to inoculate us compared to the money lost from those who got sick and had to take a day or two off.

Anti-malarials - have known (if extremely low chance of) serious side-effects, including psychosis. Been forced to use those also.

In all those cases it was someone in government, as a matter of policy, deciding, for me, that the benefits outweighed the risks.

If someone gets infected and passes it on to me, they've aggressed me.

This does not justify compulsory vaccination however.
If you own a woodlands next to a cattle farmer, are you obliged to set traps to prevent wolves from entering his land? Are you obliged to exterminate the family of ground hogs that ruin his yard? Are you committing an act of aggression for not providing such positive externalities to others?

If you really believe that then you are advocating the validity of "positive freedom", the idea that you have a right to the labor and resources of others by default, probably the most fundamental underlying assumption of socialist ideologies.

 The overwhelming amount of humanity is naturally immune to the tetanus bacterium by virtue of breathing oxygen and having skin. It's not communicable (appreciably), but we will never eradicated it. Aside from the occasional run in with barbed wire or a rusty nail, it's largely useless to the average human.

Should I get to decide how often you should get a tetanus shot?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Justification For No-Knock raids?

Hey, cops are perfectly justified in using force to stop you from swallowing your drugs.

1. You're destroying evidence.

2. That's the very act the drug laws made illegal - so they're stopping *another* crime from being committed!

3. Public safety. Drugs have been deemed bad, therefore they are saving you from harming yourself. Its better the be harmed by another than by your self.

Let's see how long before 2. and 3. are used to justify no-knocks.

Is a little consistency in principle too much to ask for?

AZ pol Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe wants to pre-empt pre-emption, in this case to prevent marijuana legalization.

Except, not too long ago he was in *favor* of pre-emption, at least when it came to the PPACA

Southern District Court of New York's Subpoena to Reason Magazine and Accompanying Gag Order

First, let me apologize (again) for putting Reason in this position in the first place.  While this often feels like a public forum, I forgot that my actions can have harmful consequences for other people even if I escape unscathed.

Secondly - "The comments are hyperbolic, in questionable taste‚Äďand fully within the norms of Internet commentary."

Here's someone who's willing to acknowledge the truth.  Those comments were distasteful, but fully within the bounds of modern internet culture and not some weird, worrisome aberration.

There's a hashtag labelled #KillAllWhitePeople for feth's sake. 

This vegan is calling for the extermination of people who eat meat.

This guy wants to set adrift in the sea people who demand graphical fidelity over gameplay in videogames

We should just stick all these graphics kiddies on some ice, and float them out to see... as the eskimo's before us.

The thing is, internet culture is vastly different from 'face-to-face-' culture. 

Those of us who spend a lot of time talking to people in asymmetric conversations have come to understand what those of you who do all your conversations either one-way (article writing) or face to face haven't internalized.

"Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad"

And quite frankly, Reason's comment section is near the top of the heap in terms of politeness and quality of discourse - order's of magnitude better than pretty much any one else's un-moderated comment section while avoiding the pitfalls of group-think that heavily moderated forums have.