Musings

Adam L. Beberg beberg@mithral.com
Sat, 13 Oct 2001 22:13:04 -0700 (PDT)


A. The free flow of information eliminates middlemen.
B. The american economy is primarily built on middlemen.
A + B = Danger Will Robinson, we're screwed.

A - Lets say I want a device that does f(x). With the free flow of
information - not nessecarily free information, I can fire up some searches
and in a few minutes, crossreference all the devices that can do f(x), their
feature sets, costs, user reviews, professional reviews, complaints,
recalls, and any other relivant info to my satisfaction. I can then fire off
another search to find the device I want for the cheapest cost. This will
ideally be the manufacturer + FedEx. But more realisticly is a college
student reselling items shipped directly from a distributor for a few
pennies more then the distributor charges. The next evolution of this will
be when all prices simply must be listed as Price = ( cost + sales tax + 2
day shipping ), end of story. The only trick I see left is the $5 + $17 S/H
one - guess where the profit is hiding, and which price comes up in the
search.

B - In a quick survey of my room, I cant actually find anything in my room
with value over $1 made in the US. Seems to be mostly China. Assembled here
in a couple cases, as is my truck, but we know what that means. My computer
was assembled by me in the US, but all the parts are asian except a couple
chips. The government labor statistics say 26M people make stuff, 107M
people do services. Services can almost universally be performed by either
someone WAY WAY cheaper, or be automated. Not to mention their complete
vulnerability to the above.
  The focus right now is on someone cheaper. The only way to fight this is
unions, which are possibly the most harmful thing to a national economy
except a civil war. Unions only accelerate the movement of jobs out of the
country, and reward idiots. Not to mention making the product too expensive
to compete in a world where I can crossreference features vs. cost.

A+B - How the heck did we keep up the economy this long? Other then by
restricting information and convincing people to overpay for everything? The
Japanesse were doing this before their ongoing 10 year depression weren't
they?

So which way will we go? unions + restricted information, or do we follow
japan into the death spiral?

... end random thoughts for the night.

- Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
  http://www.iit.edu/~beberg/
  beberg@mithral.com