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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 930

About Me

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

Journal Archives

an ex?-Democrat to shun

This morning I woke up to a campaign ad from some dickhead running for assembly named Steve Glazer. (CA district 16, which I lived in a few years ago.) And his campaign issue is that last year's strike by BART transit workers was harmful, and that sort of thing should be stopped. It casts him as mister bravery for standing up to union power. It implied that he was running as an independent, though I could not verify that he does or doesn't have a party affiliation anymore.

Surprisingly, he is, or recently was, a Democrat.

Apparently he thinks that if people are providing a truly vital service, they should not be allowed to strike. He's saying that if you do something that people need, he is ENTITLED to the fruit of your labor.

Let me clarify something. Just as to be employed is a privilege, not a right, it's also a privilege, not a right, to employ someone. If another person is working for you, either directly as an employer or indirectly as a customer, their labor on your behalf is not something they owe you. It is something performed only by mutual agreement. If you disagree with that -- if you think essential labor should be mandatory for workers to perform -- then I hope you also think that it should be mandatory for companies to hire the unemployed, until there's no unemployment. Is holding a job voluntary or not?

Organized labor has of course come out strongly against Glazer, and the corporate media are lining up to label their opposition a "smear campaign". But the only smear I've heard was Glazer's own ad, and that's plenty for me.

I hope it's true that this asshat is running as an independent. I hope that he is thoroughly shunned by his former buddies in the Democratic party. Governor Brown is apparently on that buddy list; let's see how he reacts.

count me as one nerd who isn't transfixed

There are billboards popping up in my area that show a bitcoin logo and say "The revolution has started. Where do you stand?" Where I'm standing is, at a good safe distance from the sign by the cliff that says "watch for falling currencies".

Krugman was right: bitcoin has solved the transactional part of a digital currency, but not the value part. Any value it holds is entirely speculative, with nothing underlying it.

Buying bitcoins is like buying stock in a hot company with no assets or revenue. It's like buying bonds from a popular issuer who never promised repayment. It's like buying commodity shares in neutrinos.

It looks good now because its designed-in scarcity makes it naturally tend to rise in price as people buy in. Considered as a currency, it has built-in deflation (which, by the way, would make it a terrible idea to use it as an economy's primary money). So as soon as anyone pays real money for it, it immediately becomes a bubble. But because of the lack of a base of real value, when this bubble pops, there's nothing to stop the price falling all the way to zero.

a new definition of Libertarianism

Libertarianism: the belief that our roads could carry twice as much traffic if only the government acknowledged our natural right to drive on both sides.
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