Two Excellent Posts

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I have just enough time this morning to direct your attention to two particularly worthwhile posts by my fellow Objectivist bloggers.

First, Galileo comments on the unconscionable response of Google to Microsoft's bid to acquire Yahoo, drawing the perfect parallel in closing.

... Google's actions, in their essence, are no different than a Mafia chieftain who hires a street gang to tear up and destroy businesses that refuse to pay him protection money.

This is not capitalism; this is hooliganism.
Not only is this wrong, and not only could Google easily demolish this new combination on merit, but the company could probably just sit back and enjoy watching Microsoft destroy its own investment (which, I think is much of its cash reserves). Anybody remember Hotmail?

Yeah. I used to use it, too.

And then Stella unearths a quote from a Dutch government official which succinctly reveals the folly of entrusting one's health to the state:
Nobody, including Pieter van Baal (quoted in the article as saying "We are not recommending that governments stop trying to prevent obesity") wants to say it out loud, but these findings beg the question: Wouldn't it be cheaper if we all died young, before the expense of being old comes on? Wouldn't it be better for government bureaucrats if everyone lived long enough to pay plenty of income taxes, but not long enough to impose the costs of their age-related illnesses? Perhaps instead of banning trans fats and slapping warning labels on cigarettes, the government should be handing out free tobacco and chocolate cake. [bold added]
This almost succeeds in making a recent proposal (via HBL) -- by lawmakers in my home state to force restaurants not to serve the "obese" (which said proposal never defines) -- sound benevolent. Almost.

Except that in the first case, the man pointing the gun to your head is talking about how much "cheaper" things would be if you weren't around, while in the second, he's promising you a long life -- as a slave.

-- CAV


: Corrected nationality of government official.


Galileo Blogs said...

Thank you for highlighting my post, Gus.

As for your conclusion about the viability of the merger (if it is allowed to happen), I agree completely. Google doesn't even need to use government to defeat Microsoft in this area. That makes their knee-jerk appeal to government to stop the merger all the more revolting.

Interestingly, an episode like this concretizes for me the importance of the ideas that are taught in classrooms. What if Bill Gates or the young founders of Google had been taught a proper history of American business? What if, in their economic classes, they had been given a proper understanding of antitrust? What if, in their history or law classes, they had been taught the proper meaning of America's Constitution?

More fundamentally, what if in philosophy class they had been taught a proper understanding of capitalism, along with all the requisites that validate it?

Instead, they are taught the conventional nonsense. The result is that in all likelihood they do not even *see* that what they are doing is not good business practice. They are not even *aware* that it is wrong and self-destructive.

coreyo said...

Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail actually have a much larger market share than Gmail. However, gmail is slowly growing while Yahoo and Hotmail are remaining stagnant.


Gus Van Horn said...


You're quite welcome.

And thank you for reminding me in a roundabout way of a recent proposal being considered by Congress to make colleges start doling out their feed corn -- I mean endowment money.

The chickens for those colleges are coming home to roost.


Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the info.

My translation: Google's new potential customer base (for just mail) stands to expand by however many Yahoo accounts there presently are -- if they don't screw it up by running to Nanny.


Vigilis said...

"They are not even *aware* that it is wrong and self-destructive."

Dollars to donuts, Google's execs really would not care, either. It seems idealism remains uncommon in human nature except as applicable to lowered physical effort and self gratification. Can we say *bonuses*?

Galileo blogs is correct, better education could help (if not limited to the elite).

Gus Van Horn said...

And the best way to ensure that a proper education is as widely-available as possible is to abolish public education -- which offers abysmal quality while destroying possible competitors by being "free".

Vigilis said...

"to ensure that a proper education is as widely-available as possible is to abolish public education"

Sounds like a swell idea to me, Gus!

Anonymous said...

I think you meant "Dutch" government official, not "Danish".

Gus Van Horn said...