The Dangerous Rise Of Unproductive Entrepreneurship

from the this-is-bad-news dept

For many years now, we've talked about Andy Kessler's concept of political entrepreneurs vs. market entrepreneurs. In Kessler's telling, market entrepreneurs are the kind of entrepreneurs that people usually think about -- the ones creating startups and high growth companies and the like. While not everyone appreciates it, those entrepreneurs tend to provide a lot more to the world than they take away. They may get filthy rich in the process, but they tend to make the world a better place by creating lots of value. The "political entrepreneurs," on the other hand, are those who basically look to abuse the system to create monopoly rents and to limit competition. Those entrepreneurs may also get filthy rich, but they tend to do it by limiting value and locking it up so that only they can get it. Obviously, one of those is a lot better for society than the other.

Of course, this idea certainly didn't originate with Kessler, either. Just recently, we had James Allworth on our podcast where we talked about this issue in response to an excellent article he'd recently written about how prioritizing profit over democracy was actually damaging American entrepreneurship. In that article, he referred back to the work of William Baumol, who wrote a paper back in 1990, entitled: Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive. As you can see, that one divides entrepreneurship into three categories. Productive loosely maps to "market entrepreneurs" in Kessler's world, while "Unproductive" loosely translates to "political entrepreneurs" as well. Baumol also includes destructive entrepreneurs, who are actively making the world worse -- and getting rich off of people's misery (think drug dealers, and such).

But part of the point of Allworth's article is that it feels like too many people are just focusing on "profit" as the end goal, and thus either unwilling or unconcerned with determining if the entrepreneurship that drives the profit is "productive" or "unproductive." And, now the Economist has weighed in on this issue as well, noting that we're seeing more and more unproductive entrepreneurship in America, and that's a problem. The article focuses on the work of two economists, Robert Litan and Ian Hathaway, who are building on Baumol's concepts and are concerned about where things are heading. One interesting thing: they find that the issue can't be neatly put into the category of "too much regulation" or "too little regulation," but rather find that both of those situations can create the same rise in unproductive entrepreneurship:

What explains this shift? One factor appears to be the success of various professional groups in convincing the government to tailor regulation to their needs, for instance by lobbying for occupational licensing. Jason Furman, then the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, observed in 2015 that the share of the American workforce covered by state licensing laws grew from less than 5% in the 1950s to 25% by 2008, arguing that this deterred new competition.

The proliferation of occupational licensing might be seen as harmful overregulation. Other sectors are plagued by the opposite. Jeffrey Zhang, an economist at the Federal Reserve, argues that banking deregulation in the 1990s led to rapid bank concentration alongside “sub-optimally higher levels of risk-taking”. As a result, the salaries of senior bank employees grew rapidly. Zhang concludes that the rent-seeking enabled by financial deregulation played a sizeable role in the growth of income inequality: bankers were able to skew the system in their favour, to the detriment of everybody else.

Indeed, we see this in areas that we cover as well. Certainly it seems like letting the big cable and telco companies run free for a decade decreased competition, lowered the quality of service (massively) and allowed those companies to create massive monopoly rents for themselves. But in many other industries, we've pointed out the problems with excessive occupational licensing. I know not everyone agrees, but we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary (even if companies like Uber may have been run by some awful people). Similarly, we've discussed repeatedly how excess regulations in the drone space have really held back what could be a huge area of innovation.

The Economist article suggests that the ability of industries to steer regulations in a way they want is a big part of the issue:

The success of such lobbying depends on the government’s susceptibility. This does not appear to be in short supply in America. James E. Bessen, an economist at Boston University,links high profits through regulatory advantages to political factors including lobbying and campaign spending. The work of other economists reinforces his observation. Jeffrey R. Brown and Jiekun Huang, two researchers writing for the National Bureau of Economic Research, use data> from White House visitor logs during the Obama administration to show that corporate executives’ meetings with White House staff were associated with a bump in their company stock price, more government contracts and positive regulatory decisions. Firms that had better access to the Obama White House also experienced a large drop in stock prices when the 2016 election result was announced.

In the tech world, this is unfortunate. It used to be that tech companies didn't need to have a presence in DC, because they could just innovate, rather than having to deal constantly with policy pressure. But, nowadays that's increasingly difficult -- and not necessarily because everyone else is lobbying -- but rather because the political landscape has become something of a shakedown game. As we've discussed in the past, while many outside of DC view lobbyists as making all of this happen, those involved suggest the roles are reversed here. Politicians -- desperate to raise campaign cash -- are often the ones reaching out to companies and basically threatening them with certain regulations if they don't decide to step up and donate.

So what's the end result here? That's... not clear. Unfortunately, it appears that crony capitalism is on the rise, and with it, more and more unproductive entrepreneurship. The real problem, as James and I discussed in our podcast, is that this is unsustainable, and most likely will mean growing productive entrepreneurship happening elsewhere (and we're already seeing some evidence of that today). There certainly doesn't seem to be any real concerted effort to move away from unproductive entrepreneurship in the US -- but perhaps by making more people aware of it, people will start to recognize how big a problem it truly is.


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:03pm

    But part of the point of Allworth's article is that it feels like too many people are just focusing on "profit" as the end goal, and thus either unwilling or unconcerned with determining if the entrepreneurship that drives the profit is "productive" or "unproductive."

    Wasn't it Bill Clinton who famously said, "It's the economy, stupid!"?

    Well, there's definitely some stupidity involved there. This seems to be one of the biggest, most harmful misunderstandings of our day. It's not the economy, stupid! The economy is an effect, and a second-order effect at that, not a cause. Trying to manipulate it directly leads to disaster. (See: every major economic bubble/crash cycle since we started down this path in the 80s.)

    If you want a strong economy--one that's truly strong rather than a bunch of fake strength propped up by debt--you don't achieve it by focusing on the economy. You achieve it by focusing on morality. Do the right thing, treat your people well, have businesses treat their workers and their customers well rather than exploiting them, and you get the sort of strength that nations dream about.

    Just look at Henry Ford. His policies of treating his workers well and paying them enough that they'd be able to buy Ford automobiles were so successful at jump-starting the American middle class that the whole concept ended up being referred to as "Fordism" by economists. Somehow we've gotten away from Fordism, to our detriment. Bring it back, stop trying to manipulate the economy directly, and we'll see our economy pick up.

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    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      It's not just trying to direct the economy directly. It's also the 'entrepreneurs' who start businesses (or get in positions of power within existing companies), or think tanks, and then directly influence politicians to direct laws and other government activity to their benefit. We are no longer a government of the people, we have a government of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex. Breaking that will be very difficult.

      I am currently reading a book by Robert Ludlum called Trevayne. It is about this, exactly. Yes I know it is fiction, but like much fiction it contains a lot of truth, which makes the fiction more compelling. And, it was written in 1973.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:58pm

        Re: Re:

        "It's also the 'entrepreneurs' who start businesses (or get in positions of power within existing companies), or think tanks, and then directly influence politicians to direct laws and other government activity to their benefit."

        And yet many of you STILL harp on letting them write those laws?

        Free Market is necessary to counter balance corruption. It is the ONLY institution where the consumer gets a significant enough say in matters. Sure, we need some regulation to help avoid a few of the natural pit falls of a free-market, but people in general or unwilling to do the work that it takes to remain free.

        Slaves, often and willingly, fall prey to a new master shortly after having the shackles of a former master removed, even as they rejoice of their victory!

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        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 5:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is not a free market when regulation and trade is done in favor of an industry or market segment, and consumers are left out of the negotiation. This is what happens politicians listen to contributors and not constituents.

          Regulation is necessary, but the regulation should be in the interest of the people, not the corporations (though maybe some should be pro corporate, a very few). Then the government needs to implement and enforce those regulations. Allowing the telcom industry to consolidate to the point that it has without calling them out via the FTC is just wrong. Allowing the banking crisis to unfold and then double down by not charging anyone is just wrong. Etc..

          Take the influence of money, and political parties out of politics and we would be on our way. Force lobbyists to speak to the issues and remove their financial clout would be another great step.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "It is not a free market when regulation and trade is done in favor of an industry or market segment, and consumers are left out of the negotiation. This is what happens politicians listen to contributors and not constituents."

            I said the exact same thing, just a different way.

            "Regulation is necessary,..."

            Agree

            " but the regulation should be in the interest of the people, not the corporations"

            Wrong, because it is not possible. If the solution to a problem is to create 'inequality' then you are definitely not going to get the solution you were expecting. People always fight against inequality in the most interesting ways, but those with the largest singular pools of resources will win every time, never has there been an exception. Even in the cases where a big player was taken down, another big player profits off that loss. The consumers only get a temporary reprieve, they never get the upper hand because they always give away their bargaining position to a politician.

            "Then the government needs to implement and enforce those regulations."

            Ahh... yes, this is exactly what happened. The original anti-monopoly and anti-trust laws were not enforced. Why? Because corruption, instead of replacing the corrupt people we instead asked for more regulation. Not sure why people thought that this would work, but here we are. It's exactly like asking for a criminal to save us from another criminal, there is always a price to be paid, criminals don't work for free... they shall have their pound of flesh, even if they have to carve it off you themselves.

            "Take the influence of money, and political parties out of politics and we would be on our way. Force lobbyists to speak to the issues and remove their financial clout would be another great step."

            How do you propose this to be accomplished? It cannot be done within the realm of humanity we simply lack the capacity to achieve this. Humanity is a default evil set of creatures, we are not default good. We have to be taught to share and value others and ideas foreign to us, we do not have to be taught to be selfish and greedy, that comes quite naturally to us.

            We laugh at the misfortune of others writing off it off as, darwin awards, or what could go wrong, or instant karma. We scoff at the stupid and sneer at the wise. The moment we have to lift a finger we expect compensation for it!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Humanity is a default evil set of creatures, we are not default good. We have to be taught to share and value others and ideas foreign to us, we do not have to be taught to be selfish and greedy, that comes quite naturally to us."

              That is just brilliant. Everyone should read that twice, maybe three times.

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            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              >"Take the influence of money, and political parties out of politics and we would be on our way. Force lobbyists to speak to the issues and remove their financial clout would be another great step."

              >How do you propose this to be accomplished?

              This is actually simple. Government pays for all elections, private money is not allowed. It wouldn't be that expensive. And banning political parties is something some of the founders argued about, it is not a new idea.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 3:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                That only creates are more sinister and tyrannically corrupt economy. You did not remove money from politics at all, all that will do is further cut the citizens out of any control over their country and economy.

                Giving the government more power and control is certainly no way to remove corruption, it only increases it!

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            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Take the influence of money, and political parties out of politics and we would be on our way. Force lobbyists to speak to the issues and remove their financial clout would be another great step."

              How do you propose this to be accomplished?

              This is actually simple. Government pays for all elections, private money is not allowed. It wouldn't be that expensive. And banning political parties is something some of the founders argued about, it is not a new idea.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 1:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "we are not default good."

              Humans are born with a clean slate. We learn thru experience and repeat that which was successful in the past.


              "we do not have to be taught to be selfish and greedy, that comes quite naturally to us."

              This also is learned, you just do not remember learning it.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:20pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You have never had a child, and experienced the most basic expressions of human nature personally, right? Selfishness is the common beginning of all our natures, no parent would dispute that. Overcoming it is the mission of our social construct.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:28am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  What you call selfish, others call being an infant.

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                  • identicon
                    Derpa Derpa, 21 Aug 2017 @ 4:04pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes, that's exactly what he said. We spend our lives teaching our children not to act like infants. Let's think about some words: Tantrum, childish, infantile, immature... Apply these to an actual child, and you're being descriptive. Apply these to an adult, and you're being insulting.
                    QED

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                What are you trying to say?

                Having a clean slate has nothing to do with your innate desire for good or evil, it is a complete non-sequitur in this context.

                And what do you mean by this?
                "This also is learned, you just do not remember learning it."

                Of course it is learned, everything is learned, but you appear to be falsely equating the words learn and taught, and they are NOT equitable terms in the least. Being taught may beget learning, but one can learn without being taught.

                Do you see any schools of "here, learn some evil?", no you do not, they are not necessary.

                Do you see any schools of "here, learn some good?", yes, we have several of those.

                We have laws, institutions, and education systems that all work towards the goal of suppressing the negative elements of humanity while advancing the positive elements. A wise man quickly understands that fighting our rather evil nature become important, so important that we contribute a vast amount of resources in the effort.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You should write more often.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think you intentionally went off on a pet tangent here.
                  The post to which I replied stated that when born, infants are already selfish and greedy by default and that such things are not learned but part of nature or something and offered no proof other than anecdotal "experience".

                  I called bullshit - what is your beef?

                  You say "of course it's learned" and then tell me why I was wrong when I stated that it is learned ... and you claim I am confused.


                  "Do you see any schools of "here, learn some evil?", no you do not, they are not necessary."

                  How do you know what I can see, you have no idea and yet you tell me what it is I am seeing? Interesting.



                  "We have laws, institutions, and education systems that all work towards the goal of suppressing the negative elements of humanity while advancing the positive elements. "

                  In theory ... in practice, results may vary.



                  "A wise man quickly understands that fighting our rather evil nature become important, so important that we contribute a vast amount of resources in the effort."

                  Fighting our evil nature is also a good metaphor for police state.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Free Market is necessary to counter balance corruption"

          Theoretical concept .. No such thing.
          Even if there were such a thing, it would not be the panacea you think it to be.

          Your free market is not an institution, it is a hypothetical construct from which to derive market models and predict future trends ... but we all know how fallible those are at this time.

          Consumers have little say in anything other than where to purchase things and what brands to buy. Regulations have not stopped the creation of monopoly privileges and it is not the fault of people in general.

          Yes, we are wage slaves. Leave one slave driver to work with another who pays a bit more.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 7:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Or invent something, improve something, create something, and share the wealth of your creation with your employees, then encourage them to do the same. This is America. There are no bounds to actualizing your dreams. Quite bitching and start dreaming. Dream the American Dream. Then go do something that is worth something. Then share your success. Repeat.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Quite bitching and start dreaming. "

              Oh, now you want me to go to sleep? Why, so that you can then rob me blind?

              The American dream was and still is a fantasy, similar to winning the lotto. Sure, someone wins - right?



              "Then go do something that is worth something"

              Hey! Are you claiming my life has been a waste? - lol

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re:

        A curious thing about the economics of the military-industrial complex is that the companies in it have some of the largest profit margins of all sectors in US economy. It is, by far, some of the worst pork-spendings you can find in the budget and still economic conservatives embrace it!

        Money spend on lobbying/corrupting is certainly not ineffectuve seen from the point of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon etc.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "by far, some of the worst pork-spendings you can find "

          for example, top generals tell congress they do not need any more tanks as they have plenty sitting in the desert unused at the moment. Then - Congress approves funding for hundreds of new tanks.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 12:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That is an easy way to get some jobs running in Ohio when we are talking Abrams tanks. Since Ohio is an important swing state in an election, no president or party would want the states economy to decline as a result of their votes or even create an excuse for getting such a blame.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 11:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, and this needs to stop. What a ridiculous waste of resources, just so that some already rich mofo can make a few more bucks. Disgraceful.

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      • identicon
        Pine Oaks, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:23pm

        Rent-Seeking

        ....well, this vague concept of "unproductive entrepreneurship" is muddled and unhelpful. The genuine economic concept that applies here is called "Rent Seeking".

        "Rent seeking” is one of the most important insights in the last fifty years of economics. Gordon Tullock originated the idea in 1967, and Anne Krueger introduced the label in 1974.

        The idea is simple but powerful. People are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena. They typically do so by getting a subsidy for a good they produce or for being in a particular class of people, by getting a tariff on a good they produce, or by getting a special regulation that hampers their competitors. Elderly people, for example, often seek higher Social Security payments; steel producers often seek restrictions on imports of steel; and licensed electricians and dentists often lobby to keep regulations in place that restrict competition from unlicensed electricians or dentists. ISP's want heavy regulations that cripple small competitors and new startups.

        Normal market Entrepreneurship has absolutely nothing to do with it -- it's simply the illicit process of getting special favors from government politicians and bureaucrats. It blossoms anywhere there is government... the bigger the government-- the bigger the rent seeking.

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        • icon
          ThaumaTechnician (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:23am

          Re: Rent-Seeking

          The investopedia has a pretty good definition of rent seeking, which jibes better with Mike's thesis: Rent-seeking is the use of the resources of a company, an organization or an individual to obtain economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits to society through wealth creation. [Emphasis mine]

          Another way to rent-seek is to sit on undeveloped land, lobby/bribe local governments for zoning changes, and wait for the taxpayers to pay for roads, water, sewages to that land, then bribe the politicians for that last final zone change so they can sell the land at its new value and at great profit.

          Of course, in today's world, this profit isn't taxed (enough), even though all the increased value is the result of all the money that the other people spent.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:41am

            Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

            You sound smart and well reasoned. I'm especially interested in your point about "wealth creation". You would agree that you cannot multiply wealth by dividing, right? Taking the wealth of one group and distributing it to another is not wealth creating, right? One more question, if you will please indulge me - how would you estimate the wealth creation that occurs because of the US patent system? For a simple example, I don't believe we might have zippers today without patents, because the R&D costs were high, but the replication costs were low. Without the patent, we would be poorer as a society, and have no zippers. Do you think the benefits of the patent system outweighs the costs, or would you advocate abandoning the entire system, as promoted by Techdirt.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

              The idea that patents cover research costs is largely false,because in real life much research does not result in a viable product. Also, a large amount of research is carried out in academia, where people are paid to carry out research, rather than develop products.

              The other issues with patents, is that they assume that innovation is the work of one man, where in reality the patent is often granted to the one person who took the last step, or managed to integrate the works of others first. Those who have done the work leading to that point end up gaining nothing.

              Also, as often as not patents become a road block to innovation, by getting in the way of the core of human progress, some one looking at what others have done, and building on top of that.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

                OK, thank you for that. I would just say, consider the zipper. There is a lot of historical record about zipper patents, my point was that without patents, who would have invested in the zipper? The government? The open source community? Not them, that's for sure.

                Not sure what you mean by assuming the work of one man, patents can have multiple authors, and often do.

                Patents contribute directly to allowing the public to look at the work of what others have done, that's kind of the whole point. Patents have to be very specific about how to build and deploy an invention, and they're free for all to see. Everyone builds on top of patents, everyone that's a legitimate inventor, anyway. You pretty much have to do a patent search before you file your application to make sure you are not wasting your time. There is no better free catalog to stimulate the road to invention than patents. USPTO. MAGA

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

                  >There is no better free catalog to stimulate the road to invention than patents. USPTO. MAGA

                  Given the way the trolls twist the already twisted languages of recent patents, it is not even a reliable guide as to how to avoid being held up at the point of a case in East Texas when you start to make a profit or gain significant investment.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 11:52am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

                  my point was that without patents, who would have invested in the zipper?

                  Without patents who would invest in 3d printers, Micro controllers and their accessories. Hmmmm, Joseph Prusa, Arduino and Adafruit are still going strong while using open source licenses and having intense competition from the Chines clone makers.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 7:18pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

                    OK, well I see you answered your own question, that's not too hard, is it? What about zippers, that was my question. You like your zipper? Wouldn't your life be poorer without any zippers? Thank the patent system next time you zip up or down.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 12:02am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

                      I gave you three companies who invent and innovate all the time, and promptly publish their designs under an open source license. So no, patents are not necessary for someone to invent things like the zipper.

                      3D printing is a technology that to a large extent was held back by patents. Expiration of the key patents led to the rapid innovation is the design and use of the technology because it then became available to tinkerers who are more interested in solving problems than than extracting a premium rent from a few industrial users.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Rent-Seeking

              "Taking the wealth of one group and distributing it to another is not wealth creating, right?"

              No, it is stealing. When an employer refuses to pay their employees commensurate with what it takes to live in that community, said employees need assistance or they leave. Said employer whines to the government who then provides assistance to those under paid people thus relieving employer from their responsibility.

              If an employer is unable to pay their employees enough to live, then maybe said business should go out of business.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:23pm

      Re:

      Employers who pay less than a living wage are being immoral, didn't think it was a moral issue but ok - I guess that I agree with that.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:40pm

      Re:

      That is a very smart way of saying it. There are two parts to national economics: Trade and internal market. If you only focus on the one, history shows bad things will lurk in the horizon.

      Often purely economic argumentation is supply side, which is: If domestic markets can't absorb it, it will create trade. We get more competitive by reducing the costs associated with workers, thus strenghtening the economy! Well, that again requires a foreign market to absorb it, since you are reducing the domestic markets buying power...

      The pure market argument is that state jobs are very important for the economy, since they won't move to Mehico and will strenghten the economy, but that argument doesn't take into account that such services cannot generate trade on its own...

      There is a balance and it is important to keep in mind that balancing a budget is more about priorities than economics. The growth in internal markets can also an economic driver, but to keep the investing from getting too rentseeking-heavy you need redistribution of wealth (private or public), since it stands to reason that sustinance costs will mean more tangible sales than economic abundance, that results in a search for ways to make them multiply...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:13pm

    The more you hear from politicians and lobbyists alike, it is indeed a sale of politics to lobbyists that seem to be the prevalent flow. That is scary since it creates a "bribery", with the lobbyist as the middle-man/delivery-boy. More than anything, the most important way to fight corruption is to cut off the economic channels between companies and politicians. Seems the need for lobbyists to be independent of personal relations with economic supporters is more important than ever to at least tame some of the worst economic addiction problems for politicians, that result in worse laws.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:24pm

    All that shit is inherent in the profit motive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:00pm

      Re:

      If you don't understand how the profit motive relates to America, and works for America, and defines America, you are just another traitor to America, like Mike and Chelsea.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:02pm

    "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

    Sheesh. The rise of those occurred WAY BACK in early 20th century: "car hailing services" is just calling a cab that began in any given city soon as the 2nd telephone was installed. -- Notice the "bnb" part of Airbnb? That stands for "bed and breakfast", so old I don't know when began, probably soon after beds were invented.

    All that's new is A) doing it on teh internets TOO now, and B) deeply and recklessly financed by cheap money from the "Federal Reserve" printing a TRILLION dollars a year; Uber LOSES MONEY EVERY RIDE, trying to establish a monopoly. -- The NEW about Uber is that its illegal practice of deliberately losing money to wipe out the competition is NOT "regulated" or punished in this fascist era. When I was born, Kalanick and the investors would have been JAILED for their SCHEME.

    You millenials believe all is NEW starting from your birth. You have a knowledge of history literally less than mice, don't know that capitalist cats get fat by eating you.

    You're an Ivy League economist, all right: omitted obvious major facts while repeating academic euphemism: "Unproductive Entrepreneurship" used to be called FRAUD and THEFT.

    All this blathering about "entrepreneurs" omits another major factor: large numbers of persons in America literally entitled by birth: the Born Rich, who were given a pile of numbers and call themselves "venture capitalists", pretending that they're productive and not laborers. If were ANY actual political analysis here, it'd start with those parasites, and the remedy of simply taking numbers away from them, the totally artificial means by which they control the productive workers.

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      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:07pm

      Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

      That's kind of supremacist thinking, isn't it? Just "taking number" away from a whole class of people? Some of my friends made a lot of money by working hard and smart, then got bored, and now they're VCs. Are you really going to label them all "parasites"? Pretty simplistic view, right, no so different than white supremacists or Techdirt supremacists who also disrespect and disconsider whole classes of people.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:43pm

        Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

        >>> That's kind of supremacist thinking, isn't it?

        No. Exact opposite: it's EGALITARIAN, the Labor Theory Of Value, which is Marxism if you want a really good pejorative label, but the label doesn't refute facts that working class people create most of actual value in their daily grind. Brains are good, but Born Rich by definition have all the money and material goods they could ever enjoy and spend their time only on gaining total power over the serfs. Period. (But see below for the "working Rich".)

        >>> Just "taking number" away from a whole class of people?

        There's no empirically correct share of the rewards due "entrepreneurs". Workers are due MORE than minimum wage. Even the laziest janitor does more for the country than Masnick ever has. The Rich depend totally -- even if not directly -- on laborers. Period.

        >>> Some of my friends made a lot of money by working hard and smart, then got bored, and now they're VCs.

        I bet they started relatively rich compared to my friends who were bucking hay high school summers, instead of touring amusement parks as Masnick was. My friends were essentially doomed to 40 years of actual physical 8-10 hour a day labor. Are YOU disparaging the whole MAJORITY of people who DON'T get rich young and retire to live off laborers? The Poor merely fight the wars and do all the labor.

        >>> Are you really going to label them all "parasites"?

        Yes. That's the definition of Rich. -- I don't so much mind those who GET rich by trading values they make, but BEING rich is simply parasitism. "Money" is no longer a means of exchanging labor, it's simply a fiction used to control.

        >>> Pretty simplistic view, right, no so different than white supremacists or Techdirt supremacists who also disrespect and disconsider whole classes of people.

        Okay, and you're no different from any Born Rich tyrant who sees themselves as innately superior, ordained by GOD to rule over others. -- In fact they and you were just born lucky. -- There (poor, laboring, taxed, and cheated by The Rich) but for the grace of God go YOU.

        I had the luck to be born in a now vanished country called the United States Of America: the Rich have destroyed it with neo-fascism and globalism, turned it into a pretty literal neo-feudalism without opportunity for the poor TOO. I don't recognize this "America" you demand that I "love".

        Now, I don't do back and forth. I just advise you not regard ME as an enemy. I'm not. I'm an American and entitled to complain about The Rich and their parasitism that makes ME a serf, that's what started the Revolution.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:00am

      Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

      Congratulations, out_of_the_blue. Hamilton thinks you're nuts. Good job, the trolls are turning on each other.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:30am

      Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

      Yes, millennials are to blame for all our present day woes - none of which resulted from piss poor decisions made by the crusty old farts of yesteryear because they are smart ... don't pay any attention to what was said by their elders about them when they were young because those old farts didn't know what they were talking about.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:38am

        Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

        Wow, I'm guessing that you are a millennial and feel a little tread upon. I would agree that all of us crusty old farts were also stupid when we were young, yes, that sounds about right. You have to make and recover from a lot of mistakes in order to begin to understand the world, that's true, too. One type of mistake is to dismiss a whole class of people (or patents) without considering their character or worth. Labeling VCs as parasites, without regard to the individual, is as bad as labeling black or gay people in a negative way without considering them as individuals. You'd agree with that, right?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:51am

          Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

          "I'm guessing that you are a millennial"

          Wrong



          "I would agree that all of us crusty old farts were also stupid when we were young"

          Good, not everyone is in denial



          Patents != people
          Venture Capitalists != minorities

          I see where you are attempting to go, but the rational is wrong.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 7:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

            Take a look at this fellow: http://www.trinityventures.com/team/ajay-chopra/

            Is he not an individual, that deserves respect and consideration based on his individual merits and history? Or is he a "VC", and thus should be summarily stripped of his wealth and privilege. What do you think? Ready to punish all the VCs like him? Ship them off to another country? (Atlas Shrugged)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 8:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

              "deserves respect "

              No one deserves respect - they must earn it, otherwise what you are talking about is admire ... maybe even adulation - but not respect.

              Why do you think that I desire VCs to be "summarily stripped of his wealth and privilege" ... what ever that means ?
              Is it because I said they are not a minority? Seriously, you seem to have gone off the deep end.

              What do you think of carried interest that many VCs use?
              There are some who call it a tax cheat - you agree?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 8:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

                I was responding to this paragraph, which speaks to VCs as if they were a homogenous group: "All this blathering about "entrepreneurs" omits another major factor: large numbers of persons in America literally entitled by birth: the Born Rich, who were given a pile of numbers and call themselves "venture capitalists", pretending that they're productive and not laborers. If were ANY actual political analysis here, it'd start with those parasites, and the remedy of simply taking numbers away from them, the totally artificial means by which they control the productive workers."

                Take a look at Mr. Chopra, if you'd like. You will never meet a nicer, more congenial, helpful and selfless man that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He was a huge help in one of my first businesses (very small), and gave me his time and support simply as one American Entrepreneur to another - a very caring and accomplished individual. Deserves respect, trust me on that.

                I have no ideas about carried interest.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 3:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

                  "I was responding to this paragraph, which speaks to VCs as if they were a homogenous group:" ............


                  But that was not something that I posted

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 11:26am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "we think the rise of car hailing services and home sharing like Airbnb has been quite revolutionary "

                  "I have no ideas about carried interest."

                  I am not surprised by this.

                  You vigorously defend venture capitalists on a few points but overlook one of the major items that make them look bad. Why is that?

                  Carried interest is a tax dodge, plain and simple. These folk amass huge amounts of cash by taking advantage of tax loopholes not afforded to the general population and then wag their fingers at those less fortunate claiming all they need to do is pull themselves up by their own bootstraps - lol that is so ridiculous a thing thing to say that it makes them look ignorant - maybe they are.

                  Carried Interest - Look it up

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    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:12pm

    Does anyone here love America?

    Is there a single brave soul willing to post on this willing to say they love America, warts and all? Is anyone willing to defend our constitution, as it was written, our laws, as they were written, our police and military, as they serve, our economy, our government, our history and our values? Not to say they are perfect, only to say they are the best in the history of the world. Or all you all traitors to America, like Mike and Chelsea?

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      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:34pm

      Re: Does anyone here love America?

      Mike, how to plan to overcome the stamp of "traitor", or are you proud of it? Chelsea had a lot of options, chose to be a traitor, she could have done a lot of other things to deal with her moral issues, if indeed she had them. I don't see any path where she sheds the name of traitor and the condemnation it deserves. How about you? How do you define yourself any way other than a traitor, what's your argument? I assume you have given up on any, instead celebrating your celebrity proudly and in public as a traitor to America, along with her. I could never have imagined you would label yourself this way, but hey, good for you. Saves the rest of us a lot of trouble.

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      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 7:13pm

        Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

        "the stamp of "traitor""

        Oh, great. First you eat up all the paste, the paint chips, and the crayons. Now you've found the stamps and are slapping them around willy-nilly.

        We shouldn't have used one of those self-disabling smart locks for our art closet.

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          Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 8:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

          That's kind of funny, actually. Good for you for bringing some humor to this wasteland of supremacy and stupidity. Humor is always appreciated by Americans, that's the kind of people we are.

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      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 1:25am

      Re: Does anyone here love America?

      OK, I think I've been reasonably patient in waiting for a single Techdirt poster to say that they love America, no takers, got that, wrote that down in my diary. That says a lot about Techdirt alone, doesn't it? But anyway, this was actually a two part question, and the second part is:

      Is there a single brave soul willing to post on this thread that they love their own country, today, as it is, warts and all? Any takers, anywhere on Techdirt? My guess is that Techdirt is comprised of 100% uneducated ararchists (with very few exceptions), I've been studying them the better part of a year. Prove me wrong.

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      • icon
        McGyver (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 4:23am

        Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

        What does that prove?
        I love this country and therefore I wish to make it better.
        If you care for a friend do you stay silent about their destructive alcoholism?
        Do remain silent while they are killing themselves with illegal drugs or if they are living an unhealthy lifestyle that is worsening an existing medical condition?
        That not love or caring, that's stupid.
        If you are concerned the country is going in the wrong direction or doing something detrimental to its existence as a nation... However many elite citizens it may offend or make uncomfortable... You point it out.
        You discuss and seek answers on how to better that nation, not just for the few who don't give a rat's ass about it, but for all.
        That's true caring.
        Yeah, I love America, but not the oozing warts of destructive greed and political corruption.
        Advocating blind patriotism and willful blindness to a bad situation is not patriotic nor loving.
        I do not wish to stand at the funeral for this nation and think "Gee, I wish I would have said something", as so many have said for friends and family that intervention may have saved.

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          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

          Good for you, you sound American to me. You love America. Good for you, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I don't hear hatred at all, I hear patriotism. That's 1.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:34am

      Re: Does anyone here love America?

      "Is anyone willing to defend our constitution, as it was written, our laws, as they were written, our police and military, as they serve, our economy, our government, our history and our values?"

      Not any of the politicians out there.

      Oh, and you should look up the definition of traitor before going around accusing everyone.

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        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:44am

        Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

        OK, maybe I'm wrong. I asked for someone to point out the other side of the argument about calling her a "traitor", maybe you could make that argument. As I understand, Chelsea made what she said is a moral decision to release classified information in large amounts. I can respect moral decisions, and I think you would agree that by definition, they come with consequences. When you are inside the military in a position of trust, and you break that trust, then you have to bear the consequences, right? I don't denounce Chelsea as a person, she obviously has very strong convictions, and she followed them. That should not allow her to escape the consequences of her decisions, and the label that goes with it. Perhaps you could support another side to this argument, I must admit, I don't much more than I read on the internet.

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          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

          trai·tor

          /ˈtrādər/

          noun

          noun: traitor; plural noun: traitors

          a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.
          "they see me as a traitor, a sellout to the enemy"

          synonyms: betrayer, backstabber, double-crosser, renegade, fifth columnist; turncoat, defector, deserter; collaborator, informer, mole, snitch, double agent; Judas, Benedict Arnold, quisling; informalsnake in the grass, two-timer, rat, scab, fink
          "convicted traitors will be executed"

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

          "OK, maybe I'm wrong"

          I'm glad you consider the possibility, because accusing others with little to no reason or evidence is simply wrong.


          This thread is about Unproductive Entrepreneurship, you seem obsessed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Does anyone here love America?

            Respectfully, I would match my experience, understanding and success in Entrepreneurship with anyone here. I was President of my Junior Achievement chapter at 18. I got my first business license at 10.

            Sometimes I do seem a little obsessed, when I go back and take the time to read my own stuff. I don't feel obsessed, I do this just for fun. But you might be right, self-examination is always tricky to do well, and other people's opinions are worth considering.

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  • icon
    ThaumaTechnician (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 6:42pm

    "To Serve Man"

    It's really frustrating that the only economists who get air time and the politicans' and business people's ear are the same ones who keep getting it wrong.

    Without a doubt, It is THE most important requirement to succeed in power circles in Washington.

    I've been informing myself a lot about this very topic. Can I suggest:

    These won't cheer you up but it will give you some non-Hayekians' explanation of the very phenomenon of this article addresses.

    The Chicago School of Economics, the neoliberals, and the Hayekians keep citing The Road to Serfdom. As with the Kanamit's To Serve Man, it's an instruction manual for them on how to deal with us.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 6:54am

      Re: "To Serve Man"

      The Road to Serfdom has a lot of strong contemporary points. But there is a tendency for some to extrapolate too much. The same can be said about how some read Adam Smiths "The Wealth of Nations", where he undeniably argues for strict regulation of "traders" and for something akin to "progressive taxation".
      Irt. Libertarianism today, that also builds on a russian chain-smoking, fiction writer and hypocrit called Ayn Rand. I would not bet on that side more than the environmentonomics arguing that the environmental and population numbers mean we need to cut our living standard significantly to help the poor in the world...

      There is no doubt and has never been any doubt, that overlending is a serious problem and a disease that can/will expand the economic bubbles before they burst. We could learn something from a certain interpretation of sharia where it is illegal to earn money on lending!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: "To Serve Man"

        "To Serve Man"

        That was an episode of either Twilight Zone or Outer Limits ... It's a Cook Book !!!!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 5:03am

          Re: Re: Re: "To Serve Man"

          I know. I did look it up. Just didn't see the "class warfare" as an angle worth persuing as it is "us versus them" and thus becomes a trench war. If you want reason, fair arguments and a discussion based on provided/providing facts or just a discussion that has a chance on moving the partisipants opinions, "us versus them" ain't it!

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  • identicon
    John Smith, 18 Aug 2017 @ 8:14pm

    The inevitable result of sociopathy

    If you put power and money in the wrong hands, i.e., the sociopaths, you wind up with a country where those with money and power are sociopaths who will abuse that power. This should have ended in 2009 but the sociopaths just bailed themselves out and left themselves in power.

    The next crisis won't end so smoothly.

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      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 8:38pm

      Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

      You understand how insane that sounds to Americans, right? Uniquely in America, honest, hardware working people can produce unlimited wealth, for themselves. That is the basis of our system, and why people flock to America from all the world. Yes, Americans took back America, that's what happened in 2016, and that's what will continue to happen for the next 8 years, probably more.

      About the crisis ending smoothly, please never forget that we are armed. That's very American, too. Nearly all of us are armed, that is part of the design of America. Want to have an open conflict with us, want to threaten us physically, it will end very smoothly, I just oiled my gun.

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      • icon
        ThaumaTechnician (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:43am

        Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

        "hard(ware) working people can produce unlimited wealth"

        The USA is one of the least socially mobile countries in the world.

        While the idea is that America is a classless society where hard, smart work will be rewarded, it certainly a false myth. The four countries with the highest social mobility, are Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Canada. The US and the UK had the lowest social mobility - that is, how much money your father made dictates how much money you made. If you want to be rich in America, pick your parents wisely.

        I realize that all this requires a lot of reading but before you spout catchphrases, you really should have data behind your assertions.

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          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:50am

          Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

          My experience is personal, and lifelong. I started as a glass washer, graduated to busboy, then sandwich slicer, then punch card operator, then computer customer service clerk, then system programmer, then manager and director of engineering, and then multiple technology company owner. I spent my entire career around economically mobile people, in the US, from Mass to CA. You want to teach me something? What, exactly would you like to contribute to my understanding of upward mobility in American, which I both experienced, shared and celebrated my entire adult life?

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          • icon
            ThaumaTechnician (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 6:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

            Yeah, you wouldn't want to temper an opinion which was formed from experience which is limited to what you're personally seen with, y'know, statistics, data, and stuff from multiple sources, based on whole populations, eh.

            I know it's difficult to do, but I'm rooting for you.

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              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 6:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

              That's sarcasm, right? You are not actually rooting for me, you are dismissing my life experience in favor of your left-wing bullshit articles, right? Why not be straightforward? Does being sarcastic get your intended message across better? Did you have a degree in sarcasm that you are desperate to display? Are you a master of sarcasm? Doesn't seem like it.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                One data point does not define a line.

                There is no extrapolation possible from a single data point.

                One can not project one's life experiences upon others assuming they experienced the same thing much less draw any conclusions based upon same.

                Perhaps you could tell us why you think this is a left-wing bullshit article. Yes, why are you not straight forward?

                I see you do not like sarcasm, ok - but why not just deal with it rather than whining about it?

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                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:14am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                  Here is why they are left wing bullshit articles - they want me to take the comparison of the 1940's economy with the current economy seriously as a sign that upward mobility has changed. I honestly don't buy it, I don't think it's a fair comparison of anything. The 1940's and 1950's were a unique moment in history, you just can't extrapolate much from them. The whole economy has turned upside down since then. I know, I was there.

                  My 40 years in the industry is a single data point? That doesn't seem like a reasonable argument. I have met, hired, fired, promoted and shared a great deal of wealth with a lot of people, I believe they represent tens of thousands of data points, combined.

                  I will admit I met sarcasm with a little sarcasm of my own, that's probably not my best quality. I'll try to do better next time.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 1:46pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                    "My 40 years in the industry is a single data point? "

                    No - you are a single data point.
                    You complained about the following post:

                    "temper an opinion which was formed from experience which is limited to what you're personally seen with, y'know, statistics, data, and stuff from multiple sources, based on whole populations"

                    and you replied
                    "you are dismissing my life experience"



                    So ... your life experience is one data point, where are all the other data points (other people) that support your claim? You think those people you hired and fired are representative of the entire population? Wow, why do you think that?

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                      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:53pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                      I asked for a count of Americans who love their country, and on this web site, I received 1 reply. 1. Where are all the people that love America, and love Trump? Not here, obviously. That doesn't mean they don't exist, does it?

                      The British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

                      I took statistics, actually, from a nun, at the University. The first lesson was that there is a provable relationship between diaper rash and highway miles laid. That does not mean there is a causal relationship. They both happen in the summer.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:44am

        Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

        "Uniquely in America, honest, hardware working people can produce unlimited wealth, for themselves."

        This is propaganda ... (for both hardware and software)

        "Take Back America" .. didn't make sense then doesn't make sense now.

        take back:
        - what and from whom
        - that which they never had to begin with
        - from those who have nothing to take

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          Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:20am

          Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

          OK, you think this is propaganda, I think it is not. Look at Zuckerberg (the facebook guy). He started with a little, worked hard, and made a lot, didn't he? How about the Google guys, they did pretty well, didn't they? Do these count as legitimate examples? How about the interval windshield wiper guy, he made better than 10 million from the auto companies for his invention. It did turn his hair white, and he lost his wife, but he did fantastic financially. In America. Who doesn't have a story about getting rich in America? Everyone has one, it's kind of like Kleenex.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 1:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

            Ok, do you think you will eventually win the lotto?

            What is the population of this country .... 316,158,691
            (what is it, 23% of them are minors?)
            https://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html

            And you are talking about a handful of people who made it rich, call it a thousand people who made it ... that is still statistically an insignificant number. Yes, I heard those stories too, they are good stories but that is all they are - stories about a very small percentage of the population who were at the right place at the right time, had the right connections, were born with money ... whatever. That does not mean that the rest of the population is afforded upwardly mobility but are just too lazy to put forth the effort ... that is bullshit to make the rich feel better about themselves.

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              Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 6:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

              That's not it, my friend. They are not just stories, they are life experiences. Yes, some people I knew made hundreds of millions (not me). But when considered as "career income", I personally knew hundreds that made millions, many who retired very comfortably. Take a drive through Redmond or Silicon Valley. See all that money? There are people behind the money, lots of them, hundreds of thousands just in those two communities.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 6:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                Here are four examples of people that I knew personally that came from very little and created a lot of wealth for a lot of people. Look them up: Dick Egan, HK Desai, AJ Chopra and Larry Boucher. Combined, they probably made thousands of people rich, and tens or hundreds of thousands of people very well off. They did it by working harder and smarter than anyone around them, not because of any special privilege. They did it with conviction of character, incredible skills of persuasion, and perseverance. There are so many more. That's America. Welcome.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 5:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                  The examples given, although interesting and possibly inspirational do nothing to support the claim that upward mobility is afforded to anyone who wants to ... as you say "working harder and smarter than anyone around them .. with conviction of character, incredible skills of persuasion, and perseverance" - because if you were to go looking, I'm positive you would find many out there meeting this description who are not afforded upward mobility, probably many more than your hundreds of thousands. I doubt you are interested in doing this, but if you did - you could write a book about it and maybe even become famous.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 8:05pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                    I'm famous enough, in my own circles of people I admire and respect, thank you.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 8:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

                Wow - did you miss the point or are you intentionally avoiding it?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re: The inevitable result of sociopathy

        "You understand how insane that sounds to Americans, right? "

        Please - speak for yourself

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  • identicon
    any mouse cow word., 18 Aug 2017 @ 8:50pm

    It seems that more often than not, as market entrepreneurs become more successful the more likely they'll devolve into political entrepreneurs. The more they have to lose, the more unscrupulous they become in defending it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2017 @ 9:15pm

      Re:

      Maybe you think that because you don't actually know any. Many become philanthropists or VCs, with sincere intentions to give back to their community and their country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:14am

        Re: Re:

        Well, but if they don't do it EXACTLY as I'd like them to, they're evil!
        And don't get me started on the ones that don't even do anything and just live off their wealth!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 8:53am

        Re: Re:

        "Many become philanthropists or VCs, with sincere intentions to give back to their community and their country."

        Like the Waltons?

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  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 19 Aug 2017 @ 3:32am

    I think that part of what makes this so difficult to pin down is that even in the most captive of businesses, there is still a remarkable number of rules and regulations that make sense.

    Rules for hotels are things that have been built up over a very long time. From safety regulations and insurance requirements to zoning, it's not things that happened all in one shot, but rather came about as a result of the public's desire for regulation and safety.

    Quite often, those rules stack up and become a wall that keeps those inside 'in' and those outside 'out'. New entries can't get in because the rules are too hard to match or the permit requirements are excessive for a startup.

    Uber and AirBnB are both attempts to end run the rules, mostly by shifting liability to others. They enable and empower the average Joe and Jill to break the law at a level that was never before considered. It has worked to some extent, but it's also created it's own set of problems. The result? More regulation to specifically reign in the cowboy behavior.

    See, the risk is that when you let one group (like AirBnB) skip the rules of hotels or short term rentals, you create a regulation gap that fuels the price difference.

    People are happy (short term) because they (a) get to rent places on trips cheaper or (b) make money with their spare rooms and mother in law suites. Longer term, however, is the implication for the hotel industry as a whole, the rental market (as major landlords get into high price short term rentals instead of providing for local residence), and of course the implication of plenty of comings and goings of strangers who are only around for a day or two.

    In essence, AirBnB is actually very unproductive for the overall economy. They cut the amount people are paying for accomidations, which hurts the hotel industry. That industry perhaps pays it's workers less or shrinks it's staff, creating a group of people who can no longer go on vacation - and are perhaps forced to rent a spare room to strangers to try to make ends meet. The economy as a whole appears to be smaller, at least in that area.

    There is more, but I will let this one go for now.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 5:21am

      Re:

      It's crazy, right? It's almost like actual people have to live in the places where Uber and AirBnB operate, so they have their sets of rules that promote, ensure or enforce a smoother community as a whole and it actually makes sense for them to exist!
      I'm all for Uber and AirBnB existing, and am glad for their existence actually pointing out many flaws with excessive regulations, but keep the sensible ones, at least! If they can't play with those in place, there should be no place for them.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Aug 2017 @ 5:21pm

      Re:

      In essence, AirBnB is actually very unproductive for the overall economy. They cut the amount people are paying for accomidations, which hurts the hotel industry. That industry perhaps pays it's workers less or shrinks it's staff, creating a group of people who can no longer go on vacation - and are perhaps forced to rent a spare room to strangers to try to make ends meet. The economy as a whole appears to be smaller, at least in that area.

      That's called 'competition', and last I checked 'felony interference with a business model' was a joke, not an actual law. If AirBnB is leading to people not being willing to pay as much then it's on the hotels to demonstrate why they are worth paying more.

      If the professional hotel industry can't cope with individuals renting out rooms they aren't using to make some extra cash then they were screwed from the get-go and deserve to crash, not have lawmakers rush in to kill off the competition that such a service provides.

      Now, you could argue that it's not fair that AirBnB users don't have to deal with as much red-tape as the hotels, allowing them to spend less and undercut, but that strikes me as problematic due to the fact that while the services in general may be similar(renting out space for people to stay in short term), the specific details are different enough that it doesn't seem sound to apply the same standards.

      One involves a professional business focused on renting out rooms as their entire business model, the other not-so-professionals renting out rooms to make some extra cash. To the extent the two might overlap the rules should be applied only to the extent that it serves the public's best interest, not the interest of the hotel industry.

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      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 21 Aug 2017 @ 5:37am

        Re: Re:

        "That's called 'competition', and last I checked 'felony interference with a business model' was a joke, not an actual law. If AirBnB is leading to people not being willing to pay as much then it's on the hotels to demonstrate why they are worth paying more."

        Well, here's the thing - they can only do it by ignoring the laws and rules that exist. The hotel industry is bound by them (some would say they bound themselves), and thus must pay for and maintain themselves to the levels expected by the law. You know, silly things like fire alarms, sprinklers, marked exits, minimum corridor widths, access for the disabled, licnsing, insurance, inspections, and on and on and on.

        AirBnB? Nada. Any room, house, apartment, hovel, whatever - list it, and people will take it. No minimum standards, no safety, no licensing, no insurance, no emergency egress, and so on.

        If AirBnB competes with hotels by offering hotel services (one night accommodations) then they should be bound by them. Saying they are not alike is a cop out, they are the same market.

        "One involves a professional business focused on renting out rooms as their entire business model, the other not-so-professionals renting out rooms to make some extra cash."

        A convenient half truth. More and more of these "sharing" sites are professionals trying to maximize return on real estate investments. When you see whole house / whole apartment / whole whatever in a rental, you can almost be certain that it's a pro or semi-pro who has figured out the numbers. Many hosts get more for a single 1 week vacation rental than they do for a month of rental to a local tenent, even if the housing supply is tight. I know in my local market (won't say, but it is a common destination) the prices for AirBnB properties near mine are generally monthly local rental as a the weekly price, or about 25% of the monthly rental price on shorter daily rentals. So they need only a single visitor for 4 days each month to make the same income.

        "To the extent the two might overlap the rules should be applied only to the extent that it serves the public's best interest, not the interest of the hotel industry."

        The public's best interesting and what the public thinks is it's best interest at any given money are usually divergent concepts. People want cheaper places to stay on vacations, but they don't consider the risks (due to lack of safety inspections, insurance, fire equipment, etc), nor do they consider the implications on the local housing rental market.

        http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Airbnb-Housing-Rental-Investigation-424091834.html

        Good example here, thousands of full units off the local rental market. That can have a huge impact.

        There is also the question of property values. If the houses or units next to you are used for AirBnB, you have a lot of people coming and going. Some of them will be nice, some of them will be... well... and in some cases, properties end up turned into party houses. Having commercial activities in residential zones is generally not a good idea. The value of your home / condo / whathaveyou may be harmed by commercial use next door.

        So, what is the public's interest? For someone looking for a cheap rental when they go to LA next time, all of the above concerns are not important. They just want it cheaper. That is their interest at the moment. Is it right?

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 21 Aug 2017 @ 4:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If AirBnB competes with hotels by offering hotel services (one night accommodations) then they should be bound by them. Saying they are not alike is a cop out, they are the same market.

          No, it really isn't, because while the services in general may be similar the details are notably different. If you want to compare industries then renting out housing(albeit for short amounts of time) would seem to be a better match, in which case the question is 'Do the AirBnB properties meet those requirements?', which is something I would support.

          A convenient half truth. More and more of these "sharing" sites are professionals trying to maximize return on real estate investments. When you see whole house / whole apartment / whole whatever in a rental, you can almost be certain that it's a pro or semi-pro who has figured out the numbers.

          My response here is generally the same as above, the comparable industry is home/room rental one, so use those standards. If there is some law on the books that says that if people rent out their property it has to be for a certain amount of time or above(which I doubt, but who knows?) then by all means, go after them for violating that law, but at the moment it just looks to me like people making profitable use of their property via short-term rentals.

          As for the property value of those around them while it's certainly unfortunate if lousy customers are being obnoxious public well-being needs to be balanced against the right of the property owner. Unless there's laws on the books against renting property to pests that strikes me as 'unfortunate but it happens some times'.

          Reading through your comment I think the main disagreement we're having is that I'm looking at it through the filter of 'Property rental, if for a short amount of time' as opposed to the filter you seem to be viewing it through of 'Hotel service', which changes what each of us considers acceptable standards to apply.

          From my point of view requiring the 'hosts' to follow all the standards and laws that apply to hotels wouldn't make sense because that's not how I see what's going on, whereas from your perspective it would because it is. This might be one of those cases where we're both right and wrong depending on which filter is applied at the moment, so beyond an 'agree to disagree' not sure where to go from that.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 12:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is also the question of property values. If the houses or units next to you are used for AirBnB,

          You would be surprised at what your Neighbors can do, without having any real effect on price. I used to live round the corner from there, and never noticed the trade being carried on.

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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 3:49am

    The dangerous rise of unproductive hatred

    Do you want to know the difference between a Trump voter and a Techdirt Supremacist? Trump voters love their country, Techdirt Supremacists love nothing, not their own country, not their neighbors, nothing.

    This website is kind of the definition of unproductive hatred, don't you think? Even the censorship is based on hatred, and nothing else.

    We are all about to witness a historic lesson in the power of love, and the power of hatred. Trump voters love their country, and they love Trump, warts and all. In the ideological war that is now being waged here and in other venues, it is love of country vs. hatred of pretty much everything.

    There is no unifying force against Trump, here or anywhere else, other than blind hatred. Love will win, you guys just watch. Mike will lose, because he is little more than the president of the traitor party, organized right here on this site, and verified with the shared celebrity of GI-Jerk. The hateful, ignorant traitor party, vs. the party of love, love of country, love of truth, love of God. Love will win, just watch. MAGA Amen.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:07am

      Re: The dangerous rise of unproductive hatred

      Trump voters love themselves - ftfy

      "Techdirt Supremacists love nothing, not their own country, not their neighbors, nothing."
      - based upon what, and why should I care? Do I have to only read stuff written by those with whom I share an opinion? Says who?


      "This website is kind of the definition of unproductive hatred, don't you think?"
      - I'm guessing you read Stormfront where they know how to make hatred productive. Also, look up the definition of censorship.


      "There is no unifying force against Trump, here or anywhere else, other than blind hatred. "

      So law enforcement is hatred - ok, I guess that would make sense given the outrageous LEO behavior lately but the investigations surrounding the present white house is based upon the laws of the land, are you suggesting we just toss those out the window in order to give trump a break .... because we all love him sooo much? What would replace the laws you just tossed?


      "traitor party"

      Ok .. I get it, this is satire right?

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        Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 9:32am

        Re: Re: The dangerous rise of unproductive hatred

        Your questions are a little hard to follow. Let's see what I can do to try:

        Techdirt does not love Thailand (a metaphorical neighbor), they degrade them and insult them, their country, their laws, their beliefs and their king, repeatedly. And on what basis, other than misguided supremacy of belief and opinion? The Techdirt Supremacists want to tell a sovereign country what they should believe. Un-American and just plain wrong.

        Censorship: the control of the information and ideas circulated within a society - has been a hallmark of dictatorships through history

        I'm not sure what "outrageous LEO behavior" you might mean. I see six policemen were shot in the US yesterday, and Trump sent them a letter of support. Is that what you mean?

        By investigations, do you meant the "Russia" investigation, the CNN self proclaimed "nothing-burger" that is only now starting to peter out in the media? What an incredible waste of time and money and focus, tragic, really. Yes, let's just toss those worthless committee meetings, who cares? Not me.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 12:45pm

      Re: The dangerous rise of unproductive hatred

      "This website is kind of the definition of unproductive hatred, don't you think? Even the censorship is based on hatred, and nothing else." You, my friend, are not even wrong. You are in another dimension...

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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Thanks

    In my humble opinion, any group that is organized on the basis of hate, betrayal and censorship is limited in it's prospects. By promoting hate and betrayal, the members of the group easily turn on each other eventually. The only way to control them is with censorship, which is impossible to sustain. That doesn't mean hate groups can't be formed, and they cannot persist for long periods. Look at the neo-Nazis, they've been around for a long time. They just cannot scale into any meaningful constituency, their ideas are weak. Love scales. People who love their country, love their ideals, love their values and love each other will always prevail against hate groups. Sometimes it takes a little while, but love always wins. At least in my belief system, and in the belief system of other Americans I know. Love Wins. MAGA

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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2017 @ 10:58pm

    The Dangerous Rise of Unproductive Hatred

    I've only been reading Techdirt this year, but I think I have a pretty good feel for it. See if any of you agree with me: Techdirt is mostly about hatred.

    Techdirt hates me, right, hard to argue with that. And Shiva, that's pretty clear. And Charles Harder, a lot of hatred there. And Trump, and his staff, right, hates all of them. And Thailand, clear hatred of another culture and country, very nasty hatred expressed and justified repeatedly. And Shipyard, and Disney, and Hollywood, right, and several other independent companies. And patents, patent examiners, and copyrights, and trademarks, hate those in pretty much every case. This is just off the top of my head. Most of this hatred has been expressed with very crude and sexual and toilet vocabulary, especially the word sh*t. Nasty hateful stuff in every direction.

    Who does Techdirt love? Who or what do you look up to, which country do you see as the best, who are the public or historical figures you admire, besides Chelsea?

    Or is your mission to produce and publicize Unproductive Hatred (for money), and nothing else?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 12:59am

    I'm all lost in the supermarket I can no longer shop happily

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsrEAWcAvRg

    it's not here it disappeared

    companies to support

    no darpa funding anywhere in there history
    no ca vc funding anywhere in there history
    no wallstreet funding anywhere in there history

    avoid all of those and you avoid several problems of fascism

    but fundamentally if your entire thing is information the only client is the state, yes advertisers, yes creditors, yes the state, yes this is all the state and they will be given access to you in a way you are not allowed to have, so ave fun with all of this I am pretty much out at this point have fun watching your children suffer

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    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 3:29am

    Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

    Mike, your article speaks to an idea, and little more. You say UEs are on the rise, there are more and more. Can you name any, say, three? If there are more and more, there must be at least three. Who are they, exactly, or are you just describing an abstract idea as if it actually exists? Telling a fairy tale, so to speak, about something in your imagination, rather than writing about something that actually exists in the real world that anyone should care about.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 4:30am

      Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

      This coming from the guy who insists there are thousands of inventors irreparably hurt by Techdirt and hasn't listed a single one besides Shiva. Still waiting on that list, Hamilton.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:01am

        Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

        Right, you hate me too, right, and want to discredit me based on what again, exactly? Techdirt doesn't hurt anybody with their uneducated hatred? Every time Techdirt bashes the patent system, it hurts every legitimate inventor in the US, IMHO, including me. Every time they advocate for the patent system to be abandoned, as they have done often, it hurts every legitimate inventor in the US. Every time they focus on the abuses, and ignore the obvious benefits and wealth creation that comes from the patent system, they hurt our whole country. Attacking the patent system hurts legitimate inventors, an important minority that deserves protection, including Shiva and myself. We deserve protection, we are a minority, and our lives matter, too. Inventor Lives Matter, you jerks. You know nothing about inventing or inventors, you know nothing about me or Shiva, only that you hate us for no legitimate reason. What do you not hate, anything, or is hatred your only currency?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

          I don't hate you; I simply find it amusing that you want to be taken seriously and have yet to put up any credentials that justify it. You put up praise for Shiva, which says very little about what you have actually done. If you did something substantial, instead of a patent that says "this is an analog thing, but on the Internet", sure, you deserve the credit. Until you show what that something is, a rational person would consider that you have no proof aside from a constantly repeated bluff.

          Yes, I know nothing about you, which is why you have been asked for evidence. If you choose not to provide it you get to be treated as though you don't have any.

          As for the abuses, if you don't want your reputation tarnished because of a few black sheep, rectify the problems that led to the abuses. Telling the media not to report on it is not going to improve your lot or make it go away.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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            Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

            I have a feeling that Mike is taking his situation seriously, I think Shiva has made sure of that. What do you think?

            From a high level, you see, there is something about morality that you just don't seem to recognize. That's OK, to each his own, but let me give it a go. I don't know Shiva, but he stands for the same values I stand for. So, I tend to support him as a fellow American. That's the kind of people we are, we support each other when we see shared American values.

            One of those values is free speech. Techdirt says over and over again it supports free speech, while simultaneously censoring content on their own web site. That's a moral issue, not a legal issue. You can dance around all day and say you have the legal right to do it, but you don't have the moral right, it's un-American and wrong. You don't have the moral right to attack Shiva, either, or Thailand, or TSA workers, or Policemen, or all the others that you attack. You have the legal right, but not the moral right.

            I don't expect you to understand this, it may be beyond your comprehension or ability, or maybe you just don't want to. But Americans understand it, and it will be Americans that Mike faces in court. MAGA

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

              I don't know Shiva, but he stands for the same values I stand for.

              I see, and that value is getting a piece of paper and using it to claim the credit and profit from the work of others.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                Well, let me clarify. Shiva has a PhD from MIT. That's an accomplishment that I recognize as a significant achievement, especially here in MA. He's an inventor, no one disputes that, and I recognize and celebrate his achievments, good for him, very American. He is outspoken in public settings, speaking to how he could provide better representation than Elizabeth Warren (Pocahontas), I recognize and celebrate his aspirations and obvious charm and skills of persuasion, very American. He has his own businesses, very American. His humor is delightful, very American. He looks like me (metaphorically), just better and smarter and more accomplished. I admire him, actually, we do that in America, we admire accomplished people.

                Who are you again? Who is Mike? Are either of you even American, or do you just support American Traitors? Who are your heroes? Who are you to say Shiva is not a hero to stand up to the abuse you hand out, far and wide? Do you really want to support this toilet, with sh*t smeared on every other article and comment? For heavens sake, why? MAGA

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 3:51pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                  Go back to Breitbart please.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 5:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                  All the garbage above and still no names.

                  You know what, Hamilton? It's funny that you should choose to use the term MAGA, given that it's the same term used by Nigerian 419 scammers whenever they realize they've been reverse-baited by the people they choose to defraud of money - it's a reaction of indignation and hatred in response to the people calling them out on their bluff, because their victims refused play along as the victim and surrender hard-earned money.

                  Is that why you're so invested in the patent system that you don't like it when people point out its flaws? Is that what you need to make your money? If so, I can understand why your reactions are so frequent and vitriolic. Just as the Nigerian scammer calls the scambaiter a maga, he responds based on his own foolishness to expect every Internet user to feed him free cash.

                  Nice try, maga.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:24pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                    I don't like it when people point out the flaws of the patent system and never point out its benefits. To me (and I think most educated Americans) that's just upside down. Every system has flaws, that's obvious. Your readership is primarily in the US, but what you publish is very anti-American and hateful. Your posters are not American, I counted exactly 1 when I asked who loves America. 1. What you have grown over the years is a small mob of disgusting and hateful followers that do not represent America at all. The neo-Nazis have done the same thing in a very similar way, with hate and censorship and stupidity. A small group of haters, that's not hard to inspire and support with censorship, as you have shown. Where are the Trump voters? Where are the people who love their own country? Not here, this place reeks of un-American propaganda and sh*t.

                    Why am I invested in the patent system? Seriously, my grandfather taught me about Edison, and Einstein, and Churchill, and King, and Gandhi. Heroes to him, heroes to me. And I studied patents, and inventions, and was inspired to try to be a great American myself. My successes are modest, but I worked very hard to try to emulate my heroes, both from my childhood and that I met as an adult. Dick Egan of EMC, he was a hero to me, with a huge pair of white shorts stuck on his wall with IBM printed at the bottom. You wouldn't understand that, but it was very funny. HK Desai, an Indian immigrant that changed the whole technology industry with a single vision about Fibre Channel. Inspirational. Many more great and inspiring Americans, showcasing not just their abilities and insight, but the great company that we live in.

                    Is this vitriolic? Am I a scammer, as you cast me? Am I asking for free cash, like taking a quarter million dollars to promote "free speech" while simultaneously silencing my critics? Who supports "journalism" more, Techdirt or me? Is my opinion not worthwhile or "worthy"? Should I be flagged and silenced and disconsidered? Am I bluffing? I don't think so.

                    I wave the American flag proudly, what do you wave, the black flag of Anti-Fa? I support the patent system and the copyright system and the trademark system proudly. What do you support? What is your message, actually, do you want to make America great? Or do you want to cripple America, steal our technology in the form of "open source" and hand it out to foreigners for nothing? Do you support American Citizens, like me and Shiva, or do you support anyone at all? What are you goals and aspirations, if I may ask. Who are your heroes? Nigerian scammers? Are you a Nigerian scammer, is that why you bring them up? Who are you, and what do you support? Anything? Any love in your heart, or only hatred?

                    MAGA.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:06pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                      First you accuse all who disagree with you as anti-Thai white supremacists. Now you accuse them of being anti-fascists. It seems there is no standard too low for you to stoop just to fling a little mud. And after all that, still no names of people hurt by Techdirt, or what you did that was so important it deserved a patent.

                      I don't hate you, Hamilton. I find it an interesting exercise, observing just how far a human brain can deteriorate in function until it ceases to be coherent and rational. Have fun with the fairies and tigers in the magical forest of your head, maga.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 7:17pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                        Yes, I love those fairies and Tajars (not tigers) and wood nymphs too, a lot. And I love my family history, and the Sons and Daughters of the Revolution, and the Sons and Daughters of the Mayflower, and the US Constitution and American history and Donald J. Trump (POTUS) warts and all. And apparently, I love to write (my Aunt was a poet) and express my feelings and beliefs, especially in this particular forum, it is incredibly satisfying. I makes me happy every time I do it.

                        It's a little sad that you won't speak to anything you love.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 9:17pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                          OK, so you don't have any love you can express, that's fine. How about a rational thought from you, then. Don't you think that the Techdirt editorial policy parallel's Hitler's editorial policy exactly? You both promote hate, you both silence dissent, you both appeal to people's dark ugly side with nasty defamatory rhetoric about people you don't even know or care to meet. Don't you think Hitler used exactly the same technique to persuade the minority of the German population to embark upon atrocities while the majority were kept silent? Tell me the difference between what you do now and what he did then. Do you love Techdirt at all, and on what basis? Or are you just another supremacist censor promoting hatred?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 10:04pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                            No response, that's OK too, I doubt Hitler would have responded either. You are probably hunkered down in your little bunker, hidden from sight, thinking your hateful thoughts and planning your hateful agenda. But we're coming for you, you can be sure of that. Americans are going to find you and surround you and defeat your hateful ideology of supremacism. I'm just a scout. We're coming for you, you'll see. MAGA

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 10:33pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                              No, it's because not everyone is as obsessed as you with responses, such that you have refresh a comment thread every hour and reply to yourself if you don't have a piece of bait to bastardize.

                              It is quite clear that you don't have a clue of what you're talking about, switching between calling me a supremacist to an anti-fascist and back to supremacist again - two utterly diametrically opposed people, just so you can fail to make a point (and throw in a little Godwin while you're at it, because that always makes for a convincing thesis).

                              Let me underscore it for you once again: your beloved President Trump loves supremacists. He built much of his support on their backs and now they're banging on his doorstep, calling to collect. He'd rather blame the mystical boogeyman of "alt-left" than suggest that the supremacists messed up, just like you who can't seem to detach yourself from this delusion that Techdirt is some magical, mystical alt-left collective. So if you want to end the hateful ideology of supremacism you'd have to start with the President - and that sounds like treason, don't you think?

                              Try not to let that logic pathway short circuit your patent-powered brain, maga.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 11:31pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                                Hey, you're promoting MAGA, that's progress, right? MAGA to you, too.

                                You are probably correct, I watch Techdirt more closely than most people. You are quite kind to respond, and I was wrong to infer you were not going to.

                                About my characterization of Techdirt as a Supremacist site, here is my rationale:

                                1) Your attacks on Thailand are based on Techdirt's belief in its supremacy to a whole country and a whole people. Who gave you the moral authority to judge them? You obviously hate them, just read the articles and the disgusting comments. The basis of your hatred appears to be your disagreement about their own laws about their own king. Why are you in a position to judge that, unless you believe yourself superior to them? You are not white supremacists (I don't know what color you are) you are Techdirt Supremacists.

                                2) You censor speech that does not align with your editorial policy, and explain as reasonable because you should be allowed to hate the speakers and the speech. Several people have confirmed that. You don't silence disgusting profanity ridden speech if it is consistent with your editorial policy. That's just wrong, it's Hitlarian. You should stop doing it altogether.

                                3) You promote the hatred of people you don't know, never met, and don't offer them even a modicum of respect or benefit of the doubt. Shiva, for example. Techdirt's public hatred of Shiva is a disgrace to all of you, that will soon be accounted for in a court of law. You promote the hatred of the police, the hatred of the TSA, the list is long and storied, you are a hate group that believes yourself superior to deeply ideologically committed Americans who risk their lives in support of the public good every day.

                                I did not mean to switch to calling a supremacist, my intention was to point out that you are a supremacist, which I have now done again. I also see the anti-Fa idiots as supremacists, they are supremacists in that they want to silence others in favor of their own agenda, without debate, just like Hitler did.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 12:05am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                                  You did say something about POTUS, so perhaps I could share with you one reason that I trust him and voted for him. In my career, I rose from nobody to being responsible for hundreds of people in a technology leadership position. I had a lot of really smart people working for me, people who could work anywhere they wanted. And, I had a job to get done, projects involving millions of lines of code and incredible feats of mechanical engineering with ever more frequent unexpected events, requiring a lot of sacrifice.

                                  In a similar way, Trump is a builder and a leader, he looks like one, he talks like one, he has a history of success, and I see some of myself in him. When you have to lead large groups of really smart people (either in Technology or construction or finance), there are not too many ways to do it and not fail. You can't force them, that won't work. You can't get them to actually sacrifice themselves to the alter of the product with threats, by defaming them, censoring them or belittling them. You have to inspire them, and they have to trust you, a trust that comes slowly and builds over time. You have to become known as a leader that people can rely on.

                                  Is Trump the most inspiring leader I can imagine? Frankly, no. But, among the choices available, his is a million times more inspiring that the next choice, Hillary Clinton. I have no common experience with her, and she looks like a criminal to me.

                                  So, that's my view of Trump - he looks like a success, he has a history of success, and he's a million times better than the other choices. So, Trump it is, God Bless Him and God Bless America.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 5:59pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

                                    All these supposed achievements and yet you still see it fit to spam to yourself on a comment thread on a website you consider insignificant and beg for its destruction... all the while still having no proof to justify anyone taking you seriously.

                                    As for defaming, censoring and belittling, Trump does all of that and more. And considering how little you think of girls by your accusations of other users as being girls, it's not hard to see why you'd appreciate a pussy-grabber for a president.

                                    Given that you've also done nothing to refute the points above, enjoy your supremacist president. It is a point that will be subsequently brought up every time you wish to paint the other users as supremacists to justify your flimsy, "valid" perspective.

                                    And if you consider the usage of "maga" as a success, get over yourself. I use the term frequently to describe fraudulent emails and phone calls. If you think being addressed as such in this context is a win for you, go ahead. It's a rather accurate analysis of your true character.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are the Unproductive Entrepreneurs?

              "I don't know Shiva, but he stands for the same values I stand for. So, I tend to support him as a fellow American."

              that's a hoot!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2017 @ 6:35am

    Oh god this comments section why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 20 Aug 2017 @ 4:04pm

      Re:

      Because trolls, and because too few people retain the old admonition DFTT.

      Or as someone (or some set of ones) used to put it, in old Techdirt comment threads: "Just flag and move on."

      For myself, while I rarely reply (even to respectable comments, much less to trolling), I also don't reflexively flag, even when it's clear from the ephemeral avatar icon that the poster is the same one who's been flag-worthy elsewhere in the same comments page; I consider each post individually.

      (And then usually wind up flagging it, because seriously, have you seen the posts this guy writes?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 5:19am

    Definition of Destructive Entrepreneur: Techdirt

    Baumol also includes destructive entrepreneurs, who are actively making the world worse -- and getting rich off of people's misery (think drug dealers, Techdirt Supremacists and such).

    Techdirt inflicts misery on inventors, foreign countries, movie makers, book writers, police, TSA, patent holders and complete strangers.

    Techdirt kind of screams destructive entrepreneurship, right? You guys make money based on nothing but hatred. You get rich off the misery of others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Aug 2017 @ 6:43am

    "Baumol also includes destructive entrepreneurs, who are actively making the world worse -- and getting rich off of people's misery (think drug dealers, and such). "

    Think organized crime, patent trolls and the MAFIAA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 7:44am

      You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

      And by patent trolls, you mean to specifically include every legitimate American inventor that ever asserted a patent, right? You want to equate the kind of worthless misery that Techdirt dishes out with the most celebrated and successful American inventors of all time, right? You are condemning every legitimate inventor who ever asserted a patent, right, with your ignorant and hateful phrase "patent troll". You, Ninja, you who specifically publicly defamed the Thai King with your hateful defamation. True to character, I see.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 9:46am

        Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

        Everything or nothing is strange place to live.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 11:36am

          Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

          Yeah - like there is nothing in between. Must be very complicated and confusing for that type of person.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 6:01pm

        Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

        Ah, the old "you're not allowed to call patent trolls patent trolls because it hurts my feelings" argument.

        If the term bothers you so much go complain about it to your congressman, judge, or whoever. It's a perfectly legal term with its place in the law books.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 9:35pm

          Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

          Really? I defy you to define it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 9:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

            Try to define patent troll without using a moral judgment. If your argument is based on your moral superiority, it's just crap. Do it, just try, anyone. Without assuming you know what is in someone's heart, which you don't. What is a patent troll, except a moral judgment of evil, which you are ill equipped too make, as a society of repressive censors.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2017 @ 11:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

              Well, this is the way I understand Techdirt's position:

              1. If you author a patent, and you have evil in your heart, then you are a patent troll, otherwise you are a patent author.

              2. If you own a patent, and you have evil in your heart, then you are a patent troll, otherwise you are a patent owner.

              3. If you try to license a patent, and you have evil in your heart, then you are a patent troll, otherwise you are a patent salesman.

              4. If you litigate a patent, and you have evil in your heart, then you are a patent troll, otherwise you are a patent litigant.

              What about the courts, do you think they are trolls too? If a decision goes in favor of upholding a patent, and they have evil in their hearts, then they are patent trolls, otherwise they are judges and juries.

              If you write about the benefits of patents and you have evil in your heart, then you are a patent troll, otherwise you are a historian.

              Pretty close to the Techdirt definition of patent troll, yes?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 3:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

                You could always try reading what Techdirt wrote about this, in a post titled Defining The Patent Troll, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141201/12034829287/defining-patent-troll.shtml, from almost three years ago.

                It includes a definition from IP Troll Tracker blog:

                Patent Troll, n -

                1/ A company or individual who, using patents that either never should have been issued or are broadly constructed (intentionally for the purpose of misuse, or as a result of poor USPTO patent examination practices), sends letters to various and sundry companies and/or individuals that simultaneously request license fees and threaten legal action if the recipient fails to respond correctly by paying up and who will, in the face of inaction by a demand letter recipient, actually file suit in Federal District Court, the District of East Texas being the most popular venue.

                2/ A company set up to act as a cover for large corporations who try to breathe new life into older patents which they would ordinarily let expire but, as a result of greed and/or pressure from Wall Street, have decided are ripe for assertion or litigation.

                3/ Intellectual Ventures

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 3:55am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

                  Same difference as evil your heart, right? "patents that should never have been issued", that's kind of in the eye of the observer, right? That's actually for a court to decide, or the USPTO, right? But if you ask them to decide, then you're a troll, right? Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Same for "actually file suit", that's pretty much everybody, that files suit, right? And "greed" is your definition of damnation too, right, your idea of greed?

                  You have said nothing at all except to reinforce my point. The term Patent troll is about good and evil, it's a childish word for a childish idea.

                  In the adult world, and we have a conflict, we go to court. If we're bad, the judge will tell us, I am sure of that. Having you amateurs pass judgment on the entirety of the US inventor community is just silly, right? You don't actually know anything about this, you just get paid to voice your stupid opinions, right?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 8:42am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

                    First -- the legal system has a definition of "patents that should never have been issued" -- they're patents the PTO granted even though they lacked subject matter validity (the whole concept of a "non-mathematical program" cannot be reconciled with the Curry-Howard correspondence), were obvious (if your average CS grad with a few years of experience under their belt could have whipped it up in their spare time, it's probably not patentable), or had valid prior art (that the PTO missed, either through myopia or hurriedness). (See Alice v . CLS Bank while you're at it.)

                    Second, in general, we can focus on a very specific category of problem entities when we talk about "patent trolls": those that assert patents without producing the patented product. If you're not going to use that limited monopoly to make money through the sale of the patented item yourself or go out upfront and license the patent to a producer or three, then you are a rentier in the economic sense of the term.

                    Finally -- have you seen some of the patents that get asserted by non-practicing entities these days?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 9:34am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

                      Hamilton believes that the podcasting patent should have been enforced, not revoked. So yes, he's seen the patents. He just thinks that "bad actors" are a figment of the alt-left imagination.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2017 @ 11:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't compare the misery of Techdirt with real inventors

              "Try to define patent troll without using a moral judgment. "

              Rounded corners

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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