Dispatches From the Moderate Left

Friday, July 29, 2005

Quote(s) of the Week

I put these in a trilogy of "America the depressing":

America's fat problem is a metaphor for our economic troubles: We are too flabby to compete in a cutthroat global economy. But instead of seeing our obesity as a crisis, maybe it's time we recognized it as an opportunity—the rare chance for the United States to dominate a new industry...

The beauty of the American economy—and its enduring edge over the rest of the world—is the way companies large and small nimbly adjust to meet the demands of consumers. So it is no surprise that niche businesses have arisen to serve the our fattening population. (Slate)

(No, this is an example of the the true beauty of the American economy - its ability to manufacture desires and create entire industries out of manufactured dependence. See: Tobacco, oil, neuro-pharmacology, planned obsolescence, entire classes of disease/drugs and branding in general)

Nothing, however, quite approaches the actions of a New York resident called Lew Tucker who, despite having a PhD in computer science, threw out a perfectly good desktop PC because it was full of spyware, adware and viruses, and bought a new one. (The Age)

(When an economist tells you that people are rational - and they all assume that - please don't believe it)

Transurban is also part of a consortium named as preferred bidder for a $US900 million project to install "high occupancy toll" (HOT) lanes in a 22-kilometre segment of the so-called I-495 Capital Beltway in northern Virginia.

HOT lanes — nicknamed Lexus lanes — are designed for drivers who would prefer to pay a toll to avoid more congested non-toll lanes. (The Age)

(Note that the phrase "would prefer to pay" is classic economic blindness to the difference between willingness to pay and (practical) ability to pay)


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