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Muda69

Capitalism Has Improved Access to Entertainment

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https://reason.com/2020/01/22/capitalism-has-improved-access-to-entertainment/

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Reporters complain about business. We overlook the constant improvements in our lives made possible by greedy businesses competing for your money. Think about how our access to entertainment has improved.

"When I was a kid," says Sean Malone in a new video for the Foundation for Economic Education, "my TV broadcast options were PBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Depending on the weather, it was hit or miss whether or not they were even watchable."

1977 brought the first video rental store. "We literally had to rent a VCR along with two or three movies we could get on VHS from Blockbuster," Malone reminds us, pointing out how much changed. "Now just about anything I've ever wanted to watch is available at the click of a button."

Here's a short version I released this week of the FEE video. It wasn't government or big movie studios that made the amazing array of new options available. They dragged their feet. Malone points out that "the astounding wealth of home entertainment options we have today are the result of entrepreneurial start-ups, like Blockbuster."

Blockbuster letting people watch movies whenever we wanted was a big improvement. But people are ingrates about the things capitalism makes possible. In the 1990s, people complained that Blockbuster's chokehold on video entertainment was so strong that the company would be able to censor anything it didn't like.

Special sanitized versions of movies were distributed through Blockbuster. How would we ever get to see the movies as they were originally intended? Clearly, Blockbuster was a monopoly. Government should regulate "Big Videotape" and break up the Blockbuster monopoly!

Government didn't. Yet Blockbuster is now bankrupt. Its competitors offered so many better things.

That's something to think about now when people call Facebook and Google monopolies. A few years ago, people claimed Netflix had a monopoly.

But without government suppressing competition, Netflix had no way to maintain its temporary hold on the streaming market. Other companies caught up fast. Customers decide which businesses succeed and which ones fail.

This is why centrally planning an economy doesn't work. "Politicians and bureaucrats don't know what people are going to value," explains Malone. "They pick winners and losers based on what they want or what they think is going to earn them the most important allies."

Blockbuster's demise began when it charged a man named Reed Hastings $40 in late fees. That annoyed him so much, he started a subscription-based, mail-order movie rental company he called Netflix.

Then, Netflix made movies available online.

Now we have instant access to more entertainment than ever through Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., all for a fraction of the cost of the original Netflix.

Still, we complain. That's how it is with capitalism, and it's a wonderful thing. While we complain, entrepreneurs like Hastings invent faster, easier ways to get us what we want. Many offer us options we never knew we wanted, putting old giants out of business.

There is an economics lesson in that. When entrepreneurs face competition, they often lose, but the fights make life better for us consumers.

This process of old things being replaced by new and better ones was dubbed "creative destruction" by economist Joseph Schumpeter. We see creative destruction in every industry.

The first flip phone cost $1,000 and couldn't do the things we expect phones to do today. Competition drove further innovation. We got the Blackberry, and then the iPhone.

What amazing things will businesses come up with next?

Malone's video points out that the best way to find out is to keep government and central planning out of the mix.

Once government wades in with regulations, it tends to freeze the current model in place, assuming it's the best way to do things.

But the best way to do things is one that we haven't even thought of yet, produced by the endless creative process called competition.

Agreed.  Keep government out of the market as much as possible, and let entrepreneurs innovate and create.   All consumers will benefit, that has been proven. 

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5 hours ago, Muda69 said:

https://reason.com/2020/01/22/capitalism-has-improved-access-to-entertainment/

Agreed.  Keep government out of the market as much as possible, and let entrepreneurs innovate and create.   All consumers will benefit, that has been proven. 

Yeah - anti-capitalist types always get upset, but still want the best......

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Thoughts from a hipster coffee shop -  by Alyssa Ahlgren

“I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.

Our unappreciation is evident as the popularity of socialist policies among my generation continues to grow. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”

Never saw American prosperity. Let that sink in. When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth. Now, I’m not attributing Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s words to outright dishonesty. I do think she whole-heartedly believes the words she said to be true. Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided. My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity. I know this first hand, I went to college, let’s just say I didn’t have the popular opinion, but I digress.

Let me lay down some universal truths really quick. The United States of America has lifted more people out of abject poverty, spread more freedom and democracy, and has created more innovation in technology and medicine than any other nation in human history. Not only that but our citizenry continually breaks world records with charitable donations, the rags to riches story is not only possible in America but not uncommon, we have the strongest purchasing power on earth, and we encompass 25% of the world’s GDP. The list goes on. However, these universal truths don’t matter. We are told that income inequality is an existential crisis (even though this is not an indicator of prosperity, some of the poorest countries in the world have low-income inequality), we are told that we are oppressed by capitalism (even though it’s brought about more freedom and wealth to the most people than any other system in world history), we are told that the only way we will acquire the benefits of true prosperity is through socialism and centralization of federal power (even though history has proven time and again this only brings tyranny and suffering).

Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism. Why? The answer is this, my generation has ONLY seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like not to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.

With the current political climate giving rise to the misguided idea of a socialist utopia, will we see the light? Or will we have to lose it all to realize that what we have now is true prosperity? Destroying the free market will undo what millions of people have died to achieve.

My generation is becoming the largest voting bloc in the country. We have an opportunity to continue to propel us forward with the gifts capitalism and democracy has given us. The other option is that we can fall into the trap of entitlement and relapse into restrictive socialist destitution. The choice doesn’t seem too hard, does it?” Amen and Amen

Alyssa Ahlgren

Cheers........

 

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2 minutes ago, swordfish said:

We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.

 

Off topic for this thread but I agree.  Why is it the business of government to guarantee "prosperity" for everyone?

 

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43 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Off topic for this thread but I agree.  Why is it the business of government to guarantee "prosperity" for everyone?

 

Let them eat cake.

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17 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Every time I see one of these threads I think of this-

TSWN1Hj_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&f

I don't get the reference.  Sorry.

 

13 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Let them eat cake.

If they buy it or make it themselves, yes.  Why should government automatically provide the free cake?

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10 hours ago, Muda69 said:

If they buy it or make it themselves, yes.  Why should government automatically provide the free cake?

Were all of your social studies teachers worthless?

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12 hours ago, Muda69 said:

If they buy it or make it themselves, yes.  Why should government automatically provide the free cake?

I’m not a big fan of Brioche, and don’t really care about the French.

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21 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

I’m not a big fan of Brioche, and don’t really care about the French.

Image result for freedom fries

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12 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

Were all of your social studies teachers worthless?

Compared to your social studies greatness, probably.  Will you please teach me all you know?

Again, why should government automatically provide the free cake?  I personally like cake,  but I realize it's my responsibility as an adult to purchase it, not have it given to me,  paid by the forced largesse of taxpayers.

 

 

Edited by Muda69
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