Monday, December 19, 2005

No reason to vote / Rich snobs hate Wal-Mart

Freakonomics is on our side, at least against voting :

Still, people do continue to vote, in the millions. Why? Here are three possibilities:

1. Perhaps we are just not very bright and therefore wrongly believe that our votes will affect the outcome.

2. Perhaps we vote in the same spirit in which we buy lottery tickets. After all, your chances of winning a lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar. From a financial perspective, playing the lottery is a bad investment. But it's fun and relatively cheap: for the price of a ticket, you buy the right to fantasize how you'd spend the winnings - much as you get to fantasize that your vote will have some impact on policy.

3. Perhaps we have been socialized into the voting-as-civic-duty idea, believing that it's a good thing for society if people vote, even if it's not particularly good for the individual. And thus we feel guilty for not voting.

Of course, they don't go so far as to use this as an argument against democracy, or understand its anti-individualist implications... but it's a start.

Cafe Hayek reports that "more than half of those polled in a Zogby International poll think Wal-Mart is bad for America".

The majority, or 56 percent, picked: "I believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost for consumers." Thirty-nine percent agreed that "Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day."

Their conclusion :

My hat is off to the unions and Wal-Mart's competitors. Through a relentless media campaign, they have achieved something I would have thought nearly impossible. They have managed to convince a majority of Americans (assuming the poll is well done) that a company that has lowered prices throughout the retail sector, employs a million people and that has created tremendous wealth through the innovative use of technology is actually a bad thing.

It's a sad state of affairs, but not surprising in a collectivist culture where the good of the individual is desecrated.


Suicidolt said...

hear hear More wal-marts, less bull-sh*t. It is, sadly, depressing that economics has been attributed solely to accountants these days.

Francois Tremblay said...

Are you still here, anti-choice Buddhist collectivist ? Are you just a glutton for punishment ?

Suicidolt said...

As an individual, I refuse to leave your site at the whims of an idiot. Clearly the fact that you think that buddhists are incapable of being individuals is enough to show that the only redeming quality you have is being a libertarian (if you even qualify there).

Francois Tremblay said...

Shut the fuck up. Seriously.

Suicidolt said...

Am I supposed to be scared of the poor atheist? Do you go to bed at night crying because you think there's nothing after you die? I've heard it all before (dated an atheist) and you know as well as I do that the "nothing after you die" logic is just as crappy as 'Corpse Bride'. What a terrible movie. Oh, and why do you guys think we shouldn't vote? I'm gonna go read into that.

Zachary Moore said...

I bought Freakonomics for my wife's birthday, and read it myself. There's a lot of interesting stuff there. In the book, he also concludes that the amount of money spent on a campaign doesn't affect a candidate's chances for winning.

I like the analysis of voting costs. I wonder, though, that since the biggest drop in mail-in participation seen in Switzerland was seen in rural areas, does this mean that there wasn't a decrease in urban areas? I wonder how internet voting would affect participation in large American cities like N.Y. or L.A.

demonsthenes said...

Explain again why I shouldn't vote?

Francois Tremblay said...

Because voting is a sanction of government and social warfare, and therefore is morally wrong. Duh.

demonsthenes said...

..morally wrong? What if the messiah of individualist ideology comes along and runs for president. Would you then vote?

Niels said...

That's quite a nice contradiction, demo