Tag Archives: money

Communism & Socialism

I was thinking about it, and why are Communism and Socialism bad?

I don’t know about other “Western” countries, but the US tends to view the two things in a very negative light. Communist even being a derogatory term, no doubt stemming from the Cold War where it likely meant something akin to traitor.

But what’s really so bad about it? We tend to crusade for Democracy, but Democracy has absolutely nothing to do with Communism or Socialism. It’s Capitalism which is the difference, and even a Capitalist state needs some form of socialism. Medicare, or universal healthcare as most wealthy nations have it, is a form of Socialism. It’s a very critical part of society, and it’s Socialism. In fact, so is Welfare. Actually, I think they’re moreso part of Communism than Socialism, albeit Communism is Socialism just taken a step further is it not?

So what’s so bad about Socialism and Communism, really?

From what I understand, the distinctions are: From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds (socialism). From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs (communism).

People say, well, it just leads to the oppression of civil rights. Why do the governed get no say? Why would Democratic Communism not work? Remember: Democracy is a system of government, Communism & Socialism are economic policies – it just so happens that most Communist states end up ran by Dictators. I think that most people forget this.

I think a limited Communist state would work. A Democratic (or rather Geniocratic, as I’d prefer it) government, and a Capitalistic free market for the majority of the economy. Then, the top x% that make more than $y, that money would instead go back into the system and be dispersed among the rest or used for the Socialist/Communist programs such as welfare, healthcare, and education.

For instance, that whole “we are the 99%” movement for the redistribution of wealth of those with the top 1% of wealth that made surplus of $506,000 annually – because who needs more than that, really?

We have executives making $XXm+ a year, atheletes making $XXXm+ a year, celebrities and music artists making $Xm+ a year… these are clearly not the most important members of society, but rather just the top end of consumption. But the problem with a pure capitalistic state, in my opinion, is that without caps on wealth then the wealth of a nation just stagnates in the coffers of a small percentage of the wealthy while the rest of the nation state suffers.

So what I’d do is say… if your income is more than x% than the average annual income then any excess wealth will then be redistributed back into the population, in large part going to fund socialist programs (healthcare, welfare, education), but the remainder redistributed.

It could be done through taxes, where the wealthy get a very severe tax beyond a certain income, and the redistribution is done for others via a tax credit in a proportional equal amount depending on their reported income after the socialist programs.

It would be, basically, a more extreme version of our current system… just with caps and limiting of economic loopholes. I mean if you made $500,000 annually, I don’t think anyone would be able to say you were bad off… but you wouldn’t be so far above the rest of the population that you controlled a majority stake in the entire economy.

What do you think? I mean I’m not an economist, but it sounds good to me.

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Why was MegaUpload really shut down?

Why was MegaUpload really shut down?

In December of 2011, just weeks before the takedown, Digital Music News reported on something new that the creators of #Megaupload were about to unroll. Something that would rock the music industry to its core. (http://goo.gl/A7wUZ)

I present to you… MegaBox. MegaBox was going to be an alternative music store that was entirely cloud-based and offered artists a better money-making opportunity than they would get with any record label.

“UMG knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called Megabox.com, a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations directly to consumers while allowing artists to keep 90 percent of earnings,” MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz told Torrentfreak

Not only did they plan on allowing artists to keep 90% of their earnings on songs that they sold, they wanted to pay them for songs they let users download for free.

“We have a solution called the Megakey that will allow artists to earn income from users who download music for free,” Dotcom outlined. “Yes that’s right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works.”

Source: Shauna Myers – Google+

Now, I dunno what to make of this. But, it certainly gives them a pretty good reason to go after them now. But! They did say that they’ve been planning it for 2 years now, so this may just be some crackpot conspiracy theory. Though, I’m sure it may have played a part. It’s definitely not like the entire 2 years of preparation was with the foresight of this though.

So anyways, there you have it. The plot thickens…

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Big business companies like the MPAA and RIAA are hell bent to sue the living shit out of people engaging in acts of digital piracy – Soccer moms and little Timmy included. The reasons they give for this is that they lose substantial amounts of income and stealing is wrong.

Well, you know what? You’re greedy little fucks. That’s what.

These organizations already make massive amounts of profits. They just want even more.

But, alright. Stealing is wrong. Let me explain what the problem with all of this is though… You see, these big corporations and organizations… their problem is that they’re stuck in the past. They’re pushing the same old business models they have for decades now and are expecting to keep doing well. Well, Newsflash: The world changes. You can either adapt to your consumer base or die.

Piracy exists for 2 reasons: 1) Money. 2) It’s in the format the consumers want. Now, I’m gonna go into this a little bit.

First of all, the money aspect. Yes, money. When you get right down to it, these companies are greedy as fuck. We’re in a Recession – is that what they’re calling it? Seems more to me like a Depression to be honest. We’re so far in debt right now that we may never climb out. The amount of money we owe doesn’t even exist it’s so much! Right, right… sorry, getting a little sidetracked here. What was I saying..? Ah, right, money…

Yes well, you see… When you charge $1 per song, and assuming minimum wage is somewhere around $8 (which, let’s be honest… it’s a bit less than that), then that’s about 8 songs you could get per 1 hour worked. Now, these 8 songs… let’s be very generous and say they’re 4 minutes long each (realistically, they may be 2-3 minutes long even). So, these 8 songs… They provide a total of 32 minutes of listening. But let’s go ahead and round down to 30, since we know most won’t be 4 minutes anyways so we have a nice clean figure. Okay, so 30 minutes. For 1 hour of work you get 30 minutes of music. You see the problem here?

Why the hell do songs cost so fucking much?!

I can listen to the radio all day every day – for fucking free! That’s right, absolutely free. And these bastards want to charge $1 per song?! What the hell is wrong with these greedy fucks… No, I digress. That’s rhetorical, and answered in and of itself. They’re greedy fucks, obviously.

The disparity between work and enjoyment should not be so strewn. But okay, that’s just music. I’ll get a little into more of why this is ridiculous a little later.

Movies are up next. Yes, movies. A movie provides about 1-2 hours of enjoyment, probably averaging somewhere around 1hr 30m, correct? I think that’s a fairly safe statement to make. For that, you’re looking at about $10-15 or so. For physical media, that’s fairly understandable. We’re getting closer now.

Games. You pay ~$50-70 for a computer game. Whether you buy the physical media (getting the box, game burned to dvd(s), instruction manual, and what have you), or if you purchase a digital edition and just download it online, that price does not change. Herein lies the problem.

Do you really think they need to charge that much money for a piece of digital media? They have no manufacturing costs, no shipping costs, no packaging costs. Nothing. Maybe bandwidth, but not enough to justify the same price.

This first aspect, the money aspect, is the reason people pirate things. They’re getting fucking ripped off, and we’re in a recession. We don’t have that kind of money to throw around on entertainment. That’s not the consumer’s problem, that’s the entertainment industry’s problem. If you don’t address the problem, then obviously something like piracy will crop up.

Anime. Anime is a big one. The Japanese just can’t understand why their products don’t sell here. They charge about $30-90 per series, and then they wonder what went wrong. Okay, I can watch an anime series in about a day or 2. Say I watch 1,000 series – not that unrealistic, if I did 1 a day it could happen in a couple years. That’s $90,000 – just on a little bit of entertainment!

The worst part is, and this is really getting into our second issue: Format. The companies aren’t even offering what the people want. Anime is a great example. When they go to sell Anime here in the US, they do it with plain yellow subs. When you look at what the people are watching, it’s white subs, sometimes with a stroked border in a color of perhaps the hair of the character that is speaking. Then there’s fancy karaoke/song subs and the text/signs are actually given an effort to blend into the animation itself so it actually looks like it’s a part of it and not just a translation on the screen. That’s what people want.

But not just that, but most people don’t want physical media. They want digital media. They have to charge a large premium for the physical media because it takes so many damn DVD’s or Bluray discs and packaging to be able to distribute it, and there are costs associated with all of that. In the end though, it’s put on the consumer.

Let’s look at it this way… You have Cable, you watch Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. How much do you pay for that channel per month? Like what, $10 a month (but you get not just those channels but a shitload of others too)? Yeah okay, and you can watch that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 31 days a month.

So why is it that we can pay less than $10 a month to watch all of this animated entertainment, 744 hours a month worth, and then we have to pay $90 for about 480 minutes? Do you not see a problem with this? Because I do. That’s about 8 hours by the way. 744 vs 8. $10 vs $90. I mean damn, wouldn’t you expect the prices to be reversed? I sure as hell would, but they aren’t. Cause nobody in their right fucking mind is going to pay $90 a month for 1 TV channel. It gets worse. If we want to match those 744 hours of entertainment by purchasing the series, then we have to purchase a staggering 93 of them. Do you want to know how much that would cost? $8,370. I didn’t miss a decimal place there. 8 thousand and 3 hundred dollars.

Do you even make $8,370 a month? I sure as hell don’t. I make $10 a month though – I could pay that.

And I mean, this is what the problem is… These companies are fucking retarded, and they’re ripping us all off, and I mean bad. I guess we’re still talking about money though, aren’t we?

But I guess these things go fairly hand-in-hand.

The reason they can’t sell, the reason that so many people pirate is because they aren’t selling what people want for the prices people want. Now, don’t try to twists this around like “well everyone wants a Ferrari, should you just be allowed to go and steal one because they’re too expensive?” It’s not like that. This is digital media. There are costs for productions, but bandwidth is incredibly cheap, especially when you look at technologies like Bittorrent.

People want digital media, and they want to pay a price relative to what they’re getting.

You know what? Back in the day, you could watch something on TV or listen to something on the radio, pop in a tape if you like it and record it. Watch it again any time you want, as much as you want. It was quite popular. You know, those things called VCR’s that existed back in ancient times. But now, you do that and oh no, it’s not okay anymore. Now that’s stealing! That’s piracy! Something is morally wrong with you, you horrible despicable person!

I mean, really? Are these people serious?

I tell you what though, things like Netflix where you pay a subscription fee to watch as many movies a month as you want, that’s a step in the right direction.

The problem is, they think that if you do that… you watch the movie once, maybe a few times, then send it back. It’s renting, y’know, or streaming. The problem is, they don’t realize people can use the same methods they did back in the VCR era. We can rip those DVD’s and Blurays right onto our computers into a nice fancy little mkv format and watch it any time we want.

Don’t think people do it? Well lemme tell you, they do. How do you think piracy even spreads? Someone has to be getting this physical media and ripping it in the first place to even spread the digital media. It’s the same thing we as consumers have been used to for decades now. It’s how society has evolved.

The problem is that these corporations and organizations aren’t evolving with the rest of us. They want more money, they don’t want to change.

If there was a subscription service that allowed you to listen to as much music as you wanted every month (and your choice of music too), watch whatever movies you want, watch whatever TV or Anime series you want, do you have any idea how substantially piracy would drop?

Hell, you could even drop it into categories. Movies – $10 a month. Music – $10 a month. Anime – $10 a month. You pay $30 a month. A decent amount, but reasonable enough. People would do this, and it would be fair.

Not only that, but all of these hundreds of millions of things pirated for absolutely no profit to the company at all, they would suddenly be making profits off of all of these people that decided to subscribe to this, because it’s legal and because it’s convenient.

People don’t mind paying for a product when the price is reasonable, it’s the product they want, and it’s convenient for them.

Sure, some people may still pirate things. But a substantial chunk of people wouldn’t feel a need to anymore. And once a system like that is in place, then they could crack down on piracy.

Why? Because it wouldn’t be needed anymore.

The reason why any crackdown on piracy will. not. work. right now is because it is necessary. If they try to stomp it out, it will just pop back up even harder and stronger.

It’s like trying to kill fleas. You can kill them one at a time, you can even vacuum and bomb your house. It may kill them out for awhile, but your pet that walks outside and comes back in with a ton of fleas on it, it’s going to bring the same problem right back.

You have to get rid of the root of the problem to eliminate the problem or it’s just going to keep cropping up. The problem isn’t that people are stealing things. Why do people steal things? They don’t do it for no reason. I just mentioned the reasons it happened earlier above. They fix that, then they fix piracy.

It’s like The Prohibition. You try to outlaw booze, it only makes it even more popular. The harder you crack down, the harder the people fight back. What you have to do is legalize it and regulate it, and that’s what needs to happen with the entertainment industries.

The practice is downloading whatever people want, as much as they want. This needs to be sanctioned and it needs to be at an affordable price. If people could do this with a reasonable price tag then there would be no reason for piracy, just like there would be no reason to smuggle moonshine if you could just stroll down to the corner store and get a pack of Bud.

We’re in a Recession. Just because you have it available doesn’t mean people are going to buy it. You have to take that into account. The price needs to be reasonable, and the format needs to be what the consumers want.

When you offer a product the consumers want with a price tag they can afford, you’ll get your profits. You’ll get your business.

Learn to adapt, evolve. Figure out how the world works.

On another tangent, it would probably be a better idea to take a cue from the Television and Radio industries and instead of having to charge people so much, you can have sponsored advertisements that cover the costs and make you a profit and allow people to get the products and entertainment they want for either much cheaper than it would be, or for free. This could be an alternative to the 10-10-10 a month deal. Either 10-10-10 and no adverts, or you can have a ton of adverts and get it for free, or at least much cheaper. Free sounds nice though, dunnit? Anyways, some food for thought.

-Tiff out.~

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