The Douche Bag Society

Inevitably, whenever I write about the new economy or new technology, I get responses like this one from reader Fred Z, taking me to task for challenging his assumptions about the morality of the new economy. Fred likes the fact he can grind his local vendors into poverty, by ordering his stuff from a stranger in America on-line. No one wants to be thought of as a bad guy, so he has bought into the neo-libertarian moralizing about so-called free trade and globalism. He’s not screwing his neighbor. He’s efficient!

Fred does not think of himself as a bad person for buying on-line, rather than buying locally. No one does. Every day we are told by our betters, through the mass media, that the only thing that matters is that you get what you want, when you want it, at the price you want it. The defining feature of the modern economy is that anything resembling value-added is stripped away, in order to turn it into a commodity. Once everything is just a commodity, then the only decision is price and when you can have it.

This is a big part of the libertarian fantasy. Everyone is a deracinated economic unit. The only engagement between humans is transactional. Fred Z feels no obligation to buy from a local vendor or even buy from a countryman. He’s just getting what he wants, when he wants it at the price he wants. His only concern is himself. If the people he ends up buying from are homicidal lunatics, that’s not his concern. If his decision to buy from strangers means his neighbors fall into poverty, then maybe his neighbors should just die.

The marketplace has always been a ruthless and unsentimental part of the human condition. The ancient Persians looked at the Greek agora as a festival of liars, robbing from brothers and neighbors. From the Persian perspective, haggling over price and quality was just one person trying to swindle the other, by telling lies to the other. The seller lied about the product and what he would take for it. The buyer lied about his opinion of it and how much he was willing to trade for it. They were right, the market is built on lies.

It is also why human societies have always put limits on what can happen in the marketplace. Life is all about the trade-offs. The socialists think they get better trade-offs with a highly regulated state economy where the excesses of the marketplace are constrained. Free market types think the trade-offs are better with much less control over market activity. They are both right to a point. That point is determined by how the people of a society want to live. What they want of themselves determines what they permit.

In the 1980’s, it was often remarked by Progressives that the Scandinavian countries made socialism work. They had high tax rates and very low amounts of inequality. The liberals were careful not to talk about it too much for fear people would notice that these countries were all white. The culture of the white people that made up these countries had a long tradition of egalitarianism and sharing so socialism worked for them. The trade-offs they preferred reflected what they loved and what they hated about the human condition.

That’s the debate we will have to have about neo-liberalism. Fred Z loves that he can get cheap stuff on-line, but he is not thinking about the trade-offs. The rich people who rule over us do think about the trade-offs, which is why they ruthlessly support a system that socializes costs and privatizes profits. The trouble for guys like Fred Z and everyone reading this is that we’re on the other side of the equation from those rich guys. We’re the ones on whom those socialized costs fall. We are getting the bill for all this.

Think about it this way. Law enforcement requires society to employ bad people to deal with the criminal element. It’s why even today, most cops are horrible people and prison guards are sociopaths. Policing deviant humans is an unpleasant task that is best done by unpleasant and cruel people, who take some pleasure in the task. Few of us could work in a prison and most of us would never want to do the things cops do every day. It also means law enforcement people get to do things the rest of us are prohibited from doing.

Even libertarians understand the necessity of having cops and jails, but they will argue that we have gone too far in an effort to make society safe. The cops have too much power and the state abuses the rights of too many people. The trade-offs are not acceptable, so libertarians argue for things like drug legalization. The costs of the police state far outweigh the costs of additional addicts. Whether or not you accept that, you have to accept the premise, that there are trade-offs and they should be debated.

The douche bag is someone that is self-absorbed and has a high time preference. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. At some level, he knows this is at odds with the rest of humanity so he takes some pleasure in annoying others. This feedback tells him he is serving himself and thus living up to his douche bag code. It’s why the douche bag laughs and mocks normal people when they point out that he is being a douche. It’s validation that he is being all the douche he can be. He’s the giant douche.

That’s what is at the heart of the global marketplace. Fred Z can be a colossal douche nozzle to his friends and neighbors, but call it mere consumerism. His friends and neighbors will eventually return the favor. The marketplace, instead of being confined to one area of our life is coming to define our lives and our common humanity. We live in an era when the stepinfetchits of the billionaire class can gleefully talk about killing poor people or deporting them. We are on the way to being a douche bag culture.

108 thoughts on “The Douche Bag Society

  1. I don’t read your posts much anymore because you and I have different opinions and you tend to denigrate rather than disagree.

    But I dropped by today and read this rant about poor little me.

    I don’t really care because I’m entirely anonymous.

    But I did think that simple conservative courtesy would have required you to send me a copy of this vicious little attack before publishing and offer me a chance to respond.

    Perhaps my ideas of courtesy differ from yours.


    • No, you’re just a coward who waited until the activity ended and then you chimed in. That’s why I picked you as the jumping off point. A society of people like you ends quickly as decent people soon tire of your act. Being a selfish d-bag works for you because you live in a world of decent human beings and a still reasonably sane society. It can carry dead weight like you. But, a world of assholes like you would fall into chaos.

      Good riddance.

  2. Stephens metamorphosis from neocon douche nozzle in the WSJ to the latest housebroken conservative mega-douche nozzle in the NYT seems all together fitting – it’s the role he was born to play. Stephens thinks he’s pretty darn clever with his Jewish anti-White snark, which he auditioned against Trump and Trump voters during the campaign (and which probably explains how he landed his gig at the Slimes) but doesn’t always quite grasp where his rapier wit is leading him, such as the opening of his latest, which Z has linked above:

    “In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system.

    They need to return whence they came.”

    My first thought on reading this: So Bret wants to send the darkies back to Africa?

  3. The vast majority of people don’t actually live anywhere near something resembling a “local” shopping center or downtown. Malls supplanted locally owned and operated retail decades ago. Much of what was left, WalMart crushed into a fine powder. Restaurants are somewhat of an exception, but that often depends on where you live as well. If you live someplace new, you’re going to find chain restaurants, which means “buying local” at an eatery probably will involve some driving.

    In fact, I can’t actually “buy local” whatever the hell “local” means these days, seeing as how I can get in my car and drive 60 miles to Denver in well under an hour which is less time than it took Old MacDonald to get on his horse and ride to town 85 years ago.

    Many months ago ZMan asked what the next big thing would be. I maintain that Logistics – the ability to quickly match a customer to a purchase to a location with minimal delays – will be a major revolution. That may, in fact, help revive “local” shopping since it has the potential to eliminate the petting zoo problem that many local shops face. i.e. See/Try it in the store, buy it for 30% less online, but wait a week. Being able to pick it up that day at that store would change a lot of what we call “shopping” today.

    Also, as a lot of “things” get commoditized, there will be an emerging market for experience-based venues. An example might be Wolf Lodge (the place with the pools and built-in hotels and restaurants), but really any downscale Disney would do. We have millions of acres of shopping malls about to go under. Convert them to hotels with entertainment (movies, rides, restaurants, etc.) and you’ve got a whole new market. All you need is energy production and Logistics to keep the place running.

    People can pay for it with the disposable income they’ve accrued by buying pants on Amazon instead of a 15% market up Penney’s.

  4. Have any of you lived in an area where the local merchant was the only place for miles around (back in the pre-internet days)? I have. I have gone into a local place to purchase items I needed for my job, items that other workers passing by also needed. And I’ve had the merchant refuse to order them.

    And there was the small grocery store in the middle of nowhere, literally a 40 mile trip to the nearest place. He sold 6 packs of pop for $5, beer for $8, back in the 80s. He had a sign inside that read:

    “This is not Burger King. You don’t get it your way. You get it my way or get out.”

    I will try to buy locally, if it is easy to do and they carry what I want. If not, I buy online. Since I will be moving back out to the boonies again, I suspect I will be doing more online shopping.

    • I just got charged $9 and change for a pint of cream and a bag of noodles, from my “local” store.

  5. Well…
    I needed a new pair of coveralls, planning to remove a tree covered in poison ivy and I’m super sensitive.

    Went to WalMart, the girl in the Men Department (English wasn’t her first language) nodded when I asked where to find the work coveralls and I followed her to where she showed me; Bathrobes. I indicated that wasn’t what I wanted and tried to explain again. She nodded and beckoned me to follow her again; she showed me to the rugs.

    Went to Home Depot, dude there knew what a coverall was; $80 a pair.

    Finally ordered a ‘Dickies’ coverall ($26) from Amazon. Paid with points from a credit card I got years ago. No money sent to Amazon.

    I buy a lot from Church thrift stores and flea markets, more value left in old American made clothes and tools than in any ‘New’ Chinese made POS.

    What’s my final score?

    • Brick and mortar is dead. That was not the point of my post. The point was that a system that results in deracinated economic units is a society composed of douche bags, defined as people who are entirely self-absorbed and have no loyalty or empathy for their fellows.

  6. My local best buy had three digital tv antennas. Amazon has about 40 plus reviews from some reasonably smart people not on commission.

    Only a douche would order pizza delivered when he could save the tip money by driving to Dominos in rush hour traffic.

    Maybe Amazon should allow us to add a delivery tip.

    Load me up with vinegar and water, boys. I’m ready to be what God made me.

    • Yours is a good example of how the public schools have failed us. I rather clearly wrote that buying on-line does not make you a douche. It’s the new economic model that turns all of us into douche bags.

  7. Today it might be the consumer who is the douche but what about the wealthy small business owner? There are plenty of examples in every community of restaurant owners, bar owners, plumbers, painters, electricians, used car dealers, jewelers, or morticians that make much more than the average resident of the community. Do they get a free pass for their higher-than-local-average incomes yet the residents are labeled douches if they try to find better values elsewhere?

    • I recently moved house and do not yet have the required infrastructure of services in place.
      We had a plumber replace a sink faucet- something I’d have done in an hour a few years ago before my knees were replaced. He didn’t submit a bill at the time and insisted on mailing one.

      When we got it he was basically charging about $140 per hour.
      If you go online you can find a video of how to change the in-cabin air filter in less than 4 minutes, your locally owned Midas will charge $30 for the labor: Midas is an apt name everything they touch turns to gold and it’s your gold.

  8. .” ” Law enforcement requires society to employ bad people to deal with the criminal element ” ”
    Yikes ! Harsh stuff Z-man . Actually most LE start out as your All-American kid . 30+ years dealing with societies evil anyone will make anyone jaded.

    At one time the job attracted more than it’s fair share of bullies, but that’s all changed. However with growing tensions , a bad econemy, exploding mohameds, etc folks might wish those old cops were still around.

    Anyways it is sad to see our local economy being decimated by the “douchebag” mentality. Lappens was a local auto parts store with great people. They had invaluable knowledge thanks to their years behind the counter and half the fun was visiting these colorful characters.

    I gladly paid a little extra to support local buisness and get better service

    The big chain stores have killed that. Now some nit-wit asks you if it’s a 4 door when ordering a water pump. Have become a de facto douchebag by way of corporate america and now just order everything online 🙁

  9. You have the strangest view of cops Mr. Man. I’ve dealt with a good number as a public defender and as a traffic offender and they are quite unlike your characterization. Prison guards the same, at least in county jail. Nice people doing a tough job.

    Where do you get this garbage?

  10. ” Law enforcement requires society to employ bad people to deal with the criminal element. It’s why even today, most cops are horrible people…”

    “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?”, he said, incredulously.

  11. Buying local is asking an awful lot of rural America. Even in the old days, “Main Street” was kind of a myth, and now its unrecoverable. There are simply not enough people even in the county seat to support stores that carry anything other than daily needs and perishables: food, gas, cigarettes etc.

    In rural America if I want a gas weed eater I have plenty of local options. If I want a golf club I have only whatever garbage Wal-Mart is selling. And 50 years ago I would have had a local merchant ordering the club for me from a catalog, which is just Amazon with a middle-man and an 8 week delay. How is that guy entitled to a living at my expense?

    Without e-commerce, rural Americans are beholden to the limited tastes of those around them, whatever Wal-Mart can sell sufficient amounts of in their race to the bottom tier of consumers. A lot of the bobo class’ tastes are ridiculous but we shouldn’t have to settle for Great Value brand either. Take away e-commerce and everybody with tastes or interests above those of Wal-Mart clientele will have added incentive to flee for the cities even at greater housing expense. This certainly won’t improve rural America.

    If anything, rural America needs a giant expansion of broadband in the vein of the old Southern electrification projects, bringing the convenience and affordability of the global market to them. Thats what would benefit the actual people living there.

  12. Spent this weekend up at my daughter’s graduation at UC Davis. Hit the local farmer’s market, more veggies and fewer potions and bottles, as it is a farming area. Watching these small farmers work so hard (both growing and selling) for just a few dollars in return. If they don’t have a good selling day, it’s going to be hard to even cover the gas bill for driving in and back home again. The small shopkeepers in town, also working very hard, mostly seem to be working to pay the monthly to the landlord, if you get into frank conversations with them.

    On the way home, we passed by the recently built Walgreen’s, CVS, and Amazon distribution centers built in what have been farming communities up to now. Maybe a few dreary jobs are there, until they automate. The San Joaquin Valley is now largely pistachios and almonds, not many tree fruit or truck farms are left, as one family has sucked up the water rights in Sacramento and much of the land in the valley. It’s nice to be the número uno contributor to the California Democrats.

    I don’t know where this all goes, but there is no room for people in it to make a living, other than the small doles given out by what has quickly evolved into a feudal system, where most of the people work for crumbs. Without inheritances, selling off the family farmland, or some sort of stock market/retirement plan bonanza under their belts, there is just nothing there for most. All the restaurants and food related stores in the smaller communities have huge “we accept EBT” signs alongside the main signage, usually at least as large or larger than the name of the (usually chain or franchise) place. Ominous.

    I don’t think we can get where we need to go from here, sadly. There has taken place a twisted and pervasive version of the tragedy of the commons.

  13. I think that the “douche bag” culture is already here and has been for many, many generations. (And the localism reaction, too, has been developing for a few decades.)

    It appears that this culture’s most important features were firmly in place once aggressive secularism became wedded to the incorporation and central banking craze which began to infect the world centuries ago. Developments in the past 100 yrs have been mostly elaborations upon the basic themes and amount to progress toward the logical outcome, which is suspiciously like communism in terms of concentration of wealth and political power.

    It so happens that some influential capitalist gangsters have had the same idea about their form of capitalism having the same destination as communism. Here is Otto Kahn as quited by Antony C. Sutton in Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution.

    What you Radicals and we who hold opposing views differ about, is not so much the end as the means, not so much what should be brought about as how it should, and can, be brought about ….

    Otto H. Kahn, director, American International Corp., and partner, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., speaking to the League for Industrial Democracy, New York, December 30, 1924

    It’s by the way that I hate that figure of speech “douche bag”. The usual usage reverses the relationship of dirty and clean so that the former becomes good, and the latter, bad. Nevertheless, a douche is a jet of water used for cleansing, and the bag holds the cleansing aqueous solution. Further, in German, eine Dusche is both a shower and douche, and duschen means to shower. So, strictly speaking, if the douche bag is not yet here, it’s mostly because we haven’t prepared the ideas AND organizations needed for a great cleansing of commerce, politics, academia, entertainment, ontology, cosmology, ethics, and religion.

  14. I get the vibe, but our material world has changed do much. Used to be you when you bought an electrical product, if it broke, you took it back and they fixed it. Now it’s all about disposable obsolescence built into products. You buy it cheap, most of which is made by slave or sweatshop labor overseas. It breaks, they give you another one which is cheaper that repairing the old one.

    It didn’t help when the flood gates were open for trade with China. They rip off our patients and copyrights, and turn around and sell us knock-offs. If they break, buy another one. Look at the proliferation on dollar stores. Where I lived, some are side by side! Sears is going under, and they where one of the last big stores that used to sell merchandise of some quality.

    So if I can find some old-school stuff built to last online on eBay, I’m going to buy it instead of supporting cheap chitzy crap made in a third world basement with a US flag slapped on it. But I do agree it’s all a subsidized bubble ready to burst, and us common joes and janes will be stuck with the bill again.

    • The reason for a ‘throw away culture’ in electronics, at least, has little to do with China, per se. As capabilities and features were added over time, in order to keep the overall size of the end-level devices reasonable, the parts density had to constantly be increased. Soon it got to the point where it was impossible to melt out and replace individual components. And the computerized testing devices needed to even locate the faulty part were cost prohibitive other than at the end of an assembly line. So, as far back as 35 years ago, component level electronic repair was off the table due to simple technological impossibility.

      Regardless of where a thing is made, it has been and will always be more economical to just throw it away and replace it at the circuit board level, at least. But now that most electronic devices are a single circuit board, that same logic applies to the entire device. Nothing cultural about it at all.

      • There is still such a thing as planned obsolescence. My gripe is when you buy an appliance, be it a tall lamp, a desk lamp, a oscillating fan, it will be designed to perform it’s basic function and will be affordable. However, invariably, a key component, or part, say a hinge will be made of P L A S T I C while many other parts are made of metal. And yet this one part, plastic, is the one that acts a the hinge or performs some other critical yet unnoticed function (kinda like your little toe), and when it breaks due to over use, well, the entire device is useless. The lamp, or fan or whatever still works fine, except that it will not stay in position but for the plastic part which cannot be purchased separately.

        I have spent time trying to jury rig solutions but eventually I give up when my time outweighs the cost of simply tossing it and buying another. A jury rigged solution just never seems to work as well as a new one.

  15. As far as I can tell, what Amazon has accomplished is to make all of the resources of the industrial supplier accessible to the consumer directly, and to deliver the products to their door as a matter of additional convenience.

    If you live in an urban area that is, say, larger than ~200,000 population, you will have industrial suppliers that cater to the building/repair/maintenance blue collar class in the area. They will be getting their supply from regional distributors. Increasingly these supply houses sell to private customers too, if they know what they are there for and can speak in simple technical terms. Even they can’t compete with Amazon’s better information and home delivery.

    The local hardware/grocery/dry goods stores on Main Street have long been displaced from small towns and replaced by the franchises (Walmart/CVS/Lowes etc). Where I used to walk along Main street to get work clothes, or auto parts, or sit at a soda fountain, or get a burger – all these storefronts are gone now in the small towns I live near, and I miss their presence. All my shopping was once prioritized to these places. The new occupants are antiques, collectibles, boutiques and cafes, all concerns with short half lives.

    I can drive 15 miles to the Tractor Supply or the farm dealership and get parts for my tractor. Or I can go online and get the exact product I need with traceable quality (better than original), delivered to my home for the same cost.

    The game now is not about being a douchebag at the expense of Mom & Pop Main street. It’s whether you want to take the Big Box made-in-china option from the local franchise, or the better quality, more fully backed Made In USA alternative – from Amazon. It may take a few days to get here, but it will be a better solution.

    • Agree.
      I could drive 30 minutes to my local John Deere dealer and spend $45 on a mower spindle or order one online for $30. The online one has a zerk nipple so I can grease it every year. Unlike the JD one.

      • My hobby of late is to purchase 1970-1980 stereo receivers from Goodwill and rehab them. I find ebay valuable because I can find power transistors for these devices from China. The transistors were never manufactured here but the value I’ll add is. So there’s that.

      • I always take the opportunity to clue in my local business about how they are competitive, or not. Sounds like you could email them or call them and let them know how they are losing business and what they could do to fix it, if they consider it a problem.

  16. I’ve been driven to buying more online because of the increasingly “diverse” makeup of local shoppers. After always having to use inter-library loan to get the non-liberal books I was interested in reading, and finding the local libraries filled with Asians playing computer games and Negro children loudly demonstrating their “love” of books, I find ordering books for my kindle a relief, even as I hate giving Bezos any money. The only “local” shops are Indian and Chinese owned and run. The big box stores are no more community oriented than Amazon. Whites continually retreat from public spaces in this country, because the public environment is increasingly alien and uncomfortable. Whenever I shop and wherever I shop, I am massively outnumbered by non-White non-Americans, and this is in Texas.

  17. (ie)Tires.
    I COULD (and have) bought tires on line. the price was sweet.
    Oops, THEN there was shipping, mounting, balancing, and disposal of the old ones.
    My local tire guy has the same tires, thy end up costing less when I turn the key and drive away.
    Go figure!

  18. We purchased all of our kitchen appliances from a local Ma and Pa retailer. A year later we needed a new water filter for our refrigerator, and I paid $60 at said local Ma and Pa. A few months later, we needed some help with our dishwasher and Ma and Pa referred me to the 1-800 number of gigantic dishwasher manufacturer, which referred me to a central repair number, which referred me to a Ma and Pa repairman 60 miles distance. With mandatory “consultation” fees and time for travel, I was looking at $175 just to have someone assess the problem. Actual repairs plus parts made me wonder if I should just buy a new dishwasher (welcome to the throw-away society).

    Happy ending. I spent 3 hours unbolting the unit and cleaning lines, eventually solving the problem.

    Recently, I spent $60 dollars at Amazon for 3 water filters for our refrigerator. Remind me again about buying local?

  19. I wonder how do you feel driving a car, consequently grinding a whole range of workers into poverty: coachmen, steam railroader, cart builders, horse trainers, et cetera.

  20. Nothing pisses me off more than paying for stadiums so rich guys get them for free at a deep discount.

    The Metrodome was a fantastic multi-purpose stadium. Twins, Vikings, Monster trucks, Concerts, you name it.

    Cost to the public affordable. $55 Million. ($160+M in today’s $).

    Cost of the replacement stadiums.

    US Bank Stadium for ONLY THE VIKINGS. $ 1.2 BILLION. The State only paid 1/2. A better deal for the public than the Twin’s stadium.

    Target field for ONLY THE TWINS. $ 1/2 BILLION. Cost to the public. 1/3 Billion. Or a f’ing subsidy of 2/3. Win Win Win Win for the rich guy who owns the Twins. Total f’ing failure for the MN taxpayer.


    The Metrodome cost the public $55M. 2 replacement stadiums cost the public nearly $1B.

    This happens everywhere, not just in my home state. The rich owner threatens to leave. politicians cave and subsidize them at ridiculous proportions.

    Rich guy gets richer. Taxpayers get screwed.

  21. I’m responding only to this article without reading the links & it seems a cranky rant.

    Fred’s primary offense seems to be he’s dislikable. What else has he done but what most do & have done forever – operate in their own interest.

    “Fred feels no obligation…” Few do & not new. Sears’ first marketing breakthrough was sending Catalogs to most Americans. One could order the stuff from local stores, but Mail Order & home delivery was better = lost local sales. Sears’ next breakthrough was big box stores anchoring shopping malls = lost local business & jobs. Other big box stores continued the trend. Sears now failing.

    A&P (1915) so dominated groceries (wiping out others) its size & buying power thought so great none could ever compete – they’re now toast. Walton started with a tiny 5&dime (1950) in a tiny town & by driving down prices saved people like Fred & Z $287B in ‘06 (econ study) – Z’s included cuz the study says Walmart drove down all consumer prices that amt whether you shop Walmart or not. ~$1TRILLION more stuff every 3 yrs.

    The tradeoff? In the above, Amazon, et al, neighborhood businesses & jobs are lost. Does Z rant about Walmart? They’ve closed huge numbers of Mom&Pops & displaced workers (mostly min wage with low advancement opportunities).

    Maybe Z’s new economy advises how much our families should give up, summer camp for our kid, etc, to buy local, but it’s hard to imagine he can make a case.

    A neighbor just started his own AC repair business, in part, by taking advantage of on-line ordering for the wide selection & lower prices extending that to neighborhood repair bills.

    Finally, it is economists, not libertarians so much (Z draws ‘em in for no purpose but to disparage) that promote free trade – so many books, studies & articles.

      • Which people know better? Z? You think Z knows more than M Friedman & Econ Profs at Universities all over the world?

        I’m not being snide & bare no ill-will. To insure I missed nothing, I read the links & followed the Z/Fred thread. Poor “douche-bag” Fred does not seem quite so terrible after all. Many would not like (me too) Fred’s quoting another: “It is immoral to let a sucker keep his money.” That out of so many words.

        Fred agrees with Z that Amazon et al should not be subsidized. Fred suggested hanging politicians that provide it (presumably not literally).

        Z accuses the poor man of being solely driven by “Me, me, me,” when it is obviously not so. Fred: “The savings to consumers…have been extraordinary.”

        Z gets so worked up he compares business, albeit subsidized ones which Fred is also against, to Viking murderous raids. Whoa, Z!

        Z wrongly declares Fred’s argument as: “you like cheap stuff so it must be good.” Like most, Fred probably likes many things he knows are not good. Fred makes no point “I like, therefore it is good.”

        Fred asks Z to provide proof or better arguments & Z’s response is “solipsism [the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist]. Your ignorance is not an argument.” Fred seems to have read more than Z about trade.

        Leaving aside Z AND Fred AND me against subsidies, Z argues contrary to a major portion of the people that study this stuff. You & Z may or not be aware that another econ study found that when Bush & Obama restrained foreign trade in tires & steel, it saved some tire & steel worker jobs but more downstream jobs (companies that used the cheaper steel & tires) were lost than those saved & overall harmed our economy.

        Fred even directs Z to Adam Smith & Tim Worstall. Z offers nothing beyond Z’s view. Fred won this thread! Having read the links, I’m even happier with what I wrote.

          • Friedman along with all the others as well, I’m sure, including Econ 101 at Harvard & most other top econ schools including London School of Economics, Chicago, etc.

            It appears you’ve been schooled by Z’s book on trade & how to win arguments & convince others.

  22. I would point out that even the socialist success of a white country, say, Sweden, was never going to happen without the evolution of free wheeling markets in Britain and America. There would have been no evolved industrial and financial models to emulate in the first place and no markets to ship product. Socialism is a parasite and the parasite dies with the host. In the case of Sweden the parasite has gone to the brain and it will die from the brain down. Swedish zombies are already as numerous as college campus zombies.

    • There’s way too much emotional baggage with the word “socialism.” America has been a socialist country for generations. It’s a different sort of socialism than Sweden, but it is still socialism. The reason Scandinavian socialism worked is it was implemented in countries full of Scandinavians. Try it in Ethiopia and you get a difference result. That’s why Sweden is rocketing toward crisis. They imported people who are the worst fit for Swedish society.

      • It worked because 1) Sweden was filled with Scandinavians and 2) all those things upon which they modeled their economy were developed in the 19th century by countries quite unlike them. Now that everybody is socialist we can all decline together, which is the point of G7, G20, EU, UN, Amazon, Davos, Faceberg, and Google.

  23. I genuinely love these trips down memory lane. I haven’t heard anyone called a douche bag in several decades; but when it fits, it fits. BTW, I think the habit of buying things on the internet is more about being lazy than thrifty. If you get your ass up off the couch and walk to the store, the health benefits will more than outweigh the few pennies you might save.

  24. I take your point but I’m not sure it’s completely thought out. What, exactly, should I be buying locally? Most of the things I buy at, say, Amazon are available locally only at big chain stores. Those stores are not run by my neighbors and they’re a lot more inconvenient to deal with. Even semi-big ticket items like appliances are available only from the chain stores.

    What Mom & Pop stores there are, are mostly things like coffee shops, restaurants, and personal service businesses (barbers and the like). I live in a fairly large city but there are no independent book stores near me so guess what: I buy my books from Amazon.

    If you live outside a moderately sized city, I would guess it’s even more difficult to get anything but food and incidentals locally. As Dorf says, you can spend significant time hunting all over the local area for an item or you can order it on-line in a couple of minutes.

    I don’t see how preferring the convenience of on-line shopping to patronizing big chain stores (run by essentially the same people running the on-line stores) makes one a psychopath.

    • The word *should* implies morality in this context. As people trying to live happy lives, we should do that which makes us happy. How we organize our societies is a different discussion. In other words, it would be better if we had an economy that reinforced the traits that make for a strong society, but you have to live in the economy we have.

      • I’m using “should” in the sense of “what would you have me.” I didn’t intend to load it with any moral baggage. So my point remains: It (usually) comes down to a choice between ordering on-line with the greater convenience it offers or buying from another mega-corporation in the form of a big box chain store. Why is one preferable to the other?

        One could make the case, I suppose, that at least the chain stores are providing local employment. Is that what you’re hanging your argument on? Because if not, I fail to see how there’s much of a moral dimension to the choice.

        I grew up in a small town long before there was an Internet and I promise you it sucked not being able to find things without traveling to a (not so) nearby city. I’m sure the people who still live there consider on-line shopping a godsend.

        • Every decision has a moral component to some degree. Buy from Amazon and you are killing brick and mortar outfits. That doesn’t reflect well on you as a person.

          Sadly most consumer electronics are made in some Chinese shit hole that would send you screaming after being there 10 minutes. The only thing one can do here is buy used electronic goods. That’s not for everyone.

          If you want to buy on-line, use Abebooks, Powells, You want other goods, most brick and mortar stores have web store today. Use them.

          Use google to find the same product Amazon sells from alternative suppliers. That’s what most people do.

          Instead of using a automated checkout line in a grocery store, use a checker. Otherwise the store is using you as a chump and free labor and you’re putting some kid out of a job.

          And avoid Apple and Wal-Mart. as both are patently evil and run by evil people.

          • Likewise, I recently tried BooksaMillion instead of Amazon. Found my book, a gift, same price as Amazon, ordered, shipped, received on time and in perfect condition.

            As Avis used to say competing against Hertz, try No.2, they Try Harder! And these other online book sellers are struggling to stay afloat as Amazon is a behemoth and is killing them slowly.

      • Yeah, but he makes a point. The locals were already cut out of the loop by the chains like WalMart, who are Amazon lite. Now it’s the chains turn in the barrel.

        • The cycle of life.

          As I said originally, I take Zman’s point but the situation is, as they say, what it is. I don’t see how accusing on-line shoppers of psychopathy adds analytical clarity or advances a plan to make things better. As things stand now, on-line shopping is for many people the only reasonable alternative. For most people the choice comes down to Amazon et al. or Best Buy et al. You may find neither attractive but that’s the way it is.

          But perhaps the Zman was just being provocative. If so, it worked.

  25. If you were serious enough to truly practice what you preach, you would sell your house, car, and computer, move out to Pennsylvania, and convert to Amish-ianity.

  26. Did the Z-Man forget to drink his morning coffee? He seems awfully grumpy. I had my coffee and now I am going to have some brewed hot chocolate, made from ground cacoa beans that I bought on Amazon, having first found said beans on-sale in a local grocery store, and then having discovered that I can buy the beans on-line without having to drive to the store (a place that is dirty and slow), which consumes fuel, burns rubber, increases my risk exposure for an auto accident, and exposes me to the more-than-zero threat of getting shot, stabbed, or run-over.

    The manufacturer of said cacoa beans located in Utah. The beans come from the bean-growing regions of the world.

    Drink some coffee, or try some brewed chocolate.

    • Struck a nerve eh?

      Zman is spot on. The people who use Amazon and Ebay’s China merchants are screwing their own town and country to save a few bucks. Amazon is the equivalent of Wal-Mart – a destroyer of brick and mortar stores across the U.S.

      The same applies to folks who buy Apple goods that are made in a toxic sweatshop where there are NO labor, environment regs at all. Parts of China has been turned into toxic cesspits so a bunch of Americans and Eurotrash can have cheap electronic products.

      All we did is off-shore slavery to make us feel good and get cheap products that swell up our landfills.

      The bottom line is that there is always a cost with this stuff. Most people are too self-absorbed to see what it really costs in terms of people and the environment. Or maybe they don’t care.

      They are like Larry Summers who a couple decades ago wrote extolling the virtues of off-shoring highly polluting industries like high tech to Asia and let them pay the price.

      Karl Denninger has a article on this as well

      • Correctamundo Rod! Companies like Apple make a killing (literally) on “expensive” products on the sales end and cheap labor and manufacturing on the production side. Profits. But the market loves it and so goes the PE ratio and stock price.

    • You’re afraid to go out? You Sir are a surrender Monkey of the First Degree!

  27. I live in a traditionally poor, democrat state and took some time to visit my local flee market yesterday. At 9AM the air was already hot and the humidity made sure the dust that rose with the growing foot traffic would cling to your throat. 14 year old girls with fancy haircuts and name brand jeans bartered HARD to get cheap trinkets and spinners from ragged, white-haired ladies in dirty stalls. Rusted relics, cheap imports, old white men and despair were everywhere.

    In some ways I believe this hunger games ‘esque setting will represent the future of our economy, given the bleak future of the middle class. ( Bartering will always be a staple part of any marketplace, but willfully abandoning our neighbors for the sake of instant gratification is not an option if we want to survive.

    At the far back of a row of stalls I notice an elderly gentleman who is a master leather worker. Unless he is talking with a customer his hands remain busy at the anvil or on the stitching pony. I watched him for a while, then approached and talked with him about making a sheath for a knife I recently purchased. With calm pride he shows me a book of examples of similar sheaths he has made. The price is $125 – half up front. There is no bartering. I will return with payment and the knife for him to model and pick up the sheath in 8-10 weeks. Won’t have it today, or tomorrow, but I WILL have helped a bread winning member of my tribe and purchased something of quality that will last.

    • You point out an essential piece of this discussion.

      YOU decided to pay the $125.00 for the sheath that man will make for you.

      How many other people walking thru that flea market do you think would decide to do that – vs.: Just buying something online – from Walmart – which was made in China.

      It takes two to tango – and any functioning market needs buyers and sellers who negotiate price.

      Casting the blame on manufacturers and vendors who build and sell cheap crap – looking in the wrong place. It’s a piece of the puzzle that a good many economists get completely wrong : WHO drives the market – is it the buyer – or the seller?

      Trying to blame the free market and “libertarians” completely misses the point: people are out there demanding and buying all that cheap crap. Otherwise the people making it would all be out of business.

      • On the contrary, you missed the entire point of Zman’s post and dip right into pearl-clutching. It has nothing to do with manufacturers, vendors or the free market. It’s about your frame of reference. Your state of mind.

        It saddens me that you (and many others here) cannot see it. You have allowed yourself to be quantified – another product of the modern economy.

  28. I would really like to hear from Fred V now. Not in response to the content of the blog but in how it feels to be singled out for an entire blog post as an exemplar of a douchebag

    • If he is a douche bag, then he will pleased. If he is not a douche bag, then he will understand that I was not singling him out as a douche bag.

  29. Speaking of ancient Persia:

    “Herodotus, the Greek historian who was a contemporary of the great King Darius of ancient Iran, wrote in his remarkable history that the Persians esteemed the truth above all things. He went on to say, speaking with great respect, that the Persians hold it unlawful to speak of anything which is unlawful to do, and according to their thinking, the most disgraceful thing in the world is to tell a lie.”

    No wonder jews hate them so much, hell Cherry trees are even banned in Israel, so one doesn’t brush against honesty by mistake!

  30. producing things locally makes a country more resilient and robust.

    food is the #1 thing that should be grow locally as much as possible. furniture is another category of products that can be produced through light manufacturing.

    the point isn’t to have the cheapest furniture, it’s to have the strongest society with the healthiest happiest people. make people more involved with running their part of the country.

    bring back the concept of ubiquitous quality/excellence to America.

    • I’m not against trade, but the truth is, the arguments we hear in favor of the current trade arrangements are mostly nonsense. That and libertarians are crazy. The fact is, there are very few instances where Country A does something so well that it makes more sense for Country B to buy from Country A, rather than invest in their own ability. In most cases, we’re talking about display items.

      Before NAFTA, there were no Mexican manufactured goods stacking up at the border. Mexico did not make anything anyone wanted, other than cheap disposable people and illicit drugs. Free trade was a scam for US companies with size to get around US labor, environmental and tax laws.

      • ” to get around US labor, environmental and tax laws”

        And there you have the issue, don’t you.. Why should a consumer pay for the diktats of the political filth?

        • Because part of a social order is obeying orders and paying the costs of civilization

          Frankly clean air, clean water and healthy intact people come before your cheap goods .

          Can the State get too big? Hell yes but having you know actually lived with environmental laws weren’t enforced as well, I can tell you the laws work and work well and make life better. Clean air is a good thing.

          Hell we passed a bill in my State of California banning plastic grocery bags, its annoying to bring them along or buy reusable bags but the amount of litter has gone down quite a bit

          Now it would be better to deport the specific group of people who are most littering , regardless the bill works well.

          Frankly Americans in obsessed with money to the degree its killing our society , we’d rather kill of families so we have more consumers and more stuff that most of us neither want or need.

          We aren’t rich as a people but slaves to consumption.

          Culture matters more and since Libertarians don’t even understand the concept or care about it, they are a menace to everyone.

      • The Lew Rockwell writers are a different bunch of libertarians.
        I read some and respect most of them but like you have said, they resemble a cult in some respects. Jordan Peterson likes the term , ideologically possessed.

        So when someone like Tom Woods who is a bright man, good teacher and historian brags about finding someone online, far away to work cheaply, it is dismaying. There have been a few times where he has praised “heroic” capitalism for getting his goods this way. Once was a cheap logo that others were overcharging for.

        The bottom line price is the ultimate goal. Even Arby’s sandwiches came in for praise as if no local deli couldn’t do better.

        • Libertarians are *invariably* people with very little or even no experience in or of the real world. “Possessed” is a good way to put it. They have their heads in the clouds, and no contact with real life. Libertarianism is a childish fantasy. It reckons without human nature or history. Libertarians confuse what ought to be with what is.

        • Counterpoint argument: Why SHOULD I overpay?

          My money is my time which is my life.

          When I pay less for something – I have more time available to do something more useful with my own life.

          Those who constantly argue for overpaying – are making excuses for monopolists and other entities such as unions which seem to feel it’s their god-given right to suck as much money out of your pocket as they can get away with.

          I have this argument quite often talking with friends and coworkers about automobiles. I’m old enough to remember quite clearly the completely shit quality of American manufactured automobiles of the 1970’s. I remember clearly because I spent quite a bit of my youth laying underneath them replacing broken or rusted out parts – failing transmissions, worn out brakes – etc.
          When I finally made enough money after graduating from college to afford my first new car – I spent quite a bit of time researching all the options – and the 7-8 years of experience I already had under my belt and scratched across my back of dealing with American made crap – DEFINITELY factored into that decision.

          So I thoroughly evaluated what was available – and bought Japanese. Honda to be specific. The passage of time more than validated that decision. ALL of the American made competitors , as well as the German made cars in the class I bought in (economy car) – proved out to be pieces of crap and ended up in the junkyard LONG before the car I bought – which lasted 200,000 or so highly abused miles. Along the way – it required very little to no repair – and when it came time to do so – I could take the front suspension apart with 2 metric wrenches – instead of an assortment of 5 or 6 different sizes on the American cars – with a mix of inch and metric- and NONE of it apparently thought out beforehand for easy access and maintainability.

          I have to add: I worked my way thru that college busting my ass running machinery in a printing plant. While there I worked alongside 3 different guys who graduated high school and were all just biding their time there – until they could get on the assembly line at the Framingham GM plant. Where for the highly complex task of installing light bulbs into dashboards – they would be making another $3 an hour over what I made as a machinery operator who actually had to get trained and be responsible for actual work output.

          So – I have NO sympathy for those who argue for the “buy local” crap – when it’s just a cover for having the government force money out of my pocket into somebody else’s – who isn’t providing me with something that doesn’t make my life better.

          If some Japanese guy wants to work himself to death providing me with an automobile that is reliable, easy to work on , gets good gas mileage, – etc. Then more power to him. I will reward his diligence and dedication by giving him my money. Which I HAD TO EARN – by performing similarly.

          Not sure where the libertarian touched you this week – but the constant claims that libertarians somehow created this situation is ignorant in to the extreme. This was created by merchantilist and monopolist policies – put in place by big corporations – and other entities such as unions – who want to tie down there profits thru government power.

          As far as I’m concerned the world is a better place when everybody has to perform – or die.

          • What you and many others are doing is called reductionism. As a result, you are confusing personal morality with societal morality. As a person, you are required to play within the rules of society. Societies, in contrast, have to set rules that promote to whole of society, even if it means certain individuals get harmed.

            They are not comparable.

          • Your assuming equivalence in markets. That we can just as easily export as others can import into our country. It doesn’t work that way. I had friends that lived in Japan they told me the cars in Japan had much cheaper thinner steel. They were not the same cars as sent to the US. But we are not allowed to import into Japan so over time Japan and other countries make all the manufactured goods and we become hewers of wood, miners and scrap metal dealers. This has already happened in many industries machine tools, consumer electronics, chemical industries. Once they get market share and kill off their competitors they raise prices.

        • Anybody who knows anything about all the Obamacare rules should know that employing local is now a minefield.

          This is why the constant whining about “libertarians caused all this !” – is laughable bordering on moronic.

          It wasn’t libertarians that put all the rules which are causing companies to get rid of US based employees. It wasn’t libertarians that run around telling 10 year olds they need to have a license to setup a lemonaid stand. It’s not libertarians that pushed thru job killing laws like Obamacare. It wasn’t libertarians that take away the ability to sit in one place and have true community – by doing things like making it impossible to stay on your own property because of sky high property tax rates.

          I’ve seen it mentioned in the comments here to some of Zman’s posts ” I think a large majority of us probably started off as liberals” – maybe this explains the brain virus so many of the people here seem to be suffering from which makes them completely unable to pull apart cause and effect.

          Leftists and progressives in general seem to have an utter inability to connect cause and effect – which is something they seem to have been going out of their way to demonstrate the last few years.

          Seems to be a lot of that going around here also.

    • Bret Stephens…to hell with the locals…unless we need them to fight wars for Israel in the Middle East.

  31. The excess of Amazon can’t sustain itself and will, in time, collapse from it’s own weight. Bezos took a concept and ran with it. It will be interesting to see where the pendulum swings from here.

    • Correct. I think had we not had the FED induced bubble economy since the late 90’s, that behemoths such as Amazon and Google would not exist. Rather, IT start-ups, which there would be a lot more of, would have developed on-line shopping capability and would have existing retail outfits as their customers. The on-line shopping revolution would still have occurred. But it would be a lot more decentralized and many of the existing retail companies would have adapted to the internet revolution just fine. There would probably be new retail start-ups as well. But none of them would be the behemoth of Amazon.

      • The little fish will eat the big fish in a paradigm reversal. Macro morphs into micro in the never-ending tango of economic tantra.

      • More like he hi-jacks more bandwidth to process his millions of orders for stuffs. I like what TBP, The Burning Platform says as a portal to Amazon he gets a percentage of sales through his site: “IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY SHIT YOU DON’T NEED WITH MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE FROM AMAZON, STICK IT TO THEM BY MAKING THE PURCHASE THROUGH THE TBP LINK AND REDUCING THEIR PROFITS BY 6%.”

        At least do that and stick it to Bezos in the behind.

  32. Play nice and local in Greece & Venezuela, and tell us how it works out.
    Pay the 70%+ taxation levels of some Western (communist) countries, obey the gazillion of norms and regulations, and tell us how it works out.
    The question is not that easy to answer. How much is too much ?
    And should Fred Z buy from “His friends and neighbors” if those neighbors are actually asking for more taxation and regulation, until bankruptcy ?
    At some point something must break. And it should not be us, but the communists. ie consume local if your community deserves it. ie if it is right wing.
    If not, give them nothing, and relocate asap.

    • If you want a complex society with technology and safety you have to pay the costs.

      As tech and society grows more complex, costs get larger. Once it gets too large, it falls apart

      Its called theory of Catabolic collapse

      PDF .pdf

      Problem is that douche bags are a cost too, the more you cheap out and chisel and prefer atomization to society, the faster it all falls apart

      Its the Red Queens Race and the Computer is the Red Queen herself

      And note there is a way out of the trap, build in controls in how tech is used, when machines can replace people and accept inefficiency when needed. Something like Henry Fordism mixed with the mixed or medical style economy . Employ people or play welfare, or enjoy the serious real deal version of Antifa , choose wisely

      If you don’t,, don’t be surprised when people vote in FDR and LBJ and if they don’t do it Chaez or Maduro. And economy that doesn’t serve enough people or liberty that doesn’t serve enough people will quickly and rightly be replaced with something else by force,

      Hell the only reason we aren’t socialized right now is race issues. Certainly divide and rule will keep the elite going or a while and the lapdogs sucking up tot hem but sooner or later , it won’t and the time you bought will be paid for by people killing or oppressing you for not being the same race/creed/faith as them

      Know Justice Know Peace is a real thing

    • Billy, you want to live among people, you had better make sure that the people around you want you there or that Uncle Sugar is willing to make them accept you at gunpoint otherwise those people might just decide to drive you out

      If Uncle Sugar weren’t around all those rooftop Koreans back in the L.A. Riots would have been done for because the people whose community they lived in felt screwed by them.

      Its not remotely important who was actually right either, when it comes to fairness the other guy gets a vote too and numbers count.

      As such its usually better to buy local and while I agree that there are limits and those limits very from nation to nation, if you live in a developed nation, better make sure you fit well enough

      Fact is rugged individualism makes no sense at all in a crowded developed nations. In those conditions , its a stupid ideology on its face that will lead inevitably to social implosion.

      Long term though, don’t expect that way of living to be tolerated any longer, the US is too crowded, industrialized, developed and lacks the social taboos to make it work . Its not White enough, moral enough, disciplined enough and those ways are incompatible with the Internet age and automation age anyway

      Worse all immigration brought in for the cheap labor and social posturing means you lose freedom, both directly (diversity means a bigger state) and by all the eggshell walking, hostility and unpleasantness

      However the US does still have some areas where its still tolerable and as such, people can go there and live that way.

  33. “Bret Stephens is an American journalist. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. He works for The Wall Street Journal, and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

    His parents were/are both Jewish. Bret’s father was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, to American parents; his family owns a company there. Bret’s mother was born in Italy; her family was originally from Russia and Lithuania, and then moved to Berlin, Germany, before leaving because of the Nazi regime. Bret spent part of his childhood in Mexico City, as well.

    Bret’s paternal grandfather was Earle Louis Stephens (born Louis Ehrlich.)”


    That’s a lot of moving around (and relatively recent name change.) No wonder he favors deportation of Americans with deep roots in this nation. He apparently believes that everyone should be as rootless as he is. It falls in line with Kevin D. Williamson’s move-the-hell-away variety of “conservatism”, which Zman has addressed on this blog before. One suspects that the very idea that someone might want to have roots in a particular place and a particular community, or that choosing to abandon those roots might involve certain trade-offs, are ideas completely foreign to Mr. Williamson and Mr. Stephens.

    • Localism? This takes roots and few of us are rooted anymore.

      I’m in my 50s.

      I moved seventeen times before I was eighteen years old. After grad school, the first time, I lived in seven different states. After the second round of grad school, I’ve lived in three states. I have homes in two other countries — by marriage. My kids happen to be here, with me, but I don’t expect this to last long.

      Localism? My ties to anything on this earth are tenuous and as much as I have tried to root myself, it’s always failed. They know I’m not one of them — I know I’ll never fit in. It’s futile. But, when traveling abroad I know I’m 100% American, and proudly so.

      You can’t have localism without local ties. You can’t have community without people who were born and raised there. You can’t expect “outsiders” to patronize local businesses just because they happen to be where they are currently living.

      • But what are you, WHO are you? What the hell is an “American?” Someone whose ancestors built this country, or someone who sashayed in from Eritrea, last month? Because both of these things cannot both be true. Having a signed document from some bureaucrat that states you can legally stand in this gigantic airport waiting area we call a country, doesn’t make you an American.
        Who are your people? What is your heritage? Your culture? To whom is your loyalty? What legacy will you leave for your children & grandchildren, to ground them?
        This reads more like you are describing a well-traveled, often lost, library book, than a person.
        To be quite frank with you, you seem to have an odd pride regarding your
        rootlessness, and
        I find it very distasteful.

        • Zeroh, I don’t blame you for your hostility, but you’re aiming at the wrong target.

          FYI — paternal family came to the US in the 1650s, maternal family before the revolution. I’m utterly American of British ancestry.

          What concerns me — and it was written as a criticism, not adulation of my own life — is the lack of rootedness among old stock Americans. My story isn’t unique, dear, as I’ve met many people who feel as American and as unrooted.

          It’s a paradox, really, between identifying so strongly with my mother country yet not having any place or community that I can call my own. Though I thought, for awhile, that foreign lands would be a better fit, whenever I touch our shores again, I feel home. But once home, then where? What happens to so many people who move house repeatedly and have no connections to their fellow Americans? That’s what I was trying to convey, albeit poorly.

          Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    • Way Ah is gonna ansah yo’ question straight away boss! Yes suh, you ain’ gonna wait ver’ long on me at’all… Boss Volcker, Ah is gonna start on it right away! Don’t you worry none….

  34. In many product categories, it’s no longer a choice between buying local / online because you literally cannot get it anywhere but online. The big box stores have created this problem. The high rents of power center real estate dictate that only a top 30 of products are carried, at minimum stock levels mind you because the sigma ninjas of lean insist it’s better, and anything slightly off the beaten path is an online only purchase.

    I first noticed this in big box bookstores.

  35. I do one off fabrication and repair of things no one else will. I start my quest for materials and parts locally. Half of the time +/- I can find what I need locally usually at a cost of several hours per item. Otherwise i go online and find it in a few minutes and go on to something else.

    A good example was a Hobart mixer. The early ones used a universal motor which used brushed. I started at a local motor shop with no luck. The Factory branch here did NOT catalog the old beast. That took about 3 hours travel and face time. I found them on line (not at Amazon) in five minutes. Ordered and delivered in two days while I did something else. What would you have me do?

    • keep trying like you are. seems like you have discovered a business opportunity there…

    • It seems to me that there are technologies that would benefit local production. 3-D printing is one. A table-top apparatus that could fabrication any kind of medical therapy (small molecule, gene therapy., etc.) would be another. These kind of technologies would definitely drive decentralization.

      Yet, the advocates of localism do not seem interested in these technologies. This is why I think much of localism is nothing more than emotionalism rather than a substantive world-view.

    • I’ve been piecing together the scenario where everything is increasingly being driven to the “disposable” world. Even though everyone, especially liberals, want to recycle and care about product reuse, one’s ability to fix and maintain their current products/appliances becomes problematic because in many cases you are hard pressed to find parts.

      As costs are being driven out of bricknmortar businesses to try to compete, they do carry less inventory and replacement parts and service … forget about it!

      If it isn’t something that can be fixed by your Apple Genius via software, it is toss an replace new. Not necessarily the best approach but for business the most convenient and most profitable.

      So it comes down to searching far and wide and that unfortunately (or not) means Amazon because they list all kinds of resellers of all kinds of stuff. The problem is these resellers could have their own websites and do their own marketing but they use the powerhouse hammer of Amazon’s site to channel everyone more “efficiently.”

      But I thought that was the benefit of Google’s superior, super duper, advanced, all seeing, lightning quick, search engine? To find all the websites for what you are looking for with basic and not too detailed searches. So instead everyone is funneled into the cattle feed trough where all their ‘data’ can be more easily amalgamated for selling (another aspect of Amazon no one talks about).

      I hear those who say today’s society is too mobile. Well, it doesn’t really matter where you hang your hat. If you have neighbors who have businesses, it is always good to support the local economy, support the maintenance and transference of skills from many industries and trades. Now you have to buy, anyway, from many mom & pop type businesses that sell via Amazon but you don’t have a clue as to who these people are. You are supposed to rely on the Sellers Reputation based on feedback that has, I am sure, many ways of being manipulated. Amazon is also competing with Ebay and Craigslist in this regard.

      I may find what I want, but then I look for a seller who is closest to me so it doesn’t have to be sent all the way across the country (another waste of fuel, time and effort even if it is “free” with Prime.)

      Maybe I am old fashioned but I still think the “right” thing to do is encourage local businesses and maintain a level playing field against monopolists who would seek to kill any and all competition with the aid of government assistance.

  36. This posting is irrelevant because the so-called new economy as represented by Amazon and Google is not economically sustainable. As our host posted in the P.T. Barnum and other prior posts, these internet companies continue to exist exclusively due to the Federal Reserves cheap money policies, which results in lots of investment capital being funneled into these companies despite their lack of profitability, as well as the huge amount of NSA cash going into the social media companies (speculated but most certainly true). One of the blog commentators was spot on when he said that this government policy is destroying part of the middle class in favor of the wealthy “new economy” class.

    • As much as I hate to quote that miserable fag Keynes, this applies : “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

    • Right. Also, hacking and inter-government cyberwar are both becoming more and more sophisticated and successful. That, too, is “unsustainable.” ONe of these days, shopping online simply will not be possible, at least for a few weeks. Ditto banking and paying bills, etc. People should make preparations for the day when ATMs suddenly stop functioning, along with the rest of the internet.

    • You’re exactly right. Amazon has LOST money for over a decade. They are the in with the right (((group))) and can use fianicialization to undercut the competition. They should be shut down for restraint of trade. The other big internet giants have done the same, Uber also. As soon as they drive out most of the competition they will raise prices to the max they can get away with.

      This is exactly the way the Jews took over the newspaper business. They opened a paper in competition with the local paper then cut prices so that the local paper couldn’t make money. Then after a few years of living on fumes the local paper went broke or was bought by the Jew paper.

      Romney did this too. He would take over companies with huge debt. They would charge the company huge fees for “consultation”, rob the pension funds, stop paying any taxes as the whole company was loaded with debt and then a few made it but most were sold off or beat down into husks of their previous selves while they made off with the loot.

      What rules would need to be effected so that companies could not be taken over like this and abused but at the same time not let management get complacent by making it impossible to take the company over by investors that would really do a better job?

      To be honest I’m a piece of shit too as I buy stuff from Amazon. It’s very convenient as I can look for damn near everything from my desktop. I especially have bought a huge number of used books from them. As I’ve become more cognizant of the hazards I’ve tried to hold back and by more stuff locally.

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