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Author Topic: Bitcoin: low transaction fees, I don't think so  (Read 6665 times)
Portnoy
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July 12, 2012, 08:33:46 PM
 #81

What I find extremely ironic is that you are insulting Ayn Rand, while at the same time saying you are for the EXACT SAME THING Atlas Shrugged and her ideas were about. She, and the characters in her book, were not for joining the government and destroying it from within, or even for fighting it. Her whole point in the book was to just stop supporting it and make it irrelevant. The characters didn't fight, and didn't impose their views on others, they simply casually avoided it and allowed it to rot from within.

I wouldn't say it is an irony but a superficial appearance...

Let me qualify my words then by saying that I would, and do, support different things about the government, if it is in the
best interest of society. I do support, like a majority of Canadians, things like medicare and the various 'social safety nets'
we have here, and which we continue to vote for ( it is not something imposed on us, and things like medicare can be
opted out of in many jurisdictions; it is a provincial area not federal ). I would not automatically let all rot in the way
things are at present, but only those non-democratic, antiquated hierarchies etc., which keeps democracy from operating
fairly.  It is all part of the balancing act proudhon mentioned.  

And there is a great difference I feel between my views and hers in terms of self-interest.  I don't feel "greed is good"*
but that my well being is greatly linked to that of all of humanity... and it is not just an idea but, I feel, an authentic
impulse that I find within me. I know nothing of her real inner reality and so only criticize her views as she expresses
them in her words.

( *has her views been misrepresented in terms of quotes like that? Do you feel the example of pushing
or letting fall over a cliff that was presented is unfair? )

But there are indeed parts of what she says that I do agree with, just as there is much overlap in the type of
anarchism I like, and general libertarian views.  I try not to think in terms of absolutes; "this way is all bad" or
"this other philosophy is all good".... but more like, "I can somewhat agree with these parts but am turned off
by these other areas."


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July 13, 2012, 02:30:26 PM
 #82

And there is a great difference I feel between my views and hers in terms of self-interest.  I don't feel "greed is good"*
but that my well being is greatly linked to that of all of humanity... and it is not just an idea but, I feel, an authentic
impulse that I find within me. I know nothing of her real inner reality and so only criticize her views as she expresses
them in her words.

While she does often portray the idea that "greed is good," she seems to only support it from the perspective of people with the drive to create being greedy about wanting to improve their own lives and those of the world around them, by pursuing their own goals in a healthy competition or collaboration with others. The characters of Atlas Shrugged are greedy for friendly competition among their rivals, for making something great that the world and their friends can look up to them, and for pure knowledge and invention. Examples are pretty much all of the "good" characters working together, talking, collaborating, competing, and even through competition supporting each other, with the goal of making themselves and the world better off.
The greater irony is that a lot of her supporters miss that a HUGE part of the book is an admonition of pure "unfair" greed as well. Specifically, many of her supporters will often point out the "bad" characters as being greedy government bureaucrats, politicians, and regulators who try to skim off money or set up government controls "for the sake of the people," but then TOTALLY miss, or forget, all the other "bad" characters she described (such as the heads of the railroads), that did things like collude with each other to drive out competitors, stifle innovation, and collude with the government to kill competition and increase their own profit margins. Basically, I've noticed too many Randians (tea party especially) use her to attack government, while completely ignoring her admonission of corruptly greedy businesses and corporations.
So if you think self-interest and greed for discovery, innovation, improving your own life through your own work, and for building recognition and respect through your works is good, while greed for money by controlling others, stealing, manipulating, setting up unfair regulations that only apply to everyone else but you, and getting recognition through authority only is bad, then at least with regards to self-interest and greed you probably have the same opinions.

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September 22, 2012, 02:23:18 AM
 #83

Is it reasonable to insist on being paid an enormous amount just because people are willing to pay?

Most all physical products have a manufacturing cost of between 10% to 50% of the suggested retail price. That includes gadgets, clothes, paper, matches, meat, fruits and vegetables. Jewelry is usually at the very low end.

Stuff that you buy in the mall or department store were made at 50% to 70% off the retail price, maybe even lower. So the marketing company still makes a little money even if they discount the item.

But they got other stuff to pay in between the manufacturer and the retailer, like all the distributors and wholesalers in between.

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September 22, 2012, 04:54:15 PM
 #84

Yeah, sometimes it's possible to buy stuff at a lower price than what most stores sell them for, look for fabric sales, and larger stores that avoid much of the support chain. Great bargains.
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September 22, 2012, 05:12:15 PM
 #85

Is it reasonable to insist on being paid an enormous amount just because people are willing to pay?

There is no such thing as enormous amounts.  In a free market is the prices are too high competitors will join and drive down prices or the demand will be reduced as potential customers are turned off by the high prices.  Entities looking to maximize their return is what leads to price discovery.

If a price is too low show a buyer avoid it and offer to pay more?  That is the reverse of a company lowering their price despite demand at the current price.

Consumer looks for the lowest price for the goods/service and company seeks the highest price.  That dynamic leads to more participants.  With lots of buyers and sellers you get a better price discovery, a clearer view of what "the market" in aggregate considers an acceptable price.
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September 23, 2012, 09:21:29 PM
 #86

Thought I might reply to this, to close the thread. The bottom line is that many here view profiteering as a "natural right" even going to far as to suggest it is better for everyone if the first-mover in a new market deliberately profiteers in order to make space for more efficient competing services at a lower profitability. This is almost logical, but I could reply that I should therefore whip you with a cat o'nine tails, so when you get whipped with a normal whip it won't hurt so much. And it (deliberate first-mover profiteering) would seem to support, though its author would disagree, that fraudsters could benefit the market by rendering consumers more skeptical and therefore resilient to future fraudsters. This was my suggestion: fraud can be legitimized for the same reasons profiteering can be legitimized.

Certainly, given recent events (pirate and others), bitcoin-dom seems to be learning some hard lessons. Thanks pirate et al?

I haven't seen anyone conclusively answer the question if it's ever possible to be *greedy*. That is, if people really need or want your widgets, is there any upper limit to a fair price?

Lastly, I mentioned that if I were to operate any bitcoin service, I would charge minimum fees to cover costs, but also ask for donations. One user replied to say that's exactly how he operates; kudos. Nobody answered to say that they were deliberately profiteering. This can mean one of two things:

1. I underestimate the costs involved in providing the services, and actually nobody is profiteering but instead operating at a bare margin, or less (as some suggested).
2. People are profiteering but are ashamed or unwilling to say so. This would be somewhat at odds with the moral posit that profiteering is legitimate.

Hmmm. Thanks to all that participated.
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Gerald Davis


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September 23, 2012, 09:46:28 PM
 #87

I think you misunderstand a couple of ideas.  It is certainly possible to be "too greedy".  If your prices are too high you are more likely to face more competition.  So keeping prices lower makes the market less attractive to potential competitors.  Generally late movers will have to compete on price.  The first mover can attempt to make it very difficult for competitors by keeping margins relatively low.  Take MtGox for example.  There prices aren't excessively high.  Actually they are so low that a smaller exchange trying to compete on price will find themselves in a position where they are taking a huge risk for a tiny amount of net profit ($10K or so a year).   Now if MtGox charged 5% per trade it would be much easier for viable, cash flow positive competitors to emerge and the high margins would allow them to pay for improvements, security, and support staff even with small margin.

Essentially a high margin is a low barrier for entry.  Competitors need to risk less capital and the return on that capital is more attractive.  So it is possible to be too greedy.  That being said business is all about calculated risks.  Margin too high?  More risk of competition.  Margin too low?  More risk of buisiness failure.  Remember any startup has capital and early employees are either working only for equity or are taking a reduced salary to improve the financial outlook of the company.   The perfect margin is one where it is neither too high nor too low.  Of course that is somewhat subject and varies from enterprise to enterprise.

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Lastly, I mentioned that if I were to operate any bitcoin service, I would charge minimum fees to cover costs, but also ask for donations.
There are substantial risks to this too.  What happens if you have a major loss?  You just close up shop? Dig into your own pocket?  What happens if you reach a point where expansion requires real capital (say hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars) by pricing your product/service so low you make it unattractive to potential investors?  Worse what happens if you underestimate the cost and have to raise prices later (generally it is less disruptive to start with higher prices and offer better deals over time than the reverse)?
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September 23, 2012, 10:11:45 PM
 #88

I think you misunderstand a couple of ideas.  It is certainly possible to be "too greedy".  If your prices are too high you are more likely to face more competition.  ...<snip>... The perfect margin is one where it is neither too high nor too low.  Of course that is somewhat subject and varies from enterprise to enterprise.
Profiteers are doing us a favor, it would seem. Again, thanks pirate?

Quote
Lastly, I mentioned that if I were to operate any bitcoin service, I would charge minimum fees to cover costs, but also ask for donations.
There are substantial risks to this too.  What happens if you have a major loss? ... What happens if you reach a point where expansion requires real capital ... you make it unattractive to potential investors?  Worse what happens if you underestimate the cost and have to raise prices later?
Good questions, to which I have no answers - feel free to treat me just as an ignorant disgruntled consumer. Let me rephrase myself: "I would *try to* charge minimum fees to cover costs".  I'll let you know how it goes if ever I try it out (and I'm trying to try it out, but I'm just not such a good coder - apache2, sql, json-rpc... wtf does json-rpc stand for?).
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