Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Slippery Slope Of Regulation

Megan McArdle, who seems to be a bit of a patsy for thieves, is peeved that Kindle won't hunt down and find her e-book if it's stolen. Since she says she's had four bikes and, evidently, a couple phones stolen, I can see her preemptive distress although I'd spend more time keeping track of my possessions and less time complaining about them being stolen if I were her. What happened to personal responsibility? If McArdle's bike or phone is stolen that should just make her even more against regulation!
Should gadget makers "brick" your phone--refusing to let a new use register it--if it's stolen?

The biggest worry most people have with a lost device is that someone will call Guam on their phone and talk for 9 hours, so gadget makers say their priority is shutting down the account to prevent fraudulent charges. And the New York Times wrongly implies with its headline that gadget makers can always find your phone; in the cases where I've had something stolen, the thieves usually tried to use it a few times, then tossed it.

Still, no one should be able to use a stolen phone, Kindle, or other gadget.... If you're using a Kindle or an iPhone, the company has quite a lot of information on you, and they should use that information to reunite owners with their lost property.

But apparently they don't, because they'd rather sell content to the thief, or the person who purchased the device from the thief. This seems like an obvious place for some basic regulation.

The libertarian is calling for regulation to force the companies to change, when all McArdle has to do is wait until public pressures and/or poor sales force the company to offer the new services that she wants. If they won't she can just get a different e-book or phone. Hasn't she heard of free market forces? If someone gets hurt in the process at least they will know they are supporting free market capitalism.

Sure, McArdle will be out a Kindle or phone and the thief will have a ton of new information to use against her to commit more theft, but it's better than having the government, which is incompetent and lives on a slippery slope, take over the matter. Her loss will be a harsh lesson to the giant corporations who manufacture the products that she is willing to sleep on the street to get before everyone else. Who knows where the government will stop if they start to regulate? Next thing you know there'll be three million dead Kindles and telephones. You're substituting Kindle lives in the future for Kindle lives in the present. And what about those future Kindles--how can Kindle make enough money to spur further Kindle innovation if it has to hunt down stolen Kindles and give them back to their owners, instead of selling a new Kindle to the newly Kindle-less? It's immoral!

12 comments:

clever pseudonym said...

Leave it to Megan to finally call for regulation to protect her from fraudulent purchases on her high-end gizmos.

Can't she just call her credit card company or the bank associated with the device and tell them to disallow purchases until further notice?

Susan of Texas said...

But she wants her Kindle back! She wants the company to hunt down the thief and send the info to the police, who will find the theif, take her Kindle away from him, and hand it back to her. Like her own little personal detective agency, but with the taxpayers paying for it.

riffle said...

McArdle "....to the extent that there are society-wide intergenerational duties, I think they run one way, from present to future, and involve a) conserving a common stock of resources and b) not bequeathing them debts."

So suck it up, McArdle, and quit trying to have our unborn children pay for your carelessness in not keeping tabs on your frivolous gadget that will be obsolete in 2 years.

Shorter McArdle: Libertarian for thee, state help for me.

Kathy said...

Surely these items can be password-protected? I'm pretty sure my phone was, and my computer sure is. (Got tired of the phone and tossed it in the 'junk' drawer).

tigris said...

This post is more delicious than chocolate-covered ponies.

Downpuppy said...

Did you notice that her posts today seem to have been delayed? Almost as if they had somebody checking them before they were released....

clever pseudonym said...

I don't think an editor is having a go at her work. If they are, they're as awful at their job as she is.

I want to hop up and down on his editors desk, waving a game of Clue and shouting "What on earth were you thinking?"

This is the writing of an English major. Or should I say "english"?

Batocchio said...

For every policy, you should first ask: "What will most benefit McMegan?"

Downpuppy said...

Maybe it was just the daily health post. By the time it showed, there were 2 above it, so it never got any comments.

Mark said...

I knew someone once who was constantly getting her possessions "stolen." What was actually happening was that she was an idiot who kept leaving her stuff in public places. MM didn't get her phones and her kindle stolen; she left them in the cafe where she types out this garbage. Oh, and her four "stolen" bikes? Just a hunch, but I'd bet a year's salary that she didn't lock them.

Substance McGravitas said...

I used to leave the toilet seat up before the regulations were passed.

Euripides said...

That snark was beautiful. Thank you!