[PD] [OT] economics

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Sun Oct 30 16:42:28 CET 2011

Le 2011-10-26 à 07:09:00, Andy Farnell a écrit :

> This is what I mean by anti-economics. Like when EU trade agreements 
> meant that farmers burned food surplus 1000 miles away from famine. Like 
> the legendary E.T. landfill where Atari dumped millions of game 
> cartridges in an act of vanity.

I don't know how you reach that conclusion about the E.T. game. When 
reading the story, it immediately looked to me as an act of shame : Atari 
already was losing tons of money making way more cartridges than people 
wanted to buy, and they didn't want to lose twice for the same blunder by 
also scaring off shareholders, I suppose. Well, they could have also lost 
a 3rd and 4th by further losing the general confidence of potential 
customers and potential employees. The incentive to hide the mistake was 
too big. They also couldn't have easily brought back some of the money by 
recycling cartridge components... I don't know why, but I'm sure they 
thought about it.

> The principle of destroying wealth to create profit is disgusting.

Much before the EU, in the Great Depression of the 1930's, supply was kept 
low by destroying food, in order to prevent prices from going down. As a 
result, lots of (non-homeless) people had to start going through garbage 
cans to find the only stuff that wasn't vastly overpriced. In QC (under 
first ministers Taschereau & Duplessis), much of the action was to 
de-urbanise the poor, to make them less dependent of money, notably by 
giving them land parcels in the vast virgin boreal forests of Abitibi. 
Learning that was part of the mandatory grade 10 curriculum for us. But I 
suppose that the idea of destroying food is much older than that... though 
doing it for bureaucratic reasons might be more recent than doing it 
covertly for preserving private interests.

> Fully working generic units are shipped from China. Then we break
> them. Sometimes we employ as many people to limit the functionality
> of devices as to design and create them.

In QC, Pierre Couture (an INRS engineer) joined the state utility company 
and invented a new kind of electric wheel-motor in 1994, and 17 years 
later there are still hardly any electric cars around (even though 
electricity is really cheap around here), and they all come from foreign 
countries. You can bet that when the project was cancelled in 1996, it 
wasn't for technical reasons. (Part of the story has since been turned 
into fiction for Philippe Falardeau's crazy motion picture named 

That's yet another case of artificial scarcity...

> The distance between the Apple "1984" television advert and current 
> corporate stance is breathtaking.

As an XCode/iOS developer, I know how stringent the developer licenses 
are... we have to very routinely renew our authorisation to be iOS 
developers, otherwise we can only run stuff in the emulator. And back when 
the ad came out, in 1984, Apple was also selling developer licenses at 
high prices (though without private-key protections) while the evil 
faceless empire of big brother IBM sold a PC that was actually free to 
develop for.

La liberté c'est l'esclavage, et l'ignorance c'est la force...

| Mathieu BOUCHARD ----- téléphone : +1.514.383.3801 ----- Montréal, QC

More information about the Pd-list mailing list