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By: WaltFrench Wed, 21 Aug 2013 00:27:59 +0000 Well, maybe now we understand why Mr. Bezos, the country’s expert on low-friction purchases, has backward-integrated into “journalistic media properties & production.”

By: Golebiewski Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:33:00 +0000 Felix, what is the bases for your claim, “The problem with [micropayments] was that it’s just too hard to spend money online: the effort involved just isn’t worth it, for sums of a dollar or less”?

It sounds like Clay Shirky’s pseudo-theory of “mental effort.”

The facts are, however, the micropayments are a multibillion dollar industry, forecast to nearly triple by 2015 ( ry/making-money-from-micropayments-repor t-from-vrl)

Online publishers’ use of the on-demand micro and small payments is also growing. One of the reasons for that is micropayments can add revenue and increase readership, not limit it, especially among the younger populations (so called “digital natives”) accustomed to iTunes, in-game, and other one-time purchase transactions.

See our study here: And stop repeating the nonsensical “theory of mental effort.”

By: GregHao Tue, 05 Mar 2013 22:45:27 +0000 @Felix – The Economist is akin to FT where you’re given a certain number of reads per month if you’re a non-subscriber now. I want to say 8 but am not 100% certain.

By: logicus Tue, 05 Mar 2013 21:38:59 +0000 Enjoyed reading your comment paintcan. Less is more! Thank you.

By: paintcan Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:36:17 +0000 Unless your job is to write news or have a business that needs the information and you can right off the price of news or information related to you work on your income taxes, why buy any of it? Unless you can get a business write off, gossip and information isn’t worth much. I also find that the useful information seems to be what everyone accepts as the “story” and not what you think you know.

The only reason I ever bought books and magazines in the pre-digital age was because there was no substitute. I even fancied I was keeping a private library of works of “art” that I save, keep tended and protected and intend to leave to someone when I die. But it will probably all end up at the local library book sale. The resale value on used books is pretty low unless they are very rare books. Furniture has almost no resale value, because the cost of keeping the shop and the sales staff is what the next owner is really paying for. I only keep any of it because it would cost too much to replace things I bought decades ago at a tiny fraction of what they cost today. And I can’t really insure most of it for replacement value. The insurance companies lie about that. They say you need large dollar amount coverage for contents, but when I canceled a few years ago, the agent told me they would not have paid replacement value. I told them I didn’t think the contents were worth even $5,000, but I couldn’t get less than a minimum of $30,000 coverage for contents because they said I must insure for replacement value.

News isn’t vital to most people’s lives. Their jobs probably provide most of the necessary information built in. Even if you have a lot of information at your fingertips or from online sources, the job defines what you can do with any of it, for the most part. A lot of us may not actually believe the buzz anyway. It is always a matter of someone else’s take on the issues.

The only sites I ever actually spend any money on are sites like ebay that sell tangible products. Otherwise I look at the Internet as the extension of the free TV and radio I knew when I was a kid. I hardly buy anything in stores anymore. It’s probably better for the environment to stay home, not drive to stores to shop, and have only UPS or USPS make the deliveries. If I could get groceries that way – and that used to be a service from some small mom and pop grocery stores – I would do that too. But there was a delivery charge.

Actually – why keep much of anything today or even live a lavish lifestyle? This economy is so stuffed with stuff it’s cheaper and easier to buy at garage sales, Goodwill, Salvation Army etc. and not pay the overhead costs for main street shopping. People drop dead or move all the time and there is so much good stuff costing a few dollars. In fact: everything one buys at retail stores tends to loose value the moment it leaves the store.

From my perspective, a low-income senior, the digital age is killing the economy. I could almost live in a single room, have the internet for interaction with the outside world (I live in the sticks) keep only a few tangible artifacts or treasured possessions and do almost everything for as little as possible. My father lives part of his year visiting my sister in a small RV. He does not consider that he is poor or living a miserable lifestyle. In fact, having too many things only means a burden and exposure to taxation, fees and maintenance costs. My sister pays big money for everything and has a large income she spends to preserve the image of an executive. But it isn’t actually necessary for her job. But with that line, I probably killed the economy.

I could almost live like an ancient Roman. Unless he was very wealthy – the average person didn’t seem to own much of anything. And they got their daily baths for small change too.

I think this is how they lived. They would wake up with the sun, eat some bread, perhaps, do their work in the morning until the sun got too hot for comfort and strength, go to the baths to clean up and have something to eat. After a nap through the hottest part of the day, they would then do their socializing and entertainment in the cool evening and have the biggest meals of the day, and go to bed in a small cubicle, with hardly any furniture. The next morning they would repeat the cycle. People spent money on tangible things like houses and furniture that they expected to last generations, to preserve their social status. Otherwise they lived on small personal expenditures, except for their rent. They got the news from their social life.

It sounds so rational and even elegant to me now, although I wouldn’t miss the slavery. But roman slavery was not as often like the old southern kind of slavery. It was a matter of legal definitions and citizenship rights.

One other thing – the writer Alexis de Tocqueville was the son of an aristocratic French family and he said they would only buy the best quality of artifacts and do without until they could afford to have the best quality. That furniture and bric-a-brac was expected to be well built, to be carefully preserved and to last forever and they paid in cash. That is not how the modern consumer economy works. De Tocgueville’s class philosophy is almost the kiss of death to a consumer society. But their stuff is what we see in great country houses and museums. Everything else from those times tended to be worn out and discarded. Historic times also produced cheap goods that we just don’t see now.

The modern world can’t quite afford the waste stream it creates anymore. Industrial scale consumption makes so much garbage it’s expensive to get rid of it now. So I burn anything I can in my woodstove and minimize trips to the dump. Plastic, however, is a pollutant and doesn’t decay if not exposed to sunlight and the regional incinerator has to burn it anyway.

In some ways our whole consumer society is some kind of stupidity.