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Thread: Should money be able to buy EVERYTHING?

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Should money be able to buy EVERYTHING?

    I just picked up "Mine: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives" at the library. I've only read the first chapter so far but it's been very interesting and I thought that chapter alone might make for an interesting conversation here. The chapter is titled "First Come: Last Served" and discusses the various ways that businesses have monetized the avoidance of waiting. Examples abound:

    • Disney sells fastpasses that allow one to skip the line for a few rides during their visit to the theme park, and a really expensive super duper fastpass (I forget the marketing name for it) that costs several thousand dollars and allows one to avoid the lines for all rides during the visit
    • A freeway in Virginia charges real-time congestion tolls. Normally a few dollars for a ten mile trip, but one day the toll went up to $35. Only wealthy (or desperate) people paid the price so the road remained moving at normal speed while all the other roads around it ground to a stop and go crawl
    • entrepreneurs built bots to get around "Hamilton The Musical's" efforts to make tickets available to everyone so that they could buy the tickets and then resell them on stubhub and other sites for exponentially more money
    • A business has grown around paying people to "wait in line" at venues where there is no other option. An example is that the supreme court allows anyone to attend their hearings on a first come first served basis. Only a limited number of people get in because the gallery is not large. There are businesses that charge big bucks for this and hire homeless people at minimum wage to do the waiting for days in advance of key cases, then shortly before the case is to start lobbyists and bigwig lawyers show up to take the homeless people's spots, having paid a lot of money for them.
    • Airlines sell the opportunity to board earlier or offer it as a perk to frequent flyers who have flown a specified number of flights or miles

    An interesting wrinkle to thinking about this occurred to me in the middle of the chapter. YMOYL talks about the importance of spending one's life energy on things that one wants to and not on things that one doesn't value. In that light it would seem that all of this is great. Rich people have a lot of stored up life energy in their bank accounts and if they want to spend it on these, and other similar, things then that shouldn't bother anyone. Personally, if rich people want to hand disney thousands of dollars for the privilege of not having to wait in line for rides, I don't really care one way or the other. On the other hand, if my taxes helped pay for that road in Virginia, or for that supreme court, should the wealthy really be able to buy the right to have access leaving me out cold if I don't have the bucks to afford it? And is it right that ticket scalpers, with the help of computer bots, be able to make more money off of a performance of Hamilton than the actors/writers/producers did?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    In my state you can pay a runner to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for you since the lines there are long.

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    It's an interesting question. When it comes right down to it, if someone is willing to pay for something and someone else is willing to accept that pay - and it is not breaking the law, harming someone else, etc. - I don't think it is for me to say yay or nay. When it is something that is in the realm of morally/ethically right or wrong, everyone seems to draw those lines in different places and depending on circumstances. (Hopefully some of this makes sense. lol)
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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    It has always been thus. Immigrants to North America in 1700's and probably earlier could travel first class or less. Today, flyers can travel business class or economy. One decides however one chooses to suit one's budget or preference. Where I might have a concern is if access is denied due the cost being prohibitive and is a basic need like safe water to drink.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Willing buyer, willing seller. I don’t consider the rest to be my business.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    How about this scenario. Person lives in a ‘must vote in person’ state, in an urban area with a large minority population so the lines at the polls are always long. Should they be allowed to hire someone to do the waiting for them?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Only one of those examples bother me. In the case of the frequent flier perks, I'm a recipient of those, and I feel I earned them, having sat in a seat for over a million miles for the airline who grants me those perks.

    The one that irks me is the one related to scalpers who drive up prices at concerts, plays, etc. I'm actually in a dilemma in that regard. Last fall I bought a couple of tickets for Hamilton. I don't know what I was thinking, but I think the impulse buy was driven by having listened to the Broadway cast recording simultaneously while drinking a glass or two of wine. So after enjoying the recording and the wine, I looked up availability for six months later--my birthday--and there were American Express seats in the front row of the mezzanine. I bought them, and I felt instant remorse, and I continue to.

    So, I've held onto them for the past 4 months waiting for some inspiration to come to me as to how to explain the purchase to DH. So I've decided I'm going to sell them for many reasons. Ticketmaster has a "verified resale" policy where you can list your tickets on their website and if they sell, you get the money back. You can post for any amount of money you want. I just checked this out a couple of weeks ago, and saw that the market value of those seats has actually appreciated 25%. So, should I just set my selling price at the price I bought them for, or should I try to make a profit on them?
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
    How about this scenario. Person lives in a ‘must vote in person’ state, in an urban area with a large minority population so the lines at the polls are always long. Should they be allowed to hire someone to do the waiting for them?
    Living in an urban area with a large minority population as I do, i can assure you the lines are not long. Except, PERHAPS in a Presidential year and then only at peak time and if Barack Obama is running. Can’t see that happening again.

    But regardless of the reality on the ground, sure if I want to hire someone to stand in line for me why not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
    How about this scenario. Person lives in a ‘must vote in person’ state, in an urban area with a large minority population so the lines at the polls are always long. Should they be allowed to hire someone to do the waiting for them?
    I don't see the difference in this scenario versus waiting in line to purchase tickets. Ultimately, the person paying for the tickets or the person placing their vote is the one performing the desired end action. My concern would be the reactions of the individuals in front of, behind or near where the "space holding exchange" would take place. People sometimes get emotional when they see what looks like someone "cutting the line". Safety for the payer and payee might sometimes end up being an issue.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
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  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    In Catherine’s situation, if I was still in wealth accumulation phase, I might charge 25%. Now I’m past all that and I give crap away so it wouldn’t matter, although the tedium of listing them is the same regardless of how much I ask for these tickets.

    It’s good karma to release into the universe. Even though I don’t believe that crap, I do think it’s fun to give people little gifts, little anonymous gift. And tickets at face value would be a good gift although you don’t know if scalper is going to grab them and turn around and double any profit you would’ve earned. But see that’s just it you can’t control what happens to the things you release to the universe.

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