The Economics of Mass Effect: Part 1: Profiteering

I’m a huge sci-fi nerd.  I’m also a huge fan of the Mass Effect series.  As I near the completion of my fifth play-through of the trilogy, there are a number of economic lessons taught in the series.  To tease these lessons out, I’m starting a new series of posts on this blog.  I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but I cannot guarantee anything.  If you’re hoping to avoid spoilers, I’d suggest holding off on reading this until you play the game (but seriously, the series is eight years old at this point.  Where have you been?).  I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I do writing it.

Profiteering, or the art of charging higher prices during a natural disaster or war, is treated as a dirty thing.  In fact, many states and countries have made it illegal.  Unfortunately, the myth that profiteers are nothing more than greedy individuals trying to capitalize on distress is very common.  In Mass Effect 3, this pops up right near the beginning of the game.  Some background: the galaxy is invaded by a super powerful race of sentient machine-organic hybrids known as the Reapers.  All major civilizations (Humans, Turians, Asari, and Salarians) are under attack.  Within hours of the invasion, the Human government is dead, Earth is under attack, galactic communications are in disarray (meaning inter-planetary trade is very difficult to conduct), and normal travel lanes are raided by mercenaries and the Reapers.

Early on in the game, the player (Commander Shepard) is on the Citadel (the home of the galactic capital) and he runs into an old friend, Dr. Chole Michel.  While discussing the situation on the Citadel, Dr. Michel notes that “war profiteering has already begun,” making it hard for the hospital to get the medication it needs.  Commander Shepard just shakes his head in disbelief.

Undoubtedly, the price of medication has risen for the hospital, but does that mean it is due to greediness?  Hardly.  Re-read my second paragraph: the galaxy is in chaos.  Supply chains are disrupted.  A war is on.  Demand is high and supply is low.  A simple supply-demand analysis would suggest prices will rise.  Traders and manufacturers are incurring extra risks and need to protect shipments from raiders.  Manufacturers have longer supply chains, increasing their costs.  Raw material miners need to travel further and further to get their inputs.  All these things raise the price of goods.

The higher prices also encourage substitutes and technological advances, such as ways to make the current supply of medication more effective (in fact, this is a side quest the player can undertake).  In addition, consumes of the medication will look for alternatives as well, and those who value the medication for less than the market price can sell their stocks (this example also appears in-game and we will discuss it in a future post).

Far from profiteering being a drag, it is actually a good thing when resources are exceptionally scarce.  If the Council (the ruling body of the Citadel) were to enact legislation against profiteering , this would have a detrimental effect on the supply of goods; prices will be unable to rise, and there will be less incentive for manufacturers to produce, less incentive for consumers to ration, and under-supply will continue to be a problem.

55 thoughts on “The Economics of Mass Effect: Part 1: Profiteering

  1. No matter how hard you try, some people will never be able to get past the Profit.

    I’ve asked “How would you measure success?” The answer I get back has nothing to do with whether there is more product made available through supply or reallocation, or incentive to create new solutions. “But the best way to get more generators here pronto is to send a special signal, that alerts the world that we really need them here.”

    (but not as long as someone greedy profits.)

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  2. Again, you make some very good points in this trilogy and you have expressed your views quite eloquently. But, again, you have some major misconceptions about the thing your arguing against. In this case, profiteering laws.

    For the most part, (there are exceptions) profiteering laws take into account the disrupted supply lines in times of chaos. They do NOT prevent traders and manufacturers from making up for the extra costs. Another thing to consider is that many companies send needed supplies to high risk zones at discounted rates or take on the extra costs themselves because they know that the people in these high risk areas are desperate.

    Anti-Profiteering laws are designed to do two things: A. prevent the poor from being priced out of necessities during times of need and B. Prevent local merchants from disproportionately raising prices to exploit those in need. Like most instances, it is the few that ruin it for the many, but this sort of greedy behavior absolutely occurs all over the world. Anti-profiteering laws prevent an already bad situation from getting out of hand.

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    • Except they don’t. It’s a lovely thought you express but is incorrect because its intentions are not its results. It’s impossible to know high high prices “should” go.

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      • If you take a look into the Profiteering act of 2011 in Malaysia and it’s consequences you will find one example of a profiteering law that is more than “a lovely thought.” This law absolutely helped the public, and while it punished some immoral business men, honest business grew. I’d be happy to provide more examples if you wish.

        If you take a look at the situation in India where profiteering in the medical industry has become rampant you will see one example of why profiteering laws are necessary. I’d be happy to provide more examples if you wish.

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          • If looked at the statistics, in the years following the anti-profiteering laws Malaysia saw three straight years of growth in productivity in the Manufacturing sector. Production did take a dip in February of this year, but recovered in March. Local forecasters project a more “normalized” growth rate for the remainder of the year.

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            • How, exactly, is productivity enhanced by controls on prices? The mechanism isn’t clear.

              And what is a “reasonable” profit, how is it determined, and who gets to determine it?

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                • That didn’t exactly answer my question, but it raises a new one: If the law had no effect, why was it enacted? Don’t those who enact laws have some expectations of what the outcome of their legislation will be? Perhaps they didn’t understand the “problem” they thought they were addressing.

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                  • The law was enacted in 2011 because of what is happening in neighboring countries. No. It did not effect the current production patterns. I will address this further in response to your later comment. Please check below.

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            • Besides anti profiteering laws don’t have much effect when conditions are normal. Not many price fluctuations then. It’s in disasters when the problems occur

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              • If that is true, why did you claim earlier that the anti-profiteering law “explains why manufacturing took a dive in Malaysia this year.”?

                The pattern is independent of this law because it is a time of normalcy.

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                  • I will give you credit that you can be very obstinate. Even in the face of defeat.

                    Let me offer you a deal: It’s one thing to theorize behind a computer and books. It’s another to experience events. If you truly believe that nothing here has proved you wrong and profiteering is a myth then maybe you would like to take a trip with me.

                    We can visit India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka together and I can show you how things work in certain sectors that are supposedly ripe with profiteering. Then we can have a more honest debate together over curry.

                    If you agree, I will provide you with my email and contact information and we can work out the details privately.

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            • Albert Lee is correct. The drop in production in February was a reaction to overproduction in January and this was completely independent from the anti-profiteering law.

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              • This is getting off topic, but I’m not sure there was overproduction in January that accounts for the decline in February. Typically, manufacturing in Malaysia rises 1.3% in January from December. This year, it fell 3.3%, the worst January since 2001. February was also atypical whereas it fell 1.7% (typically manufacturing is flat). March was strong, but then April was weak again.

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                • The rocky condition of production in Malaysia has gone back to 2014. Thus, proving that the rocky condition is independent from the anti-profiteering law, which was my point. According to my sources, an abnormally quick “boom-bust” cycle is triggering the rocky conditions. However, they are working to rectify this.

                  Just because production decreased does not mean they weren’t producing beyond demand. If you notice the sharp increase from November to December the January decrease becomes explainable. February fell too far, then overcompensation in March. This has been the recent cycle in Malaysia.

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                • Yes, we are off topic.

                  The reason for the price control and anti-profiteering laws in Malaysia was to prevent situations like are currently existing in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the poor, refugees, etc. are forced to pay large amounts for necessities such as healthcare, clothes etc. therefore being forced to chose between their economic security or their health. The scope of the law goes beyond this. Malaysia’s poor is more stable than the other three countries so many argue that the law is unneeded. But proponents believe that if it can happen in one country it can in Malaysia too.

                  Please consider my offer above if you consider this statement to be untrue.

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                  • Variya

                    Incentives matter. Perhaps you believe the laws of supply and demand don’t apply in the poor countries you mentioned, or that human nature can be changed by legislation.

                    If not, please consider the role of a higher price as a signal to users of a good or service to use less of that good or service so that more of the short supply is available to others, and to suppliers to provide more of the good or service in hopes of cashing in on the profits to be made, thus increasing the supply available to those who are in need.

                    A price control defeats this signal to users and providers, and creates no incentive to produce more of the good or service in short supply. How does that help poor people? If something isn’t available to them, it doesn’t matter how low the price is, they can’t get it anyway.

                    .

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                    • One thing that happens often in India and Bangladesh is that doctors will charge a very high price to poor people for needed medicines. They do this because they know that the poor cannot afford it. If they deny, then they cannot get their medicine then the doctor will demand that the poor work off the debt by working for the doctor.

                      Another thing that happens is that doctors will fabricate test results so that they can charge the patient a higher price. Because the patient doesn’t know any better they accept a procedure they do not need and are forced to pay more.

                      In many South Asia countries people will dress as border patrol agents and charge tourists for entry visas they do not need.

                      Merchants come from Qatar and other places to Bangladesh and lie about the goods they sell so they can take advantage of the poor and uneducated.

                      These are problems that not only happen in Bangladesh but all over South Asia, which is why the law in Malaysia is necessary. The reason why the law does not exist in Bangladesh is because our politicians are paid to ignore the issue.

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                    • It’s not clear how price controls would eliminate the abuses you mention if they can’t be controlled by laws against fraud, nor how such controls would be enforced. It sounds like there are for more serious problems than high prices.

                      Again, I’ll ask: What is a “reasonable” profit, how is it determined, and who gets to determine it?

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                    • Ron:

                      In short; there is no easy answer to your questions, but you may be asking the wrong questions. It’s not about “reasonable profit.” It’s about honesty, transparency and moral business practices.

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                    • Anti-profiteering laws absolutely work to eliminate abuses. You are correct in saying that laws against fraud should cover some of it, but fraud and profiteering are not exactly the same thing.

                      I think you’re misinterpreting the issue here, Ron. The morally corrupt do not work within the normal economic theories that many free marketers believe in. These price controls are not there to regulate profit, but to make sure merchants and such do not price discriminate, i.e a rich patron price and a poor patron price, or commit other abuses that don’t fit under fraud.

                      There are several different models that are used to regulate this. One of the more common local models is one where the regulatory department determines the value rage of a product / service based on current market trends. These are never concrete. If someone feels that they are being taken advantage of they can report this abuse to the agency and an investigation will ensue to see if the allegations are true. Models like these work all over Asia with an overall positive effect on the given industries.

                      You are right in saying there are more serious problems in South Asia than prices. The main problem is government corruption. A blind eye is turned to all these issues and the more corrupt side of the free market runs rampant, especially in Bangladesh. There’s a lot of exploitation in that part of the world.

                      In Europe many “price control” laws, as you like to call them, are there to enforce fair competition across industries. Take a look at the Competition Act of 1998 in the UK. The law is there to be sure that companies do not artificially lower supply, increase demand, price fix, or collude to prevent competition.

                      There are other laws out there designed to protect against market predators. These laws serve two purposes. The first is preventing an abnormal increase on goods that have an “infinite demand” such as food, healthcare and education. The second is prevent the poor from being priced out of goods that are at an artificial low. While emergency situations often bring out the good in people, it brings out the bad in others. There are companies and merchants who intentionally produce below demand in order to jack up prices. During emergency situations they exaggerate losses and ramp up their prices even further knowing that people will pay because these goods are in need, which I argue is different than demand.

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                    • Albert

                      consider this:

                      During an emergency demand for goods may increase as people stock up in anticipation of shortages. At the same time, normal deliveries of the good may be interrupted so a shortage is almost guaranteed. Once supplies run out, no one whether rich or poor can get more at ANY price.

                      A higher price will discourage buying more than is really needed, leaving more available for those who most need need whatever it is, and at the same time will encourage suppliers to enter the area despite the risks and extra effort in hopes of high profits From a consumer standpoint which is better? To have some at a high price or none at a low price?

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                    • Ron:

                      Don’t forget that in this modern age, emergency supplies come in from all over the world to help relieve the stresses felt by areas affected by all sorts of emergencies. These supplies are often sent at discounted rates or completely on the donor’s bill and help normalise supply and regulate prices.

                      I understand that this is often not enough and prices do inevitably rise.

                      Despite your protests there are certainly ways companies and individuals are able to artificially control supply and demand. These ways are often because they have the freedom to do so due to lack of regulation or enforcement and not by “misguided” regulation. If it is, then it’s because of unforeseen loopholes getting exploited. From my experience, I’d argue it’s naive to think otherwise.

                      Let’s use a real world example to show how these things happen. The firm that represents my company recently had to go into Eastern Nepal to investigate an independent construction agency who was accused of profiteering from the earthquake. They were accused of taking charitably donated supplies and destroying them to keep supply low. Then, because of the artificially low supply they were able to charge exuberant amounts to build needed buildings such as shelters for the displaced and hospitals that were being build for free, or at least really cheap, elsewhere. They were able to get away with this because of the lack of enforcement in the more rural areas and would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for the aid workers in the region.

                      On your questions about increasing demand. Manufactured demand happens all over the world all the time. One of the most prominent and popular examples of this is the bottled water industry. They manufacture demand by saying that their product is healthier than tap water, but in actuality is just bottled tap water. Because people believe this campaign they are willing to pay 2 dollars for something you can get for next to free if you just turn on your faucet. Whenever a company can convince you that need something you don’t even want that is called manufactured demand. Yes, you are correct. This is almost never a bad thing. But there are those who take advantage of this ability to manipulate people and that is not right.

                      Again. anti-profiteering laws are NOT, I repeat; NOT price controls. Nobody is forcing anyone to charge x amount for a product. These laws are here to act as a referee and be sure that everyone is playing fair. Companies are completely able to artificially control supply and demand independent of government, and the only instances where they “enlist” a force of government is if said company or industry has the government in their pocket, i.e. corruption.

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                    • I may have not been clear on the price discrimination rules. I’ll try it again.

                      You would certainly be able to charge less for poor patients. That’s considered charity. However, if you charge an amount that is well beyond the normal price for the sake of making extra profit because you either want to trap an impoverished patient into indentured servitude (like in India and Bangladesh) or think that a wealthy patient will not argue the outrageous cost for unneeded procedures, then that is profiteering. And it does happen.

                      According to some economic theories things like food and healthcare have “infinite” demand because while there are limits on how much food one can eat, people will always need food. It’s because of this need that people will pay more if they are forced to because they do not have a choice.

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                  • Albert

                    The morally corrupt do not work within the normal economic theories that many free marketers believe in.

                    No, instead of a free market they work within a political system that allows them to exploit consumers and disadvantage or eliminate their competition. A truly fee market would regulate providers to a degree not possible with well intentioned but misguided legislation.

                    These price controls are not there to regulate profit, but to make sure merchants and such do not price discriminate, i.e a rich patron price and a poor patron price, or commit other abuses that don’t fit under fraud.

                    In other words, as a doctor I would not be allowed to treat very poor patients for less than my normal price or even for free if I wished to.

                    In Europe many “price control” laws, as you like to call them…

                    What else could I call them, as they’re designed to control prices?

                    Take a look at the Competition Act of 1998 in the UK. The law is there to be sure that companies do not artificially lower supply, increase demand, price fix, or collude to prevent competition.

                    Companies can’t “artificially” lower supply or prevent competition without enlisting the force of government. A rising price attracts competition, naturally controlling prices at or near equilibrium for supply and demand, to a degree not possible with government intervention. Not sure how companies can increase demand or why that would be a bad thing. Companies may collude to fix prices, but unless they can limit new competition from entering the field – which requires government intervention, they can’t increase prices much.

                    There are other laws out there designed to protect against market predators.

                    So-called predators can only operate within a framework of government protection.
                    These laws serve two purposes. The first is preventing an abnormal increase on goods that have an “infinite demand” such as food, healthcare and education.

                    Not sure what you mean by “infinite”, There are limits to how much food, medical care & education people can consume, therefore limits to the prices that can be charged. And again – there’s that pesky competition thingy. A high price attracts competitors eager to cash in on potential profits. They can only enter the market by offering what consumers want at a lower price.

                    The second is prevent the poor from being priced out of goods that are at an artificial low.

                    You can’t increase supplies of something in short supply by holding down prices, unless you can force producers to make the products required. Otherwise they need incentives, perhaps the possibility of increased profits to be made. Socialist and fascist economic systems have failed spectacularly everywhere they have been tried.

                    While emergency situations often bring out the good in people, it brings out the bad in others. There are companies and merchants who intentionally produce below demand in order to jack up prices.

                    Won’t competitors enter the market to take advantage of the higher prices?

                    During emergency situations they exaggerate losses and ramp up their prices even further knowing that people will pay because these goods are in need, which I argue is different than demand.”

                    What about that competition thingy?

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  3. TIME OUT! This is getting ridiculous.

    Variya, although you make some very good points it’s clear that you’re taking things a bit too personally. Thanks for the defense, but stop posting and come back another time.

    Jon. You too make some very good points, but you do have a tendency to be condescending and diminishing to those who disagree with you. I feel that is the root of many of your misunderstandings of your opponents’ arguments. Your loyalty to your stance can be your strength at times, but mix this stubbornness with what I just said and you have a tendency to and dig your self into rather large holes.

    I say this as a fan of your blog and hope for a continually improving product.

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  4. Albert

    Don’t forget that in this modern age, emergency supplies come in from all over the world to help relieve the stresses felt by areas affected by all sorts of emergencies. These supplies are often sent at discounted rates or completely on the donor’s bill and help normalise supply and regulate prices.

    In which case there is no shortage. You are not describing free market conditions.

    You have asserted that bad actors can hurt people in a free market, but you haven’t provided any examples of problems in a (relatively) free market.

    Despite your protests there are certainly ways companies and individuals are able to artificially control supply and demand.

    Not in a free market, only where there are barriers to competitors entry into the market in question. Most often that’s the case when government restrictions and regulations favor existing businesses over new entrants.

    If it is, then it’s because of unforeseen loopholes getting exploited.

    Which loopholes are to be expected when government rules and regulations attempt to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on the interactions of millions of people.

    Let’s use a real world example to show how these things happen. The firm that represents my company recently had to go into Eastern Nepal to investigate an independent construction agency…

    Of course. Let me guess: the company in question had no competition, and/or an exclusive contract to do the necessary work.

    Again, this is not a free market you are describing. Emergency relief operations by outside agencies certainly aren’t free market operations. Tell me why there was no competition, if there wasn’t any, and I’ll tell You why there was a problem.

    …needed buildings such as shelters for the displaced and hospitals that were being build for free, or at least really cheap, elsewhere.

    Did these free or cheap projects use locally purchased materials and local builders and labor? If not, you can understand that they most likely devastated the local economy.

    On your questions about increasing demand. Manufactured demand happens all over the world all the time. One of the most prominent and popular examples of this is the bottled water industry. They manufacture demand by saying that their product is healthier than tap water, but in actuality is just bottled tap water.

    You might find this interesting. More than you ever wanted to know about bottled water.

    I don’t care about health claims, I use bottled water because it’s very convenient and inexpensive. Far better, for me, than dealing with a reusable container. I’m glad someone thought to provide consumers with such a great product. Yes, that’s manufactured demand, just like smartphones, and thousands of other products and services that make our lives better.

    Because people believe this campaign they are willing to pay 2 dollars (how about 12 cents) for something you can get for next to free if you just turn on your faucet.

    Whenever a company can convince you that need something you don’t even want…

    Like what? I like and want bottled water.

    Again. anti-profiteering laws are NOT, I repeat; NOT price controls.

    If I can’t legally charge more than an amount within some normal and customary range as determined by some government agency, I am subject to a price control.

    Nobody is forcing anyone to charge x amount for a product.

    I can legally charge no more than some amount with the range x. What else would you call it?

    Companies are completely able to artificially control supply and demand independent of government,”

    Not in a free market where someone else can enter the market to compete with them.

    You have described conditions in very poor countries with corrupt governments. It’s not clear why you think these same governments would produce beneficial rules and regulations that hurt the very companies and individuals that help keep them in power.

    “…and the only instances where they “enlist” a force of government is if said company or industry has the government in their pocket, i.e. corruption.”

    That describes most of the countries you have mentioned. There are no truly free markets anywhere in the world, and especially not in southern Asia.

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  5. Ron: First of all, thank you for starting the new thread. It was getting annoying.

    I did say that the vast majority of the time manufactured demand is a positive. I think you missed that. I didn’t want to mislead you into thinking it was an overly negative devise. But there are those who take advantage of it.

    One litre of brand named bottled water costs on average $2.50 in the US, not 12 cents. I have no idea where you got that figure from. In the United States, Canada and through most of Europe there is zero benefit from having water in bottles as opposed to from the tap. I’m glad you enjoy bottled water, but your enthusiasm for it is proving my point: You’re convinced that going to the store to get a bottle of water is more convenient than turning on the faucet to fill up a sports bottle. And you’re willing to disregard any health claims.

    You’ve got the Nepal thing all wrong. It was a mix of foreign and local goods and workers, and the government acted more as a source of information than anything as they were busy with other matters pertaining to the disaster.

    To cut to the chase: The one thing you were right on in Nepal was this: “Emergency relief operations by outside agencies certainly aren’t free market operations.” That’s exactly the point of this conversation. Because it’s an emergency you cannot expect free market principles to apply. The laws of supply and demand are not like the laws of physics where everything is held in place because gravity says it’s so. Demand is driven by human psychology and supply is driven by man made goods. Therefore man has control over the laws of economics and can manipulate them. That is why laws are important. That is why you didn’t see the same kind of manipulation in Japan, Costa Rica and Chili because of the laws and enforcement in place to prevent this sort of behavior during emergency situations.

    If you want more Western examples of companies who manipulate supply, demand and the free market here are a few cases you can look up: Bribery of any kind anywhere, Allegations of price fixing against British Airways, Yesterday’s subpoena of US airliners who are under suspicion of collusion and price fixing, Apple’s price fixing fine, Events that lead up to the Sherman Anti-trust act, 2008 when Budweiser was found guilty for buying up and subsequently burning hops to hurt the craft brew industry, French supermarkets dumping food to keep prices high, Canadian and British phone companies agreeing not to sell to competitor’s customers, Tesco’s dairy scandal. None of these occurrences happened because of government intervention, they were stopped by government intervention. There are dozens if not hundreds more I can find as well.

    You are correct in saying that many government regulations favor companies in power already. But that is a very Western way of thinking and, again, it comes from money interests using the government to manipulate the free market to favor them. Eastern corruption, and the same is true through Africa, comes from the government turning a blind eye to the dirty deeds of the same interests and allowing them to do what they please. Whether is done by members of the economy or the government these are manipulations of the free market.

    Either way the corruption debate is a very chicken vs. the egg type argument. We can go back and forth about who corrupts who for ages without coming to a real conclusion. I suggest we save that conversation for a place we can sit down and talk about it.

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    • The average price of water in the UK is $2.50 per litre not the US. That was a typo.

      The US pays about $1.87 per litre according to Business Insider, but it’s still not 12 cents.

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      • Albert

        Please don’t presume to tell me what I pay for bottled water.

        Look in the lower right corner.

        And here

        $2.99 / 24 bottles = 12.4 cents per half liter bottle. there is also a 5 cent redemption value charged for each bottle to encourage their return, but it’s most often too much trouble.

        You seem determined to not hear what I’m telling you, so this exchange may be at an end. I can only suggest that you entertain the notion that you might not have a clue about human nature or economics, and seek to educate yourself. You are making outrageous and unfounded assertions.

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        • Wow, that was the most mature thing you’ve posted in this conversation. You’ve really proven yourself with that post. Your 4th of July sale prices for generic water at one store are absolutely representative of the average price of brand named water nation wide. I’m sorry I doubted your superior logic. (but you’re still paying for than from your tap.)

          And yes. Again you are correct. Real instances and real life experience is absolutely trumped and proven false by your ability to discredit peoples’ intelligence when unable to intelligently counter the argument.

          I thought that this blog was for intelligent conversation, however, I forgot that this was an internet conversation that has gone on to long, and by the law of the internet someone has to snap a reduce themselves to juvenile denunciations.

          Considering the post I have held for the past umpteen years asks me to deal first hand with both economics and human nature, I will heed your advice and seek to brainwash myself to think exactly like you do.

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          • You didn’t make an argument. You just made unsupported assertions and assumed things not in evidence, while apparently failing to comprehend what others have written.

            I’m glad to hear you’re interested in improving your understanding of basic economics. I can recommend some excellent reading. Just ask.

            And incredibly, you continue to insist that you know better than I do what price I pay for bottled water. Do you not see the irony in your also claiming that real life experience trumps theory and observations from afar? You have called me a liar, which pretty much ends the conversation all by itself.

            If you do hold a position from which you exercise some amount of control over economic activity in a country in southern Asia, it becomes clearer why those people are in such desperate poverty because you, my friend, are part of the problem.

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            • I never claimed I know what you personally pay for water. I only claimed that what you pay is not representative of the national average. Nor have I ever called you a liar. I don’t know where you got that from. I believe that you do not know much outside of your own personal experience, that’s true, but I never called you a liar.

              I do exercise some control over economic activity: It’s called business. You see, I’m a business man and apply your theories and the theories of others who contradict you to my business practices. I also use projections to make decisions on how my company will benefit from to projected failures / successes of the projected market situation. If you do not understand how I can manipulate the market from my vantage point, I am not part of the problem. It is you, who are too naive to see that there are people far more “evil” than I, who have much more power than I, who manipulate more than I can ever dream of, that control the “free” markets, that are the real problem. If that is not you, then I take it back.

              Considering we both live in Southern California we might have to get together for a book exchange. I live in Altadena and work in the city when not deployed internationally.

              You are the expert on human behavior here so I might recommend Steven Pinker. He’s a world famous psychologist, perhaps you’ve heard of him.

              You asked me a question and I answered it. You responded by attempting to denounce my intelligence. Coincidentally, Pinker wrote a recent publication that sums up your response.

              “[U]sually a tactic that is utilized by children on the playground and adolescence one will typically seek to discredit the intelligence or masculinity of another when intellectually admitting defeat. With the growing popularity of the internet this tactic has gained popularity among blog enthusiasts who do not wish to be contradicted and seek to surround themselves only with people who share the same core beliefs. The denunciation is most commonly a sign of a bruised ego and…” bla bla bla, you get the point. (Pinker, 2014)

              Sincerely, I would like to get together for a chat. We could learn a lot from each other.

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              • A chat? I don’t think so. It’s obvious from your comments that you have little or no interest in what others have to say, and a very poor understanding of basic economics.

                I have better uses for my time, and I’ve wasted quite enough of it on you.

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  6. There’s a common saying that says you can tell what people are guilty of from what they accuse others of. Little interest in what others have to say and a poor understanding of economics might be two of them.

    And for someone who claims I need an education on human behavior and economics, you seem to be clueless as to what has just happened to you.

    Instead of shooting me down and vainly insulting me every chance you get, why not open your mind and meet up for a real theoretical chat? Considering what we have in common it’s fairly possible that it could happen anyways. Why not embrace it now?

    But if you are genuinely uninterested I suggest that you stop posting, because the more you speak the more you prove my previous posts correct.

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