Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sometimes I Am Too Ethical

I spotted a new business venture from the folks at the International Star Registry yesterday--apparently, they're now selling plush toys to kids that come with a free star of their choice. Now, I suppose this is better than their usual transaction, in that the kids come away with an actual plush toy out of the deal, but it still reminds me that there's a business out there charging fifty bucks to name a star after you--said naming occurring only in their own personal books that they keep themselves.

But it occurred to me--isn't this what conservatives talk about the invisible hand of the free market for? If there's a business essentially operating on the razor edge of mail fraud, using deceptive advertising practices to bilk people out of large sums of money, isn't it the job of capitalism to undercut them and pass the savings on to you, the consumer? I could be that person. I have the sales pitch all figured out. My business (my father suggested "Big Bob's Discount Star Registry" as a name) would register you a star for half the price, that's right half the price of the International Star Registry. Heck, I'd even give bulk discounts. Buy five stars, and the sixth star is free! Buy ten stars, and get your own cloud of dark matter at no extra charge! And every star registration is guaranteed to be every bit as legitimate as the International Star Registry's or double your money back!

But I just can't sucker people out of their money like that. Clearly, something is wrong with my capitalistic instincts.


Eric Qel-Droma said...

I'll do it for a quarter of their price! You can't undercut Eric's Super Stellar Star Registration Palace!

That post was laugh out loud funny.


Tyson said...

The neo-cons talk a lot about the market, but this is inaccurate at best, dishonest at worst. They are pro-business, not pro-market.
President Bush's background is in oil and Major League Baseball, for instance - two things where prices are not really determined in a free-market fashion.

The same kind of confusion applies to how they think about 'freedom' and 'democracy'. They can't get it through their heads that, in many countries, if the people have democracy they will vote in totalitarian loons who are not friendly to the US.

John Seavey said...

Oh, absolutely. I've always said that the conservative take on capitalism is fundamentally flawed, because it relies on the assumption that the best way to make money is to offer the best product for the best price. Which, on thinking about it for any length of time, simply isn't true.

(I've also said that to be a conservative, you have to believe that individuals are untrustworthy, but corporations will always do the right thing and don't need laws governing their behavior.)

Anonymous said...

I would give FREE star registration-just pay the $7.95 shipping and handling!