Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Is Amazon a Blackmailer?

According to BoingBoing:

NPR did a piece today on the new law signed by CA governor Jerry Brown requiring online retailers like to start collecting sales taxes, even when they're not based in the state. Amazon argues the law is unconstitutional, says it won't collect the tax, and this week severed ties with roughly 10,000 small businesses and bloggers who reside in the state, and made revenue through affiliate links on their sites. Search engine blogger Danny Sullivan, who was one of those bloggers receiving modest commission cash through the program, "suggests that Amazon's tactics carry a tinge of blackmail."
If Amazon is indeed acting as a blackmailer then it is a very bad tactic to give in to their apparent demand. The problem with giving in to a blackmailer's demand is that such an action encourages potential blackmailers. For example, withdrawing from Somalia turned out to be a bad idea since it gave Osama bin Laden the idea that the U.S. would back down in response to a terrorist attack.

On the other hand, I doubt if Amazon could get away with blackmail. If it remained profitable to deal with their California affiliates, we can expect competitors to come along and grab their former market share.

Why otherwise sane people support minimum wage laws

I suspect the above reasoning is why otherwise sane people support minimum wage laws. When we wingnuts say capitalists will hire fewer workers as a result of minimum wage laws, that is interpreted as blackmail being announced by the mouthpieces of the board of directors of Capitalism Incorporated. Never mind that capitalism doesn't actually have a board of directors. The apparent belief is that if the minimum wage is reduced or eliminated, Capitalism Inc. will make more demands. “Let's insist that consumers be forced to buy things and that defaulting debtors have their foreheads branded O for Overdrawn!” (I got that last item from Milburn Drysdale in The Beverley Hillbillies.)


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