Author Topic: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett  (Read 7188 times)

scottish

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #50 on: April 13, 2019, 07:50:49 PM »
a group of people from the midwest who purchased a semi truck's worth of generators, drove down to the gulf coast, and were selling the generators for something like double their original cost.  They caught a lot of flak for "gouging."  But what's the alternative?  If you take away the profit motive, you don't get people trucking generators down where they're needed most, and everyone loses out.

I don't think that's gouging, that's market pricing.  Everyone who truly needs a generator (e.g. hospitals) already had one.

Are other people free to truck down their own load of generators and sell them for less?  Are customers allowed to buy generators from more than one place?  Are the people selling generators each setting their own prices independently?  Seems like fair market value to me.  No one screams gouging when oil prices go up because demand exceeds supply, and I don't see how generators are fundamentally different from oil in this context.

It was probably viewed as gouging because people were banding together to recover from the storm.   Here come these outsiders, trying to sell them generators for twice list price.   They would have been welcome at list price, or list price + transport costs.   They would have been welcome if they had come to help.   Instead they were viewed as outsiders trying to profit from the misfortune of the locals.

Whether or not it's actually gouging would be an interesting debate.


Bloop Bloop

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #51 on: April 13, 2019, 08:38:30 PM »
There's no point selling at list price + transport costs because you need to make a profit off the value of time and labour required to bring the generators downfield. Maybe list price + transport costs + ($x/hour for transport labour) + ($x/hour for deemed time value of money) would be appropriate.

The alternative would be, no generators for anyone and everyone misses out.


Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2019, 05:31:12 AM »
Sol, the problem is, what is fair? Fair is a subjective term and everyone has there own definition. Even if a corporation is “dumping” why is that inherently unfair. I’ll gladly accept those lower prices. If the prices go back up I will gladly move to the multitude of alternatives that are available.

Your ok with charging the highest price that can “fairly” be gotten. But if I decide to provide charity through lower than cost prices, I’m the bad guy. Interesting.

BTDretire

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2019, 09:30:36 AM »
 Re: the hurricane and gouging (or not)
Interesting item to bring into town would have been TV antennas.
The cable system was knocked out for about 10 weeks. There was a run on antennas and they became hard to get locally. Sure you could go online and get one, except because the cable was out, most people had no access to the internet. Just use your smartphone, not if you had Verizon, their system was knocked down to a texting and a phone call, and in the first several weeks, chances are that didn't even work well.
 I bought an AT&T phone to tether to my computer, the AT&T system was working well. I was told the were the preferred provider for first responders, this required their system to be more hardened to withstand, this type of event.

 btw, I built a quick antenna for my neighbor, he used it until the cable was back and then gave it to his momma up in the boonies. I'm using a more elaborate antenna a friend built, but I can't say it is better than the very quick antenna I built.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2019, 02:55:09 PM »
Sol, the problem is, what is fair? Fair is a subjective term and everyone has there own definition. Even if a corporation is “dumping” why is that inherently unfair. I’ll gladly accept those lower prices. If the prices go back up I will gladly move to the multitude of alternatives that are available.

This comment seems to indicate a lack of understanding regarding the practice of dumping.  I'd suggest you read up on it.  The purpose of dumping is to remove that 'multitude of alternatives' that you're depending on and assuming will still be there.  It has historically been pretty effective at doing so.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #55 on: April 16, 2019, 05:41:27 AM »
I understand dumping. I also understand that when the higher prices everyone is scared of eventually come, alternatives can enter the market again. Not to mention people switching to substitutes. Can you give me an example of the dumping scheme working in the real world?

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #56 on: April 16, 2019, 07:30:14 AM »
I understand dumping. I also understand that when the higher prices everyone is scared of eventually come, alternatives can enter the market again. Not to mention people switching to substitutes. Can you give me an example of the dumping scheme working in the real world?

Off the top of my head?  Sure.

The Japanese television cartels in the 70s and 80s implemented a policy of dumping (they were selling televisions at less than half the cost of manufacturing for many years) that eventually led to the closure of 21 American companies and the sale of a many others.  This resulted in the collapse of North American television production, and total domination of the market by Japanese companies.  The industry never recovered, and even today there are few North American brands of television available for sale.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #57 on: April 16, 2019, 07:54:21 AM »
What North American TV brands?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westinghouse_Electronics  is a Chinese licensee of the Westinghouse name / logo.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2019, 08:02:58 AM »
What North American TV brands?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westinghouse_Electronics  is a Chinese licensee of the Westinghouse name / logo.

I think that a few companies still do some assembly of stuff in the US (Olevia, Visio, Panasonic, Sharp have assembly facilities in the US), but certainly there are no 'made in the US' televisions on the market.  I suspect that it would be impossible to get the designation, since the manufacturing facilities to make most of the parts used in TVs just don't exist in North America any more.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2019, 10:30:50 AM »
When did they raise the prices to make monopoly profits? It is my understanding that tv’s have been dropping in price for decades?

Do you have any evidence that they were losing money over than timeframe or were they simply more efficient and able to offer the lower price? I am very interested in this.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #60 on: April 16, 2019, 10:47:16 AM »
When did they raise the prices to make monopoly profits? It is my understanding that tv’s have been dropping in price for decades?

Do you have any evidence that they were losing money over than timeframe or were they simply more efficient and able to offer the lower price? I am very interested in this.

I don't have access to their financial records . . . but the Japanese companies were selling their televisions at 60% discount from the price they sold them in Japan at the time (https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-04-28-fi-2432-story.html).  I'm not sure that 'efficiencies' in manufacture can be used to explain this . . . surely the domestic price should be more efficient than the domestic price + the cost of shipping over to the US.

As far as the price of televisions falling . . . the price of electronics across the board have fallen steadily as better manufacturing techniques have been discovered.  I'm not sure that it's fair to say that televisions are cheaper today, therefore dumping and achieving market supremacy for several decades resulted in no unfair pricing by Japanese companies.  It would probably be better to look at that 60% difference between the domestic price and US price for televisions for Japanese companies and see how it changed after they had no US competition.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #61 on: April 16, 2019, 11:03:58 AM »
From what I just read the domestic Japanese market was the monopoly granted by the Japanese government. They allowed domestic tv manufacturers to charge well over double the cost of American tv manufacturers and used those profits for rebates in America. -Washington post 1990 Japan and the Big squeeze.

Now granted none of those figures can be verified but if that’s even close to being true we were being subsidized by the entire country of Japan. If I was a citizen of Japan in those days I would be pissed. Haha.

From my brief searches, it doesn’t seem that they were ever able to raise prices high enough to get anything close to those subsidies back.

1 USA 0 Japan


Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #62 on: April 16, 2019, 11:07:02 AM »
From what I have seen, they were never able to recover this price and, overall, televisions have been getting better and cheaper for 70 years.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #63 on: April 16, 2019, 11:11:36 AM »
Can you post links to the data you're using to draw the conclusion that Japanese companies didn't profit from driving their competitors out of business?

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #64 on: April 16, 2019, 11:21:42 AM »
I just did a quick google search for historical tv prices and based on this rough research tv prices have continually dropped for 70 years with the tech advancing at quite the pace. I guess I didn’t realize how quickly South Korea has moved into this market as well.

I’ll go back and try to find the link. I used my computer for the link and am posting via my phone.

Add:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/why-are-tvs-so-cheap/250562/
https://blog.technavio.com/blog/largest-tv-manufacturers-by-market-share
https://www.cnet.com/news/are-tvs-really-cheaper-than-ever-we-go-back-a-few-decades-to-see/
 
Here are three.

Forgot tvhistory.tv interesting site.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 11:31:25 AM by Pooplips »

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #65 on: April 16, 2019, 12:03:12 PM »
Electronics manufacture has gone through some rather radical shifts in production techniques over the past 70 years.  I don't think that saying a TV is cheaper now than it was before is evidence that no Japanese company made a profit by driving their competitors out of business really holds up to scrutiny.

Did the domestic price of televisions in Japan remain 60% below the US export price after there was no more competition?  If so, I'd agree that this is likely indication that no profit was realized from the dumping practice.

scottish

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2019, 04:03:53 PM »
What North American TV brands?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westinghouse_Electronics  is a Chinese licensee of the Westinghouse name / logo.

I think that a few companies still do some assembly of stuff in the US (Olevia, Visio, Panasonic, Sharp have assembly facilities in the US), but certainly there are no 'made in the US' televisions on the market.  I suspect that it would be impossible to get the designation, since the manufacturing facilities to make most of the parts used in TVs just don't exist in North America any more.

This is a really interesting point that we don't talk about much.

Since the majority of the high tech manufacturing has moved from the US to Asia, I wonder how long it would take to rebuild this manufacturing base in North America.    We'd be back to making the tools to make the tools to build the product.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2019, 12:43:28 PM »
Electronics manufacture has gone through some rather radical shifts in production techniques over the past 70 years.  I don't think that saying a TV is cheaper now than it was before is evidence that no Japanese company made a profit by driving their competitors out of business really holds up to scrutiny.

Did the domestic price of televisions in Japan remain 60% below the US export price after there was no more competition?  If so, I'd agree that this is likely indication that no profit was realized from the dumping practice.

Can you show me the links where you got the information that Japanese domestic television prices were 60% of the US export price?

Everything I read the other day indicated that Japanese domestic tv prices were well over double the US sport price but the Japan government kept those exports out.

I’m not saying that no Japanese tv company has every made a profit. I am saying that no Japanese tv company was able to dump tv’s on the US market, destroying its US competition, then raise prices to monopoly high level and earn “unnecessary high profits” that everyone seems to think dumping results in.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2019, 01:00:22 PM »
Since the majority of the high tech manufacturing has moved from the US to Asia, I wonder how long it would take to rebuild this manufacturing base in North America.    We'd be back to making the tools to make the tools to build the product.
This isn't happening, the electronics manufacturing process is likely going to stay in Asia for our lifetimes. If anything, economies and manufacturing are becoming more specialized, not less, and that's kind of the whole point of trade: we focus on what we do best, they focus on what they do best, and everyone benefits.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2019, 01:06:14 PM »
Since the majority of the high tech manufacturing has moved from the US to Asia, I wonder how long it would take to rebuild this manufacturing base in North America.    We'd be back to making the tools to make the tools to build the product.
This isn't happening, the electronics manufacturing process is likely going to stay in Asia for our lifetimes. If anything, economies and manufacturing are becoming more specialized, not less, and that's kind of the whole point of trade: we focus on what we do best, they focus on what they do best, and everyone benefits.

I find it interesting that we compared the US (one country) vs. Asia (many countries) when it comes to manufacturing. If you look at manufacturers on a smaller scale there is quite a bit of movement among manufacturers between different Asian countries.

I agree, certain manufacturers are never coming back.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2019, 01:45:51 PM »
Electronics manufacture has gone through some rather radical shifts in production techniques over the past 70 years.  I don't think that saying a TV is cheaper now than it was before is evidence that no Japanese company made a profit by driving their competitors out of business really holds up to scrutiny.

Did the domestic price of televisions in Japan remain 60% below the US export price after there was no more competition?  If so, I'd agree that this is likely indication that no profit was realized from the dumping practice.

Can you show me the links where you got the information that Japanese domestic television prices were 60% of the US export price?

Everything I read the other day indicated that Japanese domestic tv prices were well over double the US sport price but the Japan government kept those exports out.

I’m not saying that no Japanese tv company has every made a profit. I am saying that no Japanese tv company was able to dump tv’s on the US market, destroying its US competition, then raise prices to monopoly high level and earn “unnecessary high profits” that everyone seems to think dumping results in.

The number is from the link that was posted earlier:

I don't have access to their financial records . . . but the Japanese companies were selling their televisions at 60% discount from the price they sold them in Japan at the time (https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-04-28-fi-2432-story.html).  I'm not sure that 'efficiencies' in manufacture can be used to explain this . . . surely the domestic price should be more efficient than the domestic price + the cost of shipping over to the US.

It reads:
"A suit by the Zenith Corp. and National Union Electric Corp. charged that Japanese firms were selling their sets here at prices as much as 60% below those in Japan and that this practice was destroying U.S. television manufacturing. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia agreed with both of these charges but concluded that the evidence did not prove "an intent to injure" the American firms."
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 01:48:01 PM by GuitarStv »

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #71 on: April 19, 2019, 10:26:53 AM »
I agree With the information you have provided. But the information I have provided has shown that the Japanese government allowed those tv manufacturers to fix the price at over double the US export price.

So, 60% of an artificially high domestic price doesn’t represent what I feel like you are trying to represent.

waltworks

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #72 on: April 19, 2019, 02:06:43 PM »
Get some books on turn-of-the-century trustbusting, Plips. The reason this sort of stuff is illegal is that historically, companies *did* both drive competitors out of business by dumping, AND colluded with competitors to keep prices high.

Now, maybe that isn't necessary anymore. I'm no antitrust lawyer or economist. But the laws we enforce about those behaviors are a legacy of a time when we collectively decided they were, because the unregulated free market wasn't producing even vaguely optimal results.

You could also just grab a good biography of Theodore Roosevelt, trust busting was one of his main concerns.

-W

mathlete

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #73 on: April 19, 2019, 02:31:33 PM »
Buffet invests in profitable businesses.  Many profitable businesses are profitable because they are unethical.  Welcome to being an investor.

Tobacco, liquor, and opioid manufacturers are a huge proportion of the SP500.  Also shady banks like Wells Fargo.  Anyone who owns VTSAX or similar (I do) is personally profiting off questionably ethical corporate exploitation of the poor, the elderly, the financially illiterate, and addicts.

Adding in "people who live in mobile homes" to that list does not, IMO, make it any worse than it already is.

This, pretty much. Buffet's money is gonna do the world a lot of good. 99% of it will be spent on charity (not in endowment) after he dies, so I doubt he loses sleep because he profits off of a sleazy business.

I think it's good to have muck rakers like Oliver point this stuff out though. People should avoid doing business with sleazy people, and Oliver helps educate the world about sleazy people.

GuitarStv

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #74 on: April 22, 2019, 09:37:30 AM »
I agree With the information you have provided. But the information I have provided has shown that the Japanese government allowed those tv manufacturers to fix the price at over double the US export price.

I agree with you, the Japanese government probably should have stepped in to prevent the price fixing that was going on.  As you've shown here (and I've been arguing), there are serious problems with allowing the free market to run unregulated.

Pooplips

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #75 on: April 22, 2019, 10:24:47 AM »
I agree With the information you have provided. But the information I have provided has shown that the Japanese government allowed those tv manufacturers to fix the price at over double the US export price.

I agree with you, the Japanese government probably should have stepped in to prevent the price fixing that was going on.  As you've shown here (and I've been arguing), there are serious problems with allowing the free market to run unregulated.

You put the  best spin on what I was saying. Haha. A free market would not have allowed them to not allow US televisions in their market.

Walt - do you have a specific recommendation? I have done some reading on the subject but haven’t come across the same evidence you are describing.

waltworks

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #76 on: April 22, 2019, 11:21:41 AM »
The "progressive era" around the turn of the century is a complicated time, P-lips. It was when American socialism was arguably as popular as it ever became, and it led to things like the FDA and child labor laws, but it was entangled with prohibition, women's suffrage, concerns about contaminated food and environmental problems, and monopolies and trusts as well.

In other words, it's messy as hell and you're not going to find a single quick book that gives you the whole story. If you like biographies, start there (a biography of Roosevelt, or Eugene Debs, or any number of other public figures at the time will have lots of info). Many high schoolers (at least in the 90s) read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle to help give them some background on the time.

I'd start here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era

I also have to give a slight facepunch here - if you're not going to actually do any basic research about a topic (monopolies and trusts and US antitrust law) and don't know much about it, then you shouldn't be participating in the discussion. You could have acquired a basic knowledge of how and why we have these laws in no more than 10 minutes of reading.

Again, I'm not saying modern antitrust law is perfect or even a good thing. But if you want to argue that one way or the other, you need to have your basic facts and history straight.

-W

Telecaster

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #77 on: April 22, 2019, 11:29:16 AM »
Also Google "Ida Tarbell." 

mathlete

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Re: Last Week Tonight takes a shot @ Buffett
« Reply #78 on: April 22, 2019, 12:07:44 PM »