The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Sometimes think Solutions Are illusory

As I was reading John Stossel's column yesterday, I felt the germ of an idea. Not having any antiseptic soap or lotion on hand, it  multiplied and became this piece of babble.

Stossel's column is entitled "Privatize Everything" but it is really about organ donationselling. He segues into organ selling from observations of lackadaisical attitudes on the part of government workers and the plight of hopeful organ recipients. His observations on these seem right on the money, as we often say. Which brings up the etymology of that idiom:

According to, term "right on the money" or "dead on the money" comes from archery.
For prize competitions in a coin would be set at the middle of the target and the archer whose arrow landed closest to the coin would take the coin as the prize.

Therefore right on the money would mean the center of the target (dead center).

(according to

Idioms are things which often "go without saying" yet we say them anyway, don't we? I often related "idioms" to "idiots"... don't ask me why.

To get back to Stossel's column (so I can wrap this up, hopefully), it is apparent that he trusts the market to not become like government. I do not. I am more pessimistic. Consider retail outlets, such as department stores. Ideally, workers in them should be motivated by job insecurity and the hope of advancement (in pay or status) to be courteous and helpful. But we all know that doesn't work all that well. It takes more than vague incentive or threat, these must be clear and believable. And they aren't. Every job has the opportunity for "just getting by" and workers who gravitate toward that. After all, standards are fixed, it would be cruel to change them often.

Legalizing organ selling would not stop the black market. At least, in my humble opinion. Black markets in just about everything exist everywhere and for just about everything. And they will continue to exist because they offer profit without taxation. Once the concept of income tax (essentially, a tax on earning income), the incentive to avoid such taxation was born. Excise taxes are much older and a significant portion of a population has always wished to avoid them, rebellions begin in response to them, after all. And government will always seek to (as the private business owner does) to maximize revenue. This means it would tax the sale of organs (possibly twice.. as an excise tax and as an income tax on the profit) and trigger a black market. Or, rather, an expansion of said black market.

As Einstein once said: In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

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