CNBC’s John Carney finally heard an idea that intrigued him at the Aspen Ideas Festival: Ending universal suffrage:
His argument had two parts. The first was that some people simply are not ready for democracy. They have no functional conception of the state in their minds, much less an understanding of representative, deliberative democracy. Some are so poor that they can be bribed to vote this way or that for “five dollars,” he said. The application of the principle of universal suffrage was not a recipe for successful government in these circumstances, the speaker argued…
This pretty much runs against the grain of everything decent and serious people think. In fact, in a place like Aspen — which is dominated by progressives of various sorts — it felt like he was standing athwart history yelling “Go back!”
There’s something truly gross about the elite gathering in Aspen, of all places, at the behest of The Atlantic, of all institutions, to talk about how some people are too stupid to vote (a notion advanced by the Wall Street Journal editorial pages last week).
— Here’s the headline of Agnes Crane’s Reuters Breakingviews column:
Libor rigging look like victimless crime
If somebody was making money off this, somebody was losing money. It’s a zero-sum game. The argument, I suppose, is that it’s “victimless” if you steal relatively small amounts from large numbers of people (emphasis mine):
The numbers just don’t look large enough to matter. In one documented example, a derivatives trader put in a request to lower the input for three-month Libor, among the most popular benchmarks for floating rate debt, and it dropped by half a basis point, 0.005 percentage points. Libor was 5.365 percent at the time. Borrowers would hardly notice the difference.
That was the point, wasn’t it?
— The Wall Street Journal looks at how Amazon’s Marketplace retailers think it uses its inside knowledge of their sales to compete against them:
Thousands of small merchants depend on Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +3.18% to reach customers who otherwise wouldn’t know they exist. A few of them complain, though, that Amazon sometimes eats their lunch.
According to some small retailers, the Seattle-based giant appears to be increasingly using its Marketplace—where third-party retailers sell their wares on the Amazon.com site—as a vast laboratory to spot new products to sell, test sales of potential new goods, and exert more control over pricing…
Amazon is willing to lose money on the sale of some products and can drive down prices by buying items in larger quantities than many competitors, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. That, in turn, can force third-party retailers to lower their own prices.