Tag Archives: apple

CEI Podcast for April 12, 2012: Apple, E-Books, and Antitrust


Have a listen here.

Yesterday the Justice Department sued Apple and five major publishers over their e-book pricing model, alleging price fixing. Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia thinks the lawsuit is a mistake, and should be dropped.

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Siri and Modernity’s Iron Laws

I’m fond of saying that the two iron laws of modernity are 1) things are getting better, and 2) people think they’re getting worse.

One more piece of evidence that these laws hold: this article complaining about Siri. Siri is a voice-activated program that comes with new iPhones. Users can ask their phone where, say, the nearest Thai restaurant is. Just say it out loud. No typing. In seconds, Siri gives out a dozen options, with maps, directions, and even menus.

It’s an amazing piece of technology, and it will only improve in the coming years. And this guy grouses that Siri “won’t tell me how much battery life is left, or turn my Wi-Fi antenna on or off.” What an astonishing mindset. It is disheartening that when faced with such cool innovations, people invariably find ways to complain about them.

On the other hand, if consumers weren’t such harsh sovereigns, many of today’s innovations might never happen in the first place. Modernity’s second iron law — people think things are getting worse — is a double-edged sword.

Congressional Economics

Some people think that the only reason poverty still exists is because Congress hasn’t passed laws guaranteeing the right to decent housing, health, and education.

Some of these people are in Congress. Over at The American Spectator, my colleague Jacqueline Otto and I explain why their hearts are in the right place, but their heads aren’t:

Suppose that poverty really can be abolished by passing a few laws. Jackson isn’t going nearly far enough, then. The Constitution should guarantee everyone not just a decent home, but a mansion filled with servants to take care of every need.

Everyone should have the right to not just a doctor’s visit every 6 months, but a cadre of specialists with access to the latest technologies and tests. This would be a boon for life expectancy.

And why only an iPod and a laptop for children? They deserve supercomputers! And the right to a Harvard Ph.D. Such a law would give America the most educated population in the world; though it would probably know the least.

Congress might as well pass a law guaranteeing an above-average lifestyle for all Americans.