Dissipation of Economic Rents: when money is wasted chasing money


#1

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#2

Reminds me of the whole debt thing. I got a letter about a debit that I have that is over 7 years old. The original company doesn’t even have the debit anymore, it was just sold to a debt collection group. At what point are they spending more money than they would actually get from me?


#3

I’m guessing about six years ago.


#4

Depends, do you owe $7, or $7B?


#5

I don’t understand how that works.

The entity you had a debt with took some money to stop pursuing you for the debt. But you don’t have any agreement with the people that ‘bought’ it, so how can they pursue it with you?

Selling debt makes no sense to me.


#6

Yet it appears to be the backbone of the American economic system.


#7

Scrambling “bad debt” from one place to another has been going on for some time. Wall Street & The Banksters are very adept at doing this.


#8

Taxing people who are seeking rents is a form of rent-seeking by the government.


#9

Agree.

Taxing or creating markets to fix the rent-seeking behavior ignores the market externalities that affect every market and the rent-seeking that will appear in those markets.

It’s economic turtles all the way down…


#10

I don’t know about where you live, but here there is a 7 year limit on credit reporting of debt.


#11

I think this economic phenomenon is well illustrated in my own hobby of hunting whitetail deer for sport: A bunch of hunters realize there’s some value (sentimental, monetary, food, whatever) in hunting whitetail deer for trophies. They’re successful and when other hunters see these trophies on the wall, they ask where these deer were harvested and by what means. Suddenly the woods are filled with hunters. In Michigan it’s not uncommon to see densities of fifty hunters or more per square mile or 640 acres (John Eberhart, ’ Bowhunting Pressured Whitetails’, 2003, Stackpole Books).

Eventually in order to successfully harvest a trophy whitetail deer the hunter must rise above the average techniques employed by the large majority of hunters, and use more advanced technologies (activated carbon clothing, tree saddles, decoys, etc.). The successful hunter must spend more time (arriving hours before other hunters and departing after dark) in more remote or inaccessible woodlots (using bike’s, canoes, or chest waders).

At some point the time, money, perseverance, and outright discomfort of spending days in the elements will outstrip the value of the trophy originally sought.

Only by regulating the hunting of whitetail deer - whether formally (via the MNR) or informally (via QDMA) - can herds of whitetail deer be protected from over hunting and the sport and the value of the trophies be sustained.


#12

That’s a terrible analogy. In these situations, people are spending their time, not their money. Which, for some people, might be quite valuable (money-wise) or quite worthless (money-wise). People constantly make calculations about whether it’s worth their time to stand in line (or chase dollar bills.)

His argument makes more sense when applied to things that require a capital investment. But in that case, I’m not sure why it’s our business to tax it. If they want to waste their money and not get any returns, that’s their business. In the meanwhile people who make microwave links get some work.

There might be an argument about discouraging high-speed trading, but this ain’t it.

Reminds me of my favorite Elvis story, learned at Graceland: He had a bunch of celebrities or well-to-do people over, and from his balcony he throws out a stack of dollar bills. They all go scurrying, chasing them everywhere, and he remarks to the person next to him “see, they ain’t so high class after all”.


#13

Actually its about 6 years in most states.

What you can do is send the collection agents a letter stating that you are not to be contacted by phone and will only take correspondence as a first step.

These links can help
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/state-fair-debt-collection-laws
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/illegal-debt-collection-practices
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/time-barred-debts-when-collectors-29805.html
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bill-debt-collector-violations-29999.html


#14

Yet it made a ton of money for people from 2001 to 2008. Packaging high risk mortgage and car loan debts into securities and pretending they were stable investments (to be sold to mutual fund and retirement fund managers) was a huge business which allowed the double whammy of a collapsing housing market to deep six the stock market at the same time. Even though both securities and real estate tended to be complementary investing markets. .


#15

Whoah whoah whoah. . . back up a second. . .

Where is this airfield?


#16

Next to the Treasury Department money-press.


#17

at its best, the article seems a poorly thought out argument for an interesting idea to limit high speed trading:

Financial markets could also be improved by introducing an auction once a second, batching together all the offers that have been submitted during that second.

the author brings in the idea of rent-seeking around the air field concept – but it’s really hard to know whether money is being well spent or not. maybe improvement to net technology proves worth it in retrospect.

lots of history – california gold rush, texas oil rush, maybe even the space race – seems based around speculative behavior; hoping to be the winner in some low-success rate, high-yield area. and it’s not clear ( to me at least :slight_smile: ) that government should discourage that.

at its worst, the article seems to discourage the concept of financial transaction taxes.

Taxing transactions is also a possibility, although a more problematic one…

there’s lots of good arguments for financial transaction taxes that have nothing to do with limiting short-term trades, and nothing to do with money spent on rent seeking. primarily: they’re a way to help get investors to pay their fair share of society’s needs.

the 1% make tons of money through the market, and even when that money doesnt wind up being hidden off shore, it’s taxed at such a ludicrously low rate that the tax burden of critical needs falls squarely on those who can afford it least.


#18

It might be useful to point out how the New York Stock Exchange used to work. Transactions were sent to members on the floor of the exchange, but all trading in a given stock went through a “specialist” who specialized in managing the market for that security (and possibly certain others). It was his responsibility to maintain an orderly market in the securities he specialized in. and no one could trade those securities without going through him.

In other words, orders were buffered and the specialist determined their execution. There were rules about when trading could begin, and the specialist might find himself the buyer or seller of last resort when there were sudden moves in a stock’s price. Specialists were expected to maintain a certain amount of capital to do their buffering. In exchange, they were able to take advantage of certain types of trades.

The various other markets had similar structures. Many of these still exist, but as virtual exchanges. Take a look at your last few stock trades and you might see the old Pacific Exchange or American Exchange.

The NASDAQ which dealt in over the counter stocks which were not listed on any major market. This was managed by dealers with telephones and relied on a network where everyone more or less knew everyone else at least by reputation. Since there was no written log of transactions, unlike on the floor exchanges, anyone who didn’t follow their house rule, “my word is my bond”, wouldn’t be a NASDAQ trader for long. When an order came in, the broker might be able to fill it from his own order book, or he would call other brokers he knew dealt with the stock to see what they would offer or have available. This went on well into the 80s, so there was lots of buffering.

Now all trading is electronic on a small number of servers. Trades are executed at server speeds with no human or algorithmic buffering. This lets faster traders execute what used to be known as “wire scams” in which one party takes advantage of information arbitrage. Since no effort is made to enforce a fair market, the exchanges are complicit in this scam. It is also possible to “bait and switch” by placing orders which are not intended to be fulfilled. Much as a discount store might advertise an inexpensive toaster and, with that model out of stock, then push the sale of a more expensive model, it is possible to offer an enticing bid or ask while being assured that the toaster is out of stock.

Economist and other apologists argue that this is more efficient, but so is over-inflating one’s tires for better gas mileage.


#19

If I owed $7B, then I could get a bailout from the feds for it.


#20

Thank you, I’ll look into those!