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Saturday

It's been a while since my last post here, but I've been busy blogging, in a way, nonetheless.

I help run an eBay business in addition to my full-time job and my blogging duties here. Actually, my partner, Sally does all the work, I just help out. We're what's called in eBay lingo a "Trading Assistant", which means that we sell other people's stuff on consignment.

EBay now does about 35 billion in sales every year, and in 2003 over 388,000,000 items were sold on eBay (listings totaled almost 800,000,000).

With that kind of money circulating, you just know that Politics can't keep its hands off for long, right? The excuse is usually the "rampant" fraud in online auctions, which by one statistic cited by supporters of this money grab, amounts to some 33,000 complaints in a year to a national fraud watchdog. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, 33,000 is about .008% of 388 million.

State after state is implementing licensing requirements for eBay sellers, often including ideas such as 80 hours of mandatory training on things like really fast talking. Well, Texas is the latest state to pull this crap, and I just couldn't follow my own advice. You can read my arguments on the eBay forum (under my eBay id of "think!freedom"), and I won't repeat them here, but there is a point I would like to make about this.

EBay is, in and of itself, a tremendous Human Advancement. It has brough the exchange fo values a quantum leap forward. It has made the selling of everything from antique vases to Solar Power equipment both cheaper for the consumer and more beneficial to the seller. It has brought independence to hundreds of thousands of those who now make their living as eBay sellers, and it has brought the untold benefits to consumers of a greater availability of goods at unimaginably low cost.

But the more successful it is, the bigger a target it becomes. One of the biggest external obstacles to human advancement is the combination of parasites and bullies using any excuse to team up and go after anyone successful. That success breeds parasites is readily apparent. That it attracts bullies is less apparent, but no less in doubt. I wrote:

The parasites want an unearned share of what we produce and to provide nothing in return. The bullies would rather see us not produce at all. Like all bullies, they are motivated by fear, the fear that they will not be able to compete on a level playing field, [or a playing field expanded by innovation]. They resort to fear, intimidation, and destruction rather than face that fear.


This alliance and the damage it has wrought throughout history have retarded Human Advancement by decades, even centuries. Where will our technology and society be a hundered years from now? It could have been there now if not for the likes of these. Getting them out of our lives, advancing beyond politics, will not get us there by itself, but it is a necessary requirement.

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