Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maybe a Better Comparison Would Have Been The Imploding House

Blogging at the Atlantic, Matt Yglesias compares consumers injured by exploding iPhones with recent home buyers who've seen the prices of their homes radically decline.

There really is plenty of blame to go around here. But I just don’t see how more than a tiny fraction of it could possible adhere to our electrician or teacher or secretary who’s decided, basically, that the financial services professionals and government regulators know what they’re doing.


And I just don’t think it’s the responsibility of individuals to know that all the experts, and all the conventional wisdom, are secretly wrong. All kinds of people have been buying iPhones because everyone says they’re great. And if this November, the iPhones all suddenly explode injuring tons of people, I think there’ll be a lot of blame to go around. But really just about none of that blame will land on iPhone owners—it would land on Apple and AT&T and regulators and gadget reviewers and everyone else. If not, if the people who run the country and its media don’t actually expect their pronouncements to be taken seriously, then really they ought to all quit and make way for people who take their responsibilities seriously.

Yglesias is generally a decent liberal blogger, but to compare a temporary declining investment with a defective product is just asinine. Beyond the obvious legal distinctions, there's still a major difference between any expectations involving the value of a purchase you make and the expectation that a something you buy won't explode and injure you. But maybe this is just typical of where we are today and what people's expectations actually are.


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