Friday, November 5, 2010

Politicians Won't Compete on Price

"Price" in this title is really a stand-in for "easily comparable attributes". Businesses hate when consumers can easily compare on price (same product or service with easy side-by-side comparison). That makes life much more difficult for competing businesses and tends toward a race to the bottom. This is why businesses do things like shrouding. It's also probably why some businesses have arrived at a "norm" of making you physically visit in order to get the price, or the real one at any rate. Sometime try calling a car dealership and getting a price out of them over the phone, and you're likely to get a firm "Why don't you come down and talk about it." I was once literally yelled at by the sales manager for doing this. Why? Once you've committed your lunch hour, or dinnertime or Saturday to shopping and you would have to drive 2 miles to go get the next price, chances are you'll be more easily worn down. has easily-compared position lists for the candidates, based on information the candidates supply. Perhaps not coincidentally, for every single major party candidate I looked up, it said: "[Name] refused to tell citizens where he/she stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders." Many Libertarian candidates provided their positions. I didn't look up Green or other parties. It would be interesting hearing from a campaign staffer as to whether the campaigns' refusal to provide this information in easily comparable format is a deliberate form of position-shrouding.

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