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May 10, 2005

A Very Silly Kind of Toss - Norwegian Government Does Opera a Favour: By Not Using Opera

I don't know why I'm stepping into it the way I do, I can't help myself. And I'm not ragging on an individual, this is something I would go to great pains to correct in any number or shape of people.

Opera Watch decided to contact Norwegian embassies to see if they use Opera. The idea of "supporting the home team" - of gaining a level of utility from purchasing something that you are affiliated with - is well within the realm of expectation and behaviour. But for most people, the consideration of such utility tends to weigh less and less when you consider to yourself the relative price or cost of those affiliated goods, compared to those available better and more cheaply from somewhere else.

People *like* imports. Imports mean I can get better stuff cheaper than I could if I bought everything I wanted that was made within spitting distance of myself. I get a Norwegian Browser, I get Taiwanese designed and Chinese manufactured electronics, I get Japanese made optical media. Certain people and places make better things more cheaply than others; it's called comparative advantage. People *like* imports.

The warm fuzzy feeling you get from buying things made from where you're from tends to go away pretty quickly when you realise that where you're from can't make all great things cheaply all the time. If all things were equal, sure, why not get something to which you have a sentimental attachment. But.

What has to be made clear though is that this sentimental attachment does not translate into "helping" "your" own people. When you impose the consumption of a thing on people - the cost difference of which is not commensurate to the (surely very limited) sentiment derived from it - you are simply being counter-productive, and not a little wasteful. In addition, you are artificially propping up an industry which rational markets cannot sustain. At some point the economic forces at work will convince you more and more of how much you are costing yourself, and things will have to change. At which time the propped up industry will collapse - and fall further than it would have otherwise if it had not been propped up in the first place.

"By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good." Of which, more here.

Not least in public services, government should strive to use what is most economically rational. To do otherwise is to betray a trust between it and its people: not to waste the funds it collects in taxing the people. Governments serve a purpose, and it should fulfill that purpose with the least burden possible on the people that pay its wages - to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

I cannot honestly say that using Internet Explorer is in the economic interests of anybody, considering the amounts that can be required to secure it, or to clean up after its lack of security - in both the act and the loss of productivity. But to recommend Opera simply because it fulfills some masturbatory purpose is a corrupt kind of perversion.

How much more pride could you feel for the produce of your home, if you could not just say that it is yours, but that it is the best - and best not just as a thing, but best for any who would consider its purchase. "Hey, it's not very good, but we make it, so we use it - aren't we clever?"

Moreover, governments are the least capable of any to make decisions of industry - to be as arbitrary and cruel with its favour or neglect as to betray all sense. If wishing made it so - perhaps. National Champions are a very silly kind of toss.

Even when it comes to using Opera, there is, or there should be, a right and a wrong reason for it.

Posted by subtitles at May 10, 2005 12:07 AM | Opera Boggling

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When the Norwegian Embassy picks up a virus thanks to visiting a dodgy website with IE, who will pick up the bill for the clean up operation?

Sometimes you pay that little bit extra for something because in the long run it will end up saving you money.

Posted by: wardies at May 18, 2005 2:36 PM

Read The Fucking Article you clueless motherfucker.

Posted by: subtitles [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 18, 2005 6:25 PM

I did read both articles (yours and Opera Watch's).

I do, however, appear to have glossed over your valid point about IE in the eighth paragraph - apologies for that. You obviously know what you're talking about.

On reflection even I, the clueless "motherfucker" that I am, tend to agree with your point of view.

Given that any further comment by me on your post would probably evoke an equally offensive outburst, I can't really be arsed to add anything further. No doubt you'll be relieved to hear this.

Posted by: wardies at May 24, 2005 5:59 PM

Oh, come on, I'm only rude to people when I think/thought they deserved it - you are now absolved :). I just get grumpy at my comments getting cluttered up for no good reason. It just doesn't help when people don't leave a valid e-mail address. Think of it as I was using you as an example to other potential idiots. We all manage to sound like newbies every once in a while.

Posted by: subtitles [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 25, 2005 12:04 AM