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Tom Grey
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In Slovakia, Ikea is one of the biggest single stores in Bratislava, and somewhat upscale. Over the last 20 years of frequent Ikea buying, I'd say our experience was 96-99% good on hardware delivered. They do have competitors. We recently bought a "Massive" bunk bed (solid pine, not particle board, not more expensive oak). This local competitor did have enough of the right hardware, and had a better product (higher difference between beds, so more comfy to sit on bottom, especially in the L shape). Slovakia and all central/ east Europe will continue to be big markets for Ikea until their quality problems become big, and/or other DIY shops eat away at specialist niche cream. The money saved from building it oneself, plus transport in a big car, is a good few percentage of the price. The time is compensated for with the accomplishment feeling of having done it. What would be done otherwise? TV? Some amusement park? Sleep? Ikea will likely reduce their quality problems with greater automation of hardware choosing and filling. Plus they have the best value salmon lunch menu in their restaurant.
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Daniel, thanks for a great explanation of good Libertarian Paternalism. I especially like the opt-in / opt-out issues, and what is the default. Like with retirement, and also organ donations. Also food placement. There MUST be a default, it should more often be the "good for society" when it involves gov't. Like in a gov't cafeteria. When the Lib Pater becomes no-choice Paternalism only, like Obamacare "tax" on the healthy, it's bad. And most proponents of Lib Pater seem more interested in more paternalism rather than more choice. (Your alcohol limit card is clever cute.) But, in a non-gov't, profit maximizing place, expect to see the high-profit margin junk food stuff in the easiest to see & buy places. And I support such choices.
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Fantastically helpful, Anne. Thanks! Too bad we have no similar median world worker series, I'm sure that Indian and especially Chinese median workers have been increasing quite rapidly in the last 2 decades. Now, neo-racists would say our "American race" folk should be getting richer instead of the much poorer Asian workers, but I'm really happy for the real working poor of the world to be getting richer. Just as men's wages stopped rising, but poorer working women's wages didn't, now most Americans' wages aren't rising, but poorer non-Americans do see their wages rise. Those who want more money, should be starting their own companies. It's not that easy. But it's kind of immoral to want to steal more opportunity from the really really working poor non-Americans so as to make comfy Americans even more comfy. Stable $47k/year median wage might not even be sustainable as more Asians, Arabs, and Africans compete for similar office work jobs. I'd guess looking at electricians or plumbers or car mechanics would show more income growth, but not certain.
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Nov 28, 2011