10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Luis Ko » 週三 10月 04, 2017 8:59 pm

hi guys, this is Luis. it's my honour to host yoyo meeting again. as usual, i chose a serious topic. hope it won't put you in a dilemma of coming to the meeting or not. but then again, to take a good rest is also justifiable since it will be on the last day of 10/10 long holidays. anyway, welcome join me if you feel like practicing English, even the topic is serious lo~ :mrgreen:




the articles below are excerpts from the book: Michael Sandel- Justice: What's the right thing to do


session one:

"In the summer of 2004, Hurricane Charley roared out of the Gulf of Mexico and swept across Florida to the Atlantic Ocean. The storm claimed twenty-two lives and caused $11 billion in damage. It also left in its wake a debate about price gouging.

At a gas station in Orlando, they were selling two-dollar bags of ice for ten dollars. Lacking power for refrigerators or air-conditioning in the middle of August, many people had little choice but to pay up. Downed trees heightened demand for chain saws and roof repairs. Contractors offered to clear two trees off a homeowner’s roof—for $23,000. Stores that normally sold small household generators for $250 were now asking $2,000. A seventy-seven-year-old woman fleeing the hurricane with her elderly husband and handicapped daughter was charged $160 per night for a motel room that normally goes for $40.

Many Floridians were angered by the inflated prices. “After Storm Come the Vultures,” read a headline in USA Today. One resident, told it would cost $10,500 to remove a fallen tree from his roof, said it was wrong for people to “try to capitalize on other people’s hardship and misery.” Charlie Crist, the state’s attorney general, agreed: “It is astounding to me, the level of greed that someone must have in their soul to be willing to take advantage of someone suffering in the wake of a hurricane.”

Florida has a law against price gouging, and in the aftermath of the hurricane, the attorney general’s office received more than two thousand complaints. Some led to successful lawsuits. A Days Inn in West Palm Beach had to pay $70,000 in penalties and restitution for overcharging customers.

But even as Crist set about enforcing the price-gouging law, some economists argued that the law—and the public outrage—were misconceived. In medieval times, philosophers and theologians believedthat the exchange of goods should be governed by a “just price,” determined by tradition or the intrinsic value of things. But in market societies, the economists observed, prices are set by supply and demand. There is no such thing as a “just price.”

Thomas Sowell, a free-market economist, called price gouging an “emotionally powerful but economically meaningless expression that most economists pay no attention to, because it seems too confused to bother with.” Writing in the Tampa Tribune , Sowell sought to explain “how ‘price gouging’ helps Floridians.” Charges of price gouging arise “when prices are significantly higher than what people have been used to,” Sowell wrote. But “the price levels that you happen to be used to” are not morally sacrosanct. They are no more “special or ‘fair’ than other prices” that market conditions—including those prompted by a hurricane—may bring about.

Higher prices for ice, bottled water, roof repairs, generators, and motel rooms have the advantage, Sowell argued, of limiting the use of such things by consumers and increasing incentives for suppliers in far-off places to provide the goods and services most needed in the hurricane’s aftermath. If ice fetches ten dollars a bag when Floridians are facing power outages in the August heat, ice manufacturers will find it worth their while to produce and ship more of it. There is nothing unjust about these prices, Sowell explained; they simply reflect the value that buyers and sellers choose to place on the things they exchange.

Jeff Jacoby, a pro-market commentator writing in the Boston Globe, argued against price-gouging laws on similar grounds: “It isn’t gouging to charge what the market will bear. It isn’t greedy or brazen. It’s how goods and services get allocated in a free society.” Jacoby acknowledged that the “price spikes are infuriating, especially to someone whose life has just been thrown into turmoil by a deadly storm.” But public anger is no justification for interfering with the free market. By providing incentives for suppliers to produce more of the needed goods, the seemingly exorbitant prices “do far more good than harm.” His conclusion: “Demonizing vendors won’t speed Florida’s recovery. Letting them go about their business will.”

Attorney General Crist (a Republican who would later be elected governor of Florida) published an oped piece in the Tampa paper defending the law against price gouging: “In times of emergency, government cannot remain on the sidelines while people are charged unconscionable prices as they flee for their lives or seek the basic commodities for their families after a hurricane.”

Crist rejected the notion that these “unconscionable” prices reflected a truly free exchange: This is not the normal free market situation where willing buyers freely elect to enter into the marketplace and meet willing sellers, where a price is agreed upon based on supply and demand. In an emergency, buyers under duress have no freedom. Their purchases of necessities like safe lodging are forced.

The debate about price gouging that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley raises hard questions of morality and law: Is it wrong for sellers of goods and services to take advantage of a natural disaster by charging whatever the market will bear? If so, what, if anything, should the law do about it? Should the state prohibit price gouging, even if doing so interferes with the freedom of buyers and sellers to make whatever deals they choose?"

questions:

1. what's your opinion on price gouging? have you had second thought about it after reading the article? this article does mention some points from each side, proponent and opponent. please mention it to your table members and tell them why you agree or disagree.

2.do you agree to enforce a law against price gouging? guess most people would think that taking advantage of people in trouble is morally wrong, but is legislating morality justifiable? or say should a law be made simply because it's morally wrong? what are your opinions?

3. i will leave you to decide what to discuss.



session two:

"Think again about the Romans throwing Christians to the lions in the Coliseum. One objection to the bloody spectacle is that it violates the rights of the victims. But a further objection is that it caters to perverse pleasures rather than noble ones. Wouldn’t it be better to change those preferences than to satisfy them?
It is said that the Puritans banned bearbaiting, not because of the pain it caused the bears but because of the pleasure it gave the onlookers. Bearbaiting is no longer a popular pastime, but dogfighting and cock-fighting hold a persistent allure, and some jurisdictions ban them. One justification for such bans is to prevent cruelty to animals. But such laws may also reflect a moral judgment that deriving pleasure from dogfights is abhorrent, something a civilized society should discourage. You don’t need to be a Puritan to have some sympathy with this judgment.

Bentham would count all preferences, regardless of their worth, in determining what the law should be. But if more people would rather watch dogfights than view Rembrandt paintings, should society subsidize dogfight arenas rather than art museums? If certain pleasures are base and degrading, why should they have any weight at all in deciding what laws should be adopted?

Mill tries to save utilitarianism from this objection. Unlike Bentham, Mill believes it is possible to distinguish between higher and lower pleasures—to assess the quality, not just the quantity or intensity, of our desires. And he thinks he can make this distinction without relying on any moral ideas other than utility itself.

When I discuss Mill’s account of higher pleasures with my students, I try out a version of his test. I show the students three examples of popular entertainment: a World Wrestling Entertainment fight (a raucous spectacle in which the so-called wrestlers attack one another with folding chairs); a Hamlet soliloquy performed by a Shakespearean actor; and an excerpt from The Simpsons. I then ask two questions:
Which of these performances did you enjoy most—find most pleasurable—and which do you think is the highest, or worthiest? Invariably The Simpsons gets the most votes as most enjoyable, followed by Shakespeare. (A few brave souls confess their fondness for the WWE.) But when asked which experience they consider qualitatively highest, the students vote overwhelmingly for Shakespeare.
The results of this experiment pose a challenge to Mill’s test. Many students prefer watching Homer Simpson, but still think a Hamlet soliloquy offers a higher pleasure. Admittedly, some may say Shakespeare is better because they are sitting in a classroom and don’t want to seem philistine. And some students argue that The Simpsons, with its subtle mix of irony, humor, and social commentary, does rival Shakespeare’s art. But if most people who have experienced both prefer watching The Simpsons, then Mill would be hard pressed to conclude that Shakespeare is qualitatively higher."

questions:

1. Why do you think those students prefer watching the Simpson, but still think Hamlet offers a higher pleasure? Do you think it’s a bit contradictory? How about comparing to what the author said, “But if most people who have experienced both prefer watching The Simpsons, then Mill would be hard pressed to conclude that Shakespeare is qualitatively higher."? What do you think of them? Or is it because my English sucks?

2. It’s said life in democratic societies is rife with disagreement about right and wrong, justice and injustice. According to the article, even objections to the same thing can be out of different reasons, and even an experiment in a relatively small class shows people might not know exactly their reflections on the same issue. So who is to decide what laws and policies to enact, in which justice and right thing can be served? But what means right thing? Is it based on majority’s beliefs? If not, why do people still apply to majority rule?

3. Do you think that our moral convictions are fixed by upbringing or faith, beyond the reach of reason? Can it be changed through debate or argument in your opinion? why?


please note that questions for discussion will be posted, or altered, later.



********************************************************************************************************************************************
Agenda:
3:45 ~ 4:00pm Greetings & Free Talk / Ordering Beverage or Meal / Getting Newcomer’s Information
4:00 ~ 4:10pm Opening Remarks / Newcomer’s Self-introduction / Grouping
(Session I)
4:10 ~ 4:50pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
4:50 ~ 5:10pm Summarization (20 mins)
5:10 ~ 5:15pm Regrouping / Instruction Giving / Taking a 10 Minutes Break (Intermission)
(Session II)
5:15 ~ 5:55pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
6:00 ~ 6:20pm Summarization (20 mins)
6:20 ~ 6:30pm Concluding Remarks / Announcements ********************************************************************************************************************************************
聚會日期:列於該貼文主題內
聚會時間:請準時 4:00 pm 到 ~ 約 6:30 pm 左右結束
星期六聚會地點:丹堤濟南店
地址、電話:台北市濟南路三段25號 地圖 (02) 2740-2350
捷運站:板南線 忠孝新生站 3 號出口
走法:出忠孝新生站 3 號出口後,沿著巷子(忠孝東路三段10巷)走約 2 分鐘,到了濟南路口,左轉走約 2 分鐘即可看到。
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注意事項:
1. 文章是否需要列印請自行斟酌,但與會者請務必自行列印 Questions for discussion。
2. 與會者請先閱讀過文章,並仔細想過所有的問題,謝謝合作!


給新朋友的話:
1. 請事先準備2~3分鐘的英語自我介紹;會議結束前可能會請你發表1~2分鐘的感想。
2. 請事先閱讀文章以及主持人所提的討論問題,並事先寫下自己所欲發表意見的英文。
3. 全程以英語進行,參加者應具備中等英語會話能力,對任一討論問題,能夠以5到10句英文表達個人見解。
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最後由 Luis Ko 於 週六 10月 07, 2017 11:02 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 4 次。
i might be a cynic and, a sceptic as well but, i'm definitely not a bad person!!
Luis Ko
YOYO member
 
文章: 772
註冊時間: 週三 6月 06, 2007 10:18 pm

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Rock » 週四 10月 05, 2017 9:07 am

Hey, you are putting us on the dilemma again.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
頭像
Rock
President
 
文章: 1704
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Luis Ko » 週日 10月 08, 2017 12:10 am

please be informed the meeting will be held earlier than usual at around 4pm this coming Tuesday, just like regular Sat one. if there are not many people there, we might talk about whatever we like in a seminar kind of way, depending on those who are present lo~
i might be a cynic and, a sceptic as well but, i'm definitely not a bad person!!
Luis Ko
YOYO member
 
文章: 772
註冊時間: 週三 6月 06, 2007 10:18 pm

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Rock » 週一 10月 09, 2017 9:29 am

Super expensive fruit in Taipei:
https://www.mobile01.com/waypointtopicdetail.php?f=189&t=3711500

Should we stop them from doing so?

I got tricked myself once. The vendor lady offered a free sample. I tried it, not bad, so I picked three wax apples as my after-dinner fruit. She cut them, put them on the scale and then charged me NT.550. I was shocked and told her that it's not reasonable. But, since the fruit was cut already.... :cry:
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
頭像
Rock
President
 
文章: 1704
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Luis Ko » 週二 10月 10, 2017 7:52 am

this one will be interesting for us ELS learners. maybe we can spare some time to talk about it too, lo~ 8)



do you hate speaking English around native speakers?


another link,
https://www.engvid.com/do-you-hate-speaking-english-around-native-speakers/


the following are suggested questions,
1. do you hate speaking English around native speakers? why or why not?
2. what tips do you get from this video? do they make sense? please share your opinions with us.
i might be a cynic and, a sceptic as well but, i'm definitely not a bad person!!
Luis Ko
YOYO member
 
文章: 772
註冊時間: 週三 6月 06, 2007 10:18 pm

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Luis Ko » 週二 10月 10, 2017 10:56 pm

attendees,
Kooper, Morris, Steve, Rock, David, Gloria, Momo, Vicky, Sabrina..

my fault to choose this such topic. great to still have you guys' support. thank you for coming lo~ :mrgreen:
i might be a cynic and, a sceptic as well but, i'm definitely not a bad person!!
Luis Ko
YOYO member
 
文章: 772
註冊時間: 週三 6月 06, 2007 10:18 pm

Re: 10/10 (Tue.) what's right thing to do? (host: Luis)

文章Rock » 週四 10月 12, 2017 10:08 am

No, this is a great topic. I like it so much. No problem at all la!

And you do know that Sandel is popular, right? :D
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
頭像
Rock
President
 
文章: 1704
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am


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