Free market economics

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Free market economics

Postby crstophr » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:34 pm

Market economics are not a choice people make. It's not a matter of right and wrong. It's simply a law of nature. We behave this way because it simply is human nature. A few good yet statistically insignificant people can change but the vast majority will not. It is those large statistics that actually dictate prices.

From a 10,000 ft view I think the org's attempt to subvert a natural law in this way will be fascinating to watch. People will game the system to get an advantage. Those who don't game the system will be at a statistical disadvantage. One interesting aspect of this lottery system is it very widely distributes the incentive to horde. Let's call it micro-hoarding. Now rather than a relatively few scalpers hording and selling we'll all feel the pressure to horde in order to protect ourselves and our camp mates investment in this event. When it sells out and the supply and demand economics of scarcity kick in ticket prices will rise in the secondary market. Well meaning burners will sell at face value in an attempts to push the market value of a ticket down. Everyone else will sell their tickets at right around the going market rate. The going rate will prevail just as it did last year despite all the outcry.

Please understand that I'm not making any judgements about people's behaviors one way or the other. I'm not advocating hording or gaming the system. The only point I'm trying to make is that this lottery system is an apparent attempt to alter one of the basic principles of how we human beings naturally distribute scarce resources. It does not matter what I think or how I feel. it does not matter what you think or feel either. All this new system does is more widely distribute the stockpiling of resources. Scalpers will buy out the excess "face value" secondary market as quickly as they can once the lottery completes and we will be right back to where we were last year. All this changes is the timing of that buyout.

It's going to be a fascinating market to study and will probably spawn a few post graduate thesis along the way. I suspect the only winners in the new system will be the folks writing those papers. Here's a suggestion for the org... hire one of these folks to model the system for you before you make a decision about next year.

My ultimate prediction? Some folks who would have been early birds and purchased those tickets early will now loose in the lottery and be pushed to the secondary market where they will pay more for the same ticket. Those folks who weren't going to be pro-active will pay more for the ticket just as they did last year. If the event sells out this will ultimately have no discernible effect on the secondary market.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:06 pm

..and the price of cheese in Zimbabwe? What will the lottery do to that?
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Re: Free market economics

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:09 pm

Should have kept Burning Man a secret. Damn, too late.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby Rice » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:38 pm

junglesmacks wrote:..and the price of cheese in Zimbabwe? What will the lottery do to that?


Help me determine which jacket to wear when its minus 40.... ?
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Re: Free market economics

Postby BBadger » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:40 pm

Manifesto #14.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Free market economics

Postby Rice » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:34 pm

BBadger wrote:Manifesto #14.


gee, confused again...

Coat?
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Re: Free market economics

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:30 pm

God bless the economists. Nobody, but nobody, does fatalism like them. "It won't succeed, we better not try."
All I can offer up is that after food, clothing, shelter, med care, and one or two other necessities, people start spending money in ways that are meaningful to them. And burn attendants are focused on many things beside pure economic self-interest. (Good thing, too. They are in the wrong place. I think Bruno's made more money off the event than anyone else.)
If all that stuff about "gift economy" didn't trigger a suspicion that the llc was open to experiments on money matters, then, well...


Maybe I better plonk him before I start making snarky comments.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby A Jester » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:46 pm

BBadger wrote:Manifesto #14.



Science, I'm glad to know you're keeping track. Can you pass me your list once it's complete. After the world doesn't end with the lottery, I'd like to PM them and see if they think they were wrong, or if they blame the Republicans for changing the economy (or whatever lame excuse they can find).
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Re: Free market economics

Postby BBadger » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:48 pm

A Jester wrote:
BBadger wrote:Manifesto #14.



Science, I'm glad to know you're keeping track. Can you pass me your list once it's complete. After the world doesn't end with the lottery, I'd like to PM them and see if they think they were wrong, or if they blame the Republicans for changing the economy (or whatever lame excuse they can find).


That'll be pretty hard after March. Remember last year where every second message was scalper conspiracy theory, a manifesto about ticket fairness, or an ignore-the-for-sale-posts beg-a-thon? I think the majority of my posts are still from that single tickets forum. We'll have to bring out another points system just for this lottery.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:10 am

How many tickets are for sale? I figured the argument of 'We're just making this "more equal" for those who fail to plan ahead' argument would be moot if the event doesn't sell out. I have a strong sympathy to this argument. I was discussing this with a friend (who is not a Burner and has just a peripheral awareness of the current dustup over the lottery) and he posed this argument:

"The BM lotto, from my POV, is the same as a radio contest for free tickets to a concert
I don't feel that the people who paid, without calling in to the radio station to win free tix, are justified in being upset
That's a missed opportunity. And, assuming that all supporters of BM enter themselves in the lotto drawing, to lose is not a mark of shame"

My rebuttal was thus:

"Well, here;s your misunderstanding. To make your analogy more um... analogous, it's like this: There are no free tickets to the concert, there is a radio station contest and if you call in and are the 9th caller each hour you 'win' the opportunity to buy tickets. And further, the guys in teh band, the sound crew, the roadies, the event staff and the venue staff all have to enter and win the contest to get tickets also." ... "with any luck, there MIGHT be a concert...Otherwise there's just a random assortment of "winners" and probably a party, but not the thing that people came for...Oh it will take place, no doubt. But for how long? How many people would bother to call in to the station to win their chance to buy tickets if they knew that the musicians and crew may or may not be there? Pretty lame concert..." .... "Well, back to our earlier analogy, if you were a sound guy who runs the board at the concert, knowing you aren't paid to do the job and further you had to buy tickets to even get in, what incentive would there be for you to make the effort to attend if you not only were looking at volutarily donating your skills to the concert, and buying tickets, but might not even get to go?...And further, if you were a potential attendee, and you knew that not only you were subject to a random chance lottery to buy tickets, but so are the band and everyone else involved, what incentive would there be for you to make the effort to attend if you knew that potentially the band and crew wouldn't even be there?"

I pieced that together from a facebook chat conversation and we were both drunk so yeah... it's a little choppy lol.

This is my fear; tix sell out and both the creators of large scale art pieces and mutant vehicles AND the attendees who go because this is a very large part of why they go will both be disincentivised to attend and we end up with a watered down party in the desert but not the thing that it was.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby trilobyte » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:24 am

I think that's a dodgy analogy at best. If it held any water whatsoever, the 2011 burn wouldn't have been the success that it was (several people used that case last summer when the event sold out and they had campmates, artists, and performers who weren't able to get tickets).

Burning Man is not a concert. Sure, there are some parallels, but there are also many many more differences. The participants do help make the experience, but no single one of us, no group of 100 of us, or for that matter group of 1000 of us "make" the event what it is. Scarcity's a bitch. It means that not everybody who wants to will be able to go. In my opinion, a completely open sale worked in the past and worked last year because tickets were available for several months. If the event were to sell out in a much shorter period of time (and there is every reason to believe that would happen), then a completely open sale offers scalpers and hoarders an unfair oppportunity over everyone else. A random selection in January is an attempt to level that playing field. And they've allotted what are probably more than enough tickets to cover normal/natural demand (30K tickets were sold in January 2011, 40K will be in next month's draw). Anything left over get added to the pile of 10K tickets being offered through an open sale in March.

In the end, I suspect that this will be another in a long line of changes that people swore would ruin the event…but didn't. We'll see.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:13 am

That's great Trilo, and I respect your opinions, but you didn't address any of my points. The main one being the disincentivising aspect of making the ability to purchase a ticket a not-guaranteed-completely-random experiment. Obviously BM is not a concert, that's why it's an analogy, not a description of actual events. It's flawed, sure, but the principle still holds (unless I'm presented with some information that would refute this) that it's the large scale art, vehicles and theme camps that make BM what it is in the minds of a great majority of ticket buyers. If they know that the people who provide these things, as well as their own ability to gain access, is simply dumb luck then what's the incentive to plan, spend, build, transport etc? There really isn't any. The analogy still holds, all you have to do is change the words: If you knew that your ability to be there was subject to a simple random drawing, then what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner? None, in the context of BM. And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go?

Keep in mind here, the people who are not building and spending and planning all year but who count the art and theme camps as being a major reason for attendance have a TWOFOLD reason to be disincentivised; not only do they have to have the dumb luck of "winning" the opportunity to buy a ticket, even if they luck out and are successful they are still having to pin their hopes on the random chance that the art, vehicle and camp builders and all the members of said teams will have ALSO lucked out and gained access.

I certainly do not think this will "kill" the event, I merely point out the the line of thinking that has a LOT of people nervous that this decision and it's fallout will severely damage the experience of those of us who will be at 2012, but also (if this policy is carried forward) will lead to the further degradation of the event and the reasons people bother to buy tickets and attend.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:03 am

JStep wrote:[..] what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner? None, in the context of BM. And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go? [..]




My thoughts are that a very large majority of long timers and people dedicated to the building such art just know that they will indeed find a way to get a ticket. I hate to sound idealistic, but I still hold faith that if you prepare early, you will get a ticket. It's the old "God helps those that help themselves". There are plenty.. plennnnty of tickets to go around at this point.

Remember also, that no one is saying that this is how it is always going to be. This is how it is for 2012 and that's all that has been announced. For 2012, we have 56,500 guaranteed tickets available at very minimum. Demand I'll estimate at around 62k-65k max. If you are already here and know about this situation, then you are way ahead of the curve already. This year.. if you prepare early.. you will find a ticket. I can virtually promise you that.

Now.. in 2017 when 250k people want to go and we still only have a BLM permit for 60k? Yeah. Then you can start worrying.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby A Jester » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:24 am

JStep wrote:That's great Trilo, and I respect your opinions, but you didn't address any of my points. The main one being the disincentivising aspect of making the ability to purchase a ticket a not-guaranteed-completely-random experiment. Obviously BM is not a concert, that's why it's an analogy, not a description of actual events. It's flawed, sure, but the principle still holds (unless I'm presented with some information that would refute this) that it's the large scale art, vehicles and theme camps that make BM what it is in the minds of a great majority of ticket buyers. If they know that the people who provide these things, as well as their own ability to gain access, is simply dumb luck then what's the incentive to plan, spend, build, transport etc? There really isn't any. The analogy still holds, all you have to do is change the words: If you knew that your ability to be there was subject to a simple random drawing, then what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner? None, in the context of BM. And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go?

Keep in mind here, the people who are not building and spending and planning all year but who count the art and theme camps as being a major reason for attendance have a TWOFOLD reason to be disincentivised; not only do they have to have the dumb luck of "winning" the opportunity to buy a ticket, even if they luck out and are successful they are still having to pin their hopes on the random chance that the art, vehicle and camp builders and all the members of said teams will have ALSO lucked out and gained access.

I certainly do not think this will "kill" the event, I merely point out the the line of thinking that has a LOT of people nervous that this decision and it's fallout will severely damage the experience of those of us who will be at 2012, but also (if this policy is carried forward) will lead to the further degradation of the event and the reasons people bother to buy tickets and attend.


I don't think it will change the discussion much, but I'd like to point out that there's no way to disprove your theory either. So, it's a matter of belief. However, I think we can all agree that we want big art out there.

What I disliked about your analogy was that the sound guy who is working for free to put this concert on, he still gets to go. That's DPW, Gayte, Rangers, Medical, Arctica, Placement, and I'm tired of listing departments but I think you can see my point.

It also seems very unlikely to me that the builders of Bliss Dancer wouldn't be able to get a ticket.

What I see it maybe having a negative effect on is medium sized theme camps, or people who have never proven themselves before and don't have the social capitol to manifest [1] a ticket. That's rough. That's a bummer. However, if your predictions are true - if less people want to go - then there will be more tickets available for those medium sized theme camps, etc.

Maybe it's all a brilliant social experiment in how to allow the pessimistic to opt out of the event, and make more room for people who still want to go.

OR, maybe it won't have any of these major negative effects. Maybe more people without means will have a chance at the lower tier tickets, and maybe there will actually be less scalping.

I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby trilobyte » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:45 am

I'm not here to give you an incentive (nor am I here to take one away). It is what is, and from there it's up to you to decide whether it's something you can get behind. I know plenty of participants, performers, and artists (creators of art big and small) who are very excited about next year, I also know some FUDdites (those caught up in the fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

You speak of 'incentive' to build things like Bliss Dance or Black Rock City Diner as if that was the sole motivation to build those things, when it wasn't (and isn't for 2012). Getting a ticket isn't the incentive to build art, it's just one of the myriad of details to sort out along the way. Also, I'm not sure if it's your intention or your concern, but your posts make it sound like suddenly the chances of getting tickets are slim (they're not), or that there weren't already a shitload of other risks along the way. Creators of big art face and overcome bigger odds every single year on damned near every big project - they've all got stories about potential disasters and catastrophes along the way, things that got a little dicey and for a while there the whole crew wasn't sure if they were going to be able to pull it off. Burning Man already has a lot of random chance built in, including mother nature fucking yer day. For those who can't bear the thought of a random draw with very good odds, there's always the open sale in March.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby trilobyte » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:47 am

That's an interesting point, Jester ("social experiment in how to allow the pessimistic to opt out of the event"), it will be interesting to see the impact.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby 5280MeV » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:54 am

JStep wrote:If you knew that your ability to be there was subject to a simple random drawing, then what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner?


I don't see any way out - it looks like BRC only scales to 50-60k. The roads can't handle much more, and from what I heard, people hated it when they expanded the city size a few years ago.

Once January demand is over 60k, there are only two ways to go - one is to select everyone randomly, the other is to make some criterion where certain 'core burners' are guaranteed tickets and everyone else has to effectively draw straws.

I hate the idea of 'core burners' because it is so unfair to all the little things dotting the city that make the whole experience so overwhelmingly wonderful. Seeing a pack of zebras get attacked by a lion, having some Canadians bike past and hand me flavor ice, the guy handing out hot dogs in the little cart at some random deep playa sunrise dance party hosted by a few art cars, having BBQ at a tiny neighborhood bar, giving away my backup camelback to another virgin, having the wonderful assholes next store wake us up with a hand cranked air raid siren and then drinking beer with them at 7:30 am, sharing espresso with the camp next store, having dinner in the middle of the road (breaking the law!) and having a bike towing a milk crate with a marine battery and 100W lantern hanging from a pole drive up to provide illumination and shave off pieces of dark chocolate for us, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on....

JStep wrote:And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go?


I wasn't there for Bliss Dance, and I have not been to the Diner, but there were massive art projects like Charon and big theme camp shows like Thunderdome which were really cool to go see.

If the large scale art was all there really was, then I would have really enjoyed 2011, and I would remember the experience forever, but I would not go back. It is great, but it is not enough - it is the juxtaposition of creativity at all scales which invites me to be a part of it, and beckons me to come back and do more, make more, and be more a part of it. The fact that the playa is so inhospitable also creates the magic, dropping me down so many rungs of the hierarchy of needs that when a random person hands me a plain hot dog on a bun it is like some sort of miracle has occurred and I am about to have the most delicious meal of my life.

I very much doubt that I will ever scale up to the largest level, partially because I don't want to. I want to continue my micro-espresso operation, which must have served upwards of 20 people, in oh, at least five different camps. Truly original? Not yet - there are lots of other operations, but this one is mine, it will evolve, ideas will come up, it might not even end up espresso in the end, but it is mine and I get to do it however the fuck I want wearing whatever the fuck I want (and right now I want antlers for some reason). This is why I am going to play the $400 lottery for the right to get in a gate and use port-a-potties and waste the bulk of my vacation time in the worst desert on the continent.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby wh..sh » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:38 am

JStep wrote:that it's the large scale art, vehicles and theme camps that make BM what it is in the minds of a great majority of ticket buyers. If they know that the people who provide these things, as well as their own ability to gain access, is simply dumb luck then what's the incentive to plan, spend, build, transport etc? There really isn't any. The analogy still holds, all you have to do is change the words: If you knew that your ability to be there was subject to a simple random drawing, then what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner? None, in the context of BM. And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go?


Once the basic necessitites of human survival is satisfied, they way people are motivated is considerably different. Burning man is a perfect live example of this theory.
What motivates people is a question too often asked... not just at an event like this, but in real life business/work environments.

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Re: Free market economics

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:56 am

wh..sh wrote:
JStep wrote:that it's the large scale art, vehicles and theme camps that make BM what it is in the minds of a great majority of ticket buyers. If they know that the people who provide these things, as well as their own ability to gain access, is simply dumb luck then what's the incentive to plan, spend, build, transport etc? There really isn't any. The analogy still holds, all you have to do is change the words: If you knew that your ability to be there was subject to a simple random drawing, then what incentive do you have to build Bliss Dance or the Black Rock City Diner? None, in the context of BM. And if things like Bliss Dance and the Black Rock City diner are a very large portion of why you make the effort to spend, plan, build and attend and you know that they are subject to a simple dumb luck chance of being there, then what is your incentive to go?


Once the basic necessitites of human survival is satisfied, they way people are motivated is considerably different. Burning man is a perfect live example of this theory.
What motivates people is a question too often asked... not just at an event like this, but in real life business/work environments.


Can we just tell jstep to read his Maslow? (and the op, too)
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:06 am

junglesmacks wrote:My thoughts are that a very large majority of long timers and people dedicated to the building such art just know that they will indeed find a way to get a ticket. I hate to sound idealistic, but I still hold faith that if you prepare early, you will get a ticket. It's the old "God helps those that help themselves". There are plenty.. plennnnty of tickets to go around at this point.


Sure, that's what I meant in my first post when I said this is going to be moot if tix don't sell out. My whole argument is theoretical and based on what motivates people, which is obviously different for everyone but can easily be aggregated to a definable standard.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby wh..sh » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:13 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Can we just tell jstep to read his Maslow? (and the op, too)


We could... but dire situations calls for dire measures such as cartoons :)
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:16 am

A Jester wrote:What I disliked about your analogy was that the sound guy who is working for free to put this concert on, he still gets to go. That's DPW, Gayte, Rangers, Medical, Arctica, Placement, and I'm tired of listing departments but I think you can see my point.


Hm, no I would think those depts are more like the police, venue owners, power and utility companies, etc. They provide the backdrop and some services but people don't go to BM (generally speaking) because they're big fans of Arctica, the Rangers or (gag me) DPW. (The way people DO go to concerts for music, lighting and great sound.... or BM for big art, theme camps and mutant vehicles.)

It also seems very unlikely to me that the builders of Bliss Dancer wouldn't be able to get a ticket.

What I see it maybe having a negative effect on is medium sized theme camps, or people who have never proven themselves before and don't have the social capitol to manifest [1] a ticket. That's rough. That's a bummer. However, if your predictions are true - if less people want to go - then there will be more tickets available for those medium sized theme camps, etc.


Well, I can't argue with hope, beliefs or dreams of manifesting tickets, whatever that means. LOL. I'm not believer in magic, faith or woo. I am just dealing with the ideas presented and the effect they might have on the event due to unintended consquences. Hopefully you're right and there will be no affect because there will be 15,000 whiners who decide to stay home, guaranteeing a ticket for everyone else!
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Re: Free market economics

Postby Savannah » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:21 am

5280MeV wrote:Truly original? Not yet - there are lots of other operations, but this one is mine, it will evolve, ideas will come up, it might not even end up espresso in the end, but it is mine and I get to do it however the fuck I want wearing whatever the fuck I want (and right now I want antlers for some reason).


Because you want to do a Greeter shift with Stag Camp? :D
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:24 am

trilobyte wrote:I'm not here to give you an incentive (nor am I here to take one away). It is what is, and from there it's up to you to decide whether it's something you can get behind. I know plenty of participants, performers, and artists (creators of art big and small) who are very excited about next year, I also know some FUDdites (those caught up in the fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

You speak of 'incentive' to build things like Bliss Dance or Black Rock City Diner as if that was the sole motivation to build those things, when it wasn't (and isn't for 2012). Getting a ticket isn't the incentive to build art, it's just one of the myriad of details to sort out along the way. Also, I'm not sure if it's your intention or your concern, but your posts make it sound like suddenly the chances of getting tickets are slim (they're not), or that there weren't already a shitload of other risks along the way. Creators of big art face and overcome bigger odds every single year on damned near every big project - they've all got stories about potential disasters and catastrophes along the way, things that got a little dicey and for a while there the whole crew wasn't sure if they were going to be able to pull it off. Burning Man already has a lot of random chance built in, including mother nature fucking yer day. For those who can't bear the thought of a random draw with very good odds, there's always the open sale in March.


Ok, lol, I think you're verging on the disingenuous now. Overcoming obstacles lilke short budgets, flat tires and time crunches obviously do not compare to the obstacle of not getting to go there at all because you physically are barred from entering by the gate for lack of a ticket. Getting a ticket isn't an incentive to build art and my line of thinking doesn't even imply that. That's a straw man. I was speaking of the disincentivising nature of knowing you might plan build spend and ovecome obstacles all year and all for nothing when came to BM attendance.

Granted, people raising 200k on kickstarter are probably just going to raise a few hundred more and buy their tix from a scalper. Duh. That's not the issue either (for me anyway).

Well anyway, my point is lost on you I guess. LOL. See you at Da Bar.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:32 pm

5280MeV wrote:Seeing a pack of zebras get attacked by a lion, having some Canadians bike past and hand me flavor ice, the guy handing out hot dogs in the little cart at some random deep playa sunrise dance party hosted by a few art cars, having BBQ at a tiny neighborhood bar, giving away my backup camelback to another virgin, having the wonderful assholes next store wake us up with a hand cranked air raid siren and then drinking beer with them at 7:30 am, sharing espresso with the camp next store, having dinner in the middle of the road (breaking the law!) and having a bike towing a milk crate with a marine battery and 100W lantern hanging from a pole drive up to provide illumination and shave off pieces of dark chocolate for us, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on....



I wanna go hoooommmeeeee...... :cry: :cry: :cry:



Thank you for that.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby trilobyte » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:45 pm

I'm being very sincere. If something you're intending to convey is lost on me, it's because you've failed to explain it clearly. Building art never was a guarantee of a ticket (unless your piece is a recipient of an honorarium art grant, but the chances of that are far less than getting a ticket), a ticket is still just another part of burn preparation that needs to be sorted.

The ticket drawing will be over and done with by the end of January, long before the overwhelming majority of projects you're worrying about will have actually started up. For those who have started up production on big art, yeah some might get bummed out and go "ohnoes, I only have an 85% chance of being able to go, I'm disincentivized - why bother!", but I don't see that happening in any kind of meaningful way that would change the event (for better or worse). For those who start production of their big art after February 1, their crewmembers will either already know they've got tickets or they'll be waiting for the open sale to begin in March.

The real issue big art (or small art, or camps of any size) will have to wrestle with this year is to make sure the people they're relying on are reliant enough to have sorted out their tickets. But that doesn't have anything to do with a random drawing. Odds are fairly good that the event will sell out (regardless of how tickets are sold), so the possibility that an essential crewmember might not have/get a ticket is a distinct possibility if they're slackers. It was an issue for 2011, which caught a lot of people/projects off-guard. That takes me back to an earlier statement, scarcity's a bitch. But this year it's a known risk, and something people can at least plan for (making sure the guy driving the truck has a ticket before you check that off the list, for example).
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Re: Free market economics

Postby JStep » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:58 pm

trilobyte wrote:I'm being very sincere. If something you're intending to convey is lost on me, it's because you've failed to explain it clearly.

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I have very clearly explained my concern and provided analogies to better make the line of thinking more understandable. My difficulty with your response is that you're arguing points I didn't make, like "Buying a ticket to BM is an incentive to make art."


Building art never was a guarantee of a ticket

again, I'm not making that argument.

The ticket drawing will be over and done with by the end of January, long before the overwhelming majority of projects you're worrying about will have actually started up. For those who have started up production on big art, yeah some might get bummed out and go "ohnoes, I only have an 85% chance of being able to go, I'm disincentivized - why bother!", but I don't see that happening in any kind of meaningful way that would change the event (for better or worse). For those who start production of their big art after February 1, their crewmembers will either already know they've got tickets or they'll be waiting for the open sale to begin in March.

Ah, new information! I have not seen the 85% number. If this is accurate, and only 15% of people who would otherwise be served on the first come first served basis are denied a ticket based on dumb luck, this mitigates things quite a bit!

BTW I'm not worried about the projects. I'm not terribly worried about anything, I was explaining why I think the lottery could have unintended negative consequences on the incentive for people to go, especially those people who imagine (right or wrong) that the event is going to go downhill for them if the things they go for like big art are going to be in sharp decline since no one has any guarantee of attendance no matter how well they prepare or how far ahead they plan.


The real issue big art (or small art, or camps of any size) will have to wrestle with this year is to make sure the people they're relying on are reliant enough to have sorted out their tickets. But that doesn't have anything to do with a random drawing. Odds are fairly good that the event will sell out (regardless of how tickets are sold), so the possibility that an essential crewmember might not have/get a ticket is a distinct possibility if they're slackers. It was an issue for 2011, which caught a lot of people/projects off-guard. That takes me back to an earlier statement, scarcity's a bitch. But this year it's a known risk, and something people can at least plan for (making sure the guy driving the truck has a ticket before you check that off the list, for example).


Ok, now you're arguing my point for me. The only flaw I see is the (repeated throughout this thread) assertion that those who are "reliant" or "motivated" enough will get their tickets. Doesn't that fly in the face of a random drawing? Isn't the whole point that it doesn't matter how well you plan or how "reliant" you are, you are now gambling for a ticket?
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Re: Free market economics

Postby wh..sh » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:49 pm

5280MeV wrote:I very much doubt that I will ever scale up to the largest level, partially because I don't want to. I want to continue my micro-espresso operation, which must have served upwards of 20 people, in oh, at least five different camps. Truly original?


Where can I find you on playa?

I am not joking. I spent an entire day doing nothing, staring in daze in katzenjammer with out that liquid gold you speak of.
In my world there's only legible and more legible.

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Re: Free market economics

Postby A Jester » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:52 pm

JStep wrote:Ah, new information! I have not seen the 85% number. If this is accurate, and only 15% of people who would otherwise be served on the first come first served basis are denied a ticket based on dumb luck, this mitigates things quite a bit!

BTW I'm not worried about the projects. I'm not terribly worried about anything, I was explaining why I think the lottery could have unintended negative consequences on the incentive for people to go, especially those people who imagine (right or wrong) that the event is going to go downhill for them if the things they go for like big art are going to be in sharp decline since no one has any guarantee of attendance no matter how well they prepare or how far ahead they plan.


The real issue big art (or small art, or camps of any size) will have to wrestle with this year is to make sure the people they're relying on are reliant enough to have sorted out their tickets. But that doesn't have anything to do with a random drawing. Odds are fairly good that the event will sell out (regardless of how tickets are sold), so the possibility that an essential crewmember might not have/get a ticket is a distinct possibility if they're slackers. It was an issue for 2011, which caught a lot of people/projects off-guard. That takes me back to an earlier statement, scarcity's a bitch. But this year it's a known risk, and something people can at least plan for (making sure the guy driving the truck has a ticket before you check that off the list, for example).


Ok, now you're arguing my point for me. The only flaw I see is the (repeated throughout this thread) assertion that those who are "reliant" or "motivated" enough will get their tickets. Doesn't that fly in the face of a random drawing? Isn't the whole point that it doesn't matter how well you plan or how "reliant" you are, you are now gambling for a ticket?




I'm pretty sure that 85% number is an estimate. I'm pretty sure of that because we haven't had the lottery yet and don't know how registrations are going to go.


If I were to paraphrase your point I would say:
The way some in this community are interpreting ticket sales may very well have a negative effect on their willingness to invest resources in some of the larger scale projects.

If that is accurate, I don't understand how it would have the long term effects you describe. It seems almost immediately self correcting, less people wanting to go solves the scarcity issue.

Also, all the hoarding that is being theorized will be to solve the same problem is causes. So, if Bassnectar needs 20 tickets and has 20 friends buy 40 tickets for him, and he gets them all (thus creating the hoarding) he will have an extra 20 tickets to make sure all his rodies, soundboard people, and sparkle ponies get in.

I also really believe that well connected people in the community will get tickets before scalpers do. Thus, the hoarding and scalping theories will disproportionately effect newer burners, burners from smaller communities, and less active burners. I agree that it sucks to have your demographic screwed, but that also means that the Burners who put all that time and energy into making Blissdome or Thunder Dancer will be able to ask friends to ask friends and end up with tickets.

A few thoughts that came to me during this conversation:
What would it be like to attend something like a concert without the music? just a few thousand other fans of this band, in a big area, but no big choreographed show to distract you. I'm sure that phish followers or Dead heads or whatever have experienced something like this.

What if all the big art and dance camps didn't show up? Is it possible that would force people to be more interactive? When I go dance, I can just walk up to a camp, start dancing, and then leave when I'm done. I don't have to talk to anyone. If I walk into a small camp to do whatever, I generally have to talk to someone. Those people hanging on the Thunderdome... how much interaction is that? Those people gazing at Bliss Dancer aren't telling me any stories.

I'm certainly not taking a stand here, just thinking aloud.
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The difference between buying a ticket from a scalper and prostituting yourself for one is, if you suck dick for a ticket and brag about it, burners will still respect you.
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Re: Free market economics

Postby 5280MeV » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:40 pm

@savannah - My god - there is truly nothing new under the sun

@wh..sh - Thanks for your interest! I have no Idea yet. Last year was 9:30 and I - I need to figure out if my previous camp will reform, and how I am going to rework things. 2011 I tried using real porcelain espresso cups and saucers, which was fun, but too much cleaning work and too breakable - this year I am moving to (non-disposable) plastic cups and thinking about getting a better army surplus 3-day pack with 6L of hydration. This, along with my whisperlight stove, would allow me to move away from camp and maybe start (another?) trash fence cafe. But all of this is just random brainstorming until January.

Back on topic, as I don't want to derail a perfectly good ticket thread:

I really think that the ticketing is just a scapegoat for scarcity, which is real and just sucks. The problem is that one day there may be too many people who will have all of their shit together on January 1, and then who gets a ticket? Based on growth patterns, I don't think that 2012 is that year. I actually would not be surprised if there are not 43k people with their shit together on January 1st and the lottery is not a lottery after all.

I will take a guess at 2015 when it really gets to be a serious problem - especially if the economy gets turned around.

Then what happens to Thunderbliss and Camp Shirtwad? Do they get some allocation of tickets for being a grand playa tradition, or do they have to get in the line/queue/drawing/lottery/browser-refresh-festival with everyone else? What if they made a big black MOOP spot?

If Camp Shirtwad is given special recognition - does that make shirtwadding a *thing* - when people ask what you do at Burning Man, do you then say that people get their shirtwad on? Does that make Burning Man about something specific? What happens when everyone gets sick of shirtwadding?

On the other hand, if the founders of Camp Shirtwad have a 40% chance of getting tickets, then how are they going to be able to build the porn tower? If there is no porn tower, then what is the point of going to Burning Man? What is Burning Man without the porn tower?

Either way, I am with the people who believe that the problem is self-correcting. Things will suck enough that the sheer misery of it all will launch off participants like gas off an exploding star, leaving a core of participants in some new state of Burning Man. The shockwave of anger will send the message across the world - "burning man sucks - don't go" - which is factually true - but also false.

No one can know in advance which group they are in - being gravitationally pulled into the collapsing core, or flung off across the universe. Either journey will be an interesting one, and everyone will get out of their journey what they put in, and...

...wait, where the hell was I going with this?
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