Economic Question

Mickey Kaus says:

And I was excited about Windows XP,
because I thought its sturdier code would stop it from crashing. I was
wrong, at least for the early version of XP that I bought. Now I can't see a thing Vista's going to do for me that seems worth braving the inevitable Microsoft early teething problems.... Needless
to say, if everyone has this attitude Vista (and the need to buy new
computers powerful enough to run Vista, etc.) won't provide much of a
boost to the economy

Does upgrading an operating system just to fix bugs and flaws in the old version ever really "boost the economy?"  I mean, isn't that the broken Windows fallacy?

[sorry, I couldn't resist.  You don't get many chances at an economics joke]


  1. Michael:

    I remember getting into a friend's brand new GM car during the 1970's and having the window handle fall off in my hand. I silently vowed not to buy a GM product for myself.
    Toyoda began to look appealing to me. Millions upon millions of people came to the same conclusion. The near monopoly status of GM ended a long time ago.

    Today I use Mac OSX on my personal computer. It is a very stable platform and I have never had a crash. With the new Intel chip I can run Windows XP, Linux, Unix and Mac OSX all on the same computer hardware. For me, at least, the monopoly status of microsoft has ended.

    The market rewards the good and drives out the bad. Boosting the economy has nothing to do with this. Microsoft needs to stop putting out defective product. If not, they will go the way of GM.

  2. John:

    Microsoft's tendency to overpromise and then underdeliver is legendary. At their release time, Windows 2000, XP, XP service pack 2, and now Vista has been claimed to be "the ultimate in security" or something similar. History shows these claims to be optimistic, at best, or total BS.

    Vista may suck less when it comes to security, but I predict that it will still suck. 50+ million lines of code, horrid complexity, a new IP stack (the software that handles low level networking) -- all of these issues will lead to significant problems.

    In the end, Microsoft's corporate culture requires ever-increasing complexity, but that stands in the way of security.

  3. Ray G:

    Who's that rolling in their grave? Bastiat?

    I've been a Mac person for awhile, and sadly enough, since their recent iPod induced boom, their quality has dropped a notch, though not enough to switch to anything else.

    But that's not really the point is it. One of the central tenets of being Left wing is the inability to grasp the most basic concepts of economics.

    You tell a Kaus type of person that designing a product that requires millions of people to constantly upgrade, revamp and repair isn't good for the economy, and they'd think you were nuts. "But people are pumping money back into the economy." they'd say. "Instead of putting that money where else?" the astute would counter.

  4. John:

    Broken windows fallacy...

    You bugger!! I just woke my kids laughing out loud at that!


    I seriously doubt they will add anything to vista security wise that someone else hasnt already created for XP, and microsoft will do it costing more money, resources, and fagility than any other software developer. Microsoft makes its money because new users ALMOST automatically buy thier software with a new purchase. Bill has never had to worry much about the quality of the product, which is why so many people have memories of windows problems ( Windows 3.0/3.1/95/98/98sp2/2000/xp) right after release that got fixed up to 3 years later. People are not stupid BILL!!! BUt this time it might be worse. Everyone is saying they wont buy it till after its been out a few years and the bugs worked out. WHo do they think is gonna find those bugs in the first 2 years if no one buys it?

  5. dearieme:

    Today I installed IE7 and then I learned how to uninstall it. Bah!

  6. David Gillies:

    Few things are capable of propelling me, an otherwise placid soul, into ranting, profane, kick-the-cat rage as grappling with the loathsome effluvia of the Beast of Redmond. I'm a software engineer, you see, and being confronted with the typical bit of Microsoft garbage makes me feel like a Ferrari mechanic must feel when working on a Trabant. I use MacOS and Ubuntu Linux, and in both cases it just does. It's what Apple used to call proof by mantra: you thought to yourself, "now how would I do this particular task?" and lo and behold, that was exactly how the Apple engineers had designed it. With Microsoft, you have to step outside yourself and ask, "if I were a semi-trained code monkey with a bunch of bullet-point wielding marketing cretins on my back, what would be the quickest, dirtiest and least user-friendly way to code this?"