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Guest Post: Another Example Of Why Central Planning Is A Bad Idea

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black from Sovereign Man

Another Example Of Why Central Planning Is A Bad Idea

I’ve noticed something strange over the past few weeks, maybe you have too. It seems that every ‘contrarian’ website out there has joined together to collectively bash the Olympics and anyone who tunes in to watch.

This seems nuts. Nobody should feel guilty for wanting to see athletes in peak condition push the boundaries of human performance. I certainly don’t feel guilty about it. In fact I came to the UK several days ago specifically to catch some of the Olympics live.

Unfortunately it turned out to be much more difficult than I had expected.

As it turns out, the British government has centrally planned Olympic ticket issuance in a way that’s so remarkably inefficient it would make Karl Marx look like Steve Jobs.

There’s only one way to buy London Olympic tickets– through the ’official’ office that’s controlled by the government. They’ve even solidified their monopoly by making it a CRIMINAL OFFENSE for individuals to resell Olympic tickets.

The concierge at my hotel, an affable Italian named Paulo, explained to me that the police even came around to warn (i.e. threaten) him against helping hotel guests find tickets.

Paulo directed me to the government’s official website so I could buy tickets the legal way. I quickly found out how Byzantine it is– there are all sorts of ridiculous hoops to jump through; if you’re a resident of the UK, you follow one procedure. If you’re a resident of the EU, you follow another. If you’re a resident of other countries, you follow yet another.

Then after creating an online profile and giving them all sorts of personal information, they’ll actually MAIL (i.e. snail mail) the physical tickets to the address you give them in your profile… and only to the address of your legal residency. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling.

The alternative is that you could spend a couple of hours going to one of the ticket offices, all of which seem to have been strategically chosen for being in the most inconvenient locations possible.

Even if you can get through that maze, they’ve really screwed up their inventory management. Nobody seems to have any idea what tickets are available at any given time. An event may be ‘sold out’ at 10am, then have hundreds of seats available by noon.

The government’s central planning of Olympic ticketing has been a complete failure, perhaps best evidenced by the THOUSANDS of empty seats at many of the events.

  Another example of why central planning is a bad idea...

Annoyed beyond belief, I asked the concierge at my hotel if there were any alternatives. He said, ‘maybe’, told me to write down my phone number, and wait.

Within a few minutes, my phone started ringing off the hook with calls from ticket brokers; since the government made it illegal for these guys to sell tickets, they’ve been pushed into dodgy underground boiler rooms for the past two weeks as if they’re Prohibition-era bootleggers trying to move a shipment of hooch.

Negotiating ticket prices with these guys, I couldn’t believe we were talking about a sporting event… it seemed more like an arms deal. One guy asked me three times if I was a cop, and another refused to give me his phone number when I said I needed to call him back.

Totally crazy. The government has managed to monopolize an entire industry and screw it up with Soviet-level inefficiency… then make it a criminal offense for the private sector to fix it.

 Another example of why central planning is a bad idea...

This is typical of how a government operates. They take a very cavalier attitude because they don’t care about results, they only care about maintaining control. As a result, they run their operations based on the premise that people really have no choice.

With regard to Olympic ticketing, this is mostly true. My choice was either to go through the system legitimately (albeit painfully), deal with some dodgy backroom ticket broker at three times the price, or just watch it on television.

In our regular lives, though, we do have a choice. A single government need not have a monopoly over our lives.

As human beings, we are fundamentally free. We can choose where we live, where our money lives, where we pay taxes (and how much we pay), where to structure our companies, where to hire our employees, which regulations to adhere to, etc.

You can hold your savings in one country, store gold in another, own property in another, have legal tax residency in another, live in another, have a business in another, etc. This is what I call planting multiple flags… essentially using the system against itself.

And it is, by far, one of the most effective ways to take your freedom back and end your home government’s monopoly over your life.

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Wed, 08/08/2012 - 18:53 | 2689300 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

not that one required yet more adducements

but edification is underestimated

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:06 | 2689335 Colombian Gringo
Colombian Gringo's picture

Central Planning...coming to a FEMA camp near you.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:47 | 2689390 Precious
Precious's picture

There is no "central banking" either.  It's organized crime.  It's immoral.  It's unlawful.  Just like it was 70 years ago when the whitewashing, money laundering "central bankers" funded the Nazis. There is absolutely NO difference.  Somewhere in the world, eventually people suffer because these "central planning" bankers commit fraud.  Victims might be old people. They might be feeble people.  They might be orphans.  But they suffer unjustly and maybe even die for lack of food, care, shelter, clothing, or just plain depression. Because some crooked bank syndicate, using a benevolent sounding word like "central" or "united" or "world" or "international" with the help of the government, police, military and lawyers, stole their savings through confiscation, inflation, taxation or fraud. Just like they did before, with impunity.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:19 | 2689456 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

To be fair, you can't expect a sold out stadium for trampoline quarter finals.


Most of the unfilled chairs were pre-allocated seats to olympic families and VIPs who didn't show up....and VIPs sholdn't resell their free tickets to make money. Sounds like RSVP system failed to work fast enough to switch out seats.


It is centrally preferring one segment over another without properly sizing the market that's gone wrong here.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 23:01 | 2689874 knukles
knukles's picture

Invented by the French
Perfected by the Germans
Immortalized by the Brits

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 23:40 | 2689990 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Look up the werd "Byzantine."

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 00:54 | 2690104 Monedas
Monedas's picture

"To be fair" ?   Are you apologizing for these inept Socialist central planners ?   Auction all tickets on Ebay .... give everyone a chance to bid .... legalize scalping and flower girls in the parking lot !        If you can't sell it .... you never owned it !       Huxley, you are a primordial ooze Socialist !

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 22:28 | 2689800 jeff montanye
Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:22 | 2689372 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Here is the explanation of why it is a bad idea:


Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:18 | 2689451 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

You made me watch this shit?  You owe me bitch.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 21:19 | 2689616 theTribster
theTribster's picture

me too.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:56 | 2689542 opencircle
opencircle's picture

They do provide option to collect tickets at ticket box office.


Wed, 08/08/2012 - 18:54 | 2689302 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Hahaha....and USA loses billions delivering pieces of paper to my mailbox . USA ! USA ! USA !

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:12 | 2689351 robobbob
robobbob's picture

No, the USA loses billions of dollars by using important government functions as EEOC jobs programs and political correctness enforcement. By the same accounting methods, the entire 15T in debt Federal government is no different than the Post Office.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:43 | 2689406 LMAOLORI
LMAOLORI's picture



Yup we are well on our way to becoming England but at least for now we still have our 2nd Amendment rights the Britt's have nothing to stop a tyrannical government.

Talk about politically correct this poor man with Parkinson's was arrested for not smiling!!!


Olympics spectator with Parkinson's wants 'exoneration' after arrest

Mark Worsfold, 54, says he was handcuffed by Surrey police officers 'for not smiling' while watching men's cycling road race





Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:48 | 2689415 Neethgie
Neethgie's picture

That line in bold is such bullshit and anyone who isnt devoid of intellect knows it.

when do you use your second amendment rights?

you have lived in tyranny for about 10 years now, guantanamo patriot act, endless bailouts? 

why havent you stopped your tyranical government, the second ammendment hasnt done shit for you, your living in tyranny hiding behind an amendment saying "if things get bad we can stop it" newsflash dumbfuck things are already in tyranny and none of you have stopped a single thing.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:40 | 2689499 NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

You are correct Sir.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 21:36 | 2689658 smiler03
smiler03's picture

"The force has received a letter from Mr Worsfold in which he has said he ‘fully understands and appreciates the action taken by officers’, the spokesman said."

Another side of the story from another newspaper. Don't always believe one news source. Or ten for that matter.


Wed, 08/08/2012 - 22:31 | 2689813 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

what neethgie said.

well there's always a first time....

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 23:25 | 2689960 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Well, maybe if you could tell us exactly who to shoot,that might help.

The problem is,the people who REALLY run this country remain in the shadows. Probably for exactly this reason.

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 08:00 | 2690395 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

the messenger?



i'm thinking almost anyone on here could generate a good list to start on, but i'm not looking to meet anyone in a dark suit with an ear piece, so i shall remain mum

self censorship bitchez 

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:53 | 2689524 JohnG
JohnG's picture



Yep.  I talked with my postman not long ago.  The USPS barely covers its nut with junk mail delivery.  75% of it actually.  The rest is short selling thier own service with "forever stamps...", which is ludicrous.

And yes, he is very, very worried about his retirement.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 22:43 | 2689840 chipworley
chipworley's picture

The post office is the MOST WELL funded retirement system in the world.  That is the reason they operate at a loss every year.  They pay over $5 billion into their retirement fund every single year as mandated by congress and the fund actually exists (until congress steals it at least) unlike the IOU's in the SS system.  Check it out, don't take my word, you will see it is true...

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 04:07 | 2690238 Nachdenken
Nachdenken's picture

"They pay over $5 billion into their retirement fund every single year as mandated by congress and the fund actually exists..."

Yes sir, and the fund is invested in sovereign bonds, T bills and the Dow as well as the IBEX perhaps, all very safe and reliable returns for retirement.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 18:54 | 2689304 asparagui
asparagui's picture

I figured Simon might be competing as manly of a global jetsetter he is...

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:05 | 2689332 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

Where does he find the time to seemingly write numerous articles a day from different countries? A better question is why ZH loves this guy so much?

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 22:46 | 2689848 chipworley
chipworley's picture

Because MSM sux.  Want the truth...

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 08:02 | 2690397 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

simon black, the most interesting man in the world



i may not travel much, but when i do, i gloat about it

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 18:57 | 2689309 SemperFord
SemperFord's picture

Simon, I can't believe you ratted out Paulo...he is dead now!

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:09 | 2689340 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Not just Paulo...maybe this will be the last missive Simon sends from Merry Olde England since it looks like he didn'tcover his super sleuthing tracks very well.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 18:58 | 2689311 XitSam
XitSam's picture

Right before I saw this, I read Stossel's article.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:02 | 2689329 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

Nice.  The best way to prevent a terrorist attack at the games is to not allow anyone to actually get into the games to terrorize them.  BRILLIANT!

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:00 | 2689318 q99x2
q99x2's picture

'You can hold your savings in one country, store gold in another, own property in another, have legal tax residency in another, live in another, have a business in another, etc. This is what I call planting multiple flags… essentially using the system against itself.'

The trick is to get the government to pay you to do all that.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:12 | 2689346 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I almost thought he was going to actually write a coherent article for once, then I got to that ending.

The idea that prostrating yourself before as many governments as possible is to exercise MAXIMUM enslavement, rather than "using the system against itself."

I wonder, just who does he think he's harming with this tactic? Certainly not governments. All he does is stand in more sheeple lines than anyone I know.

Simply put, he's likely been exposed to more forms of their mental torture in the last five years than I have been in my entire life. Yet he does it willingly, all while bragging about how "free" it makes him.

Simon is Simple.

If not beyond.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:53 | 2689421 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The trick? No one will save (or fck) your sorry ass like your own brethren.  Lets get this party started already.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:00 | 2689319 kito
kito's picture

ahhhh, the life of sovereign man...........the latest technology involving virtual reality.........................

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:56 | 2689423 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

He live quite a lifestyle in that imaginary world of his.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:00 | 2689320 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

So they weren't ready?  Hmmm. Weird.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:06 | 2689333 Zola
Zola's picture

The olympic clusterfuck is one of the BEST illustrations of the TOTAL FAILURE of central planning for the poor souls who cannot open a history book , look or talk to ex communist countries citizens or get informed about the realities of the world.

But of course, nobody will say anything and the sheeples will keep on worshipping the idiots in charge

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:16 | 2689359 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Not to discount his clusterfuck experience, but it appears that the problem had nothing to do with public tickets he discusses, but rather the freebie tickets that were given to the beautiful people. I'm betting they ended up with multiple tickets to concurrent events (must have everything, right?), and they would just choose which one to go to without regard to the other tickets.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:57 | 2689544 JohnG
JohnG's picture

Well hell...I'm beautiful (don't hate me!). Where the fuck are MY tickets?

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 08:10 | 2690406 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

i just visited the ticketing site, and frankly its all jacked up

i couldnt even find a way to get an idea of the price of a ticket

even creating an account is a pain in the dick

no wonder the seats are empty

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:31 | 2689384 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

100% correct. Governments SUCK at everything they fucking do. Period.

What Black points out are how BAD they suck at doing ANYTHING.

I fucking laugh in the faces of the assholes that are "for" Obama or "for" Romney - especially the older people.

They should know better - stupid fucking fools.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:10 | 2689343 Neethgie
Neethgie's picture

i got half way through this and thought, hmmm this post sounds oddly whiny, with a faint air of bragging, i immeadiatly clicked on that it was none other than the dos equis man himself simon black, i have been simoned again..

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:50 | 2689401 Rusticus
Rusticus's picture

I made it all the way to the end but alas, Mr Black failed to identify a country devoid of any central planning, that has hosted a successful Olympic games.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:39 | 2689496 goat
goat's picture

Good ole Simon had me fooled until I read:

In our regular lives, though, we do have a choice. A single government need not have a monopoly over our lives.

Here is a fun trick.  Copy-Paste any article on any website, and then append it with the last few paragraphs of this post.  VIOLA - an instant SImon Black, International Man of Awesome essay.


You too can be Simon Black (just not as awesome).



Wed, 08/08/2012 - 21:47 | 2689692 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Simon's articles stand out before you even read anything.

He has the annoying habit of using one sentence per paragraph

Probably so he can make his article stretch over more than two normal paragraphs.

Easy when you lack detail.

Accurate detail that is.


Thu, 08/09/2012 - 04:09 | 2690239 Nachdenken
Nachdenken's picture

ancient and modern Greece ?

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:11 | 2689349 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

I wondered about those empty seats...with whole sections empty and others crowded it seems like the stupid Brits (gov't) are selling block by block, hence the "now we're sold out, now we're not," bit.  What a waste.  I guess I'm glad I didn't go...onecan see more on TV or online anyway.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:17 | 2689360 Neethgie
Neethgie's picture

I guess you'll be running the 10,000m simon given that in the past 3 days, youve been to switzerland lithuania norway and england..


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