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Re: pricing-- a reply to Denis and Jack

>you obviously don't have any clue about the binding ,
>restoration and conservation business.

It is unfortunate that Denis Gouey chose to insult me rather than criticize
my argument. I know that Denis is a fair person as well as an excellent
binder, and I am confident that this is just an indication of his passion
on this topic.

There are two threads in this discussion that need to be pried apart:
1. Is it wrong for part-time binders to charge lower than average prices?
2. Is it wrong for binders to use publicly subsidized equipment in order to
moonlight and charge lower prices than the private sector?

Jack Thompson, in his declaration that "Dennis Gouey is right and Steve
Hales is wrong" addresses only the second question, and mistakenly thinks
that I am doing the same. However, this is false. I addressed the first

Moreover, here is an analogy to support my original point. Suppose that I
own an apple tree, on my land, that I personally cultivate and harvest. I
am at liberty to sell my apples, or give them away free to whomever I
choose. If I decide to give them all away to whomever asks, I am not
unfairly competing with the local grocery store. They are *my* apples, and
the grocery store has no claim against me that I charge what they insist.
The store has no rights over me, my apples, or my labor. Likewise I own all
of my binding equipment, and paid for it from my private funds.
Professional binders may be resentful if I do free bindings for whomever
asks (since those binders wanted the business), but this resentfulness is
not a moral argument. As in the apple case, I am at moral liberty to do as
I wish.

To address another of Jack's claims, he writes,

>Steve says: "No bookbinder, professional or otherwise, has an ethical
>>expectation of any sort of income or salary at all."
>I haven't the foggiest idea what Steve means here.  Expectation of income
>has absolutely nothing to do with ethics.

This is strange. Jack claims not to understand me, then gives an
approximate paraphrase of what I said. His following complaints about
income confuse me, however. Jack complains about the cost of his employees,
and the little money he has made on videotapes and writing books. Since he
thinks that "expectation of income has absolutely nothing to do with
ethics," he obviously does not believe that these things are unfair or
unjust. Therefore I conclude that he is either 1. complaining for its own
sake, 2. expressing envy of those who are better off financially as a
result of these practices, or 3. expressing resentment of those who are
better off financially as a result of these practices.

Jack also claims that "But do not think of ethics.  Ethics have no place in
business as conducted by non-profit institutions or governments." As a
matter of practice, I sincerely hope that he is mistaken. As a matter of
principle, morality has an important place in these arenas. Indeed, I
thought this was the whole topic of conversation.


Steven D. Hales
Assistant Professor                     email: hales@xxxxxxxxxx
Department of Philosophy                phone: (717) 389-4229
Bloomsburg University                   fax: (717) 389-2094
Bloomsburg, PA 17815

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