While Tommy became the pinball wizard by his intuition, flipper fingers, and acute sense of smell; another disabled gamer is attempting to use tort law to rise to the top. GamePolitics.com reports on the discrimination lawsuit faced by Sony:
A disabled, visually-impaired gamer has filed suit against Sony Corporation of America, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Online Entertainment claiming that the defendants are denying people with disabilities equal access to their goods and services.
The suit was filed by plaintiff Alexander Stern on October 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Stern seeks to “put an end to systemic civil rights violations” allegedly perpetrated by the defendants.
Stern notes that other accessibility features are available and have been implemented by “companies whose resources pale in comparison with Sony’s.”
Among other actions, Stern is seeking an injunction to prohibit Sony from violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, a declaration that Sony owns, operates and maintains equipment that discriminates against the disabled, unspecified damages and to have his lawyer’s fees and expenses paid for.
As ridiculous as this case seems, it is not that far-fetched once one considers the premises of “justice” commonly accepted in today’s society. Individuals and corporations are regularly forced to act against their own interests to compensate for the disadvantages of another. Corporations that are too successful are deemed “monopolies” and broken up so that less efficient firms can “compete”. Affirmative action laws force employers to favor one candidate or employee over another due to his race, gender, or other immutable characteristic. Even seemingly noble initiatives, such as legal requirements that companies facilitate customers with disabilities, are an infringement on individual rights. If a private individual or firm chooses to discriminate against a group of people for any reason – no matter how ill-advised and immoral this discrimination is – that individual or firm has the right to do so, provided the discrimination visits no positive harm on the group discriminated against.
And note the last line of the quoted text, which clearly implies that Sony’s resources impose an extra obligation. Once again, our society punishes production as a vice and praises need as a virtue.
The Economist asks, “How many Mexicans does it take to drill an oil well?”
The answer: “More than 140,000, and even then they’re not very good at it. For this, now acute, problem, blame the politicians.”
The author paints an ugly picture:
It is bad enough that Mexico’s economy is in deep recession, triggered by its close links to the ailing United States. To make matters worse, the country’s oil industry, its fiscal cash-cow for the past three decades, is declining swiftly (see chart). As recently as 2004 Cantarell, the country’s main offshore field, produced 2.1m barrels per day (b/d) of crude. Now its output is just 600,000 b/d. There are no obvious replacements: 23 of the 32 biggest fields are in decline. Barring big new finds, the world’s seventh-largest oil producer is forecast to become a net importer by 2017.
“There is no mystery behind the decline,” writes The Economist:
The constitution bans private investment in hydrocarbons. Ever since Lázaro Cárdenas expropriated foreign oil companies in 1938, the state oil monopoly has been seen by many politicians, especially from the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its offshoots, as the untouchable bone marrow of Mexican sovereignty. To make matters worse, Pemex has been run more in the interests of its workers and their trade unions than of the Mexican people, its notional owners.
…Even if Mexico allowed private companies to explore for oil, they would have to invest $10 billion a year to halt the decline in output, reckons David Shields, who edits a specialist magazine on Mexican oil. Under today’s law, in which private firms can only act as service providers for Pemex, that investment would be much higher, he says.