Amazon Turns to Drones as Latest Market Domination Effort

Octocopters are heading your way, someday, if the FAA can get its act together


Today is Cyber Monday, the day where all lovers of Internet commerce look for online holiday deals in the follow up to the Black Friday post-Thanksgiving (barely post-Thanksgiving nowadays) specials. Amazon is offering up all sorts of deals.

For Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, now seemed like a good time to unveil their latest attempts to improve the online shopping experience: Drones. In an interview with 60 minutes Sunday, Bezos introduced Charlie Rose to their "octocopters," drones they are hoping to use to deliver purchases to customers within 30 minutes of them pressing the "buy" button online.

The service will be called Amazon Prime Air. They've already put up a page for it with a video demonstration and short FAQ:

Bezos notes in the interview that the main barrier to offering the service right is that the Federal Aviation Administration does not yet permit private commercial drone use until it hammers out all the regulations. It may be years before the FAA gets guidelines in place, but Amazon says they'll be ready to go once they do.

In the 60 minutes interview, Bezos says the drone deliveries will originate directly from their "fulfillment centers" (distribution centers) and probably will range about 10 miles at the start. That would be useful for anybody living near their nearly 100 warehouses, but it will still leave lots of folks out. To me it seems like the people in rural, out-of-the-way places would benefit more from drone deliveries than those in urban centers, because of how costly and inefficient it is to send trucks out there. But I suppose you have to learn to drone-deliver copies of Fifty Shades of Grey to your neighbors without dropping them on anybody's heads before stretching those propellers.

Presumably, if they're able to work out the drones with the FAA, Reason fans will be able to shop online at Amazon, have their purchases delivered by octocopters, and support us all at the same time.

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  1. Wake me when they can email me my new cargo shorts.

    1. Good thing you didn’t call them Dockers this time.

      1. “Good thing you didn’t call them Dockers this time.”

        “Google plans ‘floating retail store,’ builder says”
        But they have yet to buy off some bureaucrats.

      2. Docking is the name for a certain sex act. I’m told.

        1. *Googles*

          I don’t even know what to say anymore.

          1. “I don’t even know what to say anymore.” is a phrase that has sexual connotations, anymore.

            You pervert.

        2. …why do you know that?

    2. I’ll be 3D printing mine…

  2. But!

    *What if the drone drops the book off in my gutter!?
    *What if the drone lands on a kids head and decapitates them!?
    *What if people decide to shoot at the drones!?
    *What if the drone crashes into my house and it burns down!?

    *All things Amazon has not considered at all. Nope. Not one bit.

    1. What if the drones become self-aware?

      1. What if I like 30 minute shipping!?

        1. If you like your 30-minute shopping, you can keep it.


        2. What if you make an errant order and your computer crashes? Would I have to rush down to the lowly public library in order to cancel my order?

          1. Caleb Turberville|12.2.13 @ 11:12AM|#
            “What if you make an errant order and your computer crashes?”

            Hey, this ain’t O’care!

        3. 30 minutes? What is this, the stone age? Why can’t they just drop the box in a vacuum tube and have it show up at my door? Heck, my living room?

      2. They could decide our fate in a microsecond.

        1. “Listen, and understand. That drone is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until your order is fulfilled.”

          1. “The 600 series drones had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human… sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait till he delivered your order before I could zero him.”

    2. That’s right, and it also hasn’t considered ZOMG drone-striking an airliner full of orphans. Monsters.

      1. What orphans do you know that have airliners? Or are they running on little treadmills in order to provide power?

        1. *furiously begins scribbling letter to patent office*

          1. You’ll also need to patent a method to keep them light weight, but strong enough to keep running. Might I suggest a total thoracic ostectomy?

            1. The treadmills are carbon fiber with diamond monofilament transmission cables (power transmission through axially rotating fibers anchored at each end).

              As for the orphans, surgery is not necessary. Continuous Intravenous feeding of a proper blend of glucose and necessary nutrients will ensure peak power output as well as consistent cruise performance while maintaining low body mass.

              1. But how will I supply my all orphan band, Orphan Annie and the Capuchins, with rib cage instruments?

                They will be so disappointed.

    3. What if the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security outsource the delivery of bombs to Amazon?

      1. They’d get where they were supposed to go.

  3. Great. First order of business, drone-delivering the stuff I need to build a runway on my lawn.

    1. My house has a flat roof, but I’m now going to refer to it as the Amazon landing pad.

  4. I wonder what the Pizza Delivery lobby thinks about this?


  5. Can’t wait for the irresponsible gun owner to attach a machine gun to this bad-boy and kill 30, or so, people in a crowded area.

    For all of your sakes’,

    1. Only a sleazy lefty hopes to advance their agenda by getting people killed.
      Stay classy, turd.

      1. Sevo, I’m not saying we should do it or wish is so.

        I’m saying that it can be a clever weapon used by people.

        1. Alice Bowie|12.2.13 @ 11:30AM|#
          “Sevo, I’m not saying we should do it or wish is so.”

          SUURE, Alice…

        2. Your President already beat you to it, dumbass.

          Hope you’re not attending any weddings in Afghanistan or Pakistan in the near future…

          1. Drones are A-okay with a Democrat at the controls. Duh.

        3. Who would ever think of using drones to kill people?

          Oh, wait…

    2. RC planes have been available for decades, and yet this has not happened.

      Derp de derpity dumb.

      1. This technology will allow for a heavier payload than a toy plane. You never know.

        1. You never know.

          That’s not a terribly convincing argument.

        2. There are RC planes that can carry a payload of 30+ pounds. As usual, you are clueless.

        3. “This technology will allow for a heavier payload than a toy plane.”

          aaaaaand [CITATION]

        4. That’s because you haven’t seen my RC stealth bomber. For obvious reasons.

    3. C-

      Glad the prospect of someone killing 30 people excites you so much.

      Equivalent statement: I can’t wait till the pizza delivery boy goes rogue and shoots up the neighborhood.

      1. If an irresponsible pizza shop added cyanide as an extra topping, they could poison 30 people. I guess we better pass a law and add political controls to pizza shops.

        1. Sadly this is the rationale used to justify virtually every government regulation. As though it is at all in the interest of any business to harm its customers.

          1. What if an irresponsible police department started shooting at all vehicles roughly matching the description of a wanted fugitive? It could cost taxpayers millions.

    4. 1) By machine gun, I assume you mean fully automatic. Good luck getting one of those.
      2) Any gun owner who can attach a firearm to a drone, remotely fly it, and fire accurately with it, probably isn’t very irresponsible. If they use it to kill 30 people they may be evil and crazy, but that’s different.

      1. And what that seriously the first thing that came to your mind? Because the first thing that came to my mind was how awesome it was and how great a world we live in. I’m trying to understand your mindset.

        1. Me too. We’re living in the future, baby!

          We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible. – George Santayana

      2. I have seen a remotely firing full auto .22 lr belt fed machinegun designed for installation on light drones. It was being marketed to LE users.

        1. That sounds sweet… RC combat games with live ammo!

    5. Can’t wait for the irresponsible gun owner to attach a machine gun to this bad-boy and kill 30, or so, people in a crowded area.

      By irresponsible gun owner, do you mean the US government? Correct me if I’m wrong, but they are the only ones droning civilians, yet people like you argue that they should have a monopoly on firearms possession. Keep licking that boot

    6. I think there’s a greater risk of people shooting the Amazon drone en route to a delivery, so I wonder if the company has worked out a cost-effective policy to cover that.

    7. Oh it will happen but it won’t be a machine gun and the dead won’t be random civilians. The technology exists today to mount a sniper rifle on a drone, slave it to that new sniper scope that lets untrained shooters hit human sized targets from half a mile away and remote control the whole thing via any number of technologies. Mounted on a flying drone it probably won’t be quite as accurate but there is no realistic reason it could not achieve 95%+ hit probabilities from 300 yards

      They will literally be assassination drones, not sure who will be the first to successfully use one or where it will happen but it is an inevitability and probably in less than 10 years time.

      1. But why bother with the remote control human interface? Just provide a wireless link to the autonomous internet, and let it make the decisions of who deserves to die based on their browsing and comment histories. What could go wrong?

  6. Wake me when they introduce Amazon Con Air.

    1. Snooze alarm went off:


  7. 30 minute rural delivery will have to wait until artillery is used for delivery.

    Does the FAA regulate that?

    1. By the way, it sucks that Nick Saban decided to attempt a 57 yard field goal instead of putting the ball in your fiance’s hands Saturday night.

      1. That was a fun ending for someone with no SEC rooting interest. Unfortunately I was having 2nd Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws and couldn’t watch the whole thing, but I managed to turn it on just as they put the last second back on the clock.

        1. I’ve debated some fellow Alabama fans. I don’t think the coaching staff was prepared to have time still on the clock. They weren’t in a hurry-up offense; they had Yeldon running on four consecutive plays. It was almost as if they were trying to gain yards, while at the same time trying to run out the clock. However, on the final run, Yeldon was pushed out of bounds, and CBS’s synchronized video indicated that they had 1 second left. It’s the only reason I can give for why they attempted a kick instead of a Hail Mary. I don’t think they were really trying for anything other than to run the clock out.

          1. I don’t think the coaching staff was prepared

            You could just stop there. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Nick Saban’s performance at the Iron Bowl was a bit worse than usual.

          2. If they wanted to run the clock out, they could have just snapped the ball, drop back 5 or 7 steps and taken a knee. Clock expires – time for OT.

            1. What I’m saying is that what’s they were trying to do. In the final 32 seconds, I think they were running some plays with Yeldon on the off-chance they it could get us to about the 45-35 yard to try a more reasonable 45-55 yarder. However, on the final run, Yeldon went out of bounds and most people thought the clock had gone to zero. When the clock showed 1 second left, that’s when I think the confusion started. More likely than not, Saban probably wished that 1 second had ticked off, but was so utterly lost as to what to do that he must have miscalculated the distance of the field goal or something.

              1. I think the longest FG in Alabama history was 54 yarder.

              2. And when is the last time you’ve seen a missed field goal run back 100 yards for a touchdown?

                1. To be fair, our regular kicker Cade Foster was benched, and for some reason our punter Cody Mandel substituted for our normal holder AJ McCarron.

                  So, the two players most prepared to make a tackle on the return man were sitting on the sideline while the second stringers were trying for the 57 yarder. /headdesk

          3. I’ve seen so many games where an incomplete pass hits the ground with 1 second left on the clock, but the game ends anyway. Luckily they gave Alabama the remaining time to squander.

  8. All I have to say is, it’s about time. We missed our mark on flying cars and floating cities, so FINALLY we may have something futuristic.

    1. Flying cars have been around for a few years. Here’s the latest:


  9. This makes me smile, though I was surprised to see people physically putting items in boxes in the warehouse. But how am I supposed to know when my delivery arrives without the drones shooting at me?

    1. I think they have more advanced systems in their main fulfillment centers. Robots and stuff like that.

      1. There are some. But Amazon still uses a lot more manpower than most people think.

        (former Amazon employee here)

        1. So long as labor is cheaper than robots, they will. But that ship is sailing.

          1. Yep, once the lefties mandate a ‘living wage’, all the new machines will be making more money, and the former employees will be living on the real minimum wage.

          2. Oh absolutely. Amazon is working to replace as many workers as possible. The trumped up “abuse” stories that have been floating around have only hastened that, I’m sure.

          3. We actually took all the automation out of our warehhouses back in the early/mid 2000’s.

            People (in our bidness) will continue to be more efficient for the foreseeable future.

            As soon as they’re not….IROBOT!!!11

      2. They use Kiva bots. They’re bred as the soldier caste in Roomba colonies.

  10. I have a lot of optimism about technology but this strikes me as bullshit. Too many problems: weather, theft, accidents and #4 buckshot.

    1. All of which apply to the current delivery system.

      1. I foresee a new industry arising in parallel–security escort drones.

        1. Looks like we got us…a CONVOY!

          1. It’s bad that that song is now in my head.

            1. It’s funny in GTA V when you jack a big rig and it pops up on the radio.

    2. Eh, all of those things seem manageable to me. Drone technology just has to be reliable enough to fly in bad weather, or the service is conditional on there not being high winds, etc. Theft and accidents can happen with any form of delivery. And call me naive, but I don’t see a whole lot of people shooting these things down any more than I see armed bands of robbers raiding UPS delivery trucks.

      1. As it is now, they just plop a box down on your front doorstep at some random time, and anybody could come along and just pick it up. Most of the time these days they don’t even bother knocking on the door or ringing the bell.

        1. Next up, rooftop landing pads and drop boxes.

          1. That would be SWEET.

            1. It certainly would add needed security to the whole delivery process, and, of course, it would makes drones easier to handle for the “last mile” of delivery.

              1. I could actually see something like this. A driver parks a truck in a part of town with lots of deliveries, and several drones fly off to make the final drop. They return, he drives back to the next stop, and so on.

          2. I could see chimney’s making a comeback.

            1. Honey, it’s time to re-purpose the coal chute.

              1. I said that to my wife last night and for some reason she just slapped me in the face.

            2. And aerials, which would operate as a tethering location for drone zeppelins.

              Drone Zeppelin. Weird, I have “Whole Lotta Love” in my head now.

              1. Drone Zeppelin. Weird, I have “Whole Lotta Love” in my head now.

                Sure that’s not “Whole Lotta Lift”?

                1. The jingle possibilities with Drone Zeppelin are endless.

                  1. Oh, the Am-a-zon box drone is a comin’ down the street, oh please let it be for me….

    3. To me the nail in the coffin is the concept: you’ll probably only do this in urban environments where the population is dense enough to be practical and you can cover the ~10 mile radius. Once you have that, you realize that in a dense urban space, you have lots of amazon packages to be delivered soooo, unless you have a fleet of hundreds of these things, a truck is actually more efficient/secure/economical.

      1. I imagine this is more of a gimmick than a serious goal. The problem with mail order is you don’t get your stuff until a few days after you pay for it, whereas in a brick and mortar store you walk out with the goodies in your sweaty hands. Amazon’s trying to steer more shoppers their way by giving the impression that you could get the goods in the same amount of time it would take to go buy them, but now you don’t have to leave home.

        1. Yeah, it struck me as a gimmick also, more specifically a viral marketing gimmick, which seems to be working out quite peachily.

        2. Yeah, but then they’d have to put the inventory basically in the same location as the drones so they’d have to operate a lot more warehouses than they currently have. I’m not convinced Amazon hasn’t necessarily optimized their network to begin with since I can get a Zappos order the very next day which includes a flight from KY and that’s free (no “prime” premium) and is quicker than even Amazon’s 2-day shipping.

      2. Actually it could work quite well in suburban and possibly even some rural locations as well.

        You still have the truck but it has a store of a handful of drones that automatically deploy inside it along with some sort of automatic drone loading system.

        The truck drives a preset course designed to minimize miles driven and drones deploy from and rendezvous back with it for reloading. Works even better if the truck is self driving and unmanned

  11. Some people are actually pretty frightened by this. They seem to think that SkyNet is an Amazon Prime service…

    While this iteration looks impractical for large cities the point I took away from this article is that government(the FAA) is impeding markets and stifling innovation.

    1. What I took away from the article is that Amazon is looking for some free publicity before the big holiday season.

      1. #WINNING

  12. Those plastic boxes don’t look disposable. They’ll have to include some kind of drone pickup service as well.

  13. OTish… Gawker comes out for a $15 Federal minimum wage. And the comments try to take the idea even derper.

    I wonder if Denton’s employees all make that already, because most of them are wildly overpaid if that is the case.

    1. Why bother? Half the country is on welfare of one kind or another, anyway, with additional tax breaks and other subsidies, so the effective rate for such people is likely even higher than that. All while we have no money for what we spend already.

      Looks like another deep dip in the economy is coming, too. Just what we need is more pressure on an already weak economic situation.

    2. The global poverty line is what, $1.50 a day or something? But no, people simply can’t survive on less than $20/hour.

    3. Minimum wage earners are sometimes dismissed as people too lazy to find a better job. But a land of opportunity in which there is a higher-paying job available for everyone who works hard is a childish fantasy.

      Of course no logical explanation of WHY it’s a fantasy. Just a proclamation.

      1. And, of course, the world where you’ve priced the relevant elements out of the labor market entirely is just sooo much more humane.

    4. 15? Who can live on that? Make it 50.

  14. I wonder if they’ll work in a snowstorm? Wind limits?

    1. I would imagine that the capability of a small drone to hover in a substantial wind would be low, and certainly limited by battery/fuel capacity. Since the cross sectional area:fuel capacity ratio is limited by the required small size of the drones, any drone capable of station keeping in significant winds would have a low payload due to fuel reserve requirements. It would need too much energy storage in order to hover.

      Where are these things going to be able to fly anyway? Most big cities are covered by Class B airspace.

      1. I guess nuclear-powered drones are right out.

        Can’t they operate below 400 feet, or is that for noncommercial purposes only?

      2. I’m guessing that is one of the things the FAA is looking at.

      3. Most big cities are covered by Class B airspace.

        Class B is an upside down birthday cake. It only goes right down to the ground within several miles (5-7ish) of the airport it services.

        I see most of the applications for this to be below 1000′ which is outside most controlled airspace. Many Class B’s have VFR corridors through them as well, you could put them below 500′ and therefore the VFR traffic.

        As far as the wind goes, it’s only a problem if you actually need to land. You could hover just above the ground (flying into the wind) and drop the package from several inches above the ground.

        I suppose the biggest problem in storms would be icing. I’m guessing service would be terminated during icing conditions unless you could heat them or surround them with a deicing boot ($).

        1. Yeals, I guess you operate in class G most of the time (here out east most of our class E is floor 700 AGL though–not like you guys out west with your nice big tracts of “Go for It.”

          1. I mean the drones would be in G airspace, not you personally.

          2. Here is New York. Still only SFC to 7000 within 5-7 miles of major airports. The rest is 500-7000 or better. These drones will be fine below 500′.

            Here is Pittsburgh. 7 miles. Over the vast majority of the city it starts at 2500′ MSL or about 1000 AGL.

            1. Oops, misread your post. Disregard last.

              Yes, class “E” starts at 700. Still, below 700 would be fine for drones.

            2. Yeah, I’m familiar with the Pittsburgh B airspace since I fly under it quite a bit. Much of the suburban area here is in the surface part of it, while the downtown area is under the middle shelf. It’s tricky overflying the city for sightseeing since the AGC D airspace sits in an inconvenient spot, and it’s too easy to stray into the B airspace when.overflying the downtown. It’s safest to get VFR flight following and get cleared into the B when you’re on a sightseeing flight in Pittsburgh. There is also a sizeable amount of helicopter traffic due to the hospitals downtown and the stadium TFRs make for interesting times if you haven’t checked notams (not a problem for me but I have heard of some people almost getting in trouble over this)

  15. Oh, just posted this in MLs but I will drop it here also.


  16. What if the drone becomes self-aware, and auctions your order to the highest bidder in order to upgrade itself?

    1. No problem with that. I want stuff to go to its most efficient use.

  17. Do address the theft issue, Amazon will add a self-destruct feature.

    1. Hey, want to see a drone blow up?

      Theft is not the only motivation for wanting to bring one down.

      1. Hey, want to see a drone UPS truck blow up?

        1. No more than I would like to see a Fed-Ex jet blow up.

  18. Gawker comes out for a $15 Federal minimum wage.

    Imagine my surprise.

    The twelve year olds who do their web design need lots of Mountain Dew and Cheetohs.

    1. Just what we need with U-6 at 13.8% and the labor participation rate of 63%.

  19. Can’t wait for the irresponsible gun owner to attach a machine gun to this bad-boy and kill 30, or so, people in a crowded area.

    Lay off the paint thinner, Alice.

  20. In Soviet Russia, drones deliver YOU!

  21. Only Real Topic: I know a lot of you are stumped on what to get me for Santa’s Birthday, and to make things easier on you, here you go.


    Don’t screw it up or else nobody gets to ride the Ferris wheel.

    1. From the ads to the side, I know what you can get *me* this year.


  22. Can’t wait for the irresponsible gun owner to attach a machine gun to this bad-boy and kill 30, or so, people in a crowded area.

    Can’t wait for irresponsible proglodyte legislatures to pass gun bans and spike the crime rates in most American and European cities several fold. Oh, wait, we’re living in that reality already.

  23. So no one liked my machine gun attached to the drone Idea.

    But I bet you guys would love the drug delivery feature of this bad boy?
    Doesn’t even need to go to your home.

    1. And you guys were worried about the transportation labor unions coming after you. What are you going to do when Big Papa and Tony Montana come for you ?

      1. Do you know what you’re talking about? Because no one else does.

        1. Much like Lindy West, it thinks it’s hilarious. They are both utterly mistaken.

          1. I typed ‘Lindy West’ into google, and the auto-complete included ‘jezebel’ and ‘rape jokes’.

            That’s all I need to know.

    2. No, they can drop the package across the street at the mayor’s house, and the county cops can burst in , shoot his dog and tie up his grandmother.

  24. I think we really need a different word for these little flying machines. “Drones” is too associated with the flying kill-bots that cost millions of dollars and it seems kind of silly to call little quad copters controlled over cell phone networks the same thing.

  25. Speaking of minimum-wage-apes:

    If the minimum wage had kept up with the growth of workers’ productivity, it would be $18.67. And if it had matched the wage growth of the wealthiest 1%, it would be more than $28.

    The share of workers in “good jobs” — paying more than $37,000 a year and providing health care and retirement benefits — has fallen, even though workers’ average age and education level have grown. And today, most job growth — and six in 10 jobs expected to be added over the next decade — are in low-wage fields.

    A raise in the minimum wage would give 30 million workers a little more money to pay for rent, food and other needs. But from other quarters, a different suggestion is on the table.


    There’s a lot Congress could do for Iverson and other low-wage workers to stop the erosion of wages and working standards for America’s hard-working families — from ending the job-killing budget cuts of the sequester to investing in the creation of good jobs.

    I wish one of these “living wage” advocates would define *living* for me.

    1. They’re never going to define it. Those goalposts must remain mobile.

      1. It’s hard to keep up with the Jones you know.

      2. Of course they won’t define it. They’re mendacious enough to compare minimum wage growth with the growth in average worker productivity. And you think they’d be honest enough to define standards?

    2. I wonder how much it would cost to live by 1950-standards in the modern world.

      I’d bet cellphone service is cheaper than landline service was back then.

      1. You’re not the first to wonder that.


        Sears’s lowest-priced no-frost refrigerator-freezer in 1956 had 9.6 cubic feet, in total, of space. It sold for $219.95 (in 1956-dollar prices). (You can find a lovely black-and-white photograph of this mid-’50s fridge on page 1036 of the 1956 Sears catalog.) Home Depot today sells a 10 cubic-foot no-frost refrigerator-freezer for $298.00 (in 2012-dollar prices). (You can find it in color on line here.)

        Therefore, the typical American worker in 1956 had to work a total of 219.95/1.89 hours to buy that 9.6 cubic-foot fridge ? or a total of 116 hours. (I round to the nearest whole number.) Today, to buy a similar no-frost refrigerator-freezer, the typical American worker must work a total of 298.00/19.79 hours ? or 15 hours. That is, to buy basic household refrigeration and freezing, today’s worker must spend only 13 percent of the time that his counterpart in 1956 had to spend.

        1. Prices would be so much easier to compare if THE DAMN GOVERNMENT TURNED OFF THE PRINTING PRESSES FROM TIME TO TIME!

          1. I’m not even a hard money kind of guy in the enforced gold standard sense; whatever two parties are willing to agree to use as an exchange will serve for the purpose of money, but, given what we know about market efficiency versus state delinquency, if the market determined the currency then even currency would be used more productively resulting with all parties being satisfied with a smaller proportion to ensure a favorable outcome to any given transaction. In other words, your money would go a longer way even if you were paid less. This also gets to the heart of the living wage fallacy and the cyclical inflation it exacerbates.

            Product costs going down due to productivity gains plus more sound and efficient currency equals greater general prosperity; whereas, living wages plus fiat monies ever expanded no matter the real demand equals a more heavily burdened middle class where the only factors keeping prices down are recessions and productivity gains.

            1. Oh, and the Philips Curve is bullshit. So, throwing in the employment/inflation metric which the Fed is still tied to for political and legal not scientific or sound economic reasons is a non starter for serious discussion.

      2. Wouldn’t cost much. 1200 sq ft house, land line, one car. Wouldn’t be hard to do at all, even if we allowed things not generally available in the 50’s, like air conditioning.

        1. I can’t afford a 1,200 sq foot house. All of them near me run in the 200k+ range (or are in such crime ridden areas that I’m not going to risk living there)

      3. How about 1929

        Thanksgiving dinner from 1929 adjusted for todays dollars = $107.35

        Actual cost to purchase the exact same item list today = $38.03

    3. If the minimum wage had kept up with the growth of workers’ productivity, it would be $18.67.

      I think what he means to say is that if the productivity of minimum-wage earners had increased as much as the productivity of the average worker.

    4. The definition of “productivity” above has to be questioned. The reason why minimum wage jobs are minimum wage is that the nature of the work limits the potential productivity. There are only so many floors that a worker can sweep in a day. And since many minimum-wage tasks have been absorbed into the average worker’s task list, the number of minimum wage jobs available is limited. As the minimum wage increases, it is more cost effective to lay off those workers and spread their responsibilities among medium wage workers to avoid the fixed costs of employing more minwage folks.

      People who are qualified to do little more.than minwage work will lose out as the government prices their labor out of the market. This is obvious to libertarians.

      1. People who are qualified to do little more.than minwage work will lose out as the government prices their labor out of the market. This is obvious to libertarians.

        I actually lost a liberal friend over a discussion about minimum wage. He maintained that because no one intends to price the young and unskilled out of the labor market, that it’s insulting to claim that’s what really happens.

        Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

        1. What a clear example of liberals prioritizing intent over outcome.

        2. Except pricing blacks and foreigners out of labor markets was exactly what labor unions intended those laws to cause to happen when first passed, so he is wrong even about that.

        3. no one intends to price the young and unskilled out of the labor market


          Compulsory education is all the evidence one needs; the government has been trying to keep the young out of the labor market since WWII ended lest unskilled male adults go jobless. Welfare was designed to keep the unskilled from finding destructive things to do with their 24/7 leisure time.

    5. Crap… insert “fiat money” diatribe here.

      So, does that mean that my salary will have gone up proportionately too?

    6. And if it had matched the wage growth of the wealthiest 1%, it would be more than $28.

      What a surprise that the productivity growth of the least productive workers hasn’t kept pace with that of the most productive.

  26. Also, I wonder what that kind-hearted old scamp Richard Trumka has in mind when he calls for Congressional job creation schemes. Expanding the TSA to every bus station in America? Hiring ten million more unionized HHS “caregivers” to provide in home medical supervision?

  27. the Federal Aviation Administration does not yet permit private commercial drone use until it hammers out all the regulations

    That which is not explicitly allowed is prohibited. Remember, freedom means asking permission and obeying orders.

  28. This If the minimum wage had kept up with the growth of workers’ productivity formulation is complete bullshit. It’s like saying all those Chinamen with picks and shovels became “more productive” when they were replaced by six guys running earth movers.

  29. o me it seems like the people in rural, out-of-the-way places would benefit more from drone deliveries than those in urban centers, because of how costly and inefficient it is to send trucks out there.

    I agree, and it might actually be cheaper, and probably easier to find the correct address.

    The upfront capital costs of the development may add to the price, but the fuel differences involved in a drone delivering a small package to a doorstep will rise the more remote the location is.

    Thing is you probably need to develop a drone that runs on liquid fuel – such as propane – to be able to travel the distance. Battery power won’t handle it.

    1. Just set up aerial charging stations. Using an automated swap system would probably work best.

    2. Ergs/pound (in transportable containers), pretty sure plain ol’ gasoline is the winna!
      Diesel might get close, since you can run one much leaner.

  30. This is insane!!! Talk about instant gratification; the only thing better than this will be a working Transporter beam.

    1. Well, that and a vast network of pneumatic tubes.

      1. Well, that and a vast network of pneumatic tubes.

        Retrofuturism for the win!

        Didn’t NY have a system like that at one point?

        Google says yes.

        1. Major systems like this require technological breakthroughs. For flying cars, it’s essentially error-free autopilots. For the Intertubials, it’s highly efficient and cheap tunnel-boring robots.

          1. You need the autopilots and you also need deicing and antiicing equipment. The equipment available is OK but nowhere near good enough to allow private aircars to fly as often as they wouod need to, especially in the northeast. It would be raining aircars up here in the winter without a big.leap in deicing technology.

            1. Perhaps nanotechnology will provide the answer.

      2. My vote is for the pneumatic tubes. No fuel costs, and delivery is instant. Who wants to wait 30 minutes?

  31. I’m sure that this service will be quite expensive. What about the poor and disadvantaged who cannot afford to pay to have their Amazon product flown in by a tiny helicopter? Isn’t the wealth gap large enough already?

    1. I can imagine going to Starbucks and overhearing these jerks.

      “Have you read the new George R.R. Martin novel?”

      “Is it out, now? Just a second…” *fiddles with laptop* “It will be here in half an hour.”


      1. A new G. R. R. Martin book? Fat chance.

      2. Why wait half an hour for a book? The text could be easily digitized, for instance, and delivered in seconds as a viewable file of some sort. If only someone had worked out the technology for the readers, the pricing of these files, and what to call them for marketing purposes!

  32. Amazon is once again playing catchup to the Healthcare.gov team. They have been working with major insurers, the IRS, and some of the most experienced drone operators on the planet to roll out a large scale drone delivery service before next April.

  33. OT: You can now order a burger without interacting with a human being.

    I bet the computer gets just as irritated with people who claim their order is wrong.

    1. As for the burgers, Bolt offers beef, turkey, chicken and veggie options, but it’s really throwing its muscle behind toppings. To create your own Bolt Burger ($6.99 and up) you’re presented with 25 potential toppings, including truffle pecorino cheese, pancetta and fancy relishes. Before it’s grilled, each burger can be dusted in one of four spice blends custom-mixed for the company.

      At $7 per, I don’t think McDonald’s feels threatened at the moment.

      You know what fast-food chain I’ve decided makes the best hamburgers? Hardee’s (aka Carl Jr.’s)

      1. Oh yes, Hardee’s is the best. Sadly, they have all but disappeared from Pennsylvania.

  34. I find it difficult to believe that Reason picked up and ran with this obvious load of bullshit put out by a dumbed-down sixty minutes. I guess it goes with some of the other outright crap you guys publish. You folks really son’t live up to your name.

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