Tales from Trinidad barter markets in everything

One of my favorite countries, this is from the newspaper:

DESPERATE to get his taxi badge, a man bought a $500 used typewriter and donated it to the Licensing Office…

The seller, who asked not to be named, wrote: “So funny story. I had a typewriter for sale on Facebook marketplace for some time. I get this call from a young man. We chat for a bit. He says he’s down at licensing office. He’s coming right now.

“When he arrives he gives me the story. Since December he’s been trying to get his taxi badge. He bought a maxi taxi and can’t use it because he’s waiting for his badge. Then when he passed pandemic lockdown happened. Three months later, Licensing Office opens with an appointment system, appointment to pay, then appointment to collect. The day arrives to collect. He’s told typewriter is not working over a week.”

The post goes on to say that officials at Licensing agreed that if they got a typewriter they would be able to provide the taxi badge.

The seller continues: “He finds me on Facebook marketplace. When he arrives he says ‘You ever heard of a private person buying a typewriter for the State?’ Money paid. He calls later to say everyone is getting their license today. He actually called twice while at licensing office to get further instruction on operating the typewriter. Well done, young man. Well done!”

Via K.


Trinidad's regulatory state is failing its citizens. (How much does a taxi badge cost?)

Surely, you have heard of the internet. A first time taxi badge in Trinidad costs $320. Of that, the badge itself costs $40. I wonder if Trinidad's reliance on an obsolete technology - only a handful of companies make typewriters - in countries like Indonesia - can now be considered a security feature with the varying imprint irregularities serving the same purpose as including a hologram.


VS Naipaul worthy as a story.

Just get Uber then watch your whole taxi industry disappear. The wealth of Trinidad's middle class can flow into the pockets of Silicon Valley tech bros.

Uber was in fact here in Trinidad for a bit, but they left owing to the fact that the regulators were of the view that they required taxi badges operate. Also a driver was murdered.

Isn't it the opposite? The wealth of Silicon Valley tech bros flows into the hands of Trinidad's consumers? I'm unclear about the drivers, I guess each gets paid less but t here are many more and they work when they want?

Yeah describing Uber as taking money from the middle class is pretty dumb. It's a massive money sink for investors that they hope one day will pay off, but the truth is drivers (and passengers) have always been massively subsidized.

Maybe you think Uber is worse for drivers than a taxi (but you need to prove that, including costs in getting limited licenses and buying typewriters for corrupt regulators), but that money still isn't flowing to silicon valley, it's flowing to passengers.

I miss peak Uber. It had cheap, subsidized fares, great service and so on. Where is venture capital when you need it?

Trinidad eh? Amino acids. Insurance. Finland. Oh...and some factoids about police killings, as if any Red Guard wannabe today would ever glance at a statistic. Things are bad out there, and I understand Tyler's reluctance as an academic to speak up. I'm just hoping this doesn't become a restaurant review blog. 'One of my favorite countries..." Is this the blogging version of 'One of my best friends is...?" though I rush to add that any place that produced calypso and the steelpan is all right by me.

Your point?

Tony has a point. Tyler has been throwing peanuts to readers because he is not willing and able to address the issues that have many Americans boiling over into open conflict. Indeed, Tyler can write about whatever he wants and enjoy his salary --the one that he still gets from a public university-- anyway he prefers. But as much as he has those rights, MR old readers may speak about their disappointment and doubt the true motivations for such evasion. He can censor comments but he knows it will the end of MR.

It’s approaching Maoism. But almost ... crickets.

Apparently we must cut “picnic” from our vocabulary — even though it’s wrong that the word originated at hangings (it’s French medieval). Madness.

Maoism? It's McCarthyism. Big difference.

Come have you not been paying attention? Look at what happened to Slate Star Codex. Look what happened to Stephen Hsu?

Do you think if Tyler took a strong political stance that this blog would survive a year? You can write milquetoast topics with a thick Straussian coating and be fine. You can write strongly pro-Woke messaging and be fine. But if you cross the line, you'll be attacked and quite possible cancelled. And the line is vague and keeps shifting.

It's easy to poke at the bear when you are anonymous on the web, it's far harder when your name and position is on the line. Granted, Tyler has tenure, but that doesn't mean that he's immune (ie Hsu).

Hsu is tenured staff. He only resigned from a second position he held as SVP of Research and Innovation. Free speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences nor denying the free speech of others who challenge you.

He was punished. Tyler has tenure also, he couldn't be fired. Other positions could still be stripped from him and the corresponding loss of prestige.

"Free speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences nor denying the free speech of others who challenge you."

Precisely! The Left is actively attempting to deny /suppress any free speech that challenges their positions. That's exactly what the cancel culture is about.

It's not about both sides speaking and letting the most persuasive side win. It's about seeking punitive actions from any disagreeing with them and making everyone afraid to speak out against them.

look what happened to freecornpops
free freecornpops!

wakey wakey
a nurse just got wreckoned/fired for saying "all lives matter"

Sorry but that's not very persuasive. Read his resignation letter. There was no punishment, you made that up. Both sides had their chance to speak but one side gave up and took their ball home. You didn't like the result, but that's how free speech works. I don't really care one way or the other about the turn of events but both sides knew how the game is played, as do you. Crying about it doesn't change what happened.

+1. People twist words like free speech into what they want it to mean. Bravo.

The fella got wreckoned because he defended academic freedom & didnt condemn IQ research

"Sorry my point wasn't as clear "

It still isn't. What would be a good choice of topic that you feel Tyler must write about?

how about yesterdays employment numbers looking a lotta better.
we didn't see it in the newwoketimes.con

You mean this New York Times?

"U.S. Added Nearly 5 Million Jobs in June"

"4.8 Million Jobs Added in June, but Clouds Grow Over Economy"

"5 Key Takeaways From a Strong June Jobs Report"

we musta thrownup on that section
after reading david brooks column
forbes just retracted a very good article published in quillette for
dubious reasons

Straussians, of all people, know about persecution of writers and how to evade it.

scared nazis?
+1predictable adhominem
+1 predictable emotional projection
its not may 1945
its the day before independence day
do these fella/os look scared to you?

You know what scares me? Crazy people supporting killing helpless Black people as if it were the South in 1950. Also, crazy people who don't care that we have the biggest ammount of COVID-19 deaths in the world and support the crazy-in-chief plans to kill more.

You can find anything on the internet even the one guy offended by Finnish amino acid insurance.

The man paid about 75USD for the used typewriter, which seems a considerably fairer price than 500USD, That amount also feels considerably less like a bribe on the pachinko parlor payment plan.

actually at $75 the story makes a lot more sense.

This would get you arrested for attempted bribery in my country.

Hi. This typewriter is really heavy, and it used to be my father's, who just died. Do you know anywhere I can properly dispose of it?

Such a delightful story of bribery. Life is truly wonderful in the islands.

Is Trinidad an island?

Yes, of course. Were you being pedantic that it's technically Trinidad and Tobago island?

Trinidad is an island; Tobago is a different island. Trinidad and Tobago is the republic which governs both islands.

Private sector initiative is wonderful, isn't it?

From a certain perspective, sure, one could say this is something like bribery. But this provides another framework entirely - "He calls later to say everyone is getting their license today."

It really does sound like the office needed a typewriter, and he got them one. If he had provided 5 brand new laser printer cartridges in the original packaging, bribery as direct intent would be a lot easier to imagine.

A reminder that Cowen donated his royalties from Stubborn Attachments to a resourceful man in Ethiopia who was developing his own travel business. This resourceful man in Trinidad solved not only his own problem but the problem faced by anyone who needed a typed document from the licensing office. There are lots of resourceful people in this world, even in the U.S., from Elon Musk to the two men in Ethiopia and Trinidad.

Why are you saying thag?






Wow. I did not realized Beijing's refime's behaviour was so appalling. I am appalled by it. I think we, Americans, have been lied to by Beijing's regime's supporters. I hop Congress takes immediate action against those imperialist jackals.

Gosh. I will write to my Congressman to oppose China's pseudo-socialist leaders' shenanigans.

There was a fellow who sat at our small (initially very small) community library for twenty years or more, using the public computer, nearly all day, every day. He was odd and prickly and chatted with only a few other regulars, not altogether an asset to the place, but one was used to him. Still I wondered how someone so socially inept, who loved to be on a computer all day, came to prefer the library to the comfort of home. He met the threshold for "creepy" easily enough that it was easy to guess that some decree or other had constrained him from having a home computer, but really it had gone on far too long for that to be a possibility; plus, as I discovered, his presence predated the internet - in its non-specialized form - by a number of years.

The library had begun as no more than a modest collection of books brought from home by a handful of civic-minded ladies of the community, lent a room in the bank building in which to keep them.

They had not been there long, these unpaid volunteers with their romance novels, when the guy I'm speaking of, showed up to their bewilderment with a then-still-novel personal computer and a tangle of wires; set it up, installed a chair and himself.

More than two decades later, through capital campaigns for not one but two library buildings, and many iterations of computer technology - eventually funded by a dedicated by a portion of the local sales tax - he was still there.

When he died, there was some expectation he might leave what was rumored to be a (again, mysteriously) tidy legacy to the library where he had spent most of his time, but I heard he left it to the ham radio club instead.

The library computer was the everyday beater he drove to work. Ham radio was his rosebud.

My only experience of ham radio was a demonstration for the Scouts. Virtually all hobbies are cool to someone like me who has no cool or unusual hobby - though this one *maybe* seems to an outsider a lot of effort for the pleasure of saying "hi" to other ham radio operators around the world ...

Why ham radio is dying:

In Trinidad it's impossible to fill out a form with a pen or pencil? Don't typewriters use paper similar, perhaps even identical, to the paper that's used to write notes or letters? This whole story reeks of fake news.

Paging Friedman's mustache

well it would seem that democracy in Yemen and the USA is converging.

I wonder if Trinidad would be better off using manual typewriters (I'm guessing that their broken one was electric), which have fewer parts to maintain.

We don't give the state typewriters, but private business often donates "anti-stupidity services" to the state. More than once my boss has asked me to write a sensible recommendations to the government when they have asked for submissions. This is a problem, because I can't write, but then my boss can't read so it all works out.

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