Karadan on September 02, 2011, 02:01:49 am
Okay, I'm a bit confused about how this is supposed to work out.

The hotel staff is on strike, and in an attempt to remedy this strike, the hotel is dropping its prices to get more people (Which can't be attended to) into the hotel?

Did I miss some basic principle of economics here?

Why on... ummm... mercury, would a hotel with no staff lower its prices?  Is this a 'you'll be getting crappy service' discount?  Is there some reason people wouldn't still be going to the hotel despite the strike?  I mean, when the baggage people on the airlines or something strike, it doesn't stop people wanting to fly.

Bob G on September 02, 2011, 06:43:50 am
Okay, I'm a bit confused about how this is supposed to work out.

The hotel staff is on strike, and in an attempt to remedy this strike, the hotel is dropping its prices to get more people (Which can't be attended to) into the hotel?

Did I miss some basic principle of economics here?

Why on... ummm... mercury, would a hotel with no staff lower its prices?  Is this a 'you'll be getting crappy service' discount?  Is there some reason people wouldn't still be going to the hotel despite the strike?  I mean, when the baggage people on the airlines or something strike, it doesn't stop people wanting to fly.

Not to remedy, but to weather, the strike, the hotel will still be seeking clientele. Granted, with a reduced staff (managerial types), the number of guests who can be accommodated at the hotel's usual level of service will be reduced. We don't know what that number is; supposedly the assistant manager would. If the staff is on strike, and thus not being paid, the hotel might be able to provide its usual service to a limited number of guests at 1/4 or 1/5 of its usual tariff. Or there could be. as you say, a 'crappy service discount' for attending guests, but I doubt it. The hotel has a reputation to maintain. The strike will be over in a relatively short time; a damaged rep could hurt the hotel's business for years. There might be any number of reasons the business at the hotel is down. Fear of 'crappy service'. Solidarity with the workers. People who want to fly during an airline strike can fly another airline. People who want an assured (though possibly lower) level of service can stay at another hotel. The great thing about capitalism is that you have *alternatives*.
Whatsoever, for any cause, seeketh to take or give
  Power above or beyond the Laws, suffer it not to live.
Holy State, or Holy King, or Holy People's Will.
  Have no truck with the senseless thing, order the guns and kill.

The penultimate stanza of Rudyard Kipling's MacDonough's Song

Tucci78 on September 02, 2011, 01:46:32 pm
The hotel staff is on strike, and in an attempt to remedy this strike, the hotel is dropping its prices to get more people (Which can't be attended to) into the hotel?

Did I miss some basic principle of economics here?

Yeah, pretty much. Depending on the social conventions prevailing on Mercury (and therefore the system of government, formal or informal, with which people have to deal), the declaration of a "strike" implies that there are collective bargaining units - "unions" - operating here to commoditize the rendering of personal services.

Effectively, the existence of a union is based on the presumption that the services rendered by person "A" are pretty much equal in value to the services of persons "B" through "Z" et alia, and then upon the legal fiction that the people rendering these services - under a collective bargaining agreement - have some kind of "right" to the exclusive provision of these services to the customer(s) with whom the agreement has been negotiated.

In actuality, when a collective bargaining unit withdraws the services of its members, the customer(s) will tend reliably to engage alternative service providers, or will try to continue business by expediently re-purposing staff who do not belong to the collective bargaining unit.

In my childhood years, I remember occasions when my MBA-credentialed father spent some several months happily reporting to his workplace in dungarees and steel-toed boots instead of a suit and tie, helping to run the printing presses down in the basement in addition to engaging in contract negotiations and arbitration hearings.  Like a lot of the men in his generation - and in management roles subsequently - he'd spent World War II as an enlisted man, trained and experienced in using his hands.  He'd been a welder and Diesel mechanic before getting out of uniform, the G.I. Bill enabling him to get an education.

If the hotel people on salary at the management level had "worked their way up" - spending years in their youth waiting tables, cooking, making beds, running the laundry, learning their jobs and how things really work - they can be perfectly capable of providing adequate services to their guests through the duration of a strike. 
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

sam on September 03, 2011, 02:49:07 am
Depending on the social conventions prevailing on Mercury (and therefore the system of government, formal or informal, with which people have to deal), the declaration of a "strike" implies that there are collective bargaining units - "unions" - operating here to commoditize the rendering of personal services.

Which I would expect to happen in an anarcho capitalist society, though perhaps slightly less often than in a society where unions get state sponsorship and special legal privileges, in return for getting out the vote.

Effectively, the existence of a union is based on the presumption that the services rendered by person "A" are pretty much equal in value to the services of persons "B" through "Z" et alia,

Which is sort of true for some kinds of service.

and then upon the legal fiction that the people rendering these services - under a collective bargaining agreement - have some kind of "right" to the exclusive provision of these services to the customer(s) with whom the agreement has been negotiated.

Special union privileges are not essential for the existence of unions, though they help.

A union can exist even where management has the option to fire everyone who fails to turn up on time and work as directed.

Of course, if management does fire everyone who fails to show up on time and work as directed, the union might engage in sabotage and the murder of scab laborers, as regularly happens in today's USA, whereupon management might hire the Pinkertons to secure assets and protect employees (semi illegal in today's USA).  I don't expect, however, that we will see that in Sandy's utopia of boringly nice people.

quadibloc on September 03, 2011, 09:34:57 am
Of course, if management does fire everyone who fails to show up on time and work as directed, the union might engage in sabotage and the murder of scab laborers, as regularly happens in today's USA, whereupon management might hire the Pinkertons to secure assets and protect employees (semi illegal in today's USA).  I don't expect, however, that we will see that in Sandy's utopia of boringly nice people.
I thought that in today's USA, they brought in Taft-Hartley to keep things boring and peaceful.

Here, we're dealing with a hotel on Mercury, not Ceres. I don't think that our happy couple will face picket-line violence, not because Mercury is a boring ZAP paradise, but because offering guests a discount to get killed or injured is not good for business. But excitement of some sort will still happen, otherwise this plot development would serve no purpose.

SandySandfort on September 03, 2011, 10:34:34 am
But excitement of some sort will still happen, otherwise this plot development would serve no purpose.

I once had an interesting conversation with L.Neil Smith about plot elements. In essence he said that Chekhov was wrong. The gun on the wall does not necessarily have to be fired. I agree and liken it to what actors call "business," whereby they perform certain actions not required for the plot, but which round out the character and make his actions more like real life. That is a legitimate purpose a plot development can play.

Further, not all relevant plot developments lead to "excitement." An element could be offered merely to show the zeitgeist of the time and place. Another, could be used to demonstrate the dynamics at work between groups in a society that functions largely without government. Or maybe it is a gun that will be fired, but not in this arc. Take your pick.

 

Karadan on September 03, 2011, 12:36:30 pm
There might be any number of reasons the business at the hotel is down. Fear of 'crappy service'. Solidarity with the workers. People who want to fly during an airline strike can fly another airline. People who want an assured (though possibly lower) level of service can stay at another hotel. The great thing about capitalism is that you have *alternatives*.
I don't know, it just seems odd to me that the best hotel on the planet can have its entire clientele scared away by a strike, so much so that they're willing to offer an 80% discount for staying there.  Presumably as the best (and most expensive hotel) there are a large number of people who would plan entire vacations around going to this hotel, and it just seems hard to process that this strike (Which our tourists in question didn't even know about) could harm desire to be at the hotel so much.  I could certainly understand some people canceling reservations and some who would normally just walk in turning away at the sight of any picketers, but it seems that should be roughly in keeping with the fact that they have a severely reduced capacity.
The hotel staff is on strike, and in an attempt to remedy this strike, the hotel is dropping its prices to get more people (Which can't be attended to) into the hotel?

Did I miss some basic principle of economics here?

Yeah, pretty much. Depending on the social conventions prevailing on Mercury (and therefore the system of government, formal or informal, with which people have to deal), the declaration of a "strike" implies that there are collective bargaining units - "unions" - operating here to commoditize the rendering of personal services.

Effectively, the existence of a union is based on the presumption that the services rendered by person "A" are pretty much equal in value to the services of persons "B" through "Z" et alia, and then upon the legal fiction that the people rendering these services - under a collective bargaining agreement - have some kind of "right" to the exclusive provision of these services to the customer(s) with whom the agreement has been negotiated.

In actuality, when a collective bargaining unit withdraws the services of its members, the customer(s) will tend reliably to engage alternative service providers, or will try to continue business by expediently re-purposing staff who do not belong to the collective bargaining unit.

In my childhood years, I remember occasions when my MBA-credentialed father spent some several months happily reporting to his workplace in dungarees and steel-toed boots instead of a suit and tie, helping to run the printing presses down in the basement in addition to engaging in contract negotiations and arbitration hearings.  Like a lot of the men in his generation - and in management roles subsequently - he'd spent World War II as an enlisted man, trained and experienced in using his hands.  He'd been a welder and Diesel mechanic before getting out of uniform, the G.I. Bill enabling him to get an education.

If the hotel people on salary at the management level had "worked their way up" - spending years in their youth waiting tables, cooking, making beds, running the laundry, learning their jobs and how things really work - they can be perfectly capable of providing adequate services to their guests through the duration of a strike. 
While that explains how a strike happens, it doesn't really do anything to explain why the hotel would have less guests than their reduced workforce can handle properly because of a strike.  In truth the opposite is usually the case with strikes.  Despite the workers not wanting to work, people still require the services they provide.  People still want to fly on an airline, people still want steel girders from a steel mill, and people still want to stay at the best hotel on the planet.  This is why the strike eventually is resolved.  There remains a demand but no supply.  In this case you have no demand, which isn't usually the result of a strike.

dough560 on September 03, 2011, 10:04:31 pm
One of the hotels drawing cards is "personal" service.  With employees on strike, one way to deal with the labor shortage will be robotic or automated services.

Apollo-Soyuz on September 04, 2011, 08:55:59 am
There is a bit of implied intimidation, fear of violence or future shunning to be seen crossing a picket line.

It's just as easy to stay across the street. Who needs the hassle?

But if the strikers can see guests still being serviced and even temp workers being brought in, their position considerably weakens.

While that explains how a strike happens, it doesn't really do anything to explain why the hotel would have less guests than their reduced workforce can handle properly because of a strike.  In truth the opposite is usually the case with strikes.  Despite the workers not wanting to work, people still require the services they provide.  People still want to fly on an airline, people still want steel girders from a steel mill, and people still want to stay at the best hotel on the planet.  This is why the strike eventually is resolved.  There remains a demand but no supply.  In this case you have no demand, which isn't usually the result of a strike.


dough560 on September 05, 2011, 03:08:16 pm
Of course, there's the old "Mysterious Force" wanting our heroes in a known location for some nefarious purpose.

Makes for a convoluted plot, But....

sam on September 05, 2011, 05:32:23 pm
I once had an interesting conversation with L.Neil Smith about plot elements. In essence he said that Chekhov was wrong. The gun on the wall does not necessarily have to be fired.

Some guns have to be fired more than others.

Why does someone hang a gun on the wall?  Surely better to have the gun in a place less visible, though still readily accessible

If a gun is on the wall, then either the wrong person is going to grab it, or the right person is going to grab it because he suspects the wrong person is going to grab it.

It is the gun in the kitchen drawer or under the mattress that does not necessarily need to be fired.

Similarly, if the hero is counting bullets, he is going to run out of bullets, or be at considerable risk of doing so.

In the story, you introduced a conflict that could escalate to violence, and, since the hotel is determined to stay open despite the strike, would naturally tend to escalate to violence.

dough560 on September 06, 2011, 02:51:05 pm
Not enough information.  This needs to play out some.