Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In the U.S. restaurant industry, tips have won. Everybody would benefit if they went away, but there's a collective action problem. So long as most restaurants collect tips, those restaurants' prices seem lower, and service-included rivals find it impossible to compete.

Ticket pricing, it turns out, works the same way. Everybody hates the "service" and "fulfillment" and other fees that get tacked on to ticket prices, but no one can afford to be the first mover.

"This is a textbook place where a regulator could make a big difference,” MIT’s Sara Fisher Ellison chimed in, suggesting the FTC just mandate that all ticket sellers use the same up-front all-in pricing so that no one company would be taking the risk of seeming more expensive than the others in Google search results. Essentially every person on the panel agreed, appearing to politely beg the FTC to regulate them.
— "How ticket fees got so bad, and why they won't get any better," by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

If it wanted to, the FTC could solve this collective action problem. But it doesn't seem so inclined — even as the industry itself is begging it to do so.

Go deeper: Yes, some companies actually want to be regulated

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 mins ago - World

When society faces the unprecedented

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Our febrile world is not normal.

The big picture: The precautions that we're taking against the spread of COVD-19; the way in which the president of the U.S. delights in violating political norms; the fires, hurricanes and other signs that catastrophic global warming has arrived; the virulent spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory — all of these things, and many more, represent a stunning break with the world as we knew it.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 34,026,003 — Total deaths: 1,015,107 — Total recoveries: 23,680,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 7,237,043 — Total deaths: 207,008 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Health: New poll shows alarming coronavirus vaccine skepticism — New research centers will study "long-haul" COVID — Coronavirus infections rise in 25 states.
  4. Business: Remdesivir is good business for Gilead.
  5. Transportation: The politics of pandemic driving.
  6. 🎧Podcast: The looming second wave of airline layoffs.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The new guinea pig in the Silicon Valley culture war

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase this week offered severance packages to employees who don't feel aligned with the company’s apolitical culture and mission, which CEO Brian Armstrong clarified Sunday in a blog post.

Why it matters: The crypto company, most recently valued by investors at over $8 billion, is setting itself up as a guinea pig in a culture battle that's more about stereotypical Silicon Valley vs. stereotypical Wall Street than it is about progressives vs. libertarians.