13 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. “One day there’s a nice little High Street”. Not in Detroit – the reasons supermarkets daren’t go there are the crime and poverty but the same goes for most good independents. What’s left are inevitably high priced and lower quality stores needing high profit margins to offset the additional costs of doing business in Detroit.

    The argument that it is grim without supermarkets works for crime ridden ghettoes, where you can pick up detached houses for under £1000, but doesn’t really work for shires like Barsetshire with thriving and quality local businesses.

  2. I well recall pre-supermarket days. By the time you had dragged your sorry butt from the train/bus station – arrived home from the evening commute – everything bar the local convenience store (Coop) was closed. Choice of produce on offer usually boiled down to tinned fish, Spam, or if you were feeling racy, a reconstituted Vesta.

  3. Page With A View,

    The argument that it is grim without supermarkets works for crime ridden ghettoes, where you can pick up detached houses for under £1000, but doesn’t really work for shires like Barsetshire with thriving and quality local businesses.

    That’s just how it appears on the surface because you don’t see the residents in rural Barsetshire stopping off at Tesco in the Big Town to fill up with petrol and groceries on their way home after work, although you might spot the Ocado van doing its deliveries.

    It amuses me to see people in villages talking about “changing the character of the village” when someone wants to build some modern development. Like that Apple Mac in their back room and the BMW on the drive were straight out of Thomas Hardy.

  4. Some of my thoughts on Supermarkets, but to do with parking at http://annaraccoon.com/.

    @Bernie – The reaon most of the shops were closed was because the woman of the house had done their shopping during the day. Times have changed, now with no one staying at home shops need to stay open longer to handle the office workers. Asian corner shops do that because there is a need for it.

  5. Supermarkets in the UK did not evolve but were socially engineered by Edward Heath, mainly, when in 1964, he destroyed the old system of Resale Price Maintenance which prevented discounting by shops so that prices were the same in small and large shops.As the Tories got rid of Schedule A taxation on house price rises in 1963,ushering in successive house price bubbles and creating a” money for nothing” class of homeowners intent on getting an unearned capital gain out of their houses, we know who to blame for the benighted state of this country .Who the fuck wants to live like this?

    Tim adds: Me, personally, I’d call Resale Price Maintenance the social engineering. Y’know, what with it being a law to engineer a specific social outcome and all.

    I’d call it’s abolition a reduction in social engineering. But maybe that’s just me?

  6. Not sure Resale Price Maintenance was law: it was a non-statutory convention enforced by business people to make sure the same goods were sold at the same price everywhere . If ,as a shopkeeper,you started giving discounts the manufacturer would refuse to supply you.It is not in the manufacturers’ legitimate interest to have some discounter sell
    their goods at a huge discount because when the customer sees the same goods at an undiscounted price somewhere else s/he’s gonna think they’re being overcharged.RPM was legalised in the US some years ago in a Supreme Court case which took expert evidence from the Univ of Chicago economics department, not push-over lefties. I have the e-mail address of one of the witnesses should you wish to learn more.

  7. See above/
    RPM was relegalised in the US after the case of Leegin Creative Leather vs PSKS dba Kays Kloset went to the Supreme Court a couple of years ago .Whats the problem ?The complete proceedings used to be on the Net .

    Supermarkets did exist in Fifties Britain but in small numbers.Rather than cause and effect the relationship of Tory policy to spread of supermarkets is best described by CJ Bartlett in his A History of Post-war Britain 1945-74: “The Act affected about 40% of consumer spending:it encouraged and was assisted by the spread of supermarkets.”
    I don’t have any quotes for this but I believe abolishing RPM was part of Heath’s long-term project to shake up British institutions and make them competitive in Europe.
    How it is “liberal’ to deliver the population over to local monopolies of supermarkets which practise predatory discounting is beyond my comprehension.

  8. Supermarkets did exist in Fifties Britain but in small numbers.

    This is typical of a new innovation. It starts off with small numbers, and then once the merits become apparent, growth takes over. This happens with biological evolution as with economic innovation.

    Rather than cause and effect the relationship of Tory policy to spread of supermarkets is best described by CJ Bartlett in his A History of Post-war Britain 1945-74: “The Act affected about 40% of consumer spending:it encouraged and was assisted by the spread of supermarkets.”

    DBC Reeds, may I remind you that your assertion was “Supermarkets in the UK did not evolve but were socially engineered by Edward Heath.” According to Bartlett’s description, the Act encouraged the spread of supermarkets (and, in a two-way process, the supermarkets increased the impact of the Act). In other words, your own source doesn’t support your assertion.

    As I noted before, supermarkets were already evolving before the Act, and in all likelihood would have continued to do so, perhaps in a different way. Your assertion that they didn’t evolve is just wrong.

    How it is “liberal’ to deliver the population over to local monopolies of supermarkets which practise predatory discounting is beyond my comprehension.

    Because the whole point of production is to benefit consumers, not producers except to the extent that it’s necessary to encourage producers in order to benefit consumers (eg electricity generators need to be able to expect to cover their capital costs in the long-run as well as their short-run generating costs, otherwise no one builds any new generators and the lights go out).

    As for “predatory discounting” and “local monopolies”, the thing about free-market fundamentalists is that they’re more cynical about businesses than your average left-winger. Most lefties, on hearing something that remotely sounds like a criticism of free-markets, will immediately dump all their critical thinking skills and jump on the bandwagon. They’re really open to manipulation by business people seeking the nice friendly protection of government, and it never occurs to them that the business person whining about “predatory discounting” might be self-interested.

  9. That predatory discounting benefits consumers is a bit debatable To start with you have to have quite a lot of capital equipment to shop in supermarkets: a car ,fridge and freezer.If you factor in the cost of this lot ,the savings to the consumer are less obvious.Under RPM you could collect branded goods on your way home and since they are at a uniform price the cost of transporting the goods at a distance,storage and a big freezer is born by the shopkeeper.The food is likely to be fresher.
    Also consumers have jobs as well and the actions of the middlemen in for instance wrecking the Milk Marketing Board’s guaranteed prices and putting dairy farmers out of business (and causing suicides) is a matter of record.
    Its a matter of the way you want to live .If you want to sit in of an evening drinking supermarket own-brand lager and watching television ,the local shopping arcade having closed down and become the haunt of no-goodniks fair enough.But some people would like to go to the local pub,play in the darts team
    and laugh about local characters getting into trouble with the police.People do need community and local shops/pubs are the only thing that market capitalism provides to this end.

  10. That predatory discounting benefits consumers is a bit debatable

    And there’s some business person listening to you with a great feeling of glee.

    To start with you have to have quite a lot of capital equipment to shop in supermarkets: a car ,fridge and freezer. If you factor in the cost of this lot ,the savings to the consumer are less obvious.

    Indeed, which is why we have a market economy, so individual people can make their own judgments about the cost and benefits, rather than trying the impossible job of making that judgment for other people.

    Also consumers have jobs as well and the actions of the middlemen in for instance wrecking the Milk Marketing Board’s guaranteed prices and putting dairy farmers out of business (and causing suicides) is a matter of record.

    It’s amazing how eager you are to start arguing the side of business, isn’t it? That consumers spend less money on milk means that they have more money to spend on something else, creating jobs there as well.

    The problem with protecting incomes is that it’s a zero-sum game. More protection of dairy farmers’ incomes means less protection somewhere else. If milk prices can’t move up and down with supply-and-demand, then someone has to be covering that fluctuation of supply-and-demand and you wind up with milk lakes, and butter mountains, and so forth, and higher taxes on everyone who is working (including dairy farmers), or alternatively less money on health, care for the elderly, etc.

    If you want to sit in of an evening drinking supermarket own-brand lager and watching television ,the local shopping arcade having closed down and become the haunt of no-goodniks fair enough.

    Ah, so you’re now ok with supermarkets and leaving it to markets to work out what is best?

    People do need community and local shops/pubs are the only thing that market capitalism provides to this end.

    Hmm, so you have managed to miss:
    – coffee shops
    – churches and church halls (built by the resources capitalist societies make available)
    – secular clubs (from golf courses, to dance groups, to political activists).

    Compared with this, not noticing that supermarkets started 13 years before what you attribute to the starting point appears quite trivial.

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