Markets Schmarkets

Quite mindboggling:

Under pressure like that, nobody can blame supermarkets for pushing prices down and squeezing suppliers. But is the relentless pressure on price really helpful, even to consumers? Not entirely, critics say, because after increasing efficiency and economies of scale, the pressure of bargain hunters leads to the exploitation of producers…

Yes! That\’s what we want! The economy is (or should at least) be run for the benefit of the consumer. So let\’s exploit those producers all we can!

Even better though:

Molly Scott Cato is an economist and the author of the brilliantly provocative book Market, Schmarket. She argues that the economic system elevates profit to the exclusion of all else, including quality.

Really? Jeez, I bet it\’s just cider they\’re putting into those bottles of Cristal then. Bastards.

Neoclassical economics, says Scott Cato, would suggest that there is a market opportunity here for somebody who produced decent underwear: “I would certainly pay a premium price. But instead all suppliers of these items are competing on price, outsourcing production and using only the cheapest materials, so that knickers are see-through and fall apart within months.

“This is the way the best profits are made and the best knickers are no longer of any concern.”

Mercifully some persist in producing high-quality products. One such company is Howies. Browsing idly for underpants on its website last week I was astounded to find a pair selling for £35.

Right, so, neo-classical economics means that high quality high priced stuff simply won\’t be produced. At which point, in fact in the next sentence, our correspondent finds a set of wooly knickers (wool?!?) at £35.

So that\’s that theory dealt with then.

God there are idiots about.


7 thoughts on “Markets Schmarkets”

  1. “wooly knickers (wool?!?)”

    I have a merino wool cycling shirt. We’re no longer in the granny-knitted era of wool now. An example of market-led innovation, if you will.

  2. Knickers falling apart after a few months? Okay, I’m a guy so I can’t testify to female underwear but mine last for ages. Perhaps I need to encourage my girlfriend to be more vigorous in their removal…

    Also…£35 for one piece of underwear? Those had better be some seriously sexy knickers. I would hazard that there is more profit made on that pair than the low price ones in Primark, so why are they advocating the former if profit is such a bad?

    I’m confused.

  3. You can buy cheap knickers from a market stall, or a discount store, made reasonably well, and from cotton. The seams and elastic are well made and long lasting.

    But I suspect that the writers’ reference to woolly knickers is actually about thermal long johns. Probably from Damart. Don’t buy them, they are warm, hardwearing, but they shrink.

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