This is the point

The cost-cutting zeal of the big chains is threatening our farmers\’ livelihoods

And the zeal of consumers for cheap furniture is threatening cabinet makers\’ livelihoods and the zeal of the consumer for cheap cars is threatening motor industry workers\’ livelihoods and the zeal of the consumer for cheap clothing has entirely wiped out the livelihoods of hand weavers and spinners.

So? This is the way the whole damn system is supposed to work. You as a producer continue to innovate and make your product cheaper or we the consumer will go elsewhere and you go bust.

This is the very point of the whole set up. It\’s for consumers, not producers.

Sadly, even the right who are normally so clear eyed on such matters roll over to have their tummy tickled at the sight of a sturdy English Yeoman.

Fuck \’em. Food has been getting cheaper since Neolithic times, it\’s the very process that makes civilisation itself possible.

10 thoughts on “This is the point”

  1. Mr Worstall is completely missing the point.It is not in the interest of producers to have their goods sold at discount but the supermarkets who control the point of sales. The American Supreme Court ruled in favour of the producers’ right to insist that their goods are not sold at a discount in the case of PSKS vs Leegin Creative Leather (settled June 2007),after hearing evidence from economists as well as lawyers.

  2. That wasn’t the first time that the Supreme Court made a bad decision, and it won’t be the last. The only ones who need to look after the interests of producers are the producers. If they don’t want Tesco to sell their stuff cheaply, they shouldn’t sell to Tesco. Once they have sold to Tesco (or contracted to do so), their involvement stops.

  3. As long it is the pretty female right (and PJ showed that the right are prettier) that rolls over to be fucked by this sturdy English Yeoman I will be happy.
    But then when I couldn’t make a living from farming I got a day job…

  4. Meanwhile the zeal of the government for income is threatening all of our livelihoods.

    Thats where the real problem is.

  5. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    When computers were first invented, they cost millions of pounds each. Now they are only a couple of hundred. So the computer industry must be bankrupt, no?

  6. @Ian Bennett,
    There would n’t be any point in selling to somebody else rather than Tesco as you could n’t insist that the alternative to Tesco
    did n’t sell your goods at a discount.
    The Uk had a perfectly workable no-discounting system called Resale Price Maintenance until the Tories abolished it in 1963,despite the outcry from small shopkeepers,their own supporters.Of course if you could,under an RPM regime,get branded goods at your local village shop at the same price as more distant supermarkets reached by car then it would do much to limit excessive reliance on cars.
    BTW Nice to see somebody using their own name (I trust!)on the Net instead of silly pseudonyms.

  7. DBC Reed, I was using Tesco simply as an example; the same would apply to whomever was buying from the supplier. After a producer sells his goods at what he considers to be a fair price, his involvement in subsequent transactions in those goods should be zero.

  8. Resale Price Maintenance was a moronic idea and its abolition was an unequivocally good thing. If the supermarkets are constrained to charge the same as the corner shop, then their customers are being forced to pay too much. How that is in any way beneficial escapes me. So the corner shop owner can’t compete with Asda? Then fuck off and do something more useful.

    It’s always struck me as ridiculous how farmers are singled out as deserving of special protection. The fact that so much of the workforce has moved out of agriculture and into more productive occupations is an unalloyed blessing.

  9. Actually, PSKS vs Leegin Creative Leather, says only that a price maintenance demand by a supplier is not ipso facto illegal. That is, a supplier is free to insist on a contractual term that there be price maintenance, and the parties may incorporate that into their contract, unless, in fact, after trial, a court rules the demand unduly limits competition. That’s all the Supreme Court did – send it back for trial on the issue of actual ant-competitiveness.

    So the farmers are free to demand contractual terms that that meat be sold for not less than x.

    Likewise, the retailers are free to say no, we’ll buy our meat from Canadian ranchers, who sell better meat anyway, and who make no such rambunctious demands.

  10. The idealisation of supermarkets (and price competition) in this exchange is naive. Supermarkets are not cheap if you factor in the price of the car and running costs you need to access them.Also the other clobber like freezers,microwaves etc you need if you only shop once or twice a week. You also have to give up on proper high streets, suburban arcades and estate shops the only places where people
    naturally congregate in this the best of all commercially orientated worlds.
    Farmers need guaranteed prices.In the nineteenth century American farmers would sow wheat then,when the crop began to ripen certain lucky areas would get high prices and then less meteorologically well-placed areas would all come to the market at the same time and some would be forced to sell at a loss.Next year they would plant something else and wheat would be in short supply and expensive.All of them were at the mercy of middlemen including railroads who could charge what they liked even for using their grain elevators.
    Today’s Guardian gives a rather moving account of the bankruptcies and suicides consequent on Thatcher’s destruction of the Milk Marketing Board which did nothing much but ensure that farmers got a fair price for their milk ,considering the long time scales involved in building up herds.
    BTW I cannot understand Fred Z’s reading of the PSKS vs Leegin judgement but he is certainly correct that RPM is open to undercutting by imports but nobody is addressing the issue that a manufacturer with a branded good has the right to insist on common pricing,otherwise when it is not on discount (i.e. when the manufacturers is not bribing the retailer)nobody will buy the goods which will at all such times appear over-priced .

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