In which we subcontract out our response to a reader via email:
I can\’t be arsed, but if you want to take the piss out of this: the claim that Cambridge is a \”clone town\” is spectacularly dumb.
I mean, just go there. It\’s full of 15th Century buildings, and unique churches, and libraries and ancient passageways and shit. Who cares if you can only get a coffee from fecking Starbucks; it\’s about as much of a \”clone town\” as I\’m a \”clone man\” because i\’ve got a dick.
…also, their methodology is (unsurprisingly) pretty fucking stupid.
They\’ve just counted up the number of chain stores on the ONE main high street – in Cambridge that\’s \”Petty Curry\”, and yes there are a lot of chains.
But if you walk 2 mins round the corner, you will find a vast array of independent shops, cafes and bars.
What a bunch of fucks.
Please note this is not from some Tory babyeating and kitten torturing clone of mine, this is from a very much lefty student type who has even been known to work at leftside NGO/think tank thingies. Although admittedly, not one quite as barking as the nef.
Oh, and just one little thing that an \”economics\” foundation might have thought relevant. This \”market\” thing we all keep talking about is a means of experimentation. Well, we could sell beef by throwing in on the floor, stamping on it and then allowing the fly encrusted remnants to hang in the window. Hmm, no, that doesn\’t seem to work. So, err, how\’s about buying in the best value (yes, that\’s a combination of both quality and price!) stuff that we can find, packaging it attractively and then seeing what happens? Now, if that model works, if customers are attracted to it…you know, this economics thing that the aim is to get the consumers what they want…then we actually want this second model to spread, don\’t we?
That is, if peeps have hit on a method of retailing, of a method of providing the consumer with what the consumer wants at a price the consumer is willing to pay, then we\’d really rather like the people who know how to do that to open stores in towns across the land.
That is, we\’d really rather like there to be chains of shops. For by their very existence they are showing that they produce what the consumer wants at what the consumer wants to pay better than not having chains of shops.
They, err, maximise utility, you know, this thing which is the aim of the whole economics thing, new, foundational or not? The allocation of scarce resources in the manner which most increases utility?