Lordy be but some people do grasp the wrong end of the stick, don\’t they?
Milk prices have been falling since the 1990s
No, milk prices have been falling since the Neolithic. The prices of all agricultural outputs have been falling since then: that\’s the 8,000 year story of civilisation. That we get ever more efficient at producing the food people need. This leads to our needing fewer people producing it, freeing up that human labour to go do other things like run the NHS, do ballet and become diversity advisers.
If 100% of the people were still peasant farmers we couldn\’t do any of that, could we?
But while prices for the consumer have gone down, the margin awarded to the supermarkets has gone steadily up,
No one \”awards\” fucking margin. Dear God, have these people never heard of this \”market economy\” thing?
“The big problem that we face is what I view as the absurd level of price-cutting by some retailers, particularly those in what is known as the middle ground,” he says. “One retailer is openly selling milk at 99p for four pints. The reality is that such a price is completely unsustainable.
“Such retailers need to understand that if they go on like that, there will be no milk. There is a limit to cost-cutting. Maybe some producers can cut their costs, but not to that level. It is completely impossible.”
Err, no. Simply not true. As it says in the piece itself:
Three dairy farmers go out of business every week, which means not only that livelihoods are destroyed but that buildings fall into ruin and green pastures are sold for development. And as the small producers disappear, the trend will be towards US-style “mega dairy farms”, where up to 8,000 cattle are kept indoors, as the only business models able to produce milk for such low prices.
See? It\’s fuck all to do with processors, supermarkets or the price of butter in China. It\’s that some farmers are more efficient than others. The inefficient ones are going out of business: that\’s what we want to happen. That\’s what makes the entire society richer: producing more output from fewer inputs.