Dear God this woman is stupid

The government argues that this move will benefit consumers by bringing down food and other prices as well as help farmers and other small suppliers. (An unstated motive is that it will bring in more capital from large corporations eyeing the potentially huge Indian market.) But these arguments can all be challenged.

OK, challenge it.

The employment impact is likely to be very negative. The retail trade in India employs about 40 million – mostly very small-scale traders who are largely self-employed, who would not be able to compete with large organised corporations. It has been estimated that one Walmart can displace up to 1,400 small stores, costing around 5,000 jobs.

Facepalm.

Yes, jobs are very nice things for the people that have them. But to the consumer or producer jobs are a cost, not a benefit. Taking 5,000 jobs out of the cost structure by building a supermarket thus benefits consumers by taking the cost of 5,000 jobs out of the cost structure.

You fool.

51 thoughts on “Dear God this woman is stupid”

  1. There’s just the issue of what or who pays for the subsistence of all those now without work or income. Of course if the efficiency savings do end up in the hands of local consumers and they do spend those savings in the local economy all may be fine and dandy. If not…. Complicated this economics, isn’t it?

    Tim adds: And the evidence of the past couple of centuries is that as long as there is competition among producers then the benefits do indeed end up in the hands of consumers.

    So not all that complicated, no. Allow the competitors in therefore….

  2. as ever, repeat after me “more people use shops than work in them – therefore reducing shop costs benefits more people than it hurts”

  3. @Diarmid Weir: ‘There’s just the issue of what or who pays for the subsistence of all those now without work or income.’

    Are you suggesting that all of those people who are no longer needed in the retail industry are out of work and subsisting forever?

    How does your argument differ from that of the original Luddites, and do you propose the abolition of – say – tractors in order that more people can be employed on farms?

  4. Plus, food retail in India is notorious for being controlled by shady middlemen who shaft both the farmer and consumer alike. A lot of the opposition to the entry of western supermarkets comes from these people.

  5. I suspect Indian consumers might well appreciate the reasonably consistent quality and value for money to be found in even an average British supermarket.

  6. ‘An unstated motive is that it will bring in more capital from large corporations eyeing the potentially huge Indian market.’

    More capital in India? How awful!

  7. Article in Guardian 2750 B.C.E.

    Bronze imports destroy British flint napping industry.

    Leading figures in the British flint napping industry today called for a ban on continental imports of the controversial new bronze technology (an untested mixture of Tin and Copper, whose toxic side effects are unknown).
    The new bronze technology threatens to destroy the jobs of tens of thousands of highly skilled members of the NUFN (National Union of Flint Nappers).

  8. Here we go again: a stout defence of a distribution cartel with some supermarkets having an actual local monopoly.

    The so-called savings to the customer are vitiated by the punters having to shop by car and provide quite large household refrigerators.Both are expensive upfront and need to be factored in when working out the supposed economic benefits.

    The previous stage of retail evolution ,when lorries distributed stuff to the shops and they stored it ,then provided it more or less fresh to people shopping on foot (or else the shops delivered it via boys on bikes) was /is actually more efficient if all the facors are taken into account, including the whole evening or morning taken up by the Weekend Big Shop .

    (Another fact to take into account is the destruction of amenity value by the closing of corner shops ,suburban shopping arcades and smaller estate supermarkets- capitalism’s only claim to providing a civilising influence in any planned or laissez faire townscape .)

    Of course what would be ideal is a system by which big stores had to sell goods at the same price as corner shops.This is precisely what we had before 1964 before the Home government abolished Resale Price Maintenance,a system so friendless that I am ,to my knowledge the only person who has a good word to say for it .Apart,that is, for the American Supreme Court which relegalised RPM in the US in the 2007 case of Leegin Creative Leather vs PSKS dba Kays Kloset.But in the Chimps Tea Party atmosphere of British politics this passed totally unnoticed ( I apologise : this is unfair,to chimpanzees).

  9. @Interested

    ‘Are you suggesting that all of those people who are no longer needed in the retail industry are out of work and subsisting forever?’

    Not necessarily. But there is likely to be an adjustment issue, particularly if there is little welfare support. For the very poor, that’s going to be more than just ‘hurting’.

    It’s true that with proper competition you’d hope the efficiency gains would eventually outweigh the losses in aggregate, but it’s not necessarily the case that some people are not pure losers. What are you going to do for them, especially since others are gaining?

  10. well, sort of.

    agree what we care about is consumer welfare.

    agree massive increase in efficiency of retail sector will increase consumer welfare.

    but don’t forget about adjustment costs – if tens of thousands of people lose their jobs and their income falls (on average) by a significant amount for a significant duration, then the short-run effect upon consumer welfare, the improvement of which is your justification for supporting this move, might well be negative. And as you know, currently existing generations should take a greater weight in any welfare calculation than future ones.

    And even if the net effect is positive, it’s not clear that imposing some large negative costs upon a sub-set of the population is justifiable, in order to deliver a smaller gain for everybody else (a larger number of people).

    of course I am merely arguing that her worries are not stupid. I don’t know enough to call the question either way.

  11. DBC

    “The previous stage of retail evolution ,when lorries distributed stuff to the shops and they stored it ,then provided it more or less fresh to people shopping on foot (or else the shops delivered it via boys on bikes) was /is actually more efficient if all the facors are taken into account, including the whole evening or morning taken up by the Weekend Big Shop .”

    That’s a rather sweeping statement can you provide some evidence of the superior efficiency you claim. If retail moves in stages of evolution, which it probably does, then surely what emerges will be the best adapted to its surrounding environment, I think you’ve got things the wrong way round, people’s shopping and transport habits started to change and retail followed. I’m old enough to remember the Golden Age you describe before 1964 and I feel much the same way but then I was very young and didn’t have to do that weekly shop.

  12. I meant daily not weekly shop. Another thing, boys on bikes ? Only if you were middle class, my mum did all the shopping and often spent the best part of a day doing it, she only had a bike or sometimes the bus into town, we kids as we grew older would be sent out to pick up odds and ends and a bit more on Saturday morning – not approved of these days – I remember this with mixed feelings, sometimes fun, more often just a chore.

  13. @Diarmid Weir: ‘Not necessarily. But there is likely to be an adjustment issue, particularly if there is little welfare support. For the very poor, that’s going to be more than just ‘hurting’.

    It’s true that with proper competition you’d hope the efficiency gains would eventually outweigh the losses in aggregate, but it’s not necessarily the case that some people are not pure losers. What are you going to do for them, especially since others are gaining?’

    Of course there will be an ‘adjustment issue’; there always is when you lose your job. It isn’t nice, and if it were the only factor in the equation it would obviously dictate.

    But I suggest we can’t hold back progress (we can argue as to whether this is progress) on the basis of the fact that some people will lose.

    What would I do for those ‘pure losers’? If it was a family member and I could help them I would (I have done, actually).

    For others, some form of subsistence allowance, based ideally at the local level – which would help people to make the immediate connection between where they were spending their money and what that meant for the local tax take – would be a good thing. No-one wants to see people starve. But beyond that I would expect them to do something for themselves.

    It’s not easy, it may even be extremely hard, but it is as far as I can see the only way the human race can move forwards.

    To repeat my question, which you didn’t answer: what about tractors vs farm labourers?

    @DBC Reed: It must be tough being you, what with knowing what’s best for everyone, and them stubbornly refusing to agree with you!

    I love your suggestion of cartelising retail (who the hell do these retailers think they are, deciding to sell stuff to folks cheaper than you think they should?!) and forcing kids to deliver everything on bikes. It’s genius stuff.

  14. looking at the article & some of the comments, here, what do we have?
    Bunch of English tossers arguing Indians, in their own country, shouldn’t be allowed to exercise choice.
    “Of course what would be ideal is a system by which big stores had to sell goods at the same price as corner shops”
    Absolute & unredeemable cunt.

  15. I remember the corner shops: the stink, the flies, the mould, and the rats, plus the long waits while things were weighed, and then reweighed, and then wrapped far ahead in the queue. There were some idyllic parts, like what they all had hidden of strange goods somewhere down in the cellar, and the bald and toothless old men sitting on the stairs outside all day and commenting sarcastically on the human traffic – but thank God they’ve mostly disappeared here where I live!

    And the supermarket is just a way station anyway, we already have daily postal deliveries of things ordered on the net, pretty soon all the food will be delivered as well – no need for Volvo estates and large refrigerators.

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogsept12/end-of-retail9-12.html

  16. It is assumed that the arrival of supermarkets is a sudden shock to Indians. But as we know, big companies move extremely slowly, so there will be plenty of time to adapt.

    Secondly, more money in consumers’ pockets will provide more demand. So the displacement will be a benefit even to the former shopkeepers in the long term.

    Thirdly the article seems to be founded on a Keynesian notion of deficient demand. This is and always was total balls. In the long term human desires are infinite. Imagine Genghis Khan with a portable phone and private jet, he could have got even more than 7% of Central Asians as his direct descendants.

  17. There’s a big commotion about Wallmart coming to South Africa. Lefties are up in arms of course saying that small South African supermarkets won’t be able to compete (amongst the usual left wing fallacies ). I did a bit of digging and it turns out over 70% of the supermarkets are owned by one Afrikanner dude, they just have different names and target different social classes.

    It seems odd that lefties always spend so much time defending the interests of the people they purportedly hate and trying to fuck over the rest of us whilst they’re at it

  18. The mantra ‘we don’t want more choice and cheaper goods’…..

    Not the greatest rallying cry for the poor.

  19. And the supermarket is just a way station anyway, we already have daily postal deliveries of things ordered on the net, pretty soon all the food will be delivered as well

    Where I live (the deep suburbia of Perth, so far away from civilisation that I can’t even get ADSL2), a grocery delivery from Woolworths or Coles costs five dollars. Internet food shopping is here already.

  20. “Of course what would be ideal is a system by which big stores had to sell goods at the same price as corner shops”

    Well f*ck you and the horse you rode in on. Why the f*ck should I have to pay more for goods because you want to live in some 1950s timewarp? Equally why the f*ck should an efficient shopkeeper be forced (presumably by law, therefore effectively by threat of imprisonment) to sell goods at a higher price than he wants to, just to keep his competitors in business?

  21. @Jim & BIS
    Stop swearing and carrying on and look at the facts of the test case considered by the American Supreme Court which found in favour of Resale Price Maintenance,the system that ensures small shops and large sell at the same prices. Leegin Creative Leather spent alot of money on advertising , creating a brand ,and acquiring a reputation for selling high-class leather goods.They found that Kay’s Kloset was selling their goods at huge discounts which made their goods look cheap and no better than the average run of leather goods.So they stopped supplying them. Kay’s Kloset aka PSKS took Leegins to court under the old law which forbade this non-supply as Resale Price Maintenance.The 2007 reinstatement of RPM in the USA restored manufacturers rights to control their own prices.So now shops are not forced by threats of imprisonment to sell things at the agreed price, the only penalty they face is non -supply.Manufacturers have rights as well .If you were selling designer porcelain ( a case I once saw) at knock-down prices the manufacturer would have right to complain that you were ruining their reputation for high class goods. The same would go for Kellogs cornflakes,Heinz Baked Beans and all painfully acquired “brands”.
    Supermarkets setting the price for milk ,which is not reliant on brands ,has hardly gone smoothly either.
    In 1890’s America the People’s Party fought a long hard fight to get fair prices for their crops by challenging the supremacy of the middlemen their motto being “Sooner or later the middlemen will enslave the producer.”

  22. @DBC Reed

    look at the facts of the test case considered by the American Supreme Court</b?

    Why? This blog is written by an Englishman and is essentially British in tone. How far would you get advising Americans to look at a British Supreme Court decision?

    In any case, the facts of the case you cite seem to ensure that all shops sell goods at the same price *if the manufacturers wish that*.

    Your position earlier appeared to be that sale prices should be equalised regardless of the wishes of manufacturers, who may well decide – be they Levi jeans, ''Kellogs cornflakes,Heinz Baked Beans and all painfully acquired “brands”' – that they're quite happy for different outlets to sell their goods at different prices.

    Or maybe they wouldn't? Who knows? And frankly who cares? What you propose is that if I am stupid enough to buy a packet of cornflakes at £1 and sell it for 50p, this should be punishable by the State?

    In 1890?s America the People’s Party fought a long hard fight to get fair prices for their crops by challenging the supremacy of the middlemen their motto being “Sooner or later the middlemen will enslave the producer.”

    I have never seen a farmer on a bike.

  23. @DBC Reed: thats an entirely different concept and you know it. The right of a manufacturer to control his prices has nothing to do with whether a supermarket can sell any given product cheaper than a corner shop. If Kelloggs sell 10m packets of cornflakes to Tesco at X pence a packet, but a corner shop can only buy in bulk from a cash’n’carry at 2X pence, cornflakes are going to be cheaper at Tesco, unless some authoritarian twat starts passing laws about what price cornflakes can be sold at per packet. And if they do, all of Tesco’s customers are going to lose money from their pockets as a result.

    And that’s what we are talking about – the forcible removal of money from customers pockets by the State (as embodied by DBC reed) decreeing that products must cost the same in such diametrically different retail environments as Tesco (turnover £60bn and 500K+ employees) and Mr Patel’s mini-mart (Turnover £100K and 3 employees – Mr and Mrs Patel and their daughter Nisha).

  24. @ DBC
    A “painfully acquired brand”is essentially a monopoly. Nice to have, but why should the state protect it when there’s no intellectual content in a tin of baked beans?

  25. “..the manufacturer would have right to complain that you were ruining their reputation for high class goods.”
    It takes a socialist to start talking about “high class goods”. WTF are they when they’re at home? Only to be sold to high class people? The classification of goods is done buy one group of people. Those who ante up the readies to buy them.
    It’s no accident ’64 was also the real beginning of the 60’s. When it all changed. Start of modern times. That’s when my grandmother’s started shopping in the same shops. The two sides of my family were from different sides of the tracks, so to speak. Posh, middle class granny, used to shop in the nice shops in the middle of the High St, working class gran used the ones at the end or round the corner. Because the suppliers & the shopkeepers had it all sorted out. Nice profit margins & no competition to speak of. Posh shops sold good quality stuff. Working class people got crap because they couldn’t afford anything else.
    Are you wanting us back where we stand in the gutter, knuckling our foreheads, whilst our betters stroll past on the pavement?
    Y’right. Definite misuse of the ‘C’ word there. I apologise. You’re so far past that & into the dark uncharted realms beyond, it’ s inadequate.

  26. @blokeinfrance ‘@ DBC A “painfully acquired brand”is essentially a monopoly. Nice to have, but why should the state protect it when there’s no intellectual content in a tin of baked beans?’

    I agree with your basic line, but there can surely be intellectual content in a tin of baked beans; anyone who’s tried Heinz vs (eg) Happy Shopper knows that.

    But once Heinz sell their beans on to someone, be they Tesco, Mr Singh or a wholesaler, that’s where their interest ends.

    They can draw up contracts with the stores as to price, or with a middleman stating that he can’t sell them on to X shop, or for less than Yp; if the stores/middleman won’t agree, they don’t get the beans, and either Heinz find another route to market or they close their bean factory down.

    Either way, their business is making beans, not retailing the fuckers. Once they’re on the way to the consumer they can fuck the fuck off out of it.

    DBC ‘No Swears’ Reed neither makes beans nor sells them, so from where he derives the enormous arrogance to assume he should have any say in the matter whatsoever, other than as a buyer and scoffer, I have no idea.

    But then he (I assume it’s a he) is a smug, authoritarian cunt of the first water, as his posts on here have long demonstrated.

    Why these shitbags think they can plan everything better than 65 million basically free people doing basically what they want I will literally never understand.

  27. I see DBC Reed has already been clearly told his argument is silly. But I can’t let this one go

    a system so friendless that I am ,to my knowledge the only person who has a good word to say for it

    Doesn’t that tell you something? You probably thought the Tanganyika groundnut scheme was a good idea too.

  28. Supermarkets in Australia – much maligned, as everywhere else, for screwing the poor farmers and pocketing the cash – have got the supply chain down to the point where fresh greens are sold less than 24 hours from picked. Which makes a huge difference in their quality. And this is in a country approximately 50 million times the size of the UK. Show me the boy on a bike who can achieve that.

    If I want kipfler potatoes or other niche products for a special meal, sure, I go to the boutique greengrocer. If they go out of business, I’ll grow it myself if I fucking have to.

    Also, all manufacturers/producers have varying price schedules for different customers. List price then discount based on how good a customer you are is standard at wholesale level. Usually for produce/rag trade this is informal “this guy always pays cash and he doesn’t cause whine, 50 bucks off is ok” and manufacturers are generally more formalised with specific people authorised to approve discount lists etc. Should price maintenance be enforced at this level too? Or are you effectively advocating that big retail merchants should be able to buy at better rates then be “forced” to charge the same a corner shops?

  29. Ltw: You obviously don’t live in Western Australia, where potatoes must be sold at the government price per kg, regardless of variety. Naturally this means we get only the crappiest, highest yielding spuds (Nadine) and not any other varieties in the greengrocers. The big supermarkets have a better variety because they can import from the eastern states.

  30. Melbourne, Matthew L. Which admittedly in this country is as close as you get to the land of free, and colours my attitude. How are you guys going with ditching retail shopping hours restrictions?

    I didn’t know that about potatoes in WA btw. Really? I mean, seriously, wtf?

  31. I grew up in WA, and remember that bloody potato marketing board well. When I was about 8, we had a holiday in Canberra and I was amazed that you could buy baby potatoes! All we’d ever had in WA were these pale things the size of a big fist. The growers didn’t want to sell baby potatoes as it was too much trouble to sort and wash them, and they reckoned there was no market for them. Even if a farmer thought there might be a market, he wasn’t allowed to test the market by selling a few.

    An uncle lived near a potato farmer. The farmer was happy for us to wander his fields after harvest, turning them over with a pitchfork and collecting the baby spuds by the sackful. Mum’s friends couldn’t believe it when they were served a gourmet delight of fresh baby potatoes – something they had never experienced before.

    I’m amazed we were never raided by the Potato Police and dragged away in chains for breaching some obscure marketing board regulation.

  32. How the hell did this thread get taken over by Australians?

    bloke in spain – ““Of course what would be ideal is a system by which big stores had to sell goods at the same price as corner shops” Absolute & unredeemable cunt.”

    I totally agree with the general sentiment, but actually someone needs to tell this tosser that we have a system by which big stores have to sell goods at the same prices as small corner shops. It is called the free market. If one of them sells for less, they will gain customers. The Invisible Hand and all that.

    I have no problem with that. I doubt anyone else here has a problem with that. We should rejoice that such a mechanism exists.

  33. “we have a system by which big stores have to sell goods at the same prices as small corner shops.It is called the free market. If one of them sells for less, they will gain customers.”

    Not completely true. “The market” is after all just a meeting of buyers and sellers who freely exchange things at an agreed rate. It is not a monolithic entity where prices are fixed and even between big and small shops.

    For instance, the market for chips at 2am on a Saturday morning is quite different to the market for chips at 4pm on Thursday. At 2am on Saturday, you have a small number of sellers (small shops) who are willing to open and trade at that time – and their costs are low enough to allow them to trade. They can price their chips at a multiple of what a large shop can sell them for at 4pm on Thursday, when the buyers are sober and the munchies aren’t in overdrive – and many large shops find it profitable to open and sell their wares.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    boy on a bike – “Not completely true. “The market” is after all just a meeting of buyers and sellers who freely exchange things at an agreed rate. It is not a monolithic entity where prices are fixed and even between big and small shops.”

    OK. I probably should have said “all other things being equal”. Or even better “when you consider all the other relevant factors”. If you open late and serve drunken yobs, what you effectively charge is probably not that far out of line from anyone else.

  35. How the hell did this thread get taken over by Australians?

    We’re “keeping up the skeer” on tossers over(your)night. Couldn’t get jobs as sub-editors 🙂

  36. @DBC Read (8)

    That may have been true a few years ago but supermarkets have now localised (if that’s a word, but you know what I mean). Friends who live in London now decide what they want for dinner and pop out to the local Tesco or whoever just round the corner and have a lot more choice than the old fashioned corner store. Furthermore just about every petrol station is now a local supermarket that just happens to have petrol, pumps on its forecourt. Both of which generally offer a 24 x 7 service as well.

    Even here in darkest Dorset we get supermarket deliveries for less that price of driving to to the store and they will deliver daily.

    There is no need for the weekly shop, other than convenience.

  37. I’m interested that Western Australia still has a potato marketing board. We used to have one in the UK, and a quota system for production too. It was abolished in the mid 90s I think. But I think there was a small scale exemption – farmers could grow up to an acre (or some small area) of spuds and sell direct to the public. So the worst effects of such a scheme were ameliorated.

    Perhaps DBC reed would care to comment on the practical experience of our Antipodean friends and their lack of consumer choice, as found in the controlled market for potatoes in Western Australia?

  38. Just to add
    Our lefties/stateists do seem a remarkably confused bunch of people.
    They obviously detest big supermarket chains Would be prepared to force people to use small shops. On the other hand they also have no hesitation in persecuting the small shopkeeper with endless regulations which are expensive to comply with, high taxes on premises & draconian parking enforcement deterring customers.
    If you went the complete locavore route, grew stuff in your own garden & had the temerity to set up a stall by your gate to offer passers-by the opportunity to share your bounty, the forces of regulation & compliance would be down around your ears within hours.
    It’s seems that nothing short of the Peoples’ Commissary # 572 for all your personal needs would be acceptable.

  39. @BiS: precisely – one of the main reasons why big business gets bigger and bigger, and small businesses go to the wall, is because big business can afford the people to deal with the paperwork and regulations. The small ones just either get shut down for infringements, or give up because they don’t want the hassle, or stay small because thats the only way they can cope – getting bigger means more paperwork. Thus there is no competition for the big boys – they have the market to themselves all sown up, and all in the name of health’n’safety, or consumer protection, or equality, etc etc.

    Big business loves regulations – it creates a monopoly marketplace for them.

  40. DBC

    I grew up in the 1960s and we didn’t have a fridge until I was 7. Shopping was not quite daily, as we had milk delivered, but it was certainly several times a week and our local shops were 10 minutes’ walk away. My mother had 4 children in 5 years and shopping trips were a nightmare. She got round the problem eventually by sending me – her eldest – to do the shopping for her, I think from about the age of 5 or 6: among other things, I used to buy her cigarettes. I remember being sent to pick up a prescription from the chemist when I was about 8: I dropped it, and the bottle broke, and the chemist then sent for my mother and ticked her off – not for sending me for a prescription, but for not providing me with basket.

    I do not wish to return to this. It doesn’t look like a golden age to me, and many of the things that I did then would now be illegal.

    And for working women who are out during the day, deliveries by “boys on bikes” are simply impractical. The weekly shop in a supermarket reached by car has been driven by the pressure on working families’ time. Internet shopping is even better, but only if deliveries can be booked at times that suit families – otherwise it is as bad as “boys on bikes”.

    Your idea that little shops, “boys on bikes” and women spending half the day shopping is “more efficient” completely ignores the effect on the economy of women being unable to participate in the workforce.

  41. I go to a few trade fairs here in the UK. Common for some suppliers to put restrictions about where their product can be sold (one company I came across won’t allow internet selling of their goods, a couple of my suppliers won’t allow ebay trading) and/or sticking to the RRP. Can always get round those restrictions but the penalty is for the supplier to refuse to trade with you.

    Restrictions can be put in place, contracts can be enforced. Most suppliers I’ve come across don’t care, they want to shift stock to us retailers and don’t bother about what we do with it afterward.

  42. WA had a milk board as well. Dairy farmers were given a milk quota by volume, and were not allowed to sell anything they produced above that. They were also taken to court and fined if their milk fat content didn’t reach a certain proscribed level – it was thought some were watering their milk. Many years later, agricultural researchers discovered that milk fat yields were lower at certain times of the year due to fluctuating nutrient levels in the feed. Of course the government never repaid the fines.

    Agrarian socialism used to be alive and well in WA.

  43. There seems to be a major misapprehension here (to put it mildly).In the UK the system called Resale Price Maintenance evolved naturally among manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.It was Statist action by Edward Heath that stopped it.
    Martin Davies shows above that the arrangements of restricting traders from on-selling goods on the Internet etc does arise in a laissez faire environment.But it is currently illegal in the EU (but not in the USA where Leegin’s pro RPM case was handled by economists from right-wing Univ of Chicago).
    It is those who ban RPM who are authoritarian.
    @Thornavis .You are right to question whether retail was evolving towards supermarkets anyway and that the State intervention only reinforced an existing trend.C.J. Bartlett in A History of Post war Britain (1977) is probably right to point to a chicken-and- egg situation with the abolition of RPM: “The Act affected about 40% of consumer spending: it encouraged, and was assisted by, the growth of supermarkets”
    (But speaking as an ex-porter at Sainsbury’s in the early 60’s I never noticed any competition from ,or building of, supermarkets .)
    @Frances Coppola,
    Your point that supermarket allows many women to” participate in the workforce” is bang on the money ,although your Mum’s predicament with four children in five years might not necessarily have been eased by working.
    That women now have to work is surely more to do with the inflated property market making the wife’s contribution to the mortgage imperative.The old mortgage system was explained by someone on the John Redwood Blog in 2009″WhenI took out my first martgage some 45 years ago …I had to produce two years’ salary slips and bank statements to explain where my income was going.My wife’s earnings were not taken into account and I was offered a maximum of two and a half times my salary”.
    Women’s earnings were included only after Statist pressure was put on the building societies by ostensibly Observer feminists .As the Tories in 1963 had abolished Schedule A taxation on home values (which taxed house price rises straight out of income!), we were all set for the doubling of house prices in ten years and the current house-price-bubble led economy.
    @boy on abike
    I know nothing about WA Milk Marketing arrangements but in the UK milk prices paid to farmers have fallen by 28% since the the aboltion of the Milk Marketing Board in 1994. According to the Telegraph two years ago,”Such is the despair , one (dairy farmer) a week commits suicide”

  44. I’m confused as to your position DBC. You do or you don’t prefer individual contracts to state action? When it was “In the UK the system called Resale Price Maintenance evolved naturally among manufacturers, suppliers and retailers”, (which sounds awfully like a cartel to me) and that got stopped by the state, that was bad. But the resurrection of it by state power was good. On the other hand, removing state control over milk prices was bad also (two sentences ago you didn’t want them intervening because that was authoritarian. Two of my sentences, not yours). Please make your mind up.

  45. According to the Telegraph two years ago,”Such is the despair , one (dairy farmer) a week commits suicide”

    I suspect this is just a made-up statistic (it seems to come from this story). Searching online for stories of uk dairy farmers committing suicide, I found just one, from September last year. It seems to me that newspaper stories about the plight of dairy farmers would have been keen to give further examples, if they existed.

  46. @Ltw: of course RPM was a cartel. It was a stitch up by the manufacturers and retailers at the expense of the consumer, as admitted by DBC reed him(or her)self over milk prices. Prices fell 28% after the MMB was abolished. Yes dairy farmer lost out, but millions of people (including lots of poor ones) were able to buy cheaper milk and dairy produce. Which in the big scheme of things is A GOOD THING. It is a role of the State to ensure that vested interests do not create cartels and monopolies that scam money from the consumer. As Adam Smith once said “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”

    DBC reed seems to be in favour of poor people paying more for their purchases of basic necessities in order for the producers and retailers to get higher profits.

    Strange sort of attitude in my view. In fact I would go as far as to say they are the views of a c*nt.

  47. There’s absolutely no misapprehension on Resale Price Maintenance on my part DBC Reed. Or all the other parts of the cosy little cartels that were being run. Like shutting out suppliers that weren’t party to the arrangements from entering markets.

  48. @Ltw: of course RPM was a cartel

    Yeah Jim, when prices drop that fast it shows someone was skimming off the cream somewhere. (Milk, skimming, cream… I’m just having fun now!)

    Surely you know that our host has no problem calling a cunt a cunt? No need for the asterisk!

  49. DBC

    Blimey. So the only reason women with children work is because they have to in order to pay the mortgage? They don’t EVER work because they love their jobs and want to have careers? Or is this your version of “get back to the kitchen sink, woman”?

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