The Mail and economics: never a good fit

The sky-high half-term RIP OFFS: It rightly enrages parents. So why are travel firms allowed to get away with charging up to THREE TIMES normal prices?

That old supply and demand thing just seems to pass them by, doesn’t it?

60 thoughts on “The Mail and economics: never a good fit”

  1. The sky-high housing market RIP OFFS: It rightly delights people who own houses and the Daily Mail. So why are people allowed to get away with charging up to THREE TIMES normal prices?

  2. Dunno.
    I get caught by this & looking at the flight lists, it doesn’t seem the carriers do much about putting extra flights on. More they fill up early at high prices. How do you find it getting back & forth to Portugal, Tim?
    ‘Supply & demand’ usually implies variation on the supply end.

  3. I’ll shortly be coming to London for a visit, and would you believe, when I looked at Eurostar prices I found them to be six times higher if I left at 6pm on a Friday evening as opposed to 1pm on a Thursday?! Total rip off! There ought to be a lore against it!

  4. hahaha They should try going on holiday in Asia during Chinese New Year!

    BiS but really can they put on more flights? They have only a finite number of planes and gates at airports which you’d expect are reasonably efficiently organised. You don’t want a bunch of planes worth tens of millions of dollars sitting idle incurring hanger charges etc for 40 weeks a year.

  5. Supply and Demand doesn’t imply variation on *either* end ; it just states that prices mary vary if one or the other or both change. Some thing have a near static supply if there are high entry costs.

  6. “Or you could just let people take their kids out of the day prisons as they wish.”

    Or you could say, choosing to perpetuate your particular genetic inheritance does, indeed, have some personal downsides.

    I’d be all in favour of charging triple rates for child seats, during school holidays. As anyone who’s spent a few hours having the back of their seat kicked might agree.

  7. Ian B,

    The purpose of schooling is to train brainwashed obedient Labour supporters for the future. By letting kids take off when it suits the family will undermine this objective.

  8. Well yes, Paul. But that does mean the contention of the article is entirely correct. The carriers do make large profits because they can command high prices when demand vastly exceeds supply.

    Not saying I’m personally complaining. I’m well aware of the economics of running airlines. I’m the one who benefits from the return ticket AGP/LGW for slightly more than the return ticket to LGW on Virgin Rail.

  9. @bis,

    At least one carrier has had the brainwave of installing games on the seat-back entertainment systems in their long-haul economy seat. Which means you get punched in the back of the head the whole flight, often even when there’s an adult in it.

  10. “The carriers do make large profits because they can command high prices when demand vastly exceeds supply”

    Possibly. There is also the downside, which is that the carriers have to dump when supply vastly exceeds demand.

    The question is, how much is one and how much is the other ; the Mail article assumes all the former ; the implication is that no losses when demand is low and it is all profiteering when demand is high.

    I doubt it is as simple as this.

  11. I love how their example of rip offs includes airlines that no longer exist (British Midland) and routes that no longer exist (BA East Midlands to Dublin).

    It’s almost as if they just copied it from a piece written 10 years ago!

  12. I have a dream. Each school manages their pupils’ and their staff’s holidays the same way a modern business manages employee vacations. Fundamentally if no-one can provide evidence that the current system is designed around children’s educational achievement then why isn’t it reformed and built up again from scratch. I’m surprised private schools don’t seem to have shaken this up and presumably they are free to do so.

  13. Here’s an idea: why don’t the middle-class parents complaining about this just save up the child benefit they don’t really need, and use it to pay the ‘excess’ they are charged for the holiday?

  14. “The question is, how much is one and how much is the other”

    Somewhere at the bottom of this is the widely held assumption, by breeding pairs (or singles for that matter), wider society should assist their wish to procreate. Entirely understandable, from their point of view. Not so much if one doesn’t give a toss,but, on balance, would prefer they hadn’t.

  15. Presumably if the airlines priced all the flights at the same price all year round and just sold them on a first come first served basis the loss of income at holiday times would have to be made up for by increases in fares outside of holiday times? And the breeders would all complain because there were no flights available because they’d all been booked up months if not years in advance?

    The Mail seems to assume that the prices outside the holidays are ‘the norm’ and the ones in the holidays should be reduced to that level, when in reality it would take rises outside holidays and falls inside to arrive at a new equilibrium fare price.

    So effectively its just another case of those who have procreated demanding special treatment because they’ve managed to put tab A into slot B.

  16. I don’t give a shit about higher prices because I can afford to pay them. I also don’t need (or even claim as far as I know, maybe my wife does) child benefit, or use the local comp or blah blah. But contra BiS and Jim, we do need kids – if we don’t have them, someone else will fill the vaccum even quicker than they already are doing.

    The Germans are merely the most egregious recent example of this – having careerised all their women and aborted or contracepted half a generation, there ain’t no Germans. Who would want to be a lonely career woman in a flat in a newly vibrant part of Cologne, wondering why her husband and kids aren’t around – then she remembers she never got married and she killed the kids in utero twenty years ago.

  17. So we single folk have to put with screaming kids, their oh so smug parents, and on top of all that pay for them via our taxes, or face an Islamic takeover?

    On that basis, Islam’s looking a bit more appealing.

  18. Interested-

    There isn’t a “vacuum” to fill. That analogy (metaphor?) makes it seem as if people get sucked in, which isn’t the case. A falling European population for awhile makes some sense in fact- it frees up some space, reduces strain on infrastructure, ends the pressure on the housing stock. You might even get something approaching full employment.

    It is very unlikely that this trend would continue indefinitely; history is not linear. But if Britain’s population (for instance) falls to 50 millions, is that a tragedy?

    And then we just keep a nice stout border so that those determined to test the Malthusian hypothesis do so on their own land.

  19. Good point, Ian. Supply & demand. If we’re all becoming more productive there isn’t the demand for willing workers. Not from us singles, anyway. Concentrating wealth in fewer people is just as good a way of getting personally wealthier as more aggregate wealth..

  20. Don’t get all wound up about a fluffy piece o’merde in the Mail.

    Newspapers have a real problem – getting enough good material to fill the available publishing space.

    And in fact, they can’t get enough good material to fill the available space.

    So they publish zero-cost crap instead. Fills the space, enhappies the addicted punters. All is good.

  21. You can do cheap holidays abroad, but it’s about being smart about it. We did a pretty cheap trip to Disneyland Paris. The tricks: go at half term when the European kids aren’t off, don’t arrive until Sunday, and drive rather than Eurostar. If you go to Disneyland Paris when there’s low demand at the park, you pretty much get free accomodation.

    Even summer holidays aren’t that expensive, if you don’t go to the seaside. Kit yourself out with a tent and a trailer and stove, 2 weeks in the Dordogne will cost you about £700.

    And seriously, your husband’s just left you, you’ve got 2 small kids. How about going off to granny’s or staying with friends for a week and saving some money?

  22. “…we do need kids – if we don’t have them, someone else will fill the vaccum even quicker than they already are doing.The Germans are merely the most egregious recent example of this – having careerised all their women and aborted or contracepted half a generation, there ain’t no Germans.”

    Agreed! But, in the dreams of our local nihilists, we can hold out behind strict border controls. As if. Yet, in the libertarian/libertine future, all will be well, and IanB can shag as many 13 year olds as he likes.

  23. I see Theo is joining in with Tinribs’s approach of preferring slander to reasoned argument.

    The point is that we have no idea what social conditions will be 20 or 50 years from now, and how many children people will be choosing to have then. Currently, having children is being priced out by Statist policies, discouraged by Statist policies and, indeed, looked down upon by Theo’s middle class what he’s so proud of.

    I try to avoid giving out too much personal information as it’s more fun watching the ludicrous speculations we see here, but right now I’m doing work with “vulnerable” people (yes, I have me DBS certificate and everything), including two women I’m teaching maths to of about my own age; one has seven kids, the other has five kids.

    And what amuses me about the middle class moaning about people not having kids is that you people would immediately denounce those women as lower class residuum breeding indiscriminately. When in fact they are the only class doing much breeding at all.

    So here’s the thing; historically, small families have been a fascination of the Middle Class, bourgeois women who have done everything they can to discourage women from having children. With the result that nowadays at best they have one or two just before their eggs run out.

    We live in the world your “backbone” class has made, Theo.

  24. One of the reasons I am attracted to a hands off libertarian approach is because it’s none of anyone else’s god damn business how many children I have. As soon as you start bringing the state into the private family then the private family becomes everyone else’s business – and we get these narcissistic comments about ‘breeders’ taking up ‘our’ resources.

  25. I thought it was more than the three-timer prices were the normal prices, and off-peak prices were lower because they were do-demand clear-the-shelves get rid of the empty seats prices. Like when I got an overnight in a cheap hotel for five quid out of season ‘cos otherwise the owner would have had an empty room.

  26. @IanB,

    I’m no statist (except perhaps relative to some ultra-anarcholibtards) but how is having kids priced out by statist policies? I only see subsidies flowing from me to the breeders. Noted I only cover part of their lifestyle choice costs, not all of them, but surely the greatest joy ever is worth some sacrifice?

    Having kids is priced out by the unrealistic expectations society burdens (non-underclass) parents with. I don’t feel I can meet those, or at least I am not prepared to make the necessary sacrifices, and my time is better spent, both in raw economic terms and in terms of my sanity, developing my “professional children” than emptying potties and bailing out the 14 year-old arsonist I would doubtless have spawned.

  27. Two things bother me in this article:

    1) What makes any of the cases discussed entitled to a holiday?

    2) Who in there right mind thought a law that say you can’t pull your sprog out of school for a week, for whatever reason, was a good idea?

  28. Bloke in North Dorset

    As others have said, they’ve got this arse about face. If the airlines and holiday companies could charge those high prices all year round, they would. They can’t, so they have to discount at times of low demand to cover/offset their fixed costs eg gate fees and staff

    Anyway, this story comes round at least 3 times a year, every year, so anyone thinking about having children who doesn’t factor it in to their decision making process needs a good slapping.

    Ditto teachers who complain about it. They should be told in no uncertain terms that they’ve got all those lovely holidays and a job from which they can’t be sacked, even for incompetence, so STFU.

  29. In a year when the local schools returned about Sept 10, we had a lovely week’s camping in Normandy for a song. Taking the car through the Chunnel didn’t cost much either. And no bloody French children around.

  30. 2) Who in there right mind thought a law that say you can’t pull your sprog out of school for a week, for whatever reason, was a good idea?

    Welcome to the Progressive Society.

  31. Cui bono? One way to find out is for the government to announce changes to all state school hols. Its not the MD of british airways or Thomson who will be lobbying them like mad its the NUT.
    Now part of the uproar will be that yes people have gone into the profession under certain assumptions and if these are going to be changed then only natural that a big noise will be made…. but i do think whatever political party proposes it ..will be on solid ground with the electorate if they have good evidence the current arrangement is just a historical anomaly rather than good for education of kids per se.

  32. The Mail absolutely do understand economics. There is demand for stories of feigned outrage around how hard parents have it. They supply it.

  33. To pick up on HB’s point about the NUT, you do seem to have a country that’s largely run for the convenience of middle class professionals. This whole expensive airline tickets at half term thing. I’m fortunate enough to spend a lot of my time in holiday destinations in various countries. And it generally that group who’ll be carting sprogs for mid-term breaks. The hoi polloi generally make do with one foreign holiday per annum.
    And a lot of other things. The staunch defense of ever rising house values. Further down the social ladder it’s not so important because the house you own’s the one you live in. You’ll only be trading it for another one, so the value’s largely esoteric. Even the immigration. it’s the people nearer the bottom have been opposing immigration since the Windrush first sailed in. Wouldn’t be bothered if they sailed off either. It’s those nearer the top of the ladder who’ve benefited from immigration.
    And now Europe. It’s no accident it’s much the same class who are most opposed to Brexit. They’ve benefited most from the EU.

  34. A teacher writes,

    It isn’t that taking kids out of school stuffs up their indoctrination, it’s that it stuffs up the continuous evaluation.

    You’re welcome.

  35. Thanx RleJ for rather neatly illustrating my point. Kids need education & it’s the teacher’s role to give them some. “Continuous evaluation has nothing to do with educating a child. The education could proceed with or without it. It’s an assessment of whether the teacher has performed. So the child holidays at the convenience of the education profession.

  36. I am a childless man but I can understand the social necessity for children. One day I will be old as will all my peers. Who is going to look after my health needs then? Who is going to build roads and bridges and factories? Who is going to work in them to pay the taxes that keep things going? If you’re not having kids, fine, that’s your choice but you’re also placing an unspoken burden onto someone else’s kids to be the labor and the carer when you’re too old to be either. If you opt out of the generational contract by refusing to have kids, damn right you should pay the full charge for doing so. The alternative is, you get NOTHING from the labor of anyone else’s kids. Not even the right to use public roads, maintained by someone else’s kids. The selfishness is really quite startling.

  37. The alternative is, you get NOTHING from the labor of anyone else’s kids.

    Does that also mean we get to withhold all the tax that goes to pay for everyone else’s kids?

  38. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “But, in the dreams of our local nihilists, we can hold out behind strict border controls. As if. ”

    The choice is to go quietly into extinction through immigration or to fight to survive a little longer. I prefer the latter. Why do you think it is not possible?

  39. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Wales – “Does that also mean we get to withhold all the tax that goes to pay for everyone else’s kids?”

    The benefit we all get from other people’s children – as long as they are not criminals – is much greater than whatever trivial sum we pay for their education.

    We should have a clear pro-natalist government.

  40. SMFS, that was a direct response to the statement above that the retired childless should be walled up in their houses and left to freeze and/or starve.

  41. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Wales – “that was a direct response to the statement above that the retired childless should be walled up in their houses and left to freeze and/or starve.”

    Well let’s agree that is unfair. But every child born in the UK earns on average somewhere around $40-45,000 a year. Of which the government takes 40%. Say $16,000 a year. Each and every year. VAT applies to children and OAPs too. The costs of children are trivial compared to the wealth they generate.

    Although, just to annoy Rusty, they are if those children are not criminals and are White. Others, not so much.

  42. Little old ladies what never had kids should not be entitled to have Cub Scouts come around to paint the house, mow the lawn and sweep the drive, all for a bob (and a glass of homemade lemonade if they’re lucky).

  43. “The benefit we all get from other people’s children – as long as they are not criminals – is much greater than whatever trivial sum we pay for their education.”
    Often said but rarely examined. And not wholly true. We pay for other people’s children during the latter part of our lives. When we are most productive & earning more. But their children don’t enter their most productive years until we are about to bow out. This is even more pronounced with the children of the educated middle classes, because of their extended education & their productivity peak being later.
    So, on balance, if we benefit from other people’s children it’s the children with less education do the menial jobs. And mostly we benefit from the children our parents supported.
    So, basically, it’s only in one’s interest to support other people’s children if one has children of one’s own. For the childless there’s little benefit. We’ll be dead.

  44. The choice is to go quietly into extinction through immigration or to fight to survive a little longer. I prefer the latter. Why do you think it is not possible?

    I do think it is possible. But it will be impossible if anti-child nihilists have their way, the UK population shrinks and its age-structure deteriorates further. In those circumstances, the pressure for vast amounts of immigration would be irresistible.

  45. This is something concerns you Theo. Because you have children & probably grandchildren. The time to have done something about it was a generation ago when considerable numbers of people were objecting against rising immigration. particularly immigration from the Muslim countries. These people were shouted down & accused of being racists by the Tory Party you so avidly support.. So now it coming home to threaten your children & grandchildren, WTF should we care? We aren’t going to be around. Your bed, you lie in it..

  46. Worth taking this a bit further.
    What’s been done to the UK over the past couple decades has left a lot of Brits feeling they haven’t much stake left in the place. Now the class that does, indeed, have a great deal of stake in the status quo calls for all to rally round & defend it.
    You want a reply?

  47. BiG,

    “I’m no statist (except perhaps relative to some ultra-anarcholibtards) but how is having kids priced out by statist policies? I only see subsidies flowing from me to the breeders. Noted I only cover part of their lifestyle choice costs, not all of them, but surely the greatest joy ever is worth some sacrifice?

    Having kids is priced out by the unrealistic expectations society burdens (non-underclass) parents with.”

    it’s not “society”. It’s a bunch of people acting like entitled little fucking whiners, and the statist media giving them a shoulder to cry on.

    I know lots of parents who aren’t crying at the price of football tickets. They either don’t care about football, or have told their kids it’s too expensive, so they aren’t going.

  48. RlJ

    Like in Japan, you mean?

    Japan’s resistance to immigration has made its demographic crisis much worse. You either breed your own workforce or you import it. A falling population and no immigration means economic decline.

  49. @Stig,

    That “statist media” would be statist media like the Daily Fail and the Daily Torygraph, papers that actively oppose the ruling party statist line on things like, oh, the EU, capital punishment, immigration, taxes, military spending, yoomin rites, elfinsafetyinnit, minimum wage, free markets in half-term holidays, Polish plumbers, appeasement of RoPers, speed cameras, execution of British drug dealers in the far east, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera?

  50. @BiG
    Do you actually read either of those papers?
    The Mail seems to be little but “something must be done, there should be a law” journalism. Hence the current topic which includes “‘With the Government so often talking about hard-pressed families, it’s time to inject some fairness on behalf of the consumer, for example with an ombudsman to investigate fair pricing.”
    How stateist do you want to get?
    And the Telegraph actively opposes your list? Could have fooled me. The been a constant stream of “why we should remain in the EU or else the sky will fall in” articles. When did the Telegraph ever champion capital punishment? Immigration? They’ve only recently discovered there’s any arguments against it. Should I go on?

  51. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “Japan’s resistance to immigration has made its demographic crisis much worse. You either breed your own workforce or you import it. A falling population and no immigration means economic decline.”

    No it hasn’t. Japan is doing fine. On paper the economy has not grown much and they are not having children but so what? Their daughters are not being gang raped either. Japan is still a beautiful place to live, with clean streets, functioning schools and low crime. That is, no immigrants.

    This is the option Britain ought to have taken.

    Importing millions of people who immediately go out on welfare does not solve anyone’s problems. The only sensible policies are zero immigration, including through marriage, and encouraging women to have more children. But if not the latter, the former.

  52. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “In those circumstances, the pressure for vast amounts of immigration would be irresistible.”

    Not if our ruling class was not so treasonable. If they loved Britain and the British, even a little, this would not be a problem. They do not.

    What you mean is that if we don’t keep breeding servants for the ruling class, rather than doing their own house keeping and sleeping with their wives, they would prefer to import millions of cheap domestics from the Third World. No matter how many working class White girls they rape.

    There is a solution for that and it does not involve more immigration. It involves hempen rope. Britain has always been more developed than other places because it has had relatively few workers, they have been well paid and so investing in machinery has always made sense. China and India did not have this problem. We do not need their problems and more than we need their rapists.

    Zero immigration. Negative immigration would be better.

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