Surprise! Guardian writer is cretin

Under capitalism, shops are one of the places where our society is supposed to feel most alive.

What do shops have to do with capitalism? Even, what’s specific about capitalism to shops? Capitalism is a description of asset ownership – as is socialism. Shops exist in either model. Every economic model also requires distribution pints, something we might as well call a shop.

Market based economic systems might indeed stress shops more than non-market systems. Certainly, market based systems have long appeared to manage to put more into shops than non-market systems.

But markets and non-markets, capitalism and non-capitalism, these are entirely different axes upon which to judge or define a society.

That is, Andy Beckett is a cretin. Or, of course, simply one of the de haut en bas English with that centuries long disdain for trade.

23 thoughts on “Surprise! Guardian writer is cretin”

  1. Well, I guess shopping in the local Spar is a better experience than GUM, so I suppose the quote above is reasonably accurate.

    PS why are my coordinates no longer stored in the name and email fields? This afflicts Firefox on Android as well as Linux.

  2. An interesting quote but I wonder whom he is quoting. Is it the kind of thing that Polly would say? As for me, I would think that capitalism is most alive when you are reviewing the annual accounts or taking stock of the values of your investments. Is there a culture that exists without some concept of a shop or bazaar apart from hunter-gatherers?

  3. My version of the enjoyment of capitalism is watching the rise of a potential “ten-bagger” on my realtime level-2 feed. 🙂 Obviously not so enjoyable when the direction is the other way!

  4. “The almost omnipotent feeling that online shopping used to give Britons with money, or the means to borrow it – that most of Europe was our shopping mall – has gone. As more and more people wake up to this, the consequences for the government may be awkward. More expensive and more bureaucratic shopping, with less choice, was not what leavers voted for.”

    How many consumers buy anything from the EU? I’ve bought stuff from Asia and the USA, but nothing from EU retailers.

  5. Never heard of Ali Express then?
    Or perhaps Amazon SARL?
    Do these people live under a rock or something.
    You’d think they would be embarrassed to show their ignorance in public..

  6. I’m sure that people felt wonderfully alive while queueing for the mostly empty shelves in Soviet Russia.

  7. “distribution pints” – Yes it’s just a typo, but I’d love someone to distribute a few pints my way

  8. BoM4 – Given the predicted food riots haven’t happened and the medicine shortages turned out to afflict the EU rather than us (lol), my guess is that hoping consumers will be annoyed about the hassle of buying stuff from Germany via eBay is the new cope.

  9. More expensive and more bureaucratic shopping, with less choice, was not what leavers voted for

    A Guardian columnist wanting less bureaucracy. I’ve seen everything now. Doubting the sincerity though. Anyway, what about localism, food miles, etc? Wasn’t ordering stuff from a thousand miles away meant to be A BAD THING, or was that last month, an argument to be deployed as needed then discarded when tactically necessary?

  10. @Baron Jackfield

    “My version of the enjoyment of capitalism is watching the rise of a potential “ten-bagger””

    Quite so, although I’ve yet to have one. x7 SDI Group and x6 Kainos Group are my closest.

    It’s worth comparing the 693% rise in the SDI Group share price since I invested with the 5% I would have got over the same time in one of Spud’s wonderful Green Bonds. And then laughing heartily and reflecting on what an evil capitalist I am.

    Having said that, there’s always the same regret I have when backing a winning horse. If only I’d invested EVERYTHING in that one big winner……

  11. “Shops are one of the places where our society is supposed to feel most alive”

    My local council has plastered the area with posters & banners proclaiming how they’ve made going to the shops a “Safe, Convenient & Vibrant” experience. They clearly have a very different idea of what constitutes “Vibrant” than I do. Going into Sainsbury’s was hardly an enjoyable experience before WuFlu came along, but now it’s positively dreadful. “Covid Secure” bollocks has made it something I now do as infrequently as possible. Yes, I COULD use home delivery, but why should I when the nearest branch is a 5 minute walk away? It’s pretty obvious that muzzles, anti-social distancing, plastic screens at the checkouts, etc, are going to become the default, regardless of what “The Rules” allow. I sure as hell don’t feel “Alive” doing shopping in person now, and try and avoid it as much as I can…

  12. @Dave Ward

    Quite so. I have a Tesco Clubcard and got a text message saying that my local Tesco Express was ‘missing me’ as I hadn’t been there for so long. Putting to one side the Big Brother nature of the text, I reflected that that was indeed true. ‘Popping to the shops’ is now a soul destroying experience and where before I would do that if I ran out of anything, I now just wait until my weekly shop at the Sainsbury’s which is on my commute home.

    Now, my heart sinks as I put my mask on and I find myself wondering which one of the couples who shop together is supposed to be the ‘carer’ and whether the fat bloke without the mask really is exempt and whether he shouldn’t be at home anyway, isolating rather than buying donuts.

  13. @Dave Ward +2

    Used to go to the village shop every other day, now once a week, scuttle in, scuttle out. Same with Lidl. Stopped going anywhere else, once challenged about not wearing mask I never go back.

  14. Dave Ward +3

    I used to enjoy the hilly walk to Asda every other day to top up on essentials in between the big weekly shop. Now the sight of people in masks, drifting around aimlessly, not paying any attention to who might be around them, plus not being able to have a cheery chat with the staff is a deterrent

  15. Diogenes: “Is there a culture that exists without some concept of a shop or bazaar apart from hunter-gatherers?”

    Hunter-gatherers had get-togethers at the edges of their “territories”. Sometimes friendly, sometimes not. And possibly dedicated traders/”adventurers” who got about.
    This is documented in the remaining amazonian indiginous cultures, and strongly hinted at in the archeological record. Like dated flint tools from when the Neanderthals and us still must have rubbed shoulders in Spain/France with an origin in the Caucasus. That stuff doesn’t get there by rolling down a river…

    So trade/spoils of war/bridal gifts/pickyourpoison have been part of human culture for as long as we can check back.

  16. “shops are one of the places where our society is supposed to feel most alive”

    Not me; I usually loathe shops. Except ironmongers. Wine merchants can be OK, I suppose, but not as reliably. A deli can delight but there’s no guarantee.

  17. Socialism was originally touted as being the way that people would get more stuff. The Soviets were huge into making stuff — factories were the ideal workplace in their system. They actively went on about how much better they were making lives. They were wrong, but they weren’t miserabilists or anti-consumption.

    A few people still know this, hence “luxury communism”, which won’t work but at least is an ideal worth having.

    If going non-capitalist is going to make our lives worth less — fewer goods, smaller houses, less travel etc — who’s going to buy into that?

  18. Diogenes: And what part of “KEEP LEFT” don’t you understand!!!! The only way you could have got to this aisle walking this direction is if you fought your way backwards through the damn tills, follow the bloody one-way system!

    (waves walking stick)

  19. I had a shop refuse cash today with the reason being given by the surly checkout person that it isn’t worth the risk of catching Covid from handling it.
    I pointed out my pocket has more layers than the mask everyone was wearing and they would have better luck finding traces of coccaine on currency than coronavirus, seemed to go totally over their head.

  20. I’ve always loved the explanation for the cocaine on near all banknotes. It’s not that every one does get so used to snort. It’s that the few that do are then automatically counted using machines – and ATM dispenser rollers – and the coke gets onto the machine parts then spread to all notes.

  21. Bloke on M4-is correct. Many people buy from USA etc. Not so many from websites in languages they dont speak. Never bought a thing from EU site but lots of stuff from USA.

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