Web Analytics Trust People (once an Englishman in Philly): Supermarkets don't kill you, consumers do

Friday, March 24, 2006

Supermarkets don't kill you, consumers do

Umair Haque at bubblegeneration has been explaining why Europe is the next innovative market leader. You'd have thought we'd have got all of these articles out of our systems a couple of years ago wouldn't you! Anyway, a key part of his argument seems to be that capitalism is well bad and an alternative is needed.

"Let me use an example to illustrate. The cost of Wal-Mart killing your local mom and pop bakery isn't just terrible food, no more friendly chats, and unemployment. In fact, Wal-Mart offsets your loss in quality with scale economies, creating value.

Actually, the real economic loss is more subtle, and much more pernicious: we lose entire sets of people deeply committed to what they do, which is where real creativity ultimately flows from. We lose people with skin in the game, and replace them with workerbots. The guys at your local bakery were makers of tiny cultures, not just producers of goods. Which do you think will be more valuable in a world of Chinese/Indian/etc hypercompetition - scale economies, or creativity driven by passion and commitment?"

Except, of course, Wal-Mart doesn't kill our local mom and pop bakeries. Nobody wanting to give them their money is what kills them. Lack of real popularity kills them. A preponderance of people who won't put their money where their mouth is kills them. All Wal-Mart does is make sure people who don't want to keep these places alive aren't held to ransom (although I do have some serious reservations about aspects of Wal-Mart's business practice; they're not exactly a perfect paragon of capitalistic virtue!).


At 11:45 pm, Blogger Richard said...

The entire critique of supermarket business practices is a proper liberal capitalistic one-- that they undercut other competitors and are then left in a monopoly situation when they're the only shop in the local area.

Of course, it is entirely unsurprising that economic libertarians would worship a doctrine of market primacy beyond the survival of the market.


Baiting leftie-baiters since 1982

At 11:33 am, Blogger Edward said...

The problem is that your critique, while entirely accurate, doesn't apply to justify some of the lefty nutters who abhore Wal-Mart et al not for specific economic reasons but because they make money!

Anyway, we have to have something to worship now tax cuts are so last century...

At 12:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you provide a link to the original bubblegeneration article?

At 3:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry I didn't realise the title itself was the link.


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