Sunday, December 21, 2008


as we enter into this uncertain economic time, i want to explore something that i have noticed recently.

i was looking for a bread knife, the type with the long serated blade, so that i could cut bagels without squashing them.........and so i looked at prices in the shops.

i found some really nice ones.


i found some adequate ones.


i found some serviceable ones.


in a shop called homesense they sell domestic products from bedsheets to carpets to frying pans, and while there i found a nice breadknife reduced from $24.95 to $14.95 and so i felt had i had the best value and took the knife home and gleefully cut bagels.......

a few days later i was in the dollar store (everything for a dollar.) and saw the identical knife, without the attendant glossy packaging and rhetoric, for A DOLLAR.

i returned the pricey one and i continue to enjoy crisp cut and un-squashed bagels .

my point?

mall retail cannot afford to continue to sell the same products for 15 times the price in an economic atmosphere such as this. the type of person that deliberately pays for the more expensive version can only indulge themselves for a short period longer.

when both retailers are buying the knife from the same distributor, it`s only a matter of time before the game becomes obvious to all but politicians and professors of economics, and people will "vote" with thier money........and more shops will have to close thier doors....or drop prices, and hope hier customers forgive them thier gouging.

we have been enjoying this false prosperity since the end of the second world war, and it is clear to most that this process is winding down, and that manufacturing salaries are disappearing in whole numbers even though the politicians are scrambling to enact bailouts.

this will only prolong the process, and give people false hope of a recovery into high-paying union protected jobs in industry once this is "over".

the truth is that we hve slowly but surely been evolving into a service sector economy, providing management, accounting, sales and so on.......and so, if you are looking at re-training or this is your first step into the employment field, then learn some skills in those areas.

or emigrate.


Vincent said...

Yes, I think you are right about the false prosperity. It is so false that it is hard to think about, so conditioned have we become. It seems to me, and it's borne out in your example, that the fundamental principles of supply and demand, so beloved of economists, have long been corrupted: to enforce the supply and engineer the demand.

Everything bites back in the end and now we have a situation where car manufacturers go bust and it doesn't matter in one sense, because we have enough cars. It matters only for the jobs.

Depletion of the earth's resources, and its conditions for supporting life, have been excused by the need for jobs.

It makes me think that the ordinary people, who are not fat cats or financial conjurors, never wanted the consumer society in the first place, till brainwashed into it.

You are in the mental health business, Alistair. Don't you think the sick economy (which as you say has gone on a long time) is the cause of most sickness of the spirit?

dr.alistair said...

there are those who suggest that the desire for wealth, at it`s core, is to make others do things they wouldn`t ordinarily do.....and while this is difficult to face at times, it may well be valid.

for the majority of people the idea of wealth is a fantasy, but in affluent, urban centers, the wll to generate and protect capital is the main survival drive.

any divorce lawyer will agree.

this economy was the the product of a series of industrial wars that produced a giant factory entity that began to spew toasters and refrigerators and candy-coloured transportation appliances at the same peope who were working in those factories.

for over sixty years we have been on the gravy train, but as administrations and bureacracy swelled, production became less efficent and capital went elsewhere for profit.

now, with information and technology making post war factories redundant, and the society of workers along with them......we are in a shit state.

psychologically, we (as a society.) have taken on the attributes of the bureaucrat`s survival modes, and put capital ahead of our essence.

this is a long book, but suffice to say i tend to aggree with you.

K9 said...

your comment points up a great opportunity to regain our soul and true wealth. i find it kind of liberating in a sense and look forward to switching over from art maker to mini farmer. i knew this day was coming and i prepped for it. i was always kinda hoping for it in some perverse way.

nobody is buying art..i still have the occasional commercial illustration gig - but no more artist rights! its all "work for hire": flat fees, no royalties and no rights to my images. i dont care.

obama cracked me up during the election. first it was "americans are only 4% of the worlds population and yet we consume (whatever we consume) and we cant expect the rest of the world to be okay with that"

then after the election it was " we have to go out and support retail. or else the rest of the world who makes all this crap we buy will suffer and they are not okay with that"


as you have pointed out before. our mere existence is the devil.

if i had the know how and equipment my service business would be to help people transform their bullshit decorative yards into victory gardens.