Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category
Where I do a Tim Worstall
“…there is something ludicrous about imparting such special worth to something that is inherently worthless. Or at least it is if all you do is dig it up, refine it, and stick it back underground in a bank vault. Real wealth is the ingenuity and productive power of human beings, forces that generate a flow of income, not gold.”
Everything is worthless. Value is what people make it to be and what they are willing to pay to buy it.
Look at the bags of perfect fruit, shiny, unblemished, the supermodels of the apple world. They only look like that because of the grading out of fruit which, while perfectly edible, is not comely enough for harried shoppers. … Which goes some way to explaining why Britain, a country perfectly suited to growing apples, now imports 70% of those we eat. … but it is possible to reverse the numbers so that only 30% come from abroad, if we stop being obsessed over the look of the fruit and are prepared to pay more for what we buy, so that fruit farmers could invest in new varieties and the best storage techniques.
I don’t think we should be obsessed about paying more for our food. We should be obsessed about paying less. Paying less for food which doesn’t meet the exacting standard set by the supermarkets. Do we really need tomatoes that are within 1% of a specified size or they are thrown away – literally. Farmer’s aren’t paid for this food that doesn’t meet the standards.
Supermarkets have specified these exacting standards because it makes their job easier since they only need to have one price for a particular foodstuff. The consumer, given a choice about quality but no choice about price, will always choose the better riper rounder more colourful product. The supermarkets use this in their argument about why they do what do they do, but it’s a false argument.
If instead farmers were paid for this “lower quality” but still acceptable foodstuff, then they would be making more money. Maybe not at the same margin, but it’s still extra money which they aren’t getting at the moment. And consumers would win as well as those who are having to cut back their spending can still afford their food. Is it really necessary for everyone to have exactly the same quality of food?