Monday, 4 March 2013
My anti corporate morning rant...
I work in an unspecified area of South-East London. It's only un-specified in the sense that I have no real wish to disclose it here. It is quite specific in my minds-eye, which I find helps with locating my place of work enormously come monday morning.
This, slightly drab and underwelming locale, has until very recently managed to avoid becoming home to the homogeonous high street brands present in almost every high street from Norwich to Nottingham.Instead plucky local business people have been allowed to operate the generally sub-standard, health and safety ignorant, British businesses favoured in the days of yore*
I'd like to forward this as my initial reasoning as to why market forces are not just ridiculous but in fact a complete arse. If I'm fair to the "market" it also proves that human beings are, by and large, complete idiots. But I am not in the mood to be fair to the market, and in a weakened post breakfast state, quite prepared to cut the human race some slack for once.**
In the last few months the general ambience of the locale has been disturbed by a Subway and a Costa Coffee. Prior to this we had budget sandwich and coffee shops, that somehow managed to thrive, selling wishy washy beverages and limp sandwiches at a price beffitting the said fayre and manageable to the local population. Everytime a more interesting (edible) eaterie opened, it would close within a few months*** to be replaced by a chicken shop or a minicab office.
This market ignores the health and wellbeing of the populus and reaches an state of equilibrium based solely on price. However these businesses are now being threatened by chains selling similar fayre for nearly three times the price. We are told time and time again that competition in the private sector will raise quality and lower price. Rather than variety and price driving the market, it is shiny cups and familiar logos. In six months these businesses will fold, as residents of this localle cannot sustain £3.99 coffees and £5.99 sandwiches, which will in turn lead to a beverage vacuum. Maybe the proliferation of public sector employment will sustain these businesses... If so, where will the locals eat.
Anyway. My point was that choice doesn't drive prices down and competition up. Itdrives prices up and competiton down. Mostly because people are idiots, or at the very least foolish brand magpies.
*The exact dates of this period are not nown but we're generally looing at post-industrial revolution and pre-McDonalds.
** Upon re-reading the first couple of paragraphs I noticed the complete omission of the letter "K". My keyboard had broken and the subsequent liocation of a (sub-standard) spare led me to take pity on humanity
*** With the exception of a rather pleasant Japanese restaurant