Friday, 14 May 2021

Supermarkets: "...one of the great bargains of all time."


"The logistics chain that is Amazon, or [Warehouse], or even a [Countdown], is one of the grand capitalist achievements in history. It used to be, in those heady days before the capitalists inserted themselves into the food supply system, that the working man spent 80% of income on food and rent. Sure, rent is a bit of a problem in certain places still. But food bills have fallen to perhaps 10% of household income.
    "We can check this too. Back in 1962 or so Mollie Orshansky noted that a poor family was spending about 30% or so of income on food. So, if we take a reasonable diet and triple it – roughly – then we’ve got a reasonable estimation of the poverty line. Sure, it was a back of the fag packet estimation and was meant to be used for a year or two while they all figured out something more sensible. But that is what the Official Poverty Line in the US is today, merely upgraded for inflation. And as general inflation has been significantly higher than food price inflation over those decades that average poor family, on the same inflation adjusted budget, is now spending 12 to 15%, not 30%, of their budget on food.
    "Supermarkets are the reason why. The people who own supermarkets charge a 1 or 2% margin on their activities. They get 2%, we get a 50% reduction in costs. It’s one of the great bargains of all time.
    "And this is what Guardian columnists complain about…"
          ~ Tim Worstall, from his post 'The problem is the solution - Jeff Bezos'

             [Hat tip Samizdata


>>READ MORE about The Miracle of Breakfast ....

1 comment:

  1. Not only have prices gone down, options have gone up. My wife has recently been experimenting with African cuisine, and hasn't had any trouble finding the ingredients in supermarkets in the Southeast. I make rice wine. My sons' favorite fruits are tropical. Compare that to what we had in the 1950s.

    I got to visit a former USSR nation when I was younger, and one of the things that I found most chilling was their view of supermarkets. To us Americans, it was a trip to the market--we were going into the mountains and were buying food for the trip, like normal (for geologists, anyway). To many of the locals, though, the supermarket was like a zoo: a place to see exotic things that you'd never get a chance to see otherwise. Families would go just to look at the options. And it wasn't that well stocked, either; just your average small-town market in the USA. It's one of the things that really drove home how evil Communism is for me.

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