So I Guess I’m Back….


I had planned on not writing anything else on economics, but MarxistMax’s terrible arguments against supermarkets has been nagging me for quite a while yet. MarxistMax starts right off of the bat with an explicit moral condemnation of supermarkets.

Quote from MarxistMax: “It was 1964 when the first supermarket opened its doors in Britain. It signaled the end of the independent grocers, and the beginning of a five decades long parade of glutton and consumerism. Involving an erosion of social fabric and community values, a destruction of local centers of commerce and a concentration of wealth in the hands of a select few.

What social fabric or community values could possibly be eroded by having cheap food readily available? Not only does he not define anywhere what he means by social fabric or community values, terms which in this context are so vague that they can literally be interpreted to mean anything, but he doesn’t even elaborate as to how large quantities of cheap food erode these social fabrics or community values away.

This attack on consumerism goes back to his idea that competition is bad; that it is inherently wasteful, that it gives rise to dog-eat-dog, that it encourages people to not care about social values (vague as hell), etc., etc.. It is from this that he draws his moral condemnation of consumerism, and it is because of this condemnation that he fails to understand the situation at hand. This is further re-enforced by a statement he makes later in the blog.

Quote from MarxistMax: “Spreading wealth more equally gives people power over their buying choices, and generally makes the economy much more democratic.

Just some technical details here; first of all, it is impossible to have more or less power over a given buying choice. To have more power over a buying choice would be to create theft, and to have less power over a buying choice is to eliminate it as a buying choice. But again, no new information about these supposed community values or social fabrics.

Actually, if anything, an abundant supply of cheap food strengthens community/social values. The reason is obvious; since people on the whole are having to spend less on food, they have more money in their pockets to pursue their cultural interests, i.e., music, art, literature, etc., etc..

MarxistMax’s arguments are, objectively, from every conceivable viewpoint, terrible.

By the way, a quick announcement here: I am now on Twitter. If you wish to follow me there, you can find me at @KennethPruitt5.

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Posted on September 16, 2013, in Economics, Political Philosophy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It was worth it to haul you back into the debate! Your arguments are of course, invalid, and for that reason I’ll be posting a reply down here when I’m less tired. I won’t be writing a post on the subject, because I want to write about other things.

  2. Right: here it is. You write as if abundant cheap food is the only thing a supermarket brings with it. Those of us who live in the real world outside of free-market thinking know this to be untrue. A supermarket does provide cheap food, but at the cost of local businesses and ethical farming standards. Let me give you an example:
    A small grocer will probably source his food locally, from a small farmer that sells locally. He sells that food to the people of the town/village for a price that is necessary for him to live. When the Tescos down the road opens up, it sells food that it brought in from Argentina at prices which undercut the local businessman. People start going to the supermarket instead of the grocer, who goes out of business. This hurts the local economy, whilst adding to the global economy. It’s just another way in which our monetary system sucks money from communities and hands it to a global elite. Of which the CEO of Tesco is one.
    This type of international pressure which you label ‘competition’ is what drives farming standards down. British famers are already having to subject their chickens to harsher conditions simply to keep pace with the European farmers to whom the same rules don’t apply. Protectionism is merely a means of stopping this. It doesn’t encourage laziness or inefficiency, it allows national farmers and businesses to prosper without driving down ethical standards. There.

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