Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The decline of the Co-op

First up, I will not abandon the Co-op in all of its guises at this moment in time. But reading some of the comments to the Guardian's latest report leaves me fuming. The first one is this: "The prices they charge in store are very high, all because they have a geographical monopoly over those who don't have private transport, like the Tesco Metros and Sainsbury Locals."

Perhaps the prices they charge in store are high because they actually pay a fairer whack for those goods in the first place? That's the point about ethics, fairtrade, organic and so on - it costs more to produce and buy, therefore you can't expect to pay rock-bottom prices for it.

For me, this comment highlights just how disconnected with reality so many people are. It also highlights how big business has won the war. In the end, it wasn't communism or some rival political manifesto that did for us, but rampant capitalism instead. The endless cycle of driving things down - not just prices, but wages, education, democratic rights, and so on - so that the few at the top can cream off obscene sums of money at the rest of our expense while we all dutifully allow ourselves to be bamboozled by the distraction techniques on offer.

It's like the whole UKIP argument - blame the economic migrants instead of the businesses employing them for minimum wages while allowing the taxpayer to pick up the tab in terms of tax credits. Yes, many of these people coming in are on "benefits", but how else would they survive on such meagre wages?

And of course, underlying all of this, the environment. We're systematically destroying the very thing that offers us a habitable place to live, again to line the pockets of those at the top whose riches are so obscene they lost touch with reality a long time ago. Seriously, after the first £1m, what's the point? To just keep piling up money on top of more money at the expense of everyone else - seriously, just how low can you go?

Not low enough, it seems. Just shave another 5p off the cost of something at the checkout, don't ask awkward questions about where that saving is made (hint, not at the expense of the big business's bottom line) and carry on with your blinkered lives.


Rhian Drinkwater said...

Depressing quote from Vince Cable in the Guardian: "I don't understand why people need a million quid a year. I've asked one or two of the more sympathetic bankers to explain it to me. The response has been: "It's not that I need the money, it is because others get it so I should, too." That is a ludicrous mindset. What on earth do these people think they are doing?"

Nick said...

Too true. It almost sounds like a petulant child, doesn't it?

A good - if depressing - read is Sebastian Faulk's A Week In December, where he attempts to get inside one of those bankers' heads (among other things).