by Handsome Matt
I was talking with my brother yesterday and he made the comment “I’m surprised there hasn’t been a consumerist revolt.” A light Sunday afternoon discussion I know!
He was talking about free markets, and how in many cases they don’t seem to exist. He highlighted urban apparel; companies like Sean John, FUBU, and others sell clothes at ludicrously high prices to a demographic that, on paper, can’t afford it.
Or take gasoline prices. Volatility doesn’t encourage economic growth, in fact quite the opposite, in encourages a bunker mentality. Yet everyday it’s a new price, with swings of $0.50 a day not uncommon.
What has developed is a legal trust or monopoly. And in the face of this, voting with one’s wallet has no impact. Like quitting Facebook because of privacy concerns, it doesn’t send any message whatsoever; it only affects the individual.
It is effectively a captive market, with a few companies doing similar things for similar prices. It is the appearance of a free market, the illusion of one.
Has anyone stopped to wonder why MPG standards have decreased since the 80s? An 80s BMW gets better mileage than a Smart Car. According to the plans laid out before, we should have at this point in life:
Cars with 30 mpg city as the norm.
Clean, renewable energy for everyone.
Ultra efficient homes, and smart cities.
But what has happened? The mega players in captive markets have used lobbyists effectively, dragged their feet, cited “free markets” and “competition,” and in some cases ignored outright government demands and regulation.
And people still believe in a free market as though it were a personal benefit. The current system benefits a small slice of Civilization. And the other 90% believe it benefits them.
At what point do we realize that we are the market, and that we can’t bear what is occurring any longer?