Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ruskin on prices

John Ruskin - from Wikipedia

There is hardly anything in the world that some man can't make a little worse and sell a little cheaper and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.

It is impossible to miss a wealthy man’s disdain for competition here, his covert assumption that even if driving down prices raises the poor out of poverty, there may be worse things than poverty.

It might encourage the poor to clamour for more in some uncouth manner not at all commensurate with his absurd fantasy - the picturesque dignity of inefficient labour.

Yet on the other hand it is difficult to be entirely cynical about Ruskin’s distaste for the dehumanising aspect of industrial production and mechanical efficiency.

There are no easy answers to this dilemma and to my mind the people we have to fear most are those who claim otherwise. Especially if they have a firm grip on power and the means to manipulate popular sentiment.


Petr said...

When we lived in west London many years ago there was a small upmarket (if you accept there can be such) burger chain which used this slogan on the front of its menu. We used it as the philosophy when we later set up retail shops and never looked back.

Demetrius said...

He had a vision of the past that never really existed and a vision of the future that was impossible.

A K Haart said...

Petr - I'm sure there can be upmarket burgers because as Tesco showed, there are certainly downmarket ones.

Demetrius - I agree, he did, yet we need ideals by which to measure ourselves.