Socially conscious spending

No, not really a post about finances at Toongabbie Anglican, but a link to an excellent Ross Gittins article at the SMH.

One Item, Two Prices is an article about how people are willing to pay more for essentially the same product. Demand side economics, to step into Danny’s realm.

Fair trade coffee, organic fruit and vegetables, the size of your coffee – all examples of you paying more than is justified to demonstrate your wealth or social conscious.

Being wise with our money – or whatever resources we are blessed with – is being a “good steward” and our duty, but how do you know where to draw the line? Is the profit motive good or bad?

Questions for another time, I guess. But go read the article and be better informed.

Speaking of which, I got a job, starts next week.

3 Replies to “Socially conscious spending”

  1. This article uses the old Marxist trick of implying that there is some inherent value to labour and materials beyond which vendors start ripping you off (though the Marxist is more concerned with the worker allegedly being ripped off).

    Market economists have never made any secret of the fact that the value of a good is what the purchaser is willing to pay. So, the solution to this problem is not to demonise vendors for doing what they are freely entitled to do, i.e. sell their goods at the best obtainable price, but to simply tell people what they are paying for and let them decide what the fair price is. If enough people still want to pay top dollar for their fair trade coffee, so be it.

    The article does both. Demonises and informs, and the former is not necessary or appropriate.

  2. That seems a bit harsh, Dave. He doesn’t begrudge the businesses making a profit, or even maximising their profits by making available the cheaper products. I think he is just trying to inform people who’ve never thought about it before.

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