Monday, October 30, 2006

Broken Fridges and the Government

Inspired (ahem…) by my fridge and the following snippet from Croydonian
“Over in Gotham there are plans afoot to make "restaurants with highly standardized menu items and portions that already make their caloric content available" (that's Maitre D's, Starbucks etc) publish "calorie counts next to menu items in type that is as large 'as the name or price of the item'””.
PS Croydonian is my new favourite blog , have a look it brilliant

It doesn’t do exactly what is says on the tin.

I `m not at work , and the reason is that the fridge has broken . Two years old , a solid German name "NEFF" , and its cream crackered. This slipstreams neatly into neatly into a flock of thoughts that have swirling around ,as I watch the pound notes drift out of the window ,like confetti. For a long time consumer products were very good. ,“Which “ ,became redundant as competition drove greater utility and value into the customer’s hands . Then came the “sophisticating” of brand value selling, and out -sourcing. The chap who is now emasculating me, by talking to my wife about mechanical things , laughed when I said “German” .“Put the label on in Germany maybe “ he said . I gather even the phrase ,” Made in the EU “ does not by any means guarantee it actually was .

So now the consumer is at sea again .They are even doing it with cars , Mercedes notably , ie running down the quality to maximise brand value in the short term.Recently it has been reported that the number of crisps in a packet chave been getting slowly less . Then a big maxi size pack is popped in , only slightly larger than the old crisp packet, but much more expensive. It is easy to see why having established the value of a brand there is short term profit in selling it out, to the point of actually removing the contents.In this environment of caveat emptor, the seller and the consumer are in an escalating war of withholding, and finding information .

Long ago we established the principle of varying contract law so as to protect the Consumer . This Statute is fairly unique, in that it removes responsibility from one party to a contract . The justification for this is that the seller is better informed ,and will use his advantage to warp the “consensus ad idem” until it invalidates the whole basis of any contract .I very much doubt any of it has a net beneficial effect myself. Nonetheless we can see that the consumer is uniquely protected . We can also see that misinformation about the provenance of a product of indeed its contents will be tempting. The market is a garden , not a wilderness and weeding the garden is a legitimate area for state intervention

.All well and good and the advert “It does exactly what it says on the tin” has been super effective as we flounder to obtain reliable information. Its as if everything we bought was on the basis of a Time Out review . ( Never Never see anything because Time out said so).

Now ,reflecting dietary concerns, there are a variety of codes in the air to oblige packets to reveal, in a simple and coherent way ,the levels of salt , fat and so on . I don’t , just for once, have a huge problem that such a requirement should be extended to fast food .In a supermarket, packaging requirements are there to allow the market to work towards beneficial ends, by stopping sellers from lying, and freeing choice. I can see that with fast food this might be a good way to proceed . Much better at least than denying health care to the fat, or taxing fatness. Both of these are on the table ( that’s not more food fatties) ,and I would guess the health care one ,is happening already . They are doing it to smokers in Nottingham and its a similar fascist principle .

I daresay , if anyone has bothered getting this far, its pretty obvious where I am going ……There is a dastardly group of cowboy suppliers are guilty of the following crimes.
1 Operating dishonestly by splitting areas of trade into regions and so as to confuse the national consumer on price and value.
( Are they beer sellers often taken to a task for this by the monopolies commission ?)

2 Selling a policy that costs far more than to would appear by hiding the costs in various ways .
3 Deferring costs but tying the buyer in so as to misinform at the point of purchase.( Is it the Pensions sellers now beaten daily by the FSA?).
.4 Operating as Cartel with the only other supplier in the market whenever their mutual interests are served?(Could it be the Supermarkets themselves whose market share is monitored assiduously?)

IT IS OF COURSE THE GOVERNMENT ! They would-be in court in a second ,and never let out ,if any of the rules of honest trading

Quick translation:

1 The deliberate use of Regional assemblies to obscure responsibility for Housing Policy and thereby to obscure the consequences of misguided immigration policy ( and much more especially the GLA)
The growing tendency to implement unpopular legislation region by region since the poll tax riots
2 Escalating stealth taxes
Indexing to inflation by increasing indirect taxation
Indexed to house prices no less and failing to index bands

Destroying pensions
Inheritance tax
And so on ad infinitum
3 Europe Taxation
Criminal Justice

So to get back to showing the calories in a Pizza. More information is basically good . Stipulating that the Consumer is protected , yes if that means requiring information to prevent anti market short termism and rip offs . Maintaining the integrity of the relationship between the Consumer`s choice and the product .Abso -bleeding-lutely !For all these reasons we need to move towards flat tax , no regional assemblies and clear costed decisions for the tax payer .We must also stop branding British laws “British” when they were outsourced the to the EU many years ago

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