Pitch in times of plenty or why we don’t buy nice things

There are no consoles, no graphics. Nothing is. Why can’t we have fun and easy things? Is it simply a problem for manufacturers that they have underestimated demand and failed to prepare for the launch of a new generation of products? No, it turns out that a lot of unavailability is due to merchants, modern money changers going on an industrial scale.

Lack is nothing new – not even in technology, not even in capitalism. Under Sinclair, interest in his computers was so great that queues were created even in Britain and the number of items sold was often limited to a maximum of two per person. For example, Microdrive units were sold, but the Sinclair QL was also expected. The thing is, he was offering something that was really in high demand for really good money – and in fact violated the concept of equilibrium price.

Market theory says that the equilibrium price is one where supply and demand are the same. Different people want the same things at different prices – some more and some less, so rare goods are usually auctioned, looking for the one who wants it the most and the price they are still willing to pay. This concept is understandable if you insist on having the original Kupka painting in your kitchen, but it doesn’t make sense for many mass-consumer products.

There, the price is determined differently, by adding a reasonable margin to the production price. The selling price can even be lower than the manufacturing price if you have a well-planned plan for earning differently: for example, the device you’re selling should only use your services and therefore you’re not actually selling the device, but the service itself. Get broadband – and you borrowed a modem in the price, it will cost you zero. You pay the price in monthly costs!

Then there are essentials, such as medicines or food, for which the price must be kept low, even if they are not – and if they are not, a rationing system is usually put in place. Theoretically, it is possible to use the invisible hand of the market for such cases – and if there are as many scrolls as there are people in front of the store, register an auction and sell them to someone who has a lot of money and they can get their precious ones, for example. wants to have puffs. In that case, however, there is an acute risk of the rest of the people getting angry – and you have a revolution around your neck that no reasonable person wants.

I spoke to a descendant of a noble family and he explained to me that the basic rule of the feudal lord is that he should never put his subjects in a situation where they will be truly desperate. There are always more poor than rich people – and if they get really angry, they will probably outnumber you and your bodyguards, and then you will stick to your own gate regardless of the contents of your wallet. Therefore, such things are usually divided rather than people competing for them in auctions.

Responses can be found at the end of the last chapter.

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