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    Thursday

    stretchmanIt's the Exiting-the-Pool Economy! Finally, an econ watcher gives vent to something I've been witnessing: value shrinkage. It's the flip-side of price increases. Instead of rising prices, we get less for the same price. "Due to rising input costs and an overall higher cost of doing business, managers have had to find way maintain their profit margins. Rather than risk customers’ ire by raising prices, they make small reductions to value— what you get for the price paid. In other words, customers aren’t necessarily paying more (price inflation), but they’re getting less for their money (value deflation)." Link. If you want to watch this phenomenon at its most gruesome, start monitoring the dollar stores and scrutinizing portions of dollar menu items. At the dollar stores, you'll see things like the ten-pack of mini-candy bars: they're now eight-packs. At Wendy's, the dollar burgers are looking more like White Castles, and I could be wrong, but I think those dollar fries at McDonald's are growing fewer. Related article. * * * * * * * Gilbert_Keith_Chesterton2.jpgIf you're acquainted with Gilbert Magazine, you've no doubt seen those "Chesterton Sightings." They're blurbs that recount ways Chesterton is quoted in today's press. They remind us that Chesterton is still relevant and probably always will be. Although Chesterton Sightings are somewhat rare, they're not as rare as what I saw last night: A Maritain Sighting. As in, "Jacques Maritain," the brilliant, yet leftwing, Catholic and acquaintance of Thomas Merton (funny aside: Maritain, visiting Merton at the Kentucky monastery, grew a bit frustrated when Merton insisted that they listen to Bob Dylan songs, instead of talking about weightier things . . . such was Merton's infatuation with Dylan). Anyway, the article is in Boston Review, and it's a monster. I've bookmarked it for later reading, but it looks pretty good. Here's an excerpt that packs a wallop in a few sentences:
    Personalism, its advocates insisted, was not the same as individualism, which allegedly treated human beings as isolated, self-interested agents, instead of understanding their embeddedness in groups. Communism, on the other hand, entirely absorbed people into the state. Personalism was thus simultaneously anti-liberal and anticommunist; its proponents held that liberalism and communism, for all their apparent differences, were forms of materialism, whereas personalism did justice to the spiritual dimension of human life. Human beings were simultaneously related to a social order and possessed of individual dignity and capacity for transcendence. They should contribute to the common good, but the spirituality of persons was above and untouchable by any earthly community.
    * * * * * * * Leno: "President Obama was in India yesterday visiting our jobs. Tomorrow he goes to China to visit our money." * * * * * * * It's St. Martin's feast day, which reminds me of Henri Gheon's fine biography. It's highly recommended. Gheon also wrote The Secrets of the Saints, which is, in my opinion, one of the three greatest saint books of all time. The other two: Saints for Now (edited by Clare Boothe Luce) and The Holy Fire by Robert Payne. If you're one of my Eastern Orthodox readers and you haven't read Payne's book, you're really missing out (the rest of you are merely missing out). The fourth greatest saint book of all time: My Life with Hayek and von Mises (just kidding).

    5 Responses to “Thursday”

    1. Trubador Says:

      The value reduction has always been happening. But it’s increased over the recent decade when you see things like “1/2 gallon” ice cream containers are now 1.5 quarts (25% reduction). Or Tropicana orange juice marketing a “new” ergonomically designed plastic container that was once 96 ounces, but now is 87 ounces (10% reduction). Or a 1 pound box of Cheese-Its is now 13.5 ounces (8.5% reduction). You can’t even find a pre-packaged “1 pound” can or bag of coffee anymore. It’s always 12 or 13 ounces.

    2. Eric Says:

      Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Companies are always trying to increase profit margins, of course, so this is a natural way of doing it. But it’s happening now as a response to increase costs of the inputs, so it’s more rampant. Eventually, they won’t be able to make the portions smaller, so they’ll have to start inching the price up. It’s inevitable. This week’s Economist says that food commodities went up 11.4% in the past month.

    3. Trubador Says:

      Meanwhile, inflation is right around the corner…

      http://arbiterofcommonsense.blogspot.com/2010/11/inflation-is-coming-big-time.html

    4. Belinda Benson Says:

      Dang,11.4% !!

      I read on the Internet news (I think Drudge)that commodities have gone up 27% within the last three years. I am trying to feed 6 kids, (I have 8 but two are on their own) my husband, and myself but I cant spend any more than my weekly 300.00. Which is a lot already. Worse yet the sales tax continues to inch up. At 9% per one hundred dollars and times three hundred = $27.00 per week which has to be absorbed within the budget. That tax = 108.00 per month!

      I’ve been cooking more foods from scratch- which in actuality has caused us to eat better and healthier however like shrinking products I can only do this for so long before I will have to spend more.

      I think often of how my decisions and faith life have effected our checkbook.

    5. Belinda Benson Says:

      Further more a bag of cranberries were about
      .99c two Thanksgivings ago and they were 16 oz bags. The recipe on the back of the bag gave the sugar to water ratio as a cup of each per lb of cranberries. But now the bags are $2.49 and I think 12 oz however the sugar and water ratio have remained the same so when yer’ granny makes them again this year you perhaps wont notice – you’ve been screwed. Your sauce will be more watery and less fruity. Now about those turkey prices. :O

     

     

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    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
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    Roman Catholic Info
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