David SimsEssays

Capitalism, Hot Air, and the Price of Bread

by David Sims

LET US BEGIN our examination of typical capitalist behavior with a discussion about the cost of bread.

In years ending in 0 or 5, the companies that make sliced bread get their boards of directors together and raise their prices. And, after the vote, the company’s directors all laugh with unholy glee.

In years ending in 1 or 6, they shorten each loaf of bread they sell by 1/4 inch. And, after the vote, the company’s directors all laugh with wicked glee.

In years ending in 2 or 7, they reduce the cross-section area of the loaf by three percent. And, after the vote, the company’s directors all laugh with evil glee.

In years ending in 3 or 8, they make the holes in the bread bigger and more numerous. And, after the vote, the company’s directors all laugh with vile glee.

In years ending in 4 or 9, they start using cheaper ingredients. For example, they might substitute sawdust for some of the flour in the original recipe. And, after the vote, the company’s directors all laugh with maniacal glee.

And all the while, they blare TV advertisements telling you what an intelligent purchase their bread is. That’s how capitalism sneaks up on you. One of the oldest jokes in the world must be this one-liner:

“What a wonderful deal you are getting,” said the seller.

(Apropos of this kind of behavior, have you noticed that the structure of whole wheat bread sold at the supermarket is now so vacuous that a loaf of it can no longer support its own weight? Whole wheat bread becomes “crushed” just by sitting on a shelf for a while.)

In 2040, perhaps they will sell slices of bread individually packaged. Nobody will be able to afford an entire loaf. This slice is about one square inch in cross section, and the center of it is just one big airy hole.

Another example of this sort of capitalist behavior can be seen in floor fans. You might not have been aware of it, but there are two kinds of these. There’s the kind that industrialists sell to each other. And there’s the kind they sell to you.

The kind of floor fan that capitalists make for themselves are sometimes called “high velocity” fans. They have metal blades that cut the air efficiently and don’t warp out of shape over time. They move a respectable amount of wind. And they usually aren’t sold to peons like us. Although all fans could be made this way, for some reason they aren’t.

The floor fans that the capitalists sell to us have blades made of plastic, which warp over time so that, after a summer or two, you can stand one of them up, plug it in, turn it on “high,” and you might be able to detect a slight breeze out of it in the forward direction — maybe.

Then you go back to the store to buy another fan, only to fall for the same gimmick once again.

I’ve been into a department store on a hot day when the air conditioning wasn’t working. They had the doors open, and they had the good kind of floor fans blowing a breeze down the aisles. But all of the fans stacked on the shelves, which they were selling to shoppers, were the bad kind.

When I asked how much the store would charge me for one of their “high velocity” fans, the sales lady told me that they weren’t allowed to sell those fans to customers.

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James Clayton
James Clayton
25 July, 2017 6:51 am

When I was a freshman in college, a loaf of bread and a gallon of gasoline was ~$0.25. My VOLKSWAGEN got 35 mpg at practically any speed, on “regular,” which had an octane-rating about the same as “premium,” today. It would cruise comfortably at 70 mph, didn’t have air conditioning, but did have a sun roof and vent wing windows.

And the primary problem remains “planned inflation” due to the use of the FEDERAL RESERVE system. It is very simple to understand; however the average lemming at least hasn’t the attention span to get through a primer on the subject, e.g., “Billions for the Bankers and Debts for the People: A Study” at https://archive.org/details/BillionsForTheBankersAndDebtsForThePeopleAStudy

25 July, 2017 9:55 am

Capitalism. What’s in a name? People act like capitalism is an invention. Marketing is buying and selling. So-called capitalism in America is smothered with heavy taxes, draconian laws, regulations, etc.

In 1969 I pumped gasoline all summer long for an average of 27.9 a gallon.

Note: The instant you open the hand valve at the pump, the gasoline should begin flowing into your tank at the exact time the meter begins running. The majority of the time, the meter runs up 10 cents or more before gasoline enters the tank. A rip-off that would not have been tolerated back in the day. When oil companies sell petroleum at the dock, the meter doesn’t begin running until the liquid crosses the flange entering the tank, barge, ship, whatever.

25 July, 2017 6:53 pm

You could of course start your own bread company, sell a quality product, and put those other companies out of business. If we actually lived in a capitalist country that is.