by Shawn Parker
The Columbus Dispatch published a number of Letters to the Editor Thursday that were referencing the cost of crackers at the local grocery store in response to the question of the week “is capitalism or socialism responsible for a box of crackers costing $4.29 at the shelf? Every letter the paper published was from a writer (as far away as Cleveland- which in itself is surprising) lauding the merit of socialism as being able to offer everyone a box of crackers at the rate of $1.29.
I spent many years in the industry that makes crackers, (I represented both the store brand manufactures as well as the national name brand companies ) and these writers are coming from a very bad theory of economic philosophy.
The store brand is often manufactured at a very similar quality level as the national brand and the consumer of commodity items can’t tell the difference. Think of a gallon of milk- it comes from the same cows unless it has a special attribute such as organic, or variety of cow that the milk might come from.
Some products are more complicated to manufacture. Think of Ketchup conceptually for a moment. Name brands have a very different flavor and flows due to the recipe, and are usually easily and markedly distinguished from store brands.
Herein lies the difference! A grocery store rarely (I can’t think of ever in recent history) created a new product or developed an enhancement to a category to make our lives more interesting and enjoyable. The person paying for the more expensive crackers is trusting that the product they purchased is of the highest quality. They also are leaving some money in the till for future product development, and investment in new ideas of crackers for the person who likes to eat more interesting crackers (and cookies too!)
The store-brand NEVER leads the way.
Now think of America. Because the free market exists under capitalism, you get to enjoy innovation in more than just different types of crackers and cookies. The free capitalist market allows for new medicines to be created to cure illness, it allowed for the computer industry to be created which has taken over the way we do business and live with speed and efficiency. It allowed for the development of everything America has given to the world in innovation as the leader in almost every industry and service.
It is as simple as this, socialism gives you only one choice of cracker. You better like it; Enjoy and live the same life every day, and hope there is enough set aside to repair the cracker-making machine when it breaks down so we have crackers on the shelf to even buy. Or, embrace capitalism and enjoy the variety of crackers and cookies the store has and look forward to new exciting flavors and better products in the future.
A good example is the development of the electric automobile (although it is a technology we abandoned at a time the gas vehicle was in fact more efficient. Elon Musk built the Tesla automobile in America. Why did he choose this country? He could have chosen progressive any European country. The problem was that the European countries were investing heavily in clean Diesel as the future technology. They were in fact invested so heavily in ramp-up factories so they had an interest financially in forcing that product on the market, even though they once led the segment with Mercedes-owned Smart cars.
Asia doesn’t develop ideas, they take them from others and try to add efficiency in the production process, or pay lower wages to their people to undercut the retail price (sounds like cracker doesn’t it??)
Teslas were built here not because it is cheap to do so, but America is the only free-thinking open and yes – capitalist free market where such an idea of the future can be perfected to take to the consumer. They innovated at a huge financial risk, a new idea of transportation and efficiency that is potentially cleaner and sustainable if further innovation and innovation occurs.
It really is as simple as a box of crackers to illustrate the poor and regressive understanding the socialists have of the reality of the difference of America and the rest of the world that looks up to us for ideas. Call it the price of Freedom.
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