Sunday, September 19, 2010

pressure and the flaw in fundamental economics

tomorrow begins the sign-up for the sleep-stealing, heart-rate threatening, dreaded, infamous Power Camp.
they gave us one week to decompress from lotoja, then they apply the pressure to commit to another winter of intense cycling work; I'm not sure that one week is long enough.
but this is just how it goes ~ companies and organizations hype things up, trying to create excitement and intensity, and ask for commitments well ahead of the actual time of delivery. this is just the way we have trained sellers to operate, because we fall for it all and say "yes, choose me!" entirely too easily.
power camp doesn't actually begin until mid-november, but they want our commitment (and our money) now.
and as I stated, we as a society have created this situation for ourselves, so it's hard to become to frustrated with the sellers of such programs and gadgets who are only playing the game themselves. pre-order this! get on the waiting list for that! be the first on your block to have the new widgit coming out next year by paying now for delivery in six months!
but I do have a different frustration. it has to do with supply and demand and what I see as one of the biggest problems we've created in our capitalistic society.
anyone who's ever taken basic economics has learned about the supply and demand curves. they teach us that price is a reflection of both supply and demand: as supply goes up the price will decrease unless demand increases, and when supply is lessened the price will increase unless demand also decreases.
this is all good in theory.
but you know about theories and reality: they don't always play together well.
this is my complaint, based on thirty or so years of observation: it all works well until greed enters the equation.
there are certain things-items-commodities out there that people are in such need of that they will pay more than they can afford just so they can have it.
and in some situations, companies charge for items just because they can get it.
microsoft is one of my favorite examples here: yes, bill gates created something amazing, terrific, useful, fabulous. but it sells for a pretty hefty price. and he has how much money? and ~ this is my key question ~ how much is enough? what if he sold his software for, say, twenty percent less: would he still be a billionaire? why do companies have to be as greedy as they are? how much is enough?

and this connects to power camp how, you ask?
the answer: power camp classes are offered early morning, noon, and evening. they have approximately 40 bikes in the spin room where classes are held, and they take up to 110 or so registrants.
this year they are selling a pass, for an additional $25, that will guarantee you a spot in the early morning class. meaning, if you purchase one of these passes and you show up to class and the bikes are all taken, you can kick someone off if they don't have one of these special passes.
what are they selling?
what does it cost them?
what is their profit margin on this item?
how do they justify this, in their little ethical mind?
what does this say about us as a society? if you have more money you can take from those who have less?

if I ran the world, things would be different.
I can't promise to solve any of the world's problems, and I really wouldn't want to be the queen of everything, but I can certainly think of a few things to do to make our societies more equitable.
because even though it's said that he who dies with the most toys wins,
he still dies.
maybe someday more of us will come to the realization that to give is to receive, and that in the end, enough is all you really need.

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