Bargain Hunting

While I’m tab-dumping, I should point you to another interesting post of Ezra’s from last week, about the process of Circuit City going out of business.  All the sites had big ‘everything must go!’ sales, only it was one of those weird sales which aren’t, technically speaking, sales.  Instead, they actually raised prices on most of the items in the store, under advisement of a company who specializes in corporate liquidations.  The customers, who just knew that they must be cutting prices, since they had to sell anything, didn’t bother to stop and check whether or not the prices were actually good – they just snapped the merchandise up!

Reading this story puts me in a similar mind as to when I hear stories about all the amazing ways tobacco companies manipulated people in the 50’s and 60’s, or the incredible story of how DeBeers turned diamonds from an unimportant niche market to the most valuable commodity market on the planet (here, in all its Atlantic-length glory, is the definitive telling of this story).  I’m depressed about the way that humans are capable of deceiving each other but, at the same time, impressed by the amazing creativity that rank capitalism can inspire in people.  I hope that, someday, capitalism evolves to a system that is better at harnessing those powers to more unassailable ends, but the amount of creativity gives me hope that we might not be doomed, after all…

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