Thursday, February 21, 2008

Duck goes cheap in supermarket

Former PM Jaroslaw ‘the duck’ Kaczynski has said that the unregulated building of hypermarkets and supermarkets is against the social and national interests of Poland. Strange how the arch-conservative Kaczynski would appear hip and radical to many ‘liberals’ in the UK.

Supermarkets for Kaczynski – all of which carry foreign capital – are quintessentially evil. The already draconian building restrictions - the result of a law created last year by the old Kaczynski government – should be retained, he said yesterday at a meeting with trade unionists, trying to preempt any move by the more free market orientated Civic Platform government to allow the building of any more of them.

As he spoke, trade unionists at a branch of Tesco’s in Tychy in the south of the country went on a warning strike, fighting for better pay and conditions.

Liberals in Poland - who quite like supermarkets - would point out that Kaczynski’s opposition to them is merely playing to his political base: small towns which rely on small, local retail and production units, and to his old Solidarity trade union base.

But I would remind liberals in Poland that it is the liberal-left in the UK, for instance, who are calling for similar restrictions to be imposed on supermarkets there.

The Competition Commission is currently drafting up restrictions to supermarket trade in the UK that Kaczynski can only drool at. The big chains will be regulated in how big price cuts they can offer. 'Cheap food?' No thanks. And the support for that kind of invasive law comes with the blessing of the modern day western liberal.

The view behind this is expressed by Andrew Simms, author of Tescopoly: "Tesco is an expression of a winner-take-all dynamic at the heart of the business sector at the moment. Without adequate checks and balances to keep markets open, you end up with the ultimate paradox, flying under the flag of promoting free markets: monopolies."

But that’s not all. “There is the poverty of our 'cloned' commercial surroundings, the poverty of knowing the hardship of the people who fill the supermarket shelves, and overwhelming [spiritual] poverty of actually getting to and shopping in a big supermarket.”

So the morons who shop in supermarkets – he is talking about you and me – are being ‘spiritually’ impoverished every time we park the car in the shopping mall multistory.

What about all the spiritually malnourished people who, like me, think supermarkets are a very useful way to do the shopping? And there are lots of us, because so many people go to Tesco etc.
"It's not necessarily so that just because people use it, it must be a good thing. It doesn't make the environment around it a pleasant place.

Oh. Yeah.

I can imagine Jaroslaw Kaczynski – who the western liberal middle classes would normally look down their noses at (with his anti-gay views, his nationalism) nodding along to much of Tescopoly. Supermarkets - and this is the rub – to both groups represent modernity and mass culture, and neither liberal nor conservative is too keen on modernity at the moment.

I do understand where Kaczynski is coming from: small not very good and expensive retail units are threatened by the evil supermarkets.

Small food producers are threatened by supermarkets – they just can’t produce enough of a good product to satisfy them. These people are Kaczynski’s base and he is expressing their peasant, and what used to be called, ‘petty bourgeois’ point of view...

Yet, much of the western middle class is made up of some very petty bourgeois thinking. What they forget is what I don’t. Being dragged around shops for about an hour everyday...the butcher, my exhausted mum, doing what are just routine chores. She didn’t have the luxury of a once a week mega shop in Tesco or Carrefour. So supermarkets have helped liberate women’s time. But the majority of people here in Poland simply don't have that choice. They still live how my mum lived today.

And what some of the liberal middle classes in the west have also forgotten is that supermarkets have helped keep the price of food down.

Now that may not matter to them – food has been and still is relatively cheap as a proportion of income in the UK for sometime. But to Poles, who on average still spend a quarter of their income on the basics of life – food, this is a big deal. Small shops do not have the economies of scale to keep prices down.

At a time of food inflation like we are experiencing now, supermarkets are essential.

And if trade unionists get active in them, then that’s fine by me and good luck to them. But you won’t be getting trade unions forming in small, often super-exploitative small businesses.

That someone like Kaczynski can find political common ground with liberals in the west proves that either: Kaczynski is not reactionary at all, but a liberal in disguise; or that many western middle class liberals are not so liberal at all, but reactionaries in disguise?

And put it this way: I don’t think Kaczynski is a cross-dressing liberal...


varus said...

Interesting piece!

The economies of scale you talk about are not only an issue at the sales end. In the area of poland where i am the average field is less than an acre. I know that in other parts there are bigger farms, but when i see my neighbours go out with a tractor to plough a tiny plot of land, and then watch another neighbour take his tractor out to plough the adjecent piece while the first travels a k down the road to plough an equaly small piece, i down know whether to laugh or cry.

I know that for many farmers the idea of selling off the land is hideous, but unless some kind of changes are made, then the farms will never be truly productive.

michael farris said...

"small not very good and expensive retail units are threatened by the evil supermarkets"

To be fair, small, very good and not so expensive retail units are just as threatened by huge box stores.

I'm in favor of restricting the number of big metal boxes on the edge of town and encouraging larger retail units to integrate into the city better. It can be done (Stary and Nowy Browar in Poznan for example).

If hypermarkets are allowed total freedom to build the likely scenario is that they'll keep building until the market is saturated and urban retail is gutted and people without cars are totally screwed when it comes to shopping.

As someone who enjoys not having to have a car I like that there's a half a dozen pretty good stores within easy walking distance with better quality local food than tesco can offer.

beatroot said...

I like that there's a half a dozen pretty good stores within easy walking distance with better quality local food than tesco can offer.

And if those stories are pretty good - meaning good range of products, and essentially good personal service - something you can;t get from supermarkets - then they will always be around because I will go to them. But I am also going to the supermarket. Lots. And when I am there I am going to Macs for a double MacRoyale!!!!!!!

Frank Partisan said...

I guess Kaczynski wants capitalism in one country.

Anonymous said...

What makes a supermarket or a smaller store "good"?

Let's not leave out wages,working conditions and benefits of workers, heh?

And istm that the development at any and all costs refrain is very Marxist.

Anonymous said...

Also, I'm not only talking 'bout the workers in the store but also those guys and gals involved with the production of the stuff in the store.

In the US, at any rate, the Wal-Marts are stocked full of stuff from China, other Asian countries, and Mexican maquiladoras.

beatroot said...

Capitalism is unfair? Shock.

I would rather be a exploited worker in a large company or sector than an exploited one in the small business sector. At least there is the possibility of organizing yourselves in a large workplace.

There is this romantic view that small business must be best It is not,in many ways.

Anonymous said...

Those who worry about "big boxes" dominating, fear not. The high price of oil /global warming will force the Tescos of the world to come up with downtown-urban-medium-sized store strategies as the cost of petrol skyrockets over the next ten years and people start moving into higher-density areas, and (more to the point in Poland) going back to the daily shopping tour on foot. They are already talking in the States about how to "uninvent" the suburbs. I wouldn't be surprised if the hypermarkets are already developing store size and distribution strategies around such a neighborhood store. Kaczynski may be right for all the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

False dichotomy, BR.

Try this one instead: I would rather be an unexploited worker in either a large or small store than an exploited worker in either.

There is no need for the larger stores to drive all smaller operations out of business.

Indeed, digger boy is spot on.

ISTM, too, that you are all romantic and starry eyed about Tescos and McDonalds.

Too much advertising?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Saying 'too much advertising' is not engaging in a debate, Geez. Supermarkets are on the whole good for Poles. Period. The anti-supermarket brigade - another weird alliance of libs and cons is a sad nostalgia about a nasty little world where little shop keepers served every need with a smile and a warm sord.

Well, that never exsisted in Poland. Shope, not ten years ago, were dreadful, with miserable old gits not interested in serving anyone. And the produce they had was often dreadful. These days it has got better and that is because small shops have to offer something the big ones can't - and then they charge you the extra money for the pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Neither is attempting to diminishing one's opponent's argument by writing it off simply and wholely as nostalgic romanticism.

I can agree with a statement that super duper mega-supermarkets are in some ways beneficial for Poles or Americans or anybody.

But the "period" summation is altogether absolutist and way off the mark.

And here's one just for you. One of the big local super duper mega-supermarkets in my locale in the US recently decided to stop selling cigarettes.

And mega department stores such as Wal-Mart make decisions not to sell this or that book or album because it is un-wholesome in the owners' view.

Not so great on the whole and period, heh?

beatroot said...

I didn;t 'just' write an argument off, I explained why I called it nostalgic romanticism. But the world 'romanticism' is apt as this is a reaction against modernity, which is exactly what the romantics were.

Anonymous said...

People who have qualms about Tesco and the like for the most part aren't just and simply motivated by nostalgic romanticism.

"We live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual,
because in spite of great scientific and technological
advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is
or what he is doing."

-- Walker Percy

Anonymous said...

Limiting economic freedom as Poland still does rather extensively will result in the obvious low job growth and a standard of living that will not catch up to old Europe any time soon.

Unemployment numbers in Poland don’t tell the truth, they don’t reflect people conducting activities that represent contributing virtually nothing to GDP i.e. bare subsistence.

This nonsense with limiting super markets and larger retailers is part and parcel of the same mentality that allows:

-a bloated civil service that’s costly and ineffective

-restrictive labour market

-over regulated society and business sector

-social services that the country cannot afford.

-an agricultural sector that resembles a walk threw a medieval history textbook

The economic miracle requires simultaneously addressing the above. Tusk clearly promised us that it was our turn for an economic miracle; it should be evident that he isn’t the man for the job.

The Polish GDP per capita is roughly 220% less than Germany and only exceeds Mexico and Turkey in the OECD countries. Poland has still failed to attain a positive trade balance.

Once again Poland has been denied effective leadership by an incompetent and corrupt political establishment unable to meet the challenges of a modern world.

Several million of our fellow citizens have voted on this with their feet and although the rush to exit door has slowed, foreign lands continue the look attractive.

Yes things have improved over the years but at a traditional Polish pace.

Anonymous said...

"Supermarkets are on the whole good for Poles. Period."

You can't argue with that.
No really: you can't.

michael farris said...

I don't go to Tesco more often because: a) It's not so close,
b) I don't think the quality is so good so it's not worth a special trip (for me)

I do like the more upscale Piotr i Paweł and more downscale (and smaller) Lidl and will go make a trip there once in a while.

Anonymous said...

These are the quotes from the article about Simms that I find pertinent. Based more on just (justice) economics and a concern for community than nostalgic romanticism, I'd say:

"Simms' thesis is essentially that supermarkets are pushing a social and economic "culture of poverty" across the world. Under the guise of creating employment, choice and low prices, he aims to show that the reality is that they are destroying jobs, diversity and the social glue that holds communities together."

Simms: "When you see a Tesco Extra hypermarket on the edge of town what you are seeing is the surgical removal of the economic underpinning of neighbourhood and communities, to a sort of sanitised, laboratory environment, physically removed from the body."

Anonymous said...

Are we afraid to let the great-unwashed masses vote?

Surely we have to trust the people to some extent, allow any market small or huge and people will decide if the goods are of the appropriate price and quality. They will vote with their feet and credit cards, those retail concepts that have merit will survive and those that are no longer valid shall perish.

In this day and age were anyone can access information, the public has a means to determine whether the retailer is socially responsible or not, and act accordingly.

Economic liberty, the liberty part still confuses some of the folks in Poland.

Anonymous said...

The "vote" is fine as long as monopolistic practices and advantages don't limit or even eliminate the possibilities for "whom" to "vote".

GM said...

I live in a rather unique environment as far as grocery shopping goes -- Boulder, CO. It's a far cry from Poland, as even the Safeways and discount grocery stores carry huge amounts of organic products to compete with: Whole Foods, Wild Oats (the chain that competes with Whole Foods), and Vitamin Grocer (local organic chain). It's some kind of bizarre hippie / yuppie utopia, where spandex clad bikers ride their $5000 mountain bikes 1 mile to do their grocery shopping, parking their bikes next to some vintage VW bugs...

From what I recall from living in Poland four years ago, it was generally easier to go to a small chain grocery store to buy essentials, but the best food was available at small stores (baker, butcher, vegetables and fruit stands, etc.). Getting to the super market, even with a car, was a pain because of traffic.

That and, even as a student, the dollar still was worth something in 2004, and going out to eat was affordably priced -- far more so in Krakow than in Warsaw, which cost only slightly less than a city in the states. Still Warsaw hardly constitutes sticker shock in comparison to London or Paris (9 Euros for a Heineken at a club???).


Anonymous said...

Shopping today, I found that the mega super duper market decided to stock and carry only organic (but more expensive and not local) carrots from now on.

Is that good?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gustav said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the hypermarkets are already developing store size and distribution strategies around such a neighborhood store.

Carrefour is implementing that very strategy in Poland as we speak, and has already opened such "corner shop" type stores (under the Carrefour 5 Minut brand) in places like Radomsko.

Which means that these chains are understanding the market more and more, and trying to provide what the customer wants. Small shops are still extremely popular because Poles like buying fresh bread and fresh eggs, and many do so every day. Instead of braving the traffic to get to the hypermarket, just for some bread, they prefer to walk down to the corner and pick it up. I'm glad that the big chains have decided to compete with the small independent shops on this count then, because maybe it means that service will get better. I'm tired of being treated like a burden or an idiot every time I go to the corner shop. While the supermarkets may be promoting a "culture of poverty", their service is "rich" in customer friendliness - if only in relative terms to the traditional Polish corner shop.

And many of those corner shops - despite their narrow range of products, terrible service and often high prices - are still thriving. So if any of these chains are "engaging in monopolistic practices", it doesn't seem to be paying off just yet.

Anonymous said...

I guess the big difference between Poland and the US is that Poles are still accustomed to walking. Most Americans can't even imagine walking more than two blocks to a corner store. And even then most will still drive their cars. And fuhgedabod Americans taking a bus (or in Poland a tram)to pick up milk, bread or eggs.

-- geez

beatroot said...

Car ownership, Geez, is way below US. And the towns are still designed to have shops and things 50 yards away.

Gustav returns!
As for the Tesco Express type shops opening up. Yeah, we got a Carrefour Express just up the road from me. It's HORRIBLE. It's like the crappy old small 'supermarkets' with the same boring stuff in them - I mean, where was the lemon grass? - and the people who worked in them were more exposed there. And they were same often intimidating 'service' as in many of the old shops, who still think it is a time of martial law, and they have the upper hand cause there is only two kielbase in the shop, and two hundred customers.

Brad Zimmerman said...

Kaczynski - and those like him - that support restrictions on businesses have no actual, real faith in capitalism or the people aka the market.

There will always be a niche for small stores, even with their higher prices, because they can cater to their specific area. A supermarket can't or won't. However, I wonder if "niche" is a known word in Poland or if business owners would understand the concept.

Once the majority of business owners (and shoppers) realize that trying there is more than just price to compete on then I think we will see an explosion of small shops/boutiques/whatevers.

Regarding the work at big stores vs. a small store: would it be or is it any better at either place? It's still the most mind-numbing work you could be doing.

Anonymous said...

In the name of Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett,


Isn't there such a thing as manufactured demand?

Are Polish people really so, er, uh, non-understanding that they don't comprehend "a niche"?

Seems to me that there are quite a few small shops all over Poland already and there will indeed be more and more popping up.

My guess, however, is that as more people get cars and suburbs are more developed there will be less and less small shops but more equivalents of 7-11s and The Dollar Stores (Carrefours?).

Finally, from my own experience, I've found working in factories much more mindnumbing than working in grocery stores, fast food joints, and/or smaller shops.

--- geez
(the blogger is messed up again)

Anonymous said...

Although I think the rise of the large supermarket was possible because of cheap oil, and expensive oil will make them unfeasible, let's not also forget tightly knit communities also have measurable benefits, specifically, they are physically healthier (Google "Roseto Effect" to read more), and that has implications on the cost of health care. Simms is not entirely wrong in principle, but one shouldn't of course try to control big box stores through legislation. Once people start having to pay more to heat / light their homes and drive their cars, these small stores will return, maybe even with more competition within the more tightly knit communities to keep prices down and levels of service up.

Anonymous said...

Digger boy, then why do the sales of 4x4s go up even when the price of gas has been going up?

People don't always do what's sensible.

I just don't see folks, once they have families, moving into cities.

I live in a city but I send my kids to a suburban Catholic school, and sign them up for sports leagues in the suburbs as well.

There's more to where people live than just shopping considerations.

And different strokes for different folks. Tight-knit communities also place premium demands upon conformity and uniformity which make it difficult for anybody to be different.

Anonymous said...

Geez, thus far, people have not had to pay for the cost of carbon emissions included in not only the price of energy, but also, the price of manufactured goods which they buy. But we are clearly headed that way, whether it is via a carbon tax or a global "cap and trade" system, and when that happens, we will begin to create a tipping point where the ability to have all that you need within walking distance (including quality schools) will be more economical than having it only within driving distance.

How that will play out in terms of percentage moving to higher density areas vs. suburban areas remains to be seen, but you cannot deny that the entire global warming discussion and its cost implications for every day life will provoke such a trend.

Anonymous said...

I won't deny it but methinks more than a few folks who frequent this blog do and will deny it.

I just don't know when the "tipping point" will be reached for folks to realize they have little choice but to change their living and consumption patterns. And by then it may be too late.

-- geez
(the blogger is still screwed up)

beatroot said...

we will begin to create a tipping point where the ability to have all that you need within walking distance (including quality schools) will be more economical than having it only within driving distance.

Why will there be a ‘tipping point’? Why do we need things within ‘walking distance.’? Why do you want to go back living like you were some hunter gatherer eking out a living picking berries?

There is no reason for travel to be harmful. Electric cars, compressed air driven cars topped up with a little battery powered by electricity stations, which power electricity homes and factories...and all those powered by nuclear power stations.

Carbons = zero.

All it takes is the will to innovate – not think you can fix something by cutting back on human activity. That will never happen. And neither will Poland and other emerging economies sacrifice their economic growth to the angst of the green lobby.

But maybe you don’t actually want to improve the environmental situation or the situation of humans needing economic development (meaning all of us). Maybe what you want is a hair shirt (organic), maybe.


Brad Zimmerman said...

Having worked in both a factory, assembling computers and worked in a grocery store... the grocery store was far more mind-numbing *and* demeaning.

Can someone explain to me how one big store consumes more resources than 100 small stores?

As far as niches go in Poland: I just don't see them. Every place sells everything, although it's always the same crap. Alma at least has a good selection of imported goods. Carrefour has a great selection of shitty goods. My corner store has a collection of stuff I don't really need but always out of the basics like, oh, bread and Coke light. And it's really great that while they may carry one brand of something today you can be sure that it won't be there again tomorrow. Maybe in two weeks, maybe two months? Hard to say.

Of course, I could track down a butcher's, greengrocer's, bakery and so on... but frankly I'm not going to spend that much time shopping for food that I'm going to consume and have to buy all over again in 3-5 days. The only people that have that time are retired or bored. The rest of us just want a good selection of good products at reasonable (not necessarily CHEAP) prices.

Just my opinion. Yours may be different and if so, shop wherever. But don't pass a bunch of laws making it impossible to shop on the weekends or after midnight. Let the marketplace decide what's offered (and accepted).

Anonymous said...

Regarding organic hair shirts--

Not quite. I like my car and air travel and while I do prefer the urban lifestyle, I now live in a small city which is more suburban in character, near a bigger western metro area that affords me the best of both worlds, and I like that. But all that I've read over the past two years (sorry, can't give you citations right now), say that apart from the nuclear power which you cite, which is itself politically controversial and therefore subject to those potential constraints, there really is no technology on the horizon that offers near the convenience of carbon fuels without the infamous carbon footprint (lots of hype and hoopla, but nothing apart from the solar concentrator projects in Nevada that offer anything close to that).

Let's hope I'm wrong. I'd hate to lose the conveniences we have now. But proper planning also means considering the other possibility, just without the organic hair shirts, wouldn't you say, Mr. BR?


Anonymous said...

And how fast are those electric cars gonna go?

How big are they?

How loud are they?

And yer gonna git folks to drive 'em how?

-- geez --

Anonymous said...

I see Katyn didn't get the Oscar.

michael farris said...

Interestingly I assumed the Austrian film would win (without seeing any of the movies) just because it was holocaust-themed.

The academy loves itself some holocaust. (how else could Life is Beautiful win anything?)

Anonymous said...

If Katyń had had a mentally ill character it would have been a sure fire winner. Wajda, Wajda, Wajda - what were you thinking? Tragedy has to be laid on thick for Americans.

beatroot said...

Not quite. I like my car and air travel

You climate change deniar!!! There will be laws against people like you soon...

Don't know about this climate change bit. 'The science' that I have tried ti understand is not so clear as the reports in the media suggest. Polar bears will not be extinct in three and a half minutes and Iceland is not going to melt and flood my miving room any time this century or next.

So let's get going and get off carbons. It won;t happen anytime soon in China, but the developed world can get innovating. It's what we are going to have to do.

It's that or forced sterilization to cut down birth rate. I bet a few greenies would just love that.

Anonymous said...

Nobody claims polar bears will be extinct in three days or that Iceland will melt into your living room this weekend.

And it's not the media that says there's global warming but rather a large majority of the world's best scientists. Indeed, a large part of the media is going out of it's way to give credence to global warming deniers.

beatroot said...

Geez, the headlines appear every day, many times. The UK Guardian had a headline. ‘Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK’, a story about a new report from two UK health bodies.

Mobile phone masts will kill your kids; polar bears are becoming instinct – the Al Gore classic – but the biggest danger from polar bears is hunting. There is more of them now than 20 years ago.
People do think that Iceland is going to melt by the end of the decade. But again, worst case models predict that the size of something like Iceland will take centuries to melt. It’s a lot of bull, Geez, and you have to immediately be sceptical when you read media reports, because they are representing the complexity of the science at all.

Anonymous said...

Well fuck the media reports and the Spiked pseudo-science.

Go right to the scientists:

1.1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007
1.2 Joint science academies’ statement 2007
1.3 Joint science academies’ statement 2005
1.4 Joint science academies’ statement 2001
1.5 U.S. National Research Council, 2001
1.6 American Meteorological Society
1.7 American Geophysical Union
1.8 American Institute of Physics
1.9 American Astronomical Society
1.10 American Physical Society
1.11 Federal Climate Change Science Program, 2006
1.12 American Association for the Advancement of Science
1.13 Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London
1.14 Geological Society of America
1.15 American Chemical Society
1.16 Engineers Australia (The Institution of Engineers Australia)
1.17 The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

... and then some:

Anonymous said...

Beatroot wrote: There is no reason for travel to be harmful. Electric cars, compressed air driven cars topped up with a little battery powered by electricity stations, which power electricity homes and factories...and all those powered by nuclear power stations.

Carbons = zero.

Two tiny points: firstly, those uber-eco-friendly cars will still use a shedload of resources to make and thus produce a fair whack of carbon. Secondly, have you worked out what to do with nuclear waste?

beatroot said...

fusion doesn;t use up much waste.

Second all energy plants have emissions of some kind. So what?

Anonymous said...

All human beings fart. So what if we all start farting at the same time in a public theater?

Magnify this many times over, realizing that farting is not a life and death situation.

Damien Moran said...

Ah yeah, good old Tesco. No body to imprison, no soul to go to hell.

Baltic Zephyr said...

I believe that there is no danger in the assumption that Lech Kaczinski will never be mistaken for a liberal in either the social or economic understanding of the term yet I believe that you have taken liberties, confusing the two. It is not the case that someone who holds liberal economic values must also assert liberal social values, the same being true of conservatism. This can be illustrated particularly well in Britain’s current political party leaders where a Tory Cameron looks far more liberal on social issues then a Labour Brown, who looks about as liberal as Churchill.

Also, confusing building regulations with national policy is equally flawed. Although I agree that Poland’s building laws are daunting and cumbersome the notion that this is the barrier to entry for hypermarkets is slightly misguided. In fact, the statement that “unregulated building of hypermarkets and supermarkets is against the social and national interests of Poland” is hardly disputable as hypermarkets do not enjoy unregulated freedoms in any reasonable corner of the world. In the UK, large food suppliers are well regulated, as they also are in France, to ensure fair prices for producers for example. It is not that “supermarkets carry foreign capital” that is the problem; it is that they carry local capital abroad that really hurts the national market. In Britain the Guardian has recently published an article about how Tesco is dodging national taxes by setting up offshore tax shelters; if the national retailers are not willing to contribute the well-being of their own state from profits earned inside of their country then how much less will they consider the interests of Poland.

This is aside from the fact that supermarkets destroy the local food supply chain and replace it with an impersonal, self-interested Cyclops of consumerism. Poland also hasn’t helped itself in this capacity. The removal of local bazaars (Such as Sadyba and Sluzew in Warsaw) to be replaced by apartment blocks removes thousands of jobs and isolates local producers. As for a few hours of hypermarket shopping and stopping for McDonalds, perhaps the problem is rather one of educating consumers.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot wrote:
"Fusion doesn't use up much waste"
Alas, no. It creates waste.

Anonymous said...

Consumers are being "educated" by corporate advertising and their phalanx of propagandists now.

beatroot said...

No, I fear you know not what you say. Fusion - unlike the fission reactors that have been used up to now, produce very little nuclear waste.

Anonymous said...

Well,while I'm not all against fusion research, there are a few other problems right now -- and waste still seems to be quite a problem. So we don't really know just yet if fission is the answer.

Otherwise, fission would be powering the world right now as shown very simply in the following explanation:

Anonymous said...

Here's something to think to prevent the likes of Tesco and Wal-Mart doing this to suppliers...Fin Times Oct 24
"Tesco to change payment terms for suppliers"...terms move from 30 to 60 days for all non-food suppliers"...what a wonderful idea...just like banks moving their interest rates to protect their profits...a small change that tells lots of companies that depend on Tesco for income that you won't get paid this month! The sheer brazenness and cheek matched only by the pathetic impotence of the monopoly board I would say. Is this a trend? Will we see more? Oh yes, indeed!

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