Go Compare

There's something rather worrying about those Go Compare ads, I mean apart from the annoying jingle and the fact that they're on TV every 5 minutes, and others like them.  The worrying thing is that price is purveyed as the only thing that ever matters.  When it comes to making stuff, production generally takes place in the country with the cheapest labour costs.  Alot of companies have made a fortune using this system.
But after 20 years of unparalleled economic growth and wealth, has society really benefited? Not a lot. Child poverty is worse than ever and not since World War II has the gap between rich and poor been so great. 90% of the worlds wealth is owned by 10% of the people.
Who benefits from this system?  Not the foreign workers.  Even Marks and Spencer were mentioned in the Sunday Times a few days ago accused of paying Sri Lankan workers 25p an hour which even by their standards isn't a living wage.  War on Want said "the grim reality is that none of Britain's high street retailers are doing the right thing by the people who produce their clothes".  Out of sight out of mind?  
UK workers do not benefit.  Those that have work face a diminishing pay packet as they compete in a global employment market and face a burgeoning tax burden in order to pay for unemployment benefits for those put out of work. Talented people that do make some fabulous items struggle to compete on price with 'cheap' imports so their work tends to be less valued too.

The people that do benefit are the chief executives, banks and shareholders. A small elite.  Never before has the gap between employees and chiefs been so high, in some cases by as much as 400 times the amount. The new boss of Marks and Spencer is reputedly getting a £15 million golden hello and salary package in the first year.  New ITV chief Adam Crozier is set to get £16 million over 5 years, after decimating the Post Office.  Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco gets over £9 million a year and so it goes on. Not only do they get paid obscene amounts the extremely wealthy are also adept at avoiding tax leaving a greater burden for the majority.  So what are we to do?  Think before we buy.  Compare the difference between items not just price.  Think who is going to profit from the purchase.  Where possible buy things from small producers.  It helps them make a living, money tends to stay in the locality and they usually pay their taxes.  Better wealth distribution has to be better than the selfish inequitable system in place now that benefits so few.  So, I hate to say it but, go compare! 
Here's one I did earlier:

These corsages are both £10, one is from Rebeccamaryjane at http://www.notmassproduced.com/ and the other is from http://www.accessorize.com/.  The purple one is made of natural materials of felted merino and angora with vintage mother of pearl buttons and glass beads individually sewn on by hand.  They are made in small quantities by a woman in Yorkshire who enjoys what she does.  The beige one is made of man made material possibly nylon or polyester with plastic beads and faux diamante in the centre.  It doesn't say where it is made, from the site info but I'm guessing China, Thailand or somewhere in Asia.  It is not known who made it or whether they got a decent wage.  It was probably made in a factory churning out thousands of the same and it probably travelled thousands of miles, using up precious fossil fuels, large amounts of packaging and caused a fair amount of pollution on the way for which the tax payer again foots the bill.  The real cost of this one is way more than the £10 you pay over the counter.  Do we really want to be giving so much of our money to the small elite?  


1 comment:

  1. I'm a maker myself & work at Accessorize, I'd like to to say that the company does check where its products come from & that workers get a fair wage. I don't normally stand up for big companies but Monsoon Acessorize is actually a small British company.
    But your post is correct in its comments that people should research & ask questions about where products come from.


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