Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The preventive principle

You may have heard that the government has decided to legislate for a minimum price of 45p per alcohol units. A bit less than Scotland's 50p per unit, but still a move to make sure that alcoholics quaff more refined substances than heretofore.

I listened to a government minister explain the decision (which I largely support) on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. He said this:
It's a fact that when you put up the price of something, demand drops. 
He's absolutely right.

As a random example picked entirely off the top of my head, let's consider university tuition fees. They were £3500, which I thought was pretty bad. Then the Conservative/ Lib Dem coalition put them up to £9000. Demand for university places slumped, particularly amongst mature students who might like to retrain in the midst of a Depression.

So the minister's trite bit of pop-philosophy reveals a cunning plan. Like New Labour before them, they actually don't want a highly-educated population. They want a low-wage service economy which enriches shareholders like them who don't need decent services. The imposition of high tuition fees wasn't a matter of scarcity: the loans will be borne by the taxpayer for decades and cost us more than the cheaper system.

Instead, it's demand management. The Tories and their Lib Dem lapdogs want to price people out of the market. 'When you put up the price of something, demand drops'. And lo! It came to pass.

1 comment:

neal said...

Gotta love Rollins: