Affording to Consume: Wholly Misleading Half Truth

Technically speaking, this is true. An economy in which one person owns everything and nobody else owns anything won’t be a consumer-based economy. However, what has that got to do with anything? In a real economy, if consumers can’t afford to consume then vendors are not able to sell. This can lead to two consequences:

  1. If the vendors can afford to sell for less and stay in business, they would do that and live with the lower profits. They might have to cut staff, pressure their suppliers to drop prices, etc.
  2. If the vendors cannot afford to sell for less and stay in business, they would go out of the business.

If #2 is actually happening, we’d expect the range of goods and services available for sale to shrink. Is that happening? We could buy tablets five years ago, but there aren’t any available in the store anymore? When your factory-made shirt wears out you’d have to sew your own because they’re no longer on sale? If not, then I think we still have a consumer-based economy.

I don’t know what the meme author is trying to push, but if it is a higher minimum wage then there is another Economics 101 issue. When the cost of something goes up, demand for it goes down. This includes unskilled labor.

h/t Eric Gustafson


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