Welcome to the new, zero sum economy of Predatory Capitalism where companies are trying to squeeze the consumer dry.
We are living in a low growth economy. The US GDP growth for the year will be about 2-3% which is pretty good for a developed country. However, companies and governments, are under enormous pressure to growth faster than the GDP. The only way to grow faster than the GDP is to take money from someone else's pot. And that pot is the consumers wallet. Companies who are stronger in the marketplace (define as more bargaining power) take from the weaker. An in this case, the weaker are you and I.
We are entering a low-growth, low technical change era. There are fewer market disruptions, new inventions and technology changes. Effectively, everyone has a TV, Cell Phone, Car and place to live. Sure, things could be better, but for 95% of the people they have enough. So, our job now is to do more with less. We must deliver the same level of material wealth with less money, energy, consumption and waste. Unfortunately this does not fit the plans of company stockholders and managers who are rewarded for high growth.
The slow growth economy has become a zero-sum game for companies and consumers. For a company to grow faster than 3% you you receive less than 3% value in exchange. For me to win, you must lose. And this has led to an new era of predatory capitalism. As times get harder, we see companies exploiting consumer weakness (defined as lack of barging power) in the marketplace. The stronger taking more from the weaker. In the past, we might have seen government, reset the rules, to limit the abuses. But now many regulatory institutions are captive of the industries they regulate.
I believe the US is particularly vulnarable to predatory capitalism for several reasons. We are a big country, We have lots of anonymous transaction, regulatory power is spread out, we have a winner-take all mentality (losers deserve to lose), and our civil bonds are weaker than other countries.
We also believe, here in the US, in a less regulated, more free-market approach to capitalism. Many of us have a believe that less governement interference and regulation are better.
Normally, I would call for so sort of activism or government intervention, I have been so beaten down by the right wing, that my opinion is: Suck it up and let nature run it's course. Don't do business with companies that exploit you.
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