Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 9, 2012

in Cleaned by Capitalism, Competition, Complexity & Emergence, Food and Drink, Growth, History, Standard of Living

… is from page 70 of Daniel E. Sutherland’s informative 1989 book, The Expansion of Everyday Life: 1860-1876:

National brand names – including Pillsbury flour, Van Camp’s beans, Quaker oats, and Chase and Sanborn coffee – established new standards of quality and nutrition.  The old general store remained an institution in rural areas and small towns, but people quickly recognized that food sold from open barrels, crates, and boxes was too often soggy, stale, dirty, adulterated, and uneven in quality.  The first chain grocery store – the New York-based Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company – won almost instant approval when it opened its doors in 1864.

Naomi Klein and others who criticize market-based brand-names and labels fail to grasp this important point – as did, ironically, many mid-20th-century economists who mistook the model of “perfect competition” as being a prescription for reality.

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