Saturday, August 13, 2011

The duty to consume

If the World Cup works as intended we might never spend another week carping about the prices of national products such as milk and our prime sporting emblem.

We might no longer hear it suggested that it is somehow wrong for farmers to charge more than the makers of flavoured fizz-water, or that a premium should not be paid for something that is priceless here.

We could look back in embarrassment that everyone from the Prime Minister down took cheap shots at a global sportswear brand for perfectly normal marketing practice.

If the World Cup works as well as it might, we'll not worry about the price of an icon, we'll sing.
Works as intended by whom, Mr Roughan? By that nice Mr Key, perchance? I only ask because the price of milk does not seem to me to be a matter of carping, but of people struggling to keep heads above water - Kiwi battlers, if you will. Yet somehow their concerns are to be wished away by the magical power of Rugby World Cup. Those ordinary Kiwi mums and dads will understand they must pay a premium for the privilege of wearing their own country's rugby shirt, a premium paid to a German sportswear company. They will realise they must buy overpriced milk and overpriced clothing. Meanwhile other nations' rugby shirts are made by Canterbury, the New Zealand company that used to clothe the All Blacks before the NZRFU got greedy. Its a funny old world, innit?

Mr Roughan, you are wrong. We shall keep carping on, about the price-gouging of farmers and multinationals, about the selling of our national icons to the highest bidders, about the perfectly normal marketing practices of companies that exploit sweated labour to make shirts and exploit the loyalties of the fans to sell them at obscene prices. Perhaps one day you will look back in embarrassment, Mr Roughan, at your contempt for the ordinary people of New Zealand and your support for those who abuse them.

But then again, perhaps you won't.

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