Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Award For Biggest Misunderstanding In An Article This Year Goes To………..

Aditya Chakrabortty, for this moment of half-wittery in his Guardian article:

"Officers and researchers sat down and worked out how much money Enfield's 300,000 residents sent the way of big businesses: 11 Tesco stores, for instance, provided the PLC with around £8m of its annual profit. And what did the area get back? Not very much, but the highlight included a community toilet scheme and some charitable giving from the supermarket’s corporate social responsibility department."

Actually I don’t want to be too harsh – up until that point Aditya Chakrabortty was doing okay and asking one or two pertinent questions about the relationship between the State and the market. But then - "What did the area get back? Not very much." What the heck is this wally on about, not very much? A chain of supermarkets that made £8m profit would have sold around £200-300m worth of groceries. The value of a supermarket is what it produces, so what the residents of Enfield got back was the £200-300m worth of shopping they wanted. Consequently, as well as the community toilet scheme and some charitable giving, Tesco gave value to Enfield in the form of providing them with somewhere to park, shop, and somewhere to obtain the multitude of goods they wished to buy for their weekly shopping.

So it shouldn’t surprise Mr. Chakrabortty to know that what Tesco and the Enfield residents got out of each other was exactly what they hoped they would; Tesco got £8m profit from the transactions, and the Enfield residents got all their fruit, vegetables, meat, tinned food, and so on. I will agree that any more the big supermarkets can do to help with food banks, fair trade, etc, the better – but to exclaim that the residents of Enfield got back ‘not very much’ from Tesco is ridiculously short-sighted.

* Photo courtesy of The Guardian