closing tag is in template navbar
timefactors watches

TZ-UK Fundraiser
View RSS Feed

MarkR's Blog

Social media and complaints

Rate this Entry

Quote Originally Posted by CardShark View Post
Bit insulting when it takes a social media post to kick things up a gear[...]
Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
I do despair of companies only responding after a review[...]
I call this the 'New Normal Effect'. Now that social media exists and is a ubiquitous medium and is used in this way, it is inevitable that the status quo of complaint should 'ramp up' to require a new base level to gain response.

Remember that large corporations do not benefit from providing good service. They only benefit from being seen to provide a good service. If examples of major poor service are not made public (using the communications mediums of the current zeitgeist) then it does not harm them and so there is no business case that would prompt them to respond as consumers might hope they would[1].

The fact that one is paying premium prices for veblen/premium goods doesn't change the ruthlessness of this equation (which could be calculated implicitly, without anyone consciously realising they are doing it or even, nowadays, in an explicitly thought out manner).

For a parallel of the New Normal Effect with economics, think about how it has become harder for most people to earn a living since women commonly started going out to work. It used to be feasible and quite common for an average male wage earner to earn enough to support a wife, children, house, etc (although small, part time, paid jobs done by women might have been common). Nowadays this is increasingly rare for average wage earners[2]. It is increasingly necessary for both members of a couple to need to work to maintain a home, children, etc. So what has changed? Why has income reduced with respect to basic life costs? In other words, why have incomes not kept up with real wold inflation? Or, more accurately and pertinently, why did inflation increase such that it required full effort from all available workers to keep up (exactly as it was before when it was mostly men going out and being the main wage earner)?

The reason for this is that the baseline changed. As more and more women gained the liberty to pursue their own careers and own income, so there was greater wealth in consumers' hands. As consumers became wealthier, so vendors (of both basic goods as well as luxuries, as well as consumers themselves selling major assets) were able to continue charging what the market would bear; and what the market would bear was itself increasing. And so, after a few decades, we find that we are overall no better off, relatively speaking[3]: We have just moved from needing one person being the main wage earner to two people needing to be wage earners.

1: There is a risk in this approach since it means that consumers can still communicate privately, as here. But (a) this is usually on a small scale and (b) they know that a story must be told in a particular manner (that is compatible with zeitgeist expectations) to result in consumer decision change.

2: "Average wage". This is itself misleading. The average, i.e. mean, wage is misleadingly high. It is of course an average of all wage earners, low and high. But it skewered upwards by a relatively small number of very high wage earners. Therefore the average or mean wage tells us nothing about what is affordable for the average wage earner. Median or modal wage would be more useful but would still not tell the whole story.

(3) No better off. Well, actually we are massively better off. Despite increasing attempts by some to destroy what we have and what has made us successful, the world has never been a better place overall. What now constitutes "poverty" in many people's definitions would, in many cases, have be seen as luxury no more than a few decades ago. Whilst families have new stresses (that have been the inevitable economic effects of new freedoms), what our money buys is vastly more comfort and luxury than went before. So it's a matter of swings and roundabouts. It seems like harder work all round, it is harder work all round, but the rewards[4] have been and continue to be real.

(4) Yes, the ultra-rich continue to get much richer whilst the rest struggle to keep up. But there are two ways to look at this:
(a) Even though the majority are struggling to keep up with the ultra-rich, the majority are still getting wealthier all the time. Really. The standards of living in the west (and all over the world, in fact, despite doom and gloom in the popular news) is improving.
(b) The ultra-rich (and major corporations) are in a symbiotic relationship with the state. If there is a force that is keeping the average unfairly people down then this is it. I have written elsewhere about it. But I still say that if the pie is getting bigger (which is most certainly is, this is not a zero sum game) then it only matters in principle, not in practice, if the ultra-rich own more pie. There is still plenty, more in fact, to go around than there was before.
Tags: politics Add / Edit Tags
MarkR's Blog , Miscellaneous


Do Not Sell My Personal Information