Tags: consumerism*

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  1. an endlessly growing population is not sustainable, even if they live like peasants.

    That said, overpopulation is not, in my view, the main driver of planetary collapse today. The main driver is capitalism. The human population has roughly tripled since WWII. But our consumption of resources has multiplied many many times greater than population growth: We use something like 6 times as much steel as in 1950, 15 times as much aluminum, thousands of times more plastic and on and on. That ravenous overconsumption of resources, and its associated pollution, is overwhelmingly driven by the requirements of capitalist reproduction, the ceaseless invention of new needs and so on, not by human reproduction. Yes we need to reduce the human population, if only to give other life forms some space and resources. But there are easy ways to do so without using force like the Chinese government. Instead of building grandiose blingfrastructure and space shots to glorify the Communist Party, China’s so-called communists could have prevented their current overpopulation problem if they had spent that money on providing adequate old age pensions and social security so that peasant farmers don’t have to raise multiple kids in the hopes that one or two will live to support them in their old age. Amazingly, this is still the “social security sytem” for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

    So overpopulation is a real problem. But if we don’t overthrow capitalism, Mother Nature is going to solve the overpopulation problem in a hurry, but in a most unpleasant manner. That’s why I don’t concern myself much with the population problem. I don’t mean to ignore it. But I think its very much a secondary driver compared to capitalism.
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/201...talist-overdevelopment-bigger-problem
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  2. f there is any indication of the cultural import and effect of the “millennials” – a term I dislike for reasons I will explain later – look no further than America’s malls. The Baby Boomer hubris and NIMBYism that sent malls into further and further orbits from city centers has come home to roost and it promises to change the face of retail in a big way.

    First, some statistics. I point to Columbus, Ohio because it’s where I’m from and I have plenty of data points. First, Sears is pulling out of two of Columbus’ once-mighty malls, Eastland and Westland. These “directional malls,” built between 1964 and 1969, were once the jewels of the city. Far enough from downtown commerce they let suburbanites stock up at any of their many anchor stores – J.C.Penney, Sears, K-Mart – and then eat at a fast casual spot like Red Lobster and, later, Outback. This self-contained world further became the locus for youth culture in the suburbs – a place to hang out that wasn’t outside – and, ultimately, became a symbol of a failed way of life.

    These mall suburbs are now magnets for the poor. Two forces are at work here. First, young people are moving back into the city center resulting in a rise in housing prices and the closure of many rent-stabilized buildings in the once-moribund Downtown area. Further, subsidized housing has ground in districts around – you guessed it – the old malls.

    From the Dispatch:

    Seven of the 16 ZIP codes within Columbus’ pre-1950 boundaries have lost subsidized households since 1994, according to housing authority data. Meanwhile, 33 of the remaining 35 ZIP codes in Franklin County have gained households using rent vouchers. That includes large gains in the three ZIP codes near Westland Mall (43228), the old Northland Mall site (43229) and Eastland Mall (43232).

    And don’t think fast food is safe. The old slop is rapidly aging, as Bob Dylan once wrote. To wit: the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings – a chain that started in Columbus, Ohio as Buffalo Wings & Weck (BW3) and, in my gastronomic opinion, has since gone far downhill – said that lack of interest in casual dining joints like BWW and Applebee’s is slowly forcing a further contraction.

    “Casual-dining restaurants face a uniquely challenging market today,” current CEO Sally Smith wrote in a letter to shareholders. “Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants. Mall traffic has slowed. And, surprisingly, television viewership of sporting events (important for us, especially) is down.”

    In short, the rate of store closures is expected to double in 2017, a worrying trend for those who want cheap, bad food in a sterile, marble-clad environment prominently featuring plastic trees.



    Smith blames millennials. I blame Smith. As has been pointed out many times – most recently in Generation of Sociopaths that the demographics, the policies, and the preferences of the Baby Boomers rode a wave of absolute financial success from the nadir of World War II into the golden 1960s. The habits laid down in those years – the desire for cheap, fast food, the screen as babysitter, the penchant to trade the nameless (but often racist) anxiety of the city for a suburban lawn – defined the rise of fast commerce and will define its fall.

    In short, technology has made us not want to go to the mall by bringing everything – from food to clothing to toilet paper – to our homes. But what comes next? Our species will never survive if it sits on the couch all day eating take-out from Seamless, streaming Netflix, and ordering from Amazon. Small town Main Streets have already been gutted by malls and there is little hope that Old Man Jenkins’ Five and Dime is opening back up. So what comes next?
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/12/wel...he-softer-side-of-gutted-sears-stores
    Voting 0
  3. Millennials are threatening dozens of industries.

    They don't buy napkins. They won't play golf. They aren't buying homes or cars. And they're not even eating at Buffalo Wild Wings.

    Millennials' financial decisions have been heavily covered by media organizations — something that has infuriated many of the generation, as news that "millennials are killing" another industry has become a common headline.

    "This is just some more millennial-blaming B.S.," one reader wrote in response to a recent Business Insider article with the headline "Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee's."
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/psycho...ennials-killing-dozens-165006423.html
    Voting 0
  4. L’ormai vastissima mole degli studi sulle determinanti di soddisfazione e senso di vita fa emergere chiaramente il ruolo chiave della generatività e l’ambivalenza tra beni di comfort e beni di stimolo che un economista geniale come Tibor Scitovsky aveva ben tematizzato nel suo libro, non a caso intitolato The Joyless Society (La società senza gioia). I beni di comfort sono quei beni che producono piacere a breve ma che, in caso di abuso, indeboliscono la nostra capacità di investire con fatica per procurarci i beni di stimolo. L’abuso dei beni di comfort produce dipendenze e infelicità mentre la possibilità di godere dei beni di stimolo è una fonte di soddisfazione e di senso della vita ben più stabile e duratura. I beni di stimolo seguono una legge molto singolare. Sembrano a portata di mano ma non possono essere consumati se prima non esiste un investimento faticoso per costruire l’abilità necessaria per accedervi. Chiunque è genitore sa bene che in un mondo che rende sempre più facile e a basso costo l’accesso ai beni di comfort di ogni tipo una delle cose più difficili e più importanti da insegnare ai ragazzi è il giusto rapporto tra questi tipi di beni. Una delle pochissime narrative "laiche" che aiutano da questo punto di vista è quella dello sport praticato in modo sano dove i ragazzi imparano che un’abilità si conquista con allenamento e fatica. Lo stesso vale per tutte le abilità (professionali, spirituali, culturali) che rappresentano altrettanti beni di stimolo. Inutile negarlo ma le leggi hanno anche un ruolo educativo. È molto facile pensare che ciò che è lecito è anche buono e desiderabile ed è questo, insieme a quanto considerato sopra, il motivo per il quale un allentamento delle restrizioni sul consumo di cannabis non mi entusiasma affatto.

    Il secondo argomento antiproibizionista mi pare del tutto infondato perché sottovaluta di gran lunga la capacità innovativa dell’impresa criminale il cui business è rappresentato dagli innumerevoli mercati delle attività illegali. In alcuni casi si tratta di attività del tutto illegali (il consumo di cocaina ed eroina). In altri di attività che hanno perimetri di legalità quando rispettano alcuni vincoli, o che sono del tutto legali all’interno di certi parametri ma che possono diventare illegali quando questi parametri non sono rispettati (dall’azzardo illegale all’usura e agli ecoreati).
    L’esempio dell’azzardo da questo punto di vista è illuminante. La presenza dell’azzardo legale aumenta e non riduce il numero di giocatori patologici e non sembra frenare le possibilità di espansione dell’azzardo illegale perché, quando esiste un perimetro di legalità circoscritto, la criminalità sa costruirsi uno spazio illegale oltre quel perimetro dove i rischi per l’utente sono tra l’altro maggiori. È ingenuo pensare che la liberalizzazione di uno solo di questi mercati illegali diventi un vulnus decisivo per i profitti delle attività criminali che si giocano su così tanti fronti. Il vero antidoto alla criminalità sono gli anticorpi di capitale sociale e di senso civico delle comunità locali. Che sono come degli organismi dove la presenza di questi anticorpi impedisce al virus delle organizzazioni criminali di attecchire laddove mantiene livelli di vigilanza elevati.


    Il terzo ragionamento non convincente è quello che cerca di portare argomenti a favore della legalizzazione con monopolio pubblico dell’offerta parlando dei benefici fiscali che ne deriverebbero. Torna alla mente il famoso discorso di Bob Kennedy con la lista di tutte le cose che contribuiscono negativamente al nostro benessere, ma fanno aumentare il Pil
    https://www.avvenire.it/opinioni/pagine/legalizzare-cannabis
    Voting 0
  5. Lord’s thesis is that the kind of art a society makes and values is joined at the hip with the kind of energy that society depends on to keep itself going. He traces the various forms of energy we have known as a species throughout our pre-history — our millennia spent in the Pleistocene — and in our recorded history — sexual energy, without which societies can’t continue; the energy of the body while hunting and foraging; wood for fire; slaves; wind and water; coal; oil; and “renewables” — and makes some cogent observations about their relationship to art and culture. In his Prologue, he says:

    Everyone knows that all life requires energy. But we rarely consider how dependent art and culture are on the energy that is needed to produce, practice and sustain them. What we fail to see are the usually invisible sources of energy that make our art and culture(s) possible and bring with them fundamental values that we are all constrained to live with (whether we approve of them or not). Coal brought one set of values to all industrialized countries; oil brought a very different set… I may not approve of the culture of consumption that comes with oil… but I must use it » if I want to do anything at all.

    (Photo via gettystation.com)

    Those living within an energy system, says Lord, may disapprove of certain features, but they can’t question the system itself. Within the culture of slavery, which lasted at least 5,000 years, nobody wanted to be a slave, but nobody said slavery should be abolished, because what else could keep things going?
    (Sébastien Bonaimé/Getty Images; Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images)

    Coal, says Lord, produced a culture of production: think about those giant steel mills. Oil and gas, once they were up and running, fostered a culture of consumption. Lord cites “the widespread belief of the 1950s and early ’60s in the possibility of continuing indefinitely with unlimited abundance and economic growth, contrasted with the widespread agreement today that both that assumption and the world it predicts are unsustainable.” We’re in a transition phase, he says: the next culture will be a culture of “stewardship,” the energy driving it will be renewables, and the art it produces will be quite different from the art favored by production and consumption cultures.

    What are the implications for the way we view both ourselves and the way we live? In brief: in the coal energy culture — a culture of workers and production — you are your job. “I am what I make.” In an oil and gas energy culture — a culture of consumption — you are your possessions. “I am what I buy.” But in a renewable energy culture, you are what you conserve. “I am what I save and protect.” We aren’t used to thinking like this, because we can’t see where the money will come from. But in a culture of renewables, money will not be the only measure of wealth. Well-being will factor as an economic positive, too.

    Like Barry Lord, Morris is interested in the link between energy-capture systems and the cultural values associated with them, though in his case it’s the moral values, not only the aesthetic ones — supposing these can be separated — that concern him. Roughly, his argument runs that each form of energy capture favors values that maximize the chance of survival for those using both that energy system and that package of moral values. Hunter-gatherers show more social egalitarianism, wealth-sharing, and more gender equality than do farmer societies, which subordinate women — men are favored, as they must do the upper-body-strength heavy lifting — tend to practice some form of slavery, and support social hierarchies, with peasants at the low end and kings, religious leaders, and army commanders at the high end. Fossil fuel societies start leveling out gender inequalities — you don’t need upper body strength to operate keyboards or push machine buttons — and also social distinctions, though they retain differences in wealth.

    The second part of his argument is more pertinent to our subject, for he postulates that each form of energy capture must hit a “hard ceiling,” past which expansion is impossible; people must either die out or convert to a new system and a new set of values, often after a “great collapse” that has involved the same five factors: uncontrolled migration, state failure, food shortages, epidemic disease, and “always in the mix, though contributing in unpredictable ways–- climate change.” Thus, for hunting societies, their way of life is over once there are no longer enough large animals to sustain their numbers. For farmers, arable land is a limiting factor. The five factors of doom combine and augment one another, and people in those periods have a thoroughly miserable time of it, until new societies arise that utilize some not yet exhausted form of energy capture.
    https://medium.com/matter/it-s-not-cl...e-it-s-everything-change-8fd9aa671804
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  6. From the first day inexpensive desktop 3D printers became accessible to the public, the thought of not having to buy a plastic knob for USD$59 for your dishwasher or having to replace your window blinds because a small plastic connector broke has been enticing.

    In fact, some people are able to do this. However, there are two barriers to success: access to the 3D model and printing capability.

    For the 3D model, this is perhaps the most difficult stage. You cannot 3D print something unless you have a valid and correct 3D model for your application. If you need to replace a dishwasher knob, you have two options: find the 3D model from the manufacturer or design one yourself.

    Will the manufacturer provide the 3D design file? This is highly unlikely, as they can produce replacement knobs for almost zero cost: they need only run their (or their supplier’s) manufacturing system a bit longer and provide cheap plastic to produce container ship-fulls of the colorful knobs. These they can sell to you at a very inflated price. It’s likely they can produce a knob for as low as a few cents, but charge you dozens of dollars for it. A huge profit margin they are most likely not giving away by releasing 3D models.

    This leaves you facing the other option: designing a replacement 3D model yourself. Right off the hop, that disqualifies almost the entire population of the planet, as very few people have 3D design skills, and most are inclined to never gain any.

    But for those that do have skills, they are facing the prospect of measuring, creating, re-measuring and iterating through at least several prints before obtaining something that works.

    The time required to do this might not be worth your time. Consider this: if it takes you two or three hours to develop a functional replacement knob, and your 3D skills could pay, say, USD$75 per hour for contract work, your “free” knob just cost you more than USD$150. That’s higher than the “perfect” one from the manufacturer.

    However, if you persist and attempt 3D printing a reasonable 3D model, you’ll have some challenges.

    First, the resolution on desktop 3D printers is likely far worse than the resolution on the original part. Your replacement certainly will not look as good, but in some shapes, the resolution may be important functionally, too.

    Consider parts that must fit together; the tolerances for workable snap fit parts could be tight in some situations. This suggests you might find yourself 3D printing a number of different attempts before getting it right.

    Worse, your desktop 3D printer may not produce accurate parts. If you want a 22mm width part, it may actually be 22.85mm when you print it, or a similar “miss” in dimensions.

    If your part has holes, that’s another problem. 3D printed holes are notorious for ending up with an incorrect diameter. You will probably end up drilling them out to obtain the correct size.

    Durability is another concern. Home-use parts that have broken in normal use are, by definition, undergoing mechanical stress. It is highly doubtful that any part 3D printed on a desktop 3D printer would be as strong as an original mass manufactured part.

    Therefore your replacement part is MORE likely to break than the original, which has already broken. Your part will break, too.

    The good news is that you can simply 3D print another one.

    Unless your 3D printer is broken.
    http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2017/4/2..._medium=twitter&utm_campaign=fabbaloo
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  7. chiamando “famiglia” anche la condizione di vivere da soli la riconosciamo cellula fondamentale e costitutiva della società».

    La direzione è chiara. Ma con quali conseguenze?
    «Saremo una società più egoista. Del resto, quando le società sono povere, i vincoli familiari sono più forti e prevale la solidarietà. Quando, invece, le società diventano opulente, o comunque libere dai bisogni fondamentali, individualismo ed egoismo, caratteristiche proprie del benessere, si fanno più radicali».

    E si affermano nuovi modelli di vita.
    «La gente non ha voglia di assumersi la responsabilità di un’altra persona e di una famiglia. Ha qualche piccolo privilegio e preferisce goderselo da solo. Ma una società individualista è indubbiamente più povera. Non solo.
    Si impoverisce la stessa struttura psichica dell’uomo, a causa del decadimento sentimentale. Vivere da soli depaupera i sentimenti».

    Ma si può vivere da soli e avere amori e relazioni sentimentali.
    «Avere relazioni fugaci, amicizie per trascorrere la serata, non basta per maturare in sensibilità, comprendere cosa significhino gli altri per noi, accogliere la sfida di amare senza considerare l’altro una proprietà. Se i rapporti sono intercambiabili, non avrò la possibilità di sviluppare l’impegno di una relazione. La continuità fa crescere i sentimenti».

    E la società ne ha bisogno?
    «La società sta in piedi su basi sentimentali. Quando collassano, quando la vita è dissanguata dei sentimenti, e risponde solo al lavoro e all’efficienza, viene meno una struttura portante del modo di essere uomo. Per effetto dell’impoverimento sociale, infatti, sta mutando la struttura genetica dell’uomo: non è più se stesso».

    Ammetterà che vivere da soli ha dei vantaggi: più disponibilità di tempo, di denaro, di libertà.
    «Certo: più tempo per il lavoro, per coltivare hobby... Ma quanti di questi impegni sono una forma di difesa?
    È più difficile avere relazioni con gli altri che produrre risultati pratici: il solipsismo ci allontana da tutto ciò che
    è fatica. Domandiamoci quanto quelle persone sole, che ci sembrano più produttive ed efficienti di noi, non siano così attive per riempire il vuoto intorno
    http://espresso.repubblica.it/plus/ar...soli-il-trionfo-dell-egoismo-1.294163
    Voting 0
  8. Esplora il significato del termine: Che cosa spinge una madre o un padre a entrare in competizione estetica con i figli considerando che quest’ultimi, anche quelli più fieri dei genitori belli, diventano poi feroci nei confronti degli adulti che si atteggiano a ragazzi? «Sentirsi giovani è la normale aspirazione di ogni donna e uomo», interviene Marco Rosso, psichiatra e psicologo. «L’adultescenza del kidult (termine coniato dagli americani per indicare l’adulto recalcitrante a maturare), è frutto di una questione interna: tutte le persone si sentono più giovani della loro età. Io, per esempio, ho 52 anni e mi sembra davvero di essere due persone da 25 l’una. Il tempo passa, ma si vorrebbero fare sempre le stesse cose, perché la mente è sempre più avanti del corpo». Poi c’è il fattore esterno. «Questa è la società dell’immagine. I modelli sono le supergirl e i superman, perfetti, fisicati, aitanti a cui tutti cercano di adeguarsi». Lo statistico e demografo Roberto Volpi fa risalire proprio agli Anni 80 l’inizio del rifiuto dell’età che avanza. «Coincide con l’applicazione della tecnologia e delle scienze nelle palestre e nella chirurgia plastica — continua Rossi —. Una fregatura. Il rischio è che l’adultescente diventi patetico/a». Sempre attratto/a da persone più giovani. «Il Sugar daddy (uomo di una certa età che si accompagna a una ragazzina) ha il corrispettivo femminile nella cougar (la donna giaguaro). Ma il ragazzo l’ha già ribattezzata Milf (Mamma con cui vorrei fare del sesso). Il cerchio si chiude ed Edipo trionfa». Del resto il vecchiovane non sopporta il detto popolare «da dietro liceo, davanti museo»; e invece è talmente vero che lo si ritrova anche in Sri Lanka, tradotto a chilometro zero: «Da lontano mela, da vicino papaia». » Che cosa spinge una madre o un padre a entrare in competizione estetica con i figli considerando che quest’ultimi, anche quelli più fieri dei genitori belli, diventano poi feroci nei confronti degli adulti che si atteggiano a ragazzi? «Sentirsi giovani è la normale aspirazione di ogni donna e uomo», interviene Marco Rosso, psichiatra e psicologo. «L’adultescenza del kidult (termine coniato dagli americani per indicare l’adulto recalcitrante a maturare), è frutto di una questione interna: tutte le persone si sentono più giovani della loro età. Io, per esempio, ho 52 anni e mi sembra davvero di essere due persone da 25 l’una. Il tempo passa, ma si vorrebbero fare sempre le stesse cose, perché la mente è sempre più avanti del corpo». Poi c’è il fattore esterno. «Questa è la società dell’immagine. I modelli sono le supergirl e i superman, perfetti, fisicati, aitanti a cui tutti cercano di adeguarsi».

    Lo statistico e demografo Roberto Volpi fa risalire proprio agli Anni 80 l’inizio del rifiuto dell’età che avanza. «Coincide con l’applicazione della tecnologia e delle scienze nelle palestre e nella chirurgia plastica — continua Rossi —. Una fregatura. Il rischio è che l’adultescente diventi patetico/a». Sempre attratto/a da persone più giovani. «Il Sugar daddy (uomo di una certa età che si accompagna a una ragazzina) ha il corrispettivo femminile nella cougar (la donna giaguaro). Ma il ragazzo l’ha già ribattezzata Milf (Mamma con cui vorrei fare del sesso). Il cerchio si chiude ed Edipo trionfa». Del resto il vecchiovane non sopporta il detto popolare «da dietro liceo, davanti museo»; e invece è talmente vero che lo si ritrova anche in Sri Lanka, tradotto a chilometro zero: «Da lontano mela, da vicino papaia».
    http://www.corriere.it/moda/news/17_a...4ac-26a3-11e7-b6b1-a150ed5c16fd.shtml
    Voting 0
  9. The sustainability movement has been charged with being elitist—and it most certainly is. You need a fair amount of disposable income to afford ethical and sustainable consumption options, the leisure time to research the purchasing decisions you make, the luxury to turn up your nose at 95% of what you’re offered, and, arguably, a post-graduate degree in chemistry to understand the true meaning behind ingredient labels.
    Choosing fashion made from hemp, grilling the waiter about how your fish was caught, and researching whether your city can recycle bottle caps might make you feel good, reward a few social entrepreneurs, and perhaps protect you from charges of hypocrisy. But it’s no substitute for systematic change.


    Beyond making big lifestyle decisions such as choosing to live in a dense urban area with public transportation, cutting red meat out of your diet, and having fewer children (or none at all), there are diminishing returns to the energy you put into avoiding plastic or making sure your old AAs end up in the appropriate receptacle. Globally, we’re projected to spend $9.32 billion in 2017 on green cleaning products. If we had directed even a third of that pot of money (the typical markup on green cleaning products) toward lobbying our governments to ban the toxic chemicals we’re so afraid of, we might have made a lot more progress by now.
    “It’s a gesture,” Brown says of fretting over these small decisions. “Well-meaning signals that you care about the environment. But the action itself makes no difference.“

    Instead of buying expensive organic sheets, donate that money to organizations that are fighting to keep agricultural runoff out of our rivers.
    Instead of driving to an organic apple orchard to pick your own fruit, use that time to volunteer for an organization that combats food deserts (and skip the fuel emissions, too).
    Instead of buying a $200 air purifier, donate to politicians who support policies that keep our air and water clean.
    Instead of signing a petition demanding that Subway remove one obscure chemical from its sandwich bread, call your local representatives to demand they overhaul the approval process for the estimated 80,000 untested chemicals in our products.
    Instead of taking yourself out to dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant, you could take an interest in the Farm Bill and how it incentivizes unhealthy eating.

    On its face, conscious consumerism is a morally righteous, bold movement. But it’s actually taking away our power as citizens. It drains our bank accounts and our political will, diverts our attention away from the true powerbrokers, and focuses our energy instead on petty corporate scandals and fights over the moral superiority of vegans.
    So if you really care about the environment, climb on out of your upcycled wooden chair and get yourself to a town hall meeting. If there’s one silver lining to the environmental crisis facing us, it’s that we now understand exactly the kind of work we need to do to save the planet—and it doesn’t involve a credit card.
    https://qz.com/920561/conscious-consu...s-a-better-way-to-help-save-the-world
    Voting 0
  10. this time around, Walmart’s renewed focus on its “Everyday Low Price” promise coincides with Amazon’s increased aggressiveness in its own pricing of the packaged goods that are found on supermarket shelves and are core to Walmart’s success, industry executives and consultants say.

    The result in recent months has been a high-stakes race to the bottom between Walmart and Amazon that seems great for shoppers, but has consumer packaged goods brands feeling the pressure.

    The pricing crackdown also comes in the wake of Walmart’s $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com and its CEO Marc Lore. Lore now runs Walmart.com and has said one of his mandates is to create new ways for the retailer to beat everyone else on price, including Amazon.

    The pricing pressure has ignited intense wargaming inside the largest CPG companies, according to people familiar with discussions at Procter & Gamble, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez and Kimberly-Clark. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

    “It’s dominating the conversation every week,” said an executive at one of these companies.

    Representatives for these companies either declined to comment or failed to respond to requests for comment. Executives inside these companies would only speak on a condition of anonymity because negotiations with retailers are confidential.

    An Amazon spokesperson said in an email: “At Amazon we protect low prices for our customers, every single day — nothing has changed in terms of our focus or how we operate.”

    Walmart did not provide a comment.


    One piece of the battle, executives say, is an Amazon algorithm that works to match or beat prices from other websites and stores. Former Amazon employees say it finds the lowest price per unit or per ounce for a given product — even if it’s in a huge bulk-size pack at Costco — and applies it across the same type of good on Amazon, even when the pack size is much smaller.

    So let’s imagine Costco is selling a pack of 10 bags of Doritos for $10 — or $1 per bag. Amazon’s algorithm notes that one bag is $1 at Costco and, in turn, lowers the price on Amazon of a single bag of Doritos to $1.

    That is a great deal for customers — something that is likely driving the decision at Amazon, where an obsession with customer value dominates its strategy.

    But now, Amazon is selling individual items at Costco prices while not getting the same wholesale price that Costco enjoys. In short, it’s going to be really hard for Amazon to turn a profit on those goods.

    When Walmart sees this, it freaks out on the supplier, industry executives say. And it doesn’t matter to Walmart that Amazon may not be getting the same wholesale price that retailers like Costco or other membership clubs receive. In other words, even if Amazon isn’t profiting from its extremely low prices, Walmart is still demanding the same bulk-rate discount applied to individual items.

    “Walmart has had it explained to them by myself and others,” said one industry insider who asked for anonymity talking about private discussions. “My conclusion has been that they beat all suppliers up regardless because they need it to be a problem at the senior levels of these companies.”
    https://www.recode.net/2017/3/30/1483.../amazon-walmart-cpg-grocery-price-war
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