Friday, May 02, 2008

Hard Times – Beer Prices Increase

You know we’re in an economic slump when beer prices go up. One could argue that beer is our national beverage – like hockey is our national sport.

Beer brewers are blaming droughts in Europe for the increase. The key ingredient in beer is hops. And most Canadian brewers import their hops from Europe. With the droughts over the past couple of years, hops is in short supply.

Add in the increases in oil prices and it costs more to ship all those hops over here.

So beer prices may go up by a couple of bucks.

The problem is more than a matter of costly suds. World economic conditions aren’t what they used to be – the costs of living constantly increase, while wages remain relatively the same, if not in some cases even going down.

I blame the oil tycoons in the Middle East. By constantly raising the price of crude oil, they set in motion increases across the board for everything else.

The oil tycoons – through their company’s spokespeople – claim oil prices go up, because demand goes up. They claim they sell their products just like everyone else does, in the supply-demand model.

Oil demand has increase over the years, but if all the increases are really due to supply-demand issues, how come oil companies constantly beat their previous year’s records for profit? In a true supply-demand model, the profits would be reflective of the supply and demand curve – yet they usually beat this curve.

Corporate and personal greed is what is driving up oil prices. Those who have a controlling stake in these companies just want more money. And who can blame them?

We live in a world where those with money have power, and those without money are powerless.

Statistics Canada recently said that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening even further – it has been growing since the 1990s.

So those with money will have more money, but those without money will never have the chance to have.

Makes me wish for a Star Trek-like universe, where money isn’t what drives people. In the ideal lore of Star Trek, people are motivated by exploration, and the constant desire to improve themselves and their worlds.

But we don’t live in a Star Trek universe, and there probably will always be an economic engine driven by dollars and cents.

Which is really tragic in many ways, because the accumulation of wealth may bring happiness to those who can achieve it, but to those without, they will lead lives of misery, desperation, and destitution. And that’s not really much of a life, when you think about it.

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