Australia is home to a gentleman called Dick Smith. He owns an eponymous chain of electronics’ stores where one can purchase all manner of flat screen TVs, music systems, white goods and other devices.
To the best of our knowledge, practically none of these devices are manufactured domestically. Like most western economies, Australia used to manufacture TVs and radios but the availability of cheaper and better quality imports from its northern neighbours in Asia hastened the decline of the industry.
Dick Smith has personally benefited greatly from this destruction of the local industry.
Imagine our surprise therefore that he feels the need to berate an overseas supermarket chain from copying his successful model but in the grocery sector.
Apparently, the management of Aldi are morally reprehensible for providing good quality imported food products at a lower price than can be produced domestically.
Ponder that for a moment. Now look at the brand of phone, tablet or PC on which you are reading this. Where was it made? Korea?
Now look at the label in your shirt or dress. Was it tailored domestically? Unlikely.
What should be done about this?
Dick Smith is typical of most Australian “entrepreneurs” in as much that, once he has made his fortune, he sees no reason to feel shame about lobbying and making public statements to pull the ladder up and prevent others from following his example.
His competitor, Gerry Harvey, is another example of this syndrome, campaigning for the federal government to impose the 10% General Sales Tax on low value overseas internet purchases, despite the fact that this will incur a net cost to the taxpayer.
“Capitalism” is a much maligned noun these days but consider whether there really is that much of it about. Certainly the people who often are pointed at as being “capitalist” are no such thing. Dick and Gerry have more in common with the mercantilists of the 16th century than Adam Smith or Ayn Rand.