Socialist Crisp packets

April 2024 Forums General discussion Socialist Crisp packets

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    To return to a question I raised at a recent talk: will there be crisp packets in socialism?

    The basis of the question is this.  Capitalism is so called because it rewards the owners of capital (or, rather, those who can throw the most capital into profitable use).  It thus promotes "value added" production, especially mechanised production.  Thus, the production of potatoes is relatively unprofitable compared to making them into crisps and putting them in convenient sized packs.

    Would we bother to do that in socialism, a society where labour sparing would be about doing less work, rather than trying to make more profits?  Thus, would socialism simply strive to make raw materials of food available, rather than packaged convenience goods.

    Further, given the complexity of production, wouldn't reducing the number of goods in the formal/planned production process make that easier (and better).

    Now, the corollary of this may well be that in saving time, effort and energy from producing some types of goods, we'd free up more time for people to use the food resources creatively (indeed, we might all "eat out" a lot more, rather than stock kitchens with microwave meals).

    Or, would socialism, like capitalism, look to maintain mass production and use of technology?


    Totally off topic , in Thailand street stalls sell crisps on a stick . A simple machine cuts potatoes in a spiral, one connected spud,  which is then deep fried and the stall-holder also makes various dips to flavour. are a lot of options outside our particular culture that may be adopted.


    If there are crisp packets in socialism they'll all be the same — just like in the olden days when they all said "Smith's Potato Crisps with Salt inside".


    Will there be a Crisps Production Committee to whom all complaints are to be addressed?Lets face it there will inevitably be packets that don't include the blue bag of salt.  And of course others that have two (or even three) of these vital items.


    Let's not forget, one of the reasons for crisp packets is the common law of duty of care and vicarious liability: they provide a high standard of hygene and food protection (so greens who complain about food packaging have to answer how we can get round such measures).Admittedly, Alan's roadside vendor sounds more like what I was talking about, people would make and give out crisps (and otehr food), but, perhaps not on a street corner all day. It sounds like an obscure subject, but within such microscopic events lie macroscopic questions.


    Having lived in India and Thailand now for some years, experience has taught me that the safest food to eat is street food. It is bought in daily fresh from the market and sold out by evening. The dodgiest are those at restaurant and hotel buffets which having had the food out on tables in warm humid weather unsold, return it to their fridges and freezers (often prone to power-cuts) for dishing out next day and the day after!!Street vendors often operating from their front door, as well as being means of income for some families also act as social centres for chat and gossip, often crossing class lines. I have seen BMWs and Mercedes parked alongside humble food stalls. (Unfortunately, it is contrasted with many of the poor eating in a McDonalds or KFC as an aspirational and an overly-expensive treat.) Just as the more social of us have more dinner parties than others and happily accept the chore of all the extra catering, i can imagine the same people will perhaps host eating places. After all, wasn't that the origin of pubs…public houses…free houses ( ok free in sense not tied to a brewery but sounds good in this context) As for mass produced industrial produced food being safer, the scale of them means that any lapse in hygiene can have a more serious widespread effect. See the link at the SOYMB post on US food inspection or Socialist Couriers report on German school dinners the main culprit was capitalist cost cutting   

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