1970s >> 1970 >> no-795-november-1970

Too much of a good thing

The current problems in the apple market are highlighted in this report from The Guardian (25 September):

Fruit growers throughout Southern England are dumping thousands of tons of apples or leaving them to rot on the trees because of a disastrous slump in prices.
Piles of rotting apples can be seen from Worcestershire and Cambridgeshire to Kent.
The slump began when Australian and New Zealand apples, held up by the dock strike, came on the market much later than usual, just as the English season began, said Mr. Robert Miller, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union fruit committee.
“For some reason the market has just not picked up since. We have had a big crop of fruit of excellent quality, but we can’t sell it.”
“Every English apple and pear sold at the moment is being sold at a loss.”

Perhaps few people are going to be disturbed by the thought of dumped apples. But the same thing happens to other food, more essential to human health, and to other forms of wealth, if the market is in the same depressed condition. This is capitalism at work — the market is an essential part of it, but it is something capitalism cannot control.