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(71) Bordeaux



Starbucks has a corporate strategy where they set up loss-leader stores that will never make a profit in order to choke competitor stores: flood the area with Starbucks, drain off custom from competitors until they close, and then consolidate into one venue that centralises the profit—Survival of the fittest, baby. As Marx observed, the outcome from this process is a monopoly and the market’s end—said monopolies then, as with the railways, buy politicians and you live under monopoly capitalism and the supposed “free market” (actually an ideology that justifies an uncompetitive system). For Marxists, per Hegel, this is all the dialectical evolution into the final state—the market ends in monopoly, then, thanks to this rational centralisation, the state can nationalise the lot and transfer ownership from the capitalists to the workers (the end—of History).


Well, that isn’t quite true—Starbucks may well create a mediocre monopoly, perhaps with Costa as a tag along, so that all that is available is lowest common denominator bucket-‘o-coffee (with extra syrup). However, the hipsters—the Sanders voters, the “cultural elitists” with their artisan coffee, would be disappointed if Starbucks were socialised. Free-at-the-point-of-access Starbucks, like the NHS, would have queues round the corner, 1/5 of the cakes, and two coffee types more muddy than today. Eventually, there would be ration cards so the queue would only go to the end of the street. Dull corporate monopolies are better than socialism.


However, there is something wrong with corporate kulchur—as “hipster Nazis” know. Society needs an aristocracy and a priestly caste to be balanced: the disciples of Adam Smith hate both, seeing them as lazy and irrational—and yet merchant culture ends in monopoly and socialism. The ultra-capitalist, the Ayn Rand fan, complements the socialist—monopoly capitalism degenerates into socialism. Man does not live by bread alone—he needs soldiers and priests (glory and transcendence). If either are denied—if the usury Shakespeare inveighed against predominates—corporate greed turns to envious socialism (no dialectics apply).

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