Top99% wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:02 am
CurlyDave wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:34 am
Top99% wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:57 pm
Automation can certainly help address a reduction in workers but the big question I have is how a shrinking work force will affect the demand side of the economy, especially if this becomes a world-wide phenomena in developed countries. Certainly demand for some goods and services are more coupled to overall wealth than population but many are not. For example, consumer staples.
I have great faith in the ability of lifestyle creep to increase demand for a long time.
Those on this forum are self-selected to be resistant to this phenomenon, but the typical US family spends almost all of their income.
While I agree that lifestyle creep will help sustain demand for some products, it won't help much for consumer staples. For example, if my net worth or income suddenly doubles I won't increase the amount of toilet paper or dishwasher detergent I buy. I might spend more on wine which would mean less sales for Bota box and more sales for fancy bottled wine. There are still a lot of goods where demand is highly tied to the number of consumers.
Let me just address the two examples you use.
: Just a few days ago I read that toilet paper is becoming less sustainable https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... hers-warn
as consumers opt for more luxury. Clearly more luxury is going to come with higher prices. Economists measure productivity and output in terms of dollars, not square feet. So right there, demand is increasing.
The very same article points out that only 30% of the world uses toilet paper. It looks to me like there is plenty of room for growth there. Exports count as "demand".
Of course, they put the usual negative environmental spin on the data, but ignore that and just look at the strong demand. No one seems to believe that trees not only can be farmed, but also sequester carbon, making more luxurious TP an environmental benefit, not to mention the jobs created by farming more trees.
: It used to be that there were only a few kinds of dishwasher detergent on the supermarket shelf. Today, when I look on Amazon, just at Cascade brand, they now have powdered and liquid (just like in the olden days) but now there are at least 5 different kinds of "action packs" -- little clear packages of detergent with rinse agent that you put in the dishwasher as a whole package. There is: pure, lemon, complete, platinum and platinum plus.
I am certain you understand that the prices per use are higher for these little packs, so there is plenty of room for lifestyle creep without actually running more loads in the dishwasher.