Thursday, October 19, 2006

Red apples

Red apples, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

In the meantime, just a few things regarding economic liberalisation:

We have a new post office company here in Holland, or rather the national one has been taken over by the Australian company TNT, all part of the economic liberalisation of the post market. Since all this happened, we can see that prices have risen much more than the rate of inflation, especially for any letter which needs to go abroad (they try their best to keep the domestic price as low as possible by passing on their costs to those who send letters abroad), they no longer sell single stamps at the post office, although they do at the newsagent and, last week, we had seven deliveries of paper at the ddoor. These included papers, advertising materials, a parcel from TNT, the post from TNT and also the post from Deutsche Post. Needless to say, none of them came very early. Anyway, the question is, who, apart from teh governemnts which sell off the national post services and the shareholders of these companies, benefits from this liberalisation? Not sure it is the individual private customers.

Secondly, I was delighted to read that due to recent liberalisation measures, we can now by large, powerful (and dangerous) fireworks from our local shop. Before, we the public have been prevented from doing so, for obvious reasons, but now we can all buy these things. Why?

And thirdly, I went to the market today, thinking I might find there a better selection of fresh fruit and vegetables (yes, we DO sometimes eat them!). I was particularly looking forward to choosing my potatoes and apples and imagine my disbelief when every fruit stall was selling Gala Apples grown in New Zealand. In October! The middle of the apple season! New Zealand? You can not get further away from Holland to find appels than New Zealand, and yet here they were being sold for € 1.50 a kg in the middle of the domestic apple harvest. What perverse sort of liberalisation has allowed this to happen? Fortunately, I did find a specialist who did sell Dutch apples and managed to get my hands on a kilo of Dutch Elstars for € 1.60! Crazy!

However, as an afterthought, I think I should mention that I DID buy a pound (yes, a POUND = 500 grammes - even though we are not allowed to use that word any more, thanks to teh Brussels thought-police) of Chinese garlic, for just € 1.50. Great BIG FAT ones they were too! So, I shouldn't complain, although friends might complain in the coming months while I get to eat all of those delicious (and very healthy) garlic kernels. (Thanks, liberalisation!)

Further, it is odd that in the newspaper this evening there were some long articles about the liberalisation of the postal markets in Europe. By 2009, any company should be able to deliver mail anywhere in Europe.. and that can mean ANY company. Lots of people are upset about it, mostly the people living in the far reaches of Europe... and it was noted that in Sweden and Denmark where they already HAVE complete liberalisation, the prices are higher than anywhere else.


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