The 2ndof June 2019.
It’s 01:25, and once again I can’t sleep until I get these thoughts into my computer.
This time it’s the price Crisp’s!!
A couple of years ago, in well-known pie shop, I was charged 69p for a packet of crisps, as I was enjoying them, I thought how few Crisp’s there were in the packet compared with Smith’s Crisp’s I used to buy in 1945. Then they cost about tuppence—1p, and even had a little blue packet of salt!
In the war years, and for a few years after, most things were controlled by The Retail Price Index, and prices were very stable. Since then prices have gone up and down.
Back then, who would have thought a packet of Crisp’s would ever cost a whopping fourteen shilling’s, and for half a packet?
Of course, the average wage was about £3 a week and most things were so much cheaper.
My first wage, in 1946 was eighteen shilling’s—ninety pence.
I had seventeen job’s until I became self- employed in 1966.
Discounting my three years in the RAF. That is almost one a year!
They were proper 40 hour per week jobs too.
These jobs were all local to Chertsey, some of the factories were very large employers, such as Vickers, the Airscrew and Weymans. I estimate that the factories big and small,
in our area, must have employed more than 20,000 workers.
Where have all those jobs gone, and what do all those workers do now?
Increasingly, industrial work, including office work, is now being done by robots and artificial intelligence— there are even fewer jobs to be had.
There must come a time when these robots produce most of the things we need, but with the few jobs that are left, the human worker will not be able to afford to buy any of these products.
The simple answer would be a shorter working week, so that the jobs can be shared, and everyone would earn enough money to live a normal life.
But instead of that, it is becoming more common for people to have two or three jobs, just to get by, leave alone, to be able to buy or rent a home at today’s prices.
So where has all the money gone, that these robots can produce so cheaply? Some products are definitely of better quality and much cheaper, but others, like my Crisp’s are not.
And who would have thought that one popular domestic vacuum cleaner, that is made in a low wage country, would cost nearly £400, where as a washing machine made in a high wage country in Europe, can be bought about £250?
Answers on a postcard please.