. . . then read this from Jonathan Margolis’ fascinating story about the Wenzhou in China – the birthplace of capitalism, for them. The folk there have got very rich:
They have a particular thing about France here, which also dictates that there are more than 100 fine wine stores. The irony is that Chinese people don’t much like wine. Millions of bottles of Margaux, Château Lafite and that ilk circulate in Wenzhou as gifts – or are knocked back by the litre, made palatable with sugar or green tea.
The price of ‘fine’ items – like Hirst artwork, say – is driven by demand, not supply or quality. If there are rich people, who have a deep need to demonstrate that they are men of wealth and taste, then the price of the items that are conventionally linked to such qualities are bound to rise – hence the existence of How to Spend It magazine.
The Chinese of Wenzhou have just proven it – they clearly increase the price of such wines, making them look even more like products of extremely high quality, while destroying any possible quality the moment they are consumed.
PS. Am I wasting my time here? Are all you people just hoping for defaced posters of David Cameron, and going away disappointed?
UPDATE: If you want to know what Paul and I are arguing about below, the launch of Tax Justice Focus produced some debate on his blog about the rights and obligations of corporations – – check it out