Friday, 3 April 2009

Recession and Ripping People Off

What does a recession mean to you? Is it less income or falling prices? We are in the process of selling things off not because we need the money but because we are endeavouring to be able to travel light. Some things we will give away. There are a number reasons for selling off things we have gathered over the years. Most importantly, it is so we can spend time with our grandchildren, daughter, and her husband in England (we currently live in New Zealand), and being able to move closer to our son if necessary because his wife has Hodgkin's lymphoma. Regardless a lot of possessions simply weigh us down and don't get much use.

On one of our recent attempts to sell something a perspective buyer asked us to drop the price further even though the current market price is above what we are asking. The buyers reasoning was that it was a recession and we should expect to sell at lower prices. This left me thinking about what recession realy means to people.

Before the recession kicked in, there were already cases of people in low pay countries being exploited to deliver cheap goods to the more affluent countries. The idea of paying a fair wage for work done hasn't reached all countries yet and the more affluent nations seem willing to exploit these low income regions for their own personal gain. Many of these workers already can not afford to live. So in a recession should we expect prices to drop further and the wages of these workers to shrink further?

Of course there is the other consequence. If we see a recession and an opportunity to buy things at reduced price then producers are going to stop producing or at the least reduce production. Workers will be laid off or companies close down simply because producers can't afford to continue to produce at a lose. The recession deepens and there are more lay-offs and more people struggling to survive.

Regardless of whether it is a recession or a healthy economy, we should always be considering all sides of the supply and sale of goods and services. The buyer shouldn't be ripped off simply because times are good neither should the buyer expect producers to be ripped off when times are bad. Look to pay a fair price regardless of the financial environment.

At least we are fortunate. We are not forced to sell so we will just remove our goods from the market or look for other ways of disposing of them to people who really have a need for them and are not simply trying to exploit others.

One of the things that we are endeavouring to sell is our house. The real estate agent assured us that it didn't need painting to put on the market but we have gone ahead with some repairs and with the painting. We are not forced to sell. We simply prefer to sell. However, if we were to retain the property then we want to ensure that it is in good condition so we will go ahead with repairs, upgrades, and painting. If prospective buyers aren't prepared to pay for that work as part of the purchase then we will look at other ways of using the property that will free us to be more independent of the commitment to it. We don't want to rip buyers off or leave them in a position of more expense after the purchase. All we seek in return is that prospective buyers look to give us a fair price so we can live wherever we end up. Preferably that would be with the same debt level as we have now.

When looking at economic transactions whether in or out of a recession, consider th importance of “living simply so that others may simply live”. That is pay a fair price for all goods and services so that others can simply afford to live.

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