Avoiding the fall into a capitalism trap
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 17:10
This particular issue of The Herald includes apps that are said to save money for college students.
However, the major problem with this model is that many of these apps cost money to purchase.
While at first they may seem like a worthwhile investment, the reality is that there are better ways to actually save: not spending money in the first place. An easy way to keep track of finances is through Microsoft Excel, a program free to download for all ASU students.
Many banks allow users to track their account balance online, so there is no need to connect to a special app to track spending.
As it turns out, the newspaper’s main way to “save money” is actually spending more money, instead of utilizing free resources students already have access to. It is clear that we have fallen into the capitalism trap.
The main principle of capitalism is competition by private markets.
As Americans who have grown up knowing nothing different, it is a premise that we easily accept.
In fact, many would argue that it is beneficial for businesses and consumers alike. For example, when a business can sell a product for cheaper than its competitors, more consumers will buy.
This means the business can sell more of the product, and consumers benefit from getting goods for less. This idea is what pushes businesses to advertise their “savings” to their customers.
It’s also a main contributor to income inequality in the United States.
Corporations push coupons in the mail, commercials on television and signs on the street, but are they really saving consumers anything?
Many businesses will advertise a big sale, but most of them won’t advertise the price hike a few weeks earlier. This means many “sales” are actually close to regular price in the first place.
Then there’s “the more you buy, the more you save” scheme. Planning on spending 20 dollars? Why not spend 50, and save 20?
While consumers may be saving a few dollars up front, it is important to remember that businesses are still turning up a profit. In this case, more of a profit than they would without the promotion.
All the while, employees in the store receive the same paycheck as they would have if you spent less.
The people who truly profit are the ones at the top tier of the cooperation. Cue the “We are the 99%” chants.
In short, everyone, especially college students, need to look past the hype when businesses push the “save big” model to get consumers in the door.
While offers may seem appealing on the surface, we need to keep in mind that a business’s primary goal is to make money, even if it means misleading customers.
Do some research, and make due with what you already have. There may not be an app for that, but it is truly the easiest way to save money.
Capitalism may have dishonest tendencies, but corporations can only deceive so long as consumers blindly follow.