Supply and demand.

29 Jan

Lots of stuff in shops are subject to supply and demand.

The farmers have been bemoaning how rubbish the weather has been over the past few months and the effect this has had on their crops.

The effect has of course been that the crop yields have been much lower than expected which is tricky for the farmers. Their overheads stay the same, relatively, whether the crops fail or it’s a bumper harvest. The market still expects to receive the same amount of crops but at times receives much less and whilst buying from overseas sources helps it generally means that prices go up. By the same token if there is a bumper harvest the price goes down.

We also see this happening with gas supply prices, petrol prices etc. etc. Supply and demand. Now there are bad men out there who take advantage of supply and demand as they are able to manipulate the market in order to make more profit for themselves. They generally buy up enormous quantities of a commodity and them sit on it until the price rises due to lack of market required supply. We then have to pay more for the commodity or for stuff we want which contains said commodity. Or the Mars Bar economy reduces the quality or quantity so we pay the same money as we did a week ago but we get less one way or another.

Supply and demand economy. It mostly works. Mostly.

But supply and demand isn’t just for various commodities, goods or services it happens in other ways too. I’d like to introduce one of the most ridiculous examples of over and under supply, which has been happening in our economy for years, making life difficult for our young people and is getting more and more ridiculous.

It’s education.

I’ve banged on about education previously and how it needs significant and revolutionary change to enable each and every child to achieve their full potential. At the moment the education system is aimed at getting as many students/learners/pupils to university as possible.

Is this a good thing? It should be but the realities seem to tell a very different story. First of all we have all the soft cuddly courses. Dare I even say the art courses? Universities line up the courses they offer and people roll up to fill them.

The thing is that our economy requires people with certain skills who will help the economy grow. It’s a difficult balance however, since a shortage of one skill can’t be addressed immediately and it can take years for that to be addressed and then when it is addressed, far more people have gained the skills than are required.

Mix in skilled people coming from overseas and a larger than necessary skill pool and suddenly people can’t get the jobs they thought they’d spent 4-5 years working for. The skill glut reduces salary levels for everyone with those skills, which is great for the employers.

Those who miss out find themselves thinking back to all the statements made by tutors etc. which suggested that gaining a degree would guarantee a real job which would pay them good salaries for their entire career.

The present system does not take account of supply and demand. The universities and colleges lay out their courses and people queue up to take the places on offer. A hierarchy exists which grades students depending on results and perhaps other elements, which undoubtedly are considered by employers and may help them when making decisions on the most suitable candidate for the job.

With no link between the number of students, the number and quality of courses available and the number of jobs which will be available when the students graduate then supply and demand plays no part, apart from depressing salaries and unemployed students.

Could be organised better?

You would have to hope that it could. However, there are so many vested interests involved it may be more than difficult if it were ever considered.


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