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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

Supply and demand

Supply and demand is the name given to the grotesque side of capitalism that states that the person who has all the power can define whatever price they want for a product because no one else can provide it.

When the COVID pandemic hit, there was a huge hike in the price of surgical masks. The reason was attributed to supply and demand. The demand for these masks had increased and there was an auction to see who would be willing to be ripped off the most to have possession of the stock. The theory is that then this person can charge an extortionate amount to provide their dental care because they are the only dentist in the area who’s been able to get PPE. Can you see how toxic an environment this would create? A culture and environment that has no place in healthcare.

We are professional, we expected to act and behave like professionals and we should expect our suppliers to be held to the same account. If we don’t hold our suppliers to account, then we will be shortchanging our patients.

In my mind, and I’m aware this is an idealistic and grossly simplified view of economics, the cost of an item or service should be based on 3 things, materials, quality and time.

The quality of the product may be in the machinery that makes it or the research that’s gone into it. It may be in the training and skill of the person providing the service, you would expect to pay more for a haircut from the salon director than the apprentice.

Quality x Time + Materials = Fair Price

Charging based on quality is completely different to charging based on demand.

Besides which, charging on demand is unsustainable, when the supply goes up, your business is gone.

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