Thursday 9 May 2013

Cats, Dogs and People in the Imperialist World Economy

Here is a selection of facts to ponder, sent to me today by a friend. They indicate how it is better to be a cat or a dog in an imperialist economic power than a worker in an oppressed country.

This is another angle on the Bangladesh textile factory atrocity that was recently in the news, something which gave a dramatic example of the human cost of exploitation that goes beyond the figures for wages that I covered in the article 'What the "China Price" Really Means' on 3 June 2011, when analysing how much of the value produced in poor countries finds its way into the consumer lifestyles of the rich.

You should probably sit down before you read this, although the information does not contradict what everyone knows is true:

The UK spends £14.9 billion a year on pet care – an average of around £11 per pet each week – of which pet food is estimated at £2.7bn.

People in the West spend £11 billion a year on ringtones for their mobile phones.

The average monthly wage of a Bangladeshi textile worker is £29.

Bangladesh State annual spending on education $11 per capita.

Mintel Industry Report on the UK retail sector
Pet Food and Supplies - UK - March 2011

* UK consumers are heavily invested in the pet care market. Their personal lifestyle, health and hygiene expectations are being transferred to pets, and the market is only too happy to cater to this demand.

* Weight control is becoming as relevant to pets as it is to humans with a third of dogs and a quarter of cats considered to be overweight. The growing awareness of pet obesity has prompted a number of targeted initiatives and also provides further opportunities for specific diet foods for certain breeds and ages.

* Pet treat brands can continue to add value to the category by refocusing on the less mature and relatively underdeveloped cat treat market at the expense of dog treats.

* Another way in which brands can continue to grow sales is by tapping into the trend towards pet parenting, with 70% of pet owners treating their pets with as much care as they would a child, with products such as greetings cards and other gifts.

Tony Norfield, 9 May 2013