Monday, August 29, 2011

Consumer Sovereignty

Now there is a term I have not read before – Consumer Sovereignty. Mark Perry used in at his blog site Carpe Diem where his article about the Chart of the Day titled Chart of the Day: Consumer Sovereignty Rules in the Long Run and Competition Breeds Competence.

What an eye opener.

When he discusses economic lessons he mentions the shortcomings of both management and labor sovereignty. Both management and labor sovereignty, in a competitive market, are trumped ultimately by Consumer Sovereignty.

To make his point he uses his “chart of the day” to lead off the article where you can see in 1980 Ford had over 300 times as many customer complaints per 100 vehicles as Toyota with 195, while GM was much worse with almost 400 times as many customer complaints as Toyota. No wonder Toyota and similar brands took over much of the U.S. market.

However, as of four years ago (2007) there is a much different story to tell from the same chart. Toyota still has the lowest complaint per 100 cars with 110, but GM only has 1.23 times as many (135) – a vast improvement on both companies. Ford did even better with only 1.13 times as many (124). The companies are now in a virtual statistical tie with the American models coming on strong.

One other website comes to mind when mentioning consumer sovereignty although I do not recall it ever being used there, Gary North’s Specific Answers.

While I don’t recall Dr. North ever using the term, he has given advice many times reminiscent of the term. When a subscriber writes in and wants to know how to “get rich” or “get rich quick” Dr. North often advises them they have chosen the wrong website and then offers the following advice on obtaining wealth – find something you can offer to the consumer/customer at a lower price or of higher quality or even a product the consumer/customer doesn’t know they want or need yet.

Indeed, his advice always acknowledges the sovereignty of the consumer/customer who is always looking for a better price or higher quality at the same price.

Let’s hope the marketplace stays open and free enough to let us – the customer – reign supreme. For an example of a state run or controlled marketplace take a look at page three (3) of the free downloadable book The Vampire Economy as an example of the alternative.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Unfailing Love

Men’s Bible study following breakfast this morning at Calvary Chapel of Dayton, Ohio led by Pastor Dave Elkins. You can hear his teaching online here.

Working our way through Isaiah found us in Isaiah chapter 30 today. Very interesting, very powerful material. There is so much there, but I want to comment on what jumped out at me there in chapter 30 and some of the discussion.

It was the very first sentence (verses 1 and 2a) where my attention was first drawn: “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me;”

Here I saw a repetition of Abraham traveling to Egypt without first consulting with the LORD and all the trouble he got into. It is the same in my life as well. When I consult with the LORD about my plans, doors open and close in very different ways. If I see doors closing after asking for His advice or approval, I take that as His answer. If the doors open after asking, then I take it as His approval or lack of disapproval. I have found I do not want to “go down to Egypt without consulting” God.

What follows in Isaiah is God’s curse on Israel for “look(ing) for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge” (v2b). The consequences go on for a number of verses, but in verse 15 we find “The Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’” Our Heavenly Father once again shows His love and mercy offered to Israel and by extension to the rest of the world – if only we will accept it. Israel at this time did not for the verse concludes, “but you would have none of it.” Like so many of us today (including me) Israel refused this wonderful gift from our LORD and they literally ran away (see verses 16 and 17).

Nonetheless, God through Isaiah makes sure Israel knows of his love even after they have run away, in the very next verse (18) “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Like a loving husband or wife who forgives a spouse who has failed in their covenant vows, God demonstrates his unfailing love.

The measure of that love is noted in verses 23 and 24 after Israel rids itself of all its false idols as He blesses Israel greatly when, “He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.” Even the animals of Israel will be blessed for “In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel.”

Take away: Wait upon the LORD, consult the LORD in prayer if you (I) want to experience the blessings and mercy in your (my) life through His unfailing love.