Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You'll Be Sorry

Awww, how cute. Ms. Ellen Shell, author of Cheap, responds to Megan McArdle in good faith. So much hope and optimism, for so little reason.

Shell deals very neatly with McArdle's idiocy. Shell notes and shares McArdle's irrelevant anecdote but also notes it's irrelevant.

These memories are light years away from the subject at hand--which seems to be Bagis clothes hangers and Kura loft beds and banana leaf Gullholmen chairs made by happy workers in China and Vietnam.

Shell again attempts to pull McArdle back to the matter at hand.
I chose to visit IKEA because it seems like the anti-Wal-Mart, a classy, progressive company where value and good values coexist. It flaunts what business scholars call "brand personality traits" to convey an image of youth, friendliness, and hipness which, along with its famous design, combine to make low price furnishings acceptable to a crowd that would never consider buying a night gown--let alone a night table-- at Wal-Mart. Target, H+M and a number of other low price purveyors work almost as hard to undermine the very sensible assumption that low price is a signal of low quality. But no company does it better than IKEA.

Shell then gives an overview of the consequences of cheap material goods, including labor and environmental abuses. It won't do her any good because McArdle will hand-wave them away, but it's a good try.

How will McArdle respond? Will she try to condescend to Shell, or will she try to pretend modesty? Will she accuse Shell of misunderstanding her or of dishonest manipulation due to liberal bias? Will she explain that in the free market, factory workers will just find another job and the company will be forced to accommodate them? And that the trees are needed by the poor for cheap furniture, so it would be a crime to not cut them down?

This is so exciting!


blivet said...

The first three comments are some nice specimens. All three are insulting and condescending, yet decline to address the points Shell made in the post.

Susan of Texas said...

Ha! They are good little dittoheads.

clever pseudonym said...

I think she'll be baffled by Shell's use of things like facts, specific examples, and statistics for weeks.