Last summer, Commissioner Menin launched an investigation to determine whether similar items marketed to girls and women were priced differently than for boys and men. Controlling for quality, Menin found that items marketed to girls and women cost an average of 7% more than similar items aimed at boys and men.
Examples of the more egregious, damning evidence concerning 3 Christmas gift items for 2015:
- Radio Flyer red scooters for boys and pink scooters for girls are similar: Both have plastic handlebars, three wheels, a foot brake, and weigh ~5 pounds. The only significant difference is the price. Target listed the one for boys @ $24.99 and the one for girls @ $49.99. That’s a 200% markup!
- The Raskullz shark helmet for boys is priced @ $14.99 and the Raskullz unicorn helmet for girls is priced @ $27.99. That’s ~87% markup!
- The Playmobil pirate ship for boys is priced @ $24.99 and the Playmobil fairy queen ship for girls is priced @ $37.99. That’s 52% markup!
It can be argued that it’s not. Instead, it’s the “free market” governed by the law of supply and demand.
Consider this example:
In 2014, Target got into very hot water because the Black Barbie dolls being sold were marked up 200% of the price of White Barbie dolls. However, before getting into a huff and accusing Target of systemic racism, remember that the market for Black Barbie dolls is ~75% smaller than the market for White Barbie dolls. As a result, fewer Black Barbie dolls are produced, increasing the costs of producing Black Barbie dolls. In addition, because fewer Black Barbie dolls are purchased, retailers have to increase the profit margin to bring those dolls to the shelves for consumers, that is, if those retailers are to remain in business and young people are to enjoy playing with Barbie dolls.
Now, what Commissioner Menin may very well desire is that retailers shift those costs to consumers purchasing White Barbie dolls. How? By artificially pricing those dolls higher in order to decrease the price of the Black Barbie dolls. In effect, those consumers are forced to pay an artificially higher price—a “surcharge” or “tax”—so that Black Barbie dolls, which those particular consumers do not want to purchase, are available for those consumers who do want to purchase them.
That’s what Commissioner Menin would likely call “social justice.” Why? It redresses the perceived “systemic injustice” caused by the capitalistic free market. For sure, it’s what President Obama told Joe the Plumber is “spreading the wealth around a bit.”
Actually, it’s not. It’s making those who want a generic model of a particular product pay the increased costs of production for those who want a customized model. Where's the justice in that?
Let the discussion begin...
To read the sources cited in this post, click on the following link: