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Economic Shenanigans

Posted by Dirck on 7 June, 2012

I am deeply troubled by the current economic news.  Various economists {SFX: jungle drums from a 1930s film} have commented that the three great drivers of the global economy, the US, Europe and China, are all having a bit of a stumble– the last largely because the first two are becoming less able or willing to buy the manufactured stuff the latter’s surge these past few years has been predicated upon.  This is attended by our hideous automaton of a Prime Minister saying publicly that there may be some rough stuff ahead for the Canadian economy.  His response to the big 2008 global conniption was more or less along the lines of, “Hey, I don’t smell any smoke,” so the admission of the existence of any possible trouble, even while shouting “It’s all Europe’s fault,” is disturbing indeed.

Apart from my small role as a member of the northern hemisphere’s consumer legions and holder of a mortgage, this all gives me a tremor for the possible effect on fountain pens.  I’ve mentioned in the past and elsewhere that the current upswing in the fortunes of fountain pens is in part founded in their casting themselves as a luxury good.  Now, while big economic down-turns don’t decapitate a capitalist economy (it’s not the top 1%, of whom so much has been said lately,  that throw themselves out of high windows, but the second 10%… and they land on the lower percents), the total luxury-goods market is apt to contract.  I don’t know that the renaissance of the fountain pen can stagger along through some serious dust-bowlish years, and I’d be very sad to see the clock turned back to the 1980s.

Apart from having a rather bad day yesterday and thus being a little low in my spirits, this grim little line of thought is fueled by news that Pelikan is turning up its prices in the near future, despite having done so quite recently.  If it is, as I fear, an attempt to lay in more cash reserves ahead of an apprehended desert, it’s probably not going to work; it’s certainly not how the big pen makers which weathered the 1930s did the trick.  The best they can hope for is pricing themselves out of the market for us normal mortals, without opening up much more of a market with those well-heeled enough to consider Mont Blancs and Yard-O-Leds (which, as an aside, I hear has customer service in keeping with the cost of its pens; the prospective Mont Blanc owner might want to look towards England), with subsequent extinction or purchasing by some dark conglomerate.  I have an irrational attachment to Pelikan, and I hope they see sense before the windows of the 23rd floor begin to look like a good exit.

I now have to decide it the ING savings account I have labelled “Pelikan 600” might not be better spent on long-lived staples.  I don’t even like lentils that much….

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Walnut

2 Responses to “Economic Shenanigans”

  1. Andrew said

    I’ve believed that economics is an agreed upon fiction, but you state my case better than I. And your description of our 40% (and dropping) leader as an “hideous automaton” is true yet so sad. The stature of Canada in the world is taking a beating with this bunch of fools at the control.

    I do grow dried beans and garlic if you are interested….


    • Y’know, I’ve been thinking of sticking some garlic in the back yard anyway. I’m sure my dad remembers some good sauces for tulip bulbs, too, from his childhood experiences with a somewhat more honestly oppressive regime.

      My inner Groucho demands I ask if you grow dried beans by not watering them….

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