Boycotting does nothing to lower prices


Boycotting is an ill-conceived and poorly thought-out strategy, racial undertones aside. What can boycotting do in a marketplace that is inherently inefficient and uncompetitive?

TK Chua, FMT

Malaysians are big on boycotts. At one time we boycotted a certain brand of cigarettes. Then we boycotted bread. Now we want to boycott traders/middlemen in general.

We think we have a simple solution to every problem – boycott. We want to exert our consumer power, so to speak, on manufacturers, traders and middlemen to toe the line and to comply with our demands.

We have blamed traders and middlemen since Prof Ungku Aziz’s thesis on rural poverty.

We have viewed the middlemen as parasites ever ready to leech on others.

Get rid of the middlemen and our poor farmers and consumers shall have a better life.

It is akin to many newly independent countries ridding themselves of every remnant of colonialism after independence. But we know many have failed miserably.

Traders and middlemen have survived and thrived because they play an economic function that is demanded by consumers and producers. Middlemen have expertise, skill and capital that are not easily replaceable.

Didn’t the government try to undermine the roles of traders and middlemen through the numerous agencies it has established in the past? Off the cuff, I can think of FAMA, Majuikan, Pernas, Majuternak, LPN (now Bernas) and more recently NFC.

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