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Editorial

Take the High Prices… into Your Own Hands

“Have you shopped at a supermarket recently?” My friend was not referring to the prices at Greek supermarkets. She was talking about the supermarkets in Astoria where she had done her shopping that morning. The volume of her voice, a voice of desperation, had risen significantly.

“Where should I start?” she continued. “With the eggs, the tomatoes, the yogurt? Where? I used to buy a sandwich for myself for about $6. Now it sells for $9.99. It’s madness. I didn’t buy it. Enough is enough. And then you tell me not to vote for Trump? Say what you want…”

“But what can Biden do?” I dared to ask. “Can he order companies to lower their prices? What he can do is crack down on profiteering and eventually control the oligopolies that have become the norm,” I said.

I didn’t convince her…

The exact same conversation could be had in Greece. The difference in product prices compared to previous years is more than noticeable. Many people genuinely complain because they struggle to buy what they need – and definitely don’t buy anything unnecessary. They count and recount what they buy to ensure the money they have is enough.

Mid-month comes, and they run out of money. How will they live, especially the elderly, on the pension they receive? Will they have to decide between buying food, medicine, giving pocket money to their children, or to their grandchildren? How far will it go?

Comparatively, the expenses in Greece are lower than here. For example, rents in Athens are much cheaper; they can’t even be compared to the rents in New York, but neither can the salaries. In Greece, they are much lower.

Do you think the Prime Minister doesn’t want to lower prices? Do you think he doesn’t see it as a problem, even from a political standpoint?

But what can he do? He can do the same – and less – than what Biden or any other European leader can do. He can fight profiteering, publicly shame the multinationals that control most supermarkets, identify where bottlenecks occur in local production, and pressure Europe to collectively take similar initiatives.

However, the most effective way to combat high prices is, undeniably, in our hands. Yes, in the hands of consumers.

It’s called a boycott. If the demand for a product significantly decreases, this will lead to a decrease in its price. So, if the price of eggs is high, then a boycott against eggs should be organized. Even if we don’t completely stop buying eggs, we should buy fewer than we used to.

The voice of the people – there is no greater and more effective power. So, take prices… into your own hands.

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