Industrial Seigniorage: The Other Face of Competition

Abstract : This paper presents a novel perspective on industrial practices in modern competitive capitalist economies, questioning, in particular, the link between prices, competition, and the quality of goods and services. It tries to characterize a business practice that consists in reducing prices and maintaining (or increasing) profit margins by reducing the quality of goods and services while still presenting them as the same as before. The paper is primarily concerned with the practice of producing inferior quality goods by reducing the quantity of inputs used in the production process, or mixing inputs with cheaper constituents. The proposed term for this practice, “industrial seigniorage,” is based on the historical privilege of feudal lords (from Old French seigneur), who—possessing the right to mint gold coins—made a profit by adding cheaper base metals to the bullion. The present, essentially exploratory investigation attempts to delineate the widespread existence of such practices in various industrial sectors. It strives to explain the fundamental elements of consumer behavior that enable this practice to exist and discusses the effects of industrial seigniorage on several social issues. The attempt of the paper is finally to show that contrary to the ideology of capitalism, competition does not necessary lead to benefits for consumers or to an increase in product quality.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Review of Radical Political Economics, SAGE Publications, 2016
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Contributeur : Jordan Melmies <>
Soumis le : mercredi 16 novembre 2016 - 15:59:54
Dernière modification le : mardi 3 juillet 2018 - 11:48:44


  • HAL Id : halshs-01398064, version 1



Jordan Melmies. Industrial Seigniorage: The Other Face of Competition. Review of Radical Political Economics, SAGE Publications, 2016. 〈halshs-01398064〉



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