Build-A-Bear Workshop’s recent offer, which permitted customers at their stores to buy any teddy bear for the price of their child’s age, has had to be abandoned amidst “overwhelming and unprecedented” demand, and scenes of chaos in shopping centres up and down the country.
Social media has been largely negative regarding the initiative but, in a volatile global economy, I think that any fresh attempt to stimulate demand should be applauded.
Perhaps even extended…
It got me thinking. What would happen if the Build-A-Bear economic model was rolled out across entire countries and governments?
So, the price of all goods is fixed to the age of the consumer; similarly tax paid.
Children would suddenly take up as privileged position as though in Gilead. Economically, old people would struggle to live beyond the age of Logan 5. The crashing dystopias of The Handmaid’s Tale and Logan’s Run brought head-to-head.
There would be a rise in the birth rate; a rise in the death rate. The average age of the population would decrease. There would be a return of child labour; the age of retirement would come down.
There would be a massive black market in potted meat paste, Grape-Nuts cereal, and tins of fruit cocktail. Werther’s Original toffees and Woodbine cigarettes would have a higher street value than crack cocaine.
Governments would have to step in to redress the balance. More investment would go into care homes and less into maternity clinics. There would be incentives for longevity; penalties for large families.
Sounds like a pretty screwed up system? Or just a different version of the screwed up system we already have?
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree concedes that he might not know as much about economics as Ozzie Andros.