You probably don't think about it much, and neither do I, until now, but you don't exist without a computer. In the business world today, nothing happens without a computer, and that is also the reason that we are in trouble in our economy today. The computer doesn't have the common sense to stop, and no human has the common sense to stop it.
Prices of goods used to depend on the local economy, but we don't have local grocery stores anymore. The retail and franchise chains have taken over because local stores couldn't compete with the buying and marketing power available to larger wholesale buyers. Instead of the local economy working with local stores and businesses to provide the needs of the community, the retail chains stay connected to their broader market despite changes in the community's ability to support them. Often that ability decreases over time because there is a steady trickling of job loss that occurs over time after a new, supposedly job creating, business moves in.
As the community becomes less and less employed, it costs them more and more. The problem is that the computers can't see that. The computers in the store set the prices. They are not negotiable, and even sales are based on an algorithm of trigger numbers. You can't even change a price or sell a non-inventoried product in these stores. So if people are buying less and coming back less often, then the result in manufacturing is to make smaller product in smaller packaging, sell them at the old price for the bigger package, and people start coming back to buy more often.
That triggers another number. Productivity. Now that the computer sees that consumer targets are back on track and they are using less material, they can spend less. Now they are meeting their goals, and making a ridiculous profit in the mean time. How could this forward progress be bad? Because shipping is down.
We aren't moving enough things, so the computer sees that oil use is going down, and raises the price. It has very little to do with production, though many claim it does, they obviously haven't paid attention to how long it actually take a gallon of gas to get to the market, cuz it's not immediately. People who are employed don't usually lose jobs over oil prices but it does happen. People who are not employed have a tougher time looking for work. They don't go out as much and tend to look for work online.
Anybody notice how high internet rates are these days? If you aren't a new or promotional period customer, internet service runs to the ridiculous, and doesn't offer the quick unlimited speed and downloads either, you are metered buddy, you're welcome.
So while people can't get out and spend as much as they were, and production is up, with less people working, but shipping is down, so oil is up, the markets start to really roll into play.
Credit is based on your computer score. That score represents your ability to secure currency and capital and remain fluid in the economy. If you get stuck anywhere, then you are a risk. There's a hedge fund to cover that though. Investments are always covered by someone for loss and gain. YOUR loss and gain.
The "market" is a large betting pool and consumers are the horses. Right now, there are a lot of lame horses among us. So the burden falls to the people who are able to move around in the economy a little more freely. To urge them on and convince them to keep going and keep working, the people who watch the computers, point to all the lame horses and tell the rest of them, that those horses are keeping them from winning the race. Currently, over half of the people in our country are not working. Less than half the people in this country are the support for over half.
The computers don't care about that. There are profits being made and triggers that will adjust prices everywhere until the very last cent is spent. As long as productivity and profits are higher the computers will keep forging ahead, and I am willing to bet you, the humans watching them, won't stop them, until it is simply too late.
When is too late? Well in my view, it's now, but too late will be when everybody realizes it is happening and nobody can stop it, so instead they attempt to destroy it. Instead of reprogramming and allowing for the proper variables, the computer is going to keep asking for more quantitative easing, not cognizant of the fact that it takes food out of people's mouths when more currency is pumped into the machine. It doesn't know that it is starving us, it is just running the program. Instead of making sure that enough food and land are planted so that we can all eat, the computer will just stop moving money to the areas that can't participate in the economy and no food will grow, because the seeds weren't shipped, because no-one could buy them, because our money is too diluted, because productivity and profits are up, because prices in the stores are non-negotiable, and the community has no resources to support itself.
Of course this is all just my opinion based on the hundreds of different stories I read on a weekly basis, including op-eds, market reports and analysis, as well as human interest stories. If you go read all that for yourself, I would put money on you seeing the pattern emerge as well.