Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Surely Tesco is not like a tumour?

At various times in my life, I have taught biology.

This is something of how growth happens: Cells grow and reproduce to form tissues. Then, surrounded by other cells, they stop reproducing. This is called contact inhibition. They have reproduced exactly as much as is necessary for the health of the overall body.

Unless they're cancer cells. The latter have no contact inhibition, and so they go on a reproductive spree which may kill the organism.

Briefly, let us pursue an analogy. A large group of people - say a 'society' or a 'nation' is the body. A company is a cell or group of cells.

Wouldn't it be good if companies had contact inhibition, if they stopped growing when they'd reached optimum size for the overall system?

Maybe some do. Some certainly don't.

One that comes to mind is the gigantic UK grocery chain Tesco. In most parts of this country, unless you live at the bottom of a deep valley you can probably look out of your window right now and see a branch. Tesco does not want one, or two, or even three outlets in each major population centre in the country. It seems to have an insatiable hunger for displacing all competition whatsoever from smaller businesses.

Tesco is destroying local shops. It seems like their shareholders will never rest until there is not a single corner shop in the land without their logo over it.

Surely, surely, the mighty Tesco cannot be compared to a tumour in the body of the UK?

I just had to get that out of my system.

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