Saturday, November 17, 2012


As hard as it is for me to accept that I'm coming back from nearly a week of silence to discuss this of all things, I've had enough of "the unions killed the Twinkie" talk that I've got to sound off.

True, the bakers' union did declare a strike in protest of Hostess' contract, and Hostess claims that their cost of labor is forcing them to liquidate the company a year after seeking Chapter 9 protection.

But I believe in the power of the free market, and see things in a different light.  Hostess couldn't think of a way to bake, distribute, and sell a product of dubious nutritional value without having its labor force take a significant cut in wages and benefits (Hostess provided no comment on whether they considered reducing their profit).  But if there truly is still a market, besides the occasional nostalgia purchase, for the Hostess Twinkie, some other company will come up with a plan on how it can produce, distribute, and sell the "food" at a profit while treating its employees well, even offering them (gasp!) health care.  There's a lot of clever people out there, and if there's a market, some one will figure out a way to satisfy it.  It may not be called "Twinkie" for obvious patent and copyright reasons, but consumers will come to recognize it for the same thing (just like what was once "7-Up" is now "Sprite").  

Everything is marked by impermanence, and the market demand for Twinkies has changed and the way bakeries do business and treat employees has changed.  But where there's a demand, a supply will eventually appear, and when there's no more demand, companies go under.  That's how the market works.

Now, pass me the Wonder Bread.

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