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Court Orders Chocolates Destroyed

Views: 600 It has been reported that a Swiss court has ordered the food store chain Lidl to stop selling its golden-wrapped chocolate bunnies and destroy its …

by Stephen Shenfield

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1 min read

It has been reported that a Swiss court has ordered the food store chain Lidl to stop selling its golden-wrapped chocolate bunnies and destroy its stocks of this item. 

Lidl had been sued by a rival chocolate manufacturer, Lindt & Sprungli, for violating its trademark on a similar product. Although there were some differences between the two brands, opinion polls showed that customers had difficulty distinguishing them. 

Lidl operates over 11,000 stores in Europe and the United States, so the amount of chocolate that has to be destroyed must be substantial.

Why is Lidl not allowed to give the chocolate away instead of destroying it? Although that would not profit Lidl directly, Lidl might get some favorable publicity. The free distribution would reduce demand for chocolate bunnies from Lindt and might induce more people to shop at Lidl stores. 

Fashion is another industry where ‘excess stock’ is often destroyed. Luxury goods need to be sold before they go out of fashion. When that happens it is necessary to get rid of any that remain to make room for new models. Destruction is usually cheaper than recycling. Drastic price cuts are avoided because profit maximization depends on maintaining the scarcity value of luxury brands. Large-scale free distribution would cause the same problem. (See: Rachel Cernansky, Vogue Business, October 18, 2021 – here.)  

In a socialist society there would be no trademarks or competing brands of the same product. Things would be made to last. This would make it easier to foresee likely demand and halt production before excess stock accumulates.

These are just a couple of examples of how capitalist property relations lead to destruction of useful things, wasting human labor at the same time as human needs go unmet. For other examples see:  :

Waste and Want: Grapes of Wrath Revisited

A Starvation Society

The Problem of Food Waste

Patents: Capitalism versus Technological Advance

Why the Shortage of Medical Supplies?

Nonprofit Production: Wave of the Future?

Tags: brand, trademark

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I grew up in Muswell Hill, north London, and joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain at age 16. After studying mathematics and statistics, I worked as a government statistician in the 1970s before entering Soviet Studies at the University of Birmingham. I was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. In 1989 I moved with my family to Providence, Rhode Island, USA to take up a position on the faculty of Brown University, where I taught International Relations. After leaving Brown in 2000, I worked mainly as a translator from Russian. I rejoined the World Socialist Movement about 2005 and am currently general secretary of the World Socialist Party of the United States. I have written two books: The Nuclear Predicament: Explorations in Soviet Ideology (Routledge, 1987) and Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2001) and more articles, papers, and book chapters that I care to recall.

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