Why Prices Are Soaring

David Spero RN
5 min readOct 10, 2023

It’s not wages. It’s late-stage capitalism.

Photo by rc.xyz NFT gallery on Unsplash

In much of the Western-dominated world, prices are soaring while wages creep up slowly. They call it a cost-of-living crisis. Poverty and homelessness follow rising prices, which are usually called inflation. What is causing these increases, and what can we do about it?

Start with this: where can people afford to live? According to the White House web site, shelter costs, meaning rent or home purchase prices, are up 7.8% in the last year. Since those increases are based on already inflated prices, they are pricing more and more people out of shelter.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a house which sold for $100,000 in 1967 would cost $1,033,540 now. That is a 933% increase in 56 years. An apartment that rented for $250 in 1974, when I moved to San Francisco, goes for about $3000 a month now. The research firm Credit Karma says rents nationwide rose 24%.from 2021 to 2022.

It also costs much more to eat now. In the US, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates the price of food eaten at home costs 5.8% more this year, and food eaten away from home costs 7.1% more than in 2022.

This is on top of a 2022 increase in food prices of 9.9 percent, according to USDA. Those numbers seem low to me. When a large pizza at a chain store costs $35 and a regular deli sandwich costs $17, like 200% more than before the pandemic, something is wrong.

These are American prices, but around the world, prices are up, in most countries by 3–10 %, with certain outliers (Argentina, South Sudan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, and a few more) suffering rates above 50% a year. What is going on?

Competition kept prices down, but no more

You may have heard the term late-stage capitalism. That’s the world we live in now. While capitalism for centuries has brought war and environmental destruction, it had always kept prices down. Capitalism’s greatest enemy, Karl Marx, wrote that low-priced goods were the weapons capitalist countries used to “break down the walls of China.”

These low prices came from competition. Companies had to make better products and sell them at lower prices, because if they didn’t, a competitor would win



David Spero RN

Alive in this place and time to help Make Earth Sacred Again. Write about Nature, economics, health, politics, and spirit from Earths point of view.