The top­ics you have to be able to dis­cuss this week


1. Shrink­fla­tion trend

Fig­ures from the UK sta­tis­tics of­fice re­veal that 2,529 prod­ucts have shrunk in size over the past five years, but are be­ing sold for the same price. Choco­late bars, toi­let rolls, cof­fee and fruit juice are just some of the goods that have been sub­ject to “shrink­fla­tion”. And in the choco­late cat­e­gory, the stats of­fice says the in­fla­tion rate was ac­tu­ally 1.22 per­cent­age points higher since 2012, once the smaller size is taken into ac­count.

The sneaky prac­tice is par­tic­u­larly pro­nounced in a weak con­sumer en­vi­ron­ment, and un­for­tu­nately SA has not been im­mune.

“We can now say with cer­tainty that the econ­omy is on the up . . . Slowly, slowly, what no­body be­lieved could hap­pen, will hap­pen. We will ex­tract the coun­try from the cri­sis . . . and in the end that will be judged.” Alexis Tsipras, prime min­is­ter of Greece, to The Guardian

2. Dystopia beckons

A US com­pany is about to in­stall rice-sized mi­crochips into the hands of its em­ploy­ees. Along with en­abling the pur­chase of items at the cafe­te­ria of Wis­con­sin-based Three Square Mar­ket, em­ploy­ees will use the chip to gain ac­cess to com­pany head­quar­ters, log onto com­put­ers, use copy ma­chines and even ac­cess med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. Em­ploy­ees are not re­quired to get the mi­crochips, and the com­pany say it does not en­able GPS track­ing. But that’s lit­tle con­so­la­tion in the face of the slow death of pri­vacy rights of work­ers.

3. Pres­i­den­tial no-show

Kenyan op­po­si­tion pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Raila Odinga this week set out his vi­sion for Kenya alone af­ter his ri­val, Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta, failed to show up to a tele­vised de­bate. Opin­ion polls show Raila has be­gun to close the gap with Keny­atta in the pres­i­den­tial race.

Mean­while, only one vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of Kenya’s six mi­nor­ity par­ties at­tended a sep­a­rate de­bate. Sur­rounded by five empty podi­ums, Eliud Muthiora Kari­ara an­swered ques­tions posed by two mod­er­a­tors and the au­di­ence for an hour.

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