Capitalism just makes things so damn cheap, doesn't it?

You don't have to go far - say to the Labour Party Manifesto, or this time around the Tory one in fact - to find people complaining that capitalism is some form of a rip off. In their lust for profits the plutocrats grind the faces of the workers into the dust, short change the consumers.

And yet we also face the obvious truth of the world around us. Those people living in a place which has been roughly capitalist and roughly free market for any reasonable period of time are as rich as any group of human beings ever have been. They have more than those who came before. And thus it must be true that capitalism makes things cheaper, something not consistent with everyone being ripped off.

And a specific example

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, has helped drive down short-haul ticket prices in Europe by increasing its capacity by 33% in the past two years.

Its cost base, widely acknowledged as the lowest of Europe’s major carriers thanks to low plane purchase, maintenance and staff costs, has allowed it to undercut rivals while still making a profit.

The Irish airline made a profit after tax of €1.3bn (£1.1bn) in the year to the end of March, even though it slashed ticket prices to fill almost 14m seats added during the period.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said fares had fallen 13% but profitability had doubled over three years. He added: “Frankly I see no reason why that trend won’t continue.”

The capitalist plutocrats can and do cash in by reducing the prices to consumers, making them better off. Which is, of course, why the system works as a whole.