Irish business harmed by increase in counterfeiting

July 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

When Englishman John Donne famously wrote that no person is an island, it’s likely he wasn’t thinking about an actual land mass. It’s also likely he wasn’t thinking specifically about his neighbors in Ireland. And though it’s been said that the only things on the Emerald Isle you’ll run into as frequently as poets may be barstools (or perhaps some combination of the two), the fake trade has brought yet another poet’s words to bear on Hibernia. As described in a recent piece that ran in the Irish Independent, the country’s counterfeiting problem is expanding.

Now, where sham goods are concerned, it would seem no island is…well…an island, either.

Celine Naughton’s fine survey ably shifts apertures between the global and local effects of the epidemic and focuses firmly on how the purchase of phony goods via the internet has been so detrimental to business that the Irish Fashion and Footwear Federation, the trade group representing the industry’s retailers, will shut down because many of the organization’s members can’t afford to remain with them. It’s a compelling portrait of how difficult competition has become for legitimate businesses.

Naughton is similarly concerned about the second party retailers and e-tailers who are being undercut by counterfeiters to the point that wholesale prices can’t compete. When legitimate smaller players are forced out of the space, it is not only the selection of goods available to the public that shrinks, but, as is always the case with sham products, the quality is atrocious.

The manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods injures nearly every party along the production and distribution chain. We say ‘nearly’ because, like any illegal activity, there are always a few criminal masterminds who benefit immensely. But together, we can curb their illicit profits. Share your knowledge of the counterfeiting industry with friends and family and encourage them to pass it along to others. Each time our collective awareness stops the purchase of a counterfeit item, we get closer to stalling the demand for these sham goods entirely. Stop the demand and the supply will follow. Instantly.

Just because the fake trade hides in the shadows doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it in vivid terms. So keep having these conversations. Anything that helps fight this epidemic is poetry to our ears.

Image from NASA’s Earth Observatory

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