When I came to Paris 5 years ago for a 3 month stay, I was able to buy a 4 pack of  “céréale” Dannon Activa at Monoprix for less than 1,20€ . Now the same yogurt is at least 1,95€ and I’ve seen it as high as 2,10€ (and that’s at the supemarket). The price has gone up so dramatically that at first I thought I was remembering the original 2004 price wrong! And yet, the euro is in a much better place than the dollar. How can my yogurt be so expensive when I live in a place that is, supposedly, fairing this economic storm pretty well?

I’m not an economist, but from what I figure out it’s because of two reasons. One is that Paris now is one of the most expensive cities in the world*, so the price of my yogurt is always going to be high in my eyes, especially when you consider the fact that I’m not earning the big bucks. And two, they’re not importing this yogurt from someplace where it would be cheap to produce it. I’m not sure if it’s right to judge the depth of world economic phenomena based on the price of yogurt, but I really do believe Dannon can be an pretty good gauge of the economic situation. The price is constantly increasing and in such a way that every time I hear something in the news about another farmer’s strike or the decrease of the milk supply or the introduction of cheeseburgers to Asia, or the stock market or the housing crisis, the price of my yogurt goes up the next week.

I find this fascinating because I don’t remember prices changing that drastically when I was living in New York or New Jersey. Is it because the U.S. is 6 times as big as France in terms of population, so it takes longer for prices to go up, meaning there would have to be a MAJOR change in supply or demand in order for the price of Dannon to be impacted? Is France so tiny that every cow that dies prematurely has a direct impact on the price of my yogurt? Or is it because the farmers and their strikes have much more of an impact on the market here and whenever they get angry, somebody is obliged to respond and pay them more for their milk, in turn charging me more for my yogurt? I don’t know what it is, all I know is the yogurt is too damn expensive. images

Rank 2009 Rank 2008 City Country Index 2009 Index 2008

1

2

TOKYO

JAPAN

143.7

127

2

11

OSAKA

JAPAN

119.2

110

3

1

MOSCOW

RUSSIA

115.4

142.4

4

8

GENEVA

SWITZERLAND

109.2

115.8

5

6

HONG KONG

HONG KONG

108.7

117.6

6

9

ZURICH

SWITZERLAND

105.2

112.7

7

7

COPENHAGEN

DENMARK

105.0

117.2

8

22

NEW YORK CITY

US

100.0

100.0

9

20

BEIJING

CHINA

99.6

101.9

10

13

SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE

98.0

109.1

11

10

MILAN

ITALY

96.9

111.3

12

24

SHANGAI

CHINA

95.2

98.3

13

12

PARIS

FRANCE

95.1

109.4

14

4

OSLO

NORWAY

94.2

118.3

15

89

CARACAS

VENEZUELA

93.3

79.3

16

3

LONDON

UK

92.7

125

17

14

TEL AVIV

ISRAEL

91.9

105

18

16

ROME

ITALY

91.2

103.9

19

21

HELSINKI

FINLAND

90.5

101.1

20

52

DUBAI

UAE

90.1

89.3

21

19

VIENNA

AUSTRIA

89.3

102.3

22

61

SHENZHEN

CHINA

89.0

86.3

23

55

LOS ANGELES

US

87.6

87.5

23

70

GUANGZHOU

CHINA

87.6

83.9

25

16

DUBLIN

IRELAND

87.4

103.9

http://www.mercer.com/costoflivingpr#Top_50

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