The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Tampon Shortage:
Capitalism’s Fault

Jun 20, 2022

There is a tampon shortage?! There are reports of women having to drive around town to several stores to get tampons to last them through their period. On top of finding baby formula, mothers have to find tampons. Tampons are an essential part of feminine hygiene. The use of tampons allows women to be involved in social life regardless of their menstruation cycle.

Companies and economic experts blame the shortage on COVID, staffing shortages, inflation, and the war in Ukraine. The spokesperson of Procter & Gamble (P&G), the owner of Tampax, even blamed the shortage on their own advertisement with comedian Amy Schumer.

None of these excuses hold water. The companies that produce tampons are giant monopolies. They are more than capable of producing enough to meet demand. Over half the world’s tampons are produced by P&G, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and Edgewell. P&G single-handedly controls 29% of the global market, and 50% of the U.S. market.

However, all this control over the market lets them squeeze more out of us in their mad race for profit. Since last year, these companies have increased the price of tampons by 10%. These are highly profitable companies. Last year P&G made $17 billion in profit. Flushed with cash, P&G gave their shareholders $21.9 billion in stock buybacks and dividends.

The need for these hygiene products is essential, but we are captive to the capitalists’ self-interested decisions. The capitalists manipulate our lives by raising prices and creating shortages in their drive for profit.