By Philip "Pippin" Drucker
How many of you shop at Trader Joe's? I do. I love the different alternative to the mainstream and somewhat more healthy products they sell. The staff is always kind and courteous. I am also a big fan of their single item pricing for fruits and vegetables. FYI selling by the pound is an old trick invented to mislead your average shopper into believing they are getting more for their money. It's an offshoot of the which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead false equivalent. Seriously? Read it again.
I'm also one of those smart shoppers that reads their Fearless Flyer whenever possible. One day, while perusing the Fearless Flyer Online I began to wonder. Why does a single Envy Apple, as enviable as they are, cost $1.29?
Seeds are free. A modest investment in an apple tree (the cost to be amortized over time) would become at a certain point of the tree's "useful existence" de minimis to say the least (in fact, I just did). Seriously? read it again.
If you are lucky to have a natural stream or well on your property, the hard cost of water would be free. And sunlight? Since the mighty big fat greasy wheels of capitalism and industry have yet to figure out a way to put a meter on the sun (same reason we don't have solar power plants) our other fixed cost would be, free. So, why does a single envy apple cost more than say a penny or two, or anything?
Is it labor costs? Is it convenience? Is it the variety of selection all in one place? Is it scarcity? Is it the mighty Supply & Demand oh my goodness don't do that or you will drive up inflation hoax we have all been indoctrinated into believing is part and parcel of the greatest economic engine every known? Or as Saint Ronnie the patron saint of voodoo economics once spouted, "The magic of the marketplace?"
Or, in the even more bizarre world of Enron and mark to market accounting where whatever we say it's worth is what it's worth, that's what we say it's worth? Or, perhaps the go to gold standard of predatory capitalism and false worth equivalents, it's worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it? For the most part, these are the maxims that pass for sound economic market manipulation theory in a world with no actual relationship to true fair market value.
You doubt me? We live in a world where debt is treated as a commodity, to be bought, sold and traded on the open market. Desirability and investment grade adjudged by the debtor's likelihood to pay back their loan. On time. With interest. The anti-manufacturing silver bullet if there ever was one. Think about it. But not too hard. For there is an answer to all of the inquiries raised above. Yes, there is.
You could plant a tree, in your backyard and for all intents and purposes, for free. then, make a phone call or two. Or better yet, bake a nice envy apple pie, walk over to your next door neighbor's home, knock on the door and say, I'll trade you this delicious pie for...and let the sparks fly and land where they may for this is the scenario most feared of by predatory capitalist pig dogs of all shapes and sizes.
The realization that, you, we, don't need them. It's called bartering, exchange, or for the most part, trade. For in an economy based upon the exchange of goods for other goods, the middleman, the money man become an unnecessary third not so big anymore wheel.
Imagine there is no money. It's not so easy, but try. Scientists would still make discoveries, inventors would still invent. Artists would still create, and of course, writers would write. The only class of person who would be out of a job would be the businessmen and women who are currently trying to transform the last imaginary dollar out of our pockets and into another zero on the end of their imaginary off shore bank account balances.
I'm telling you now what they already know. The power to end their reign of monetary terror is in our hands. Your hands. My hands. For we have the power, all of us, to plant, to build, to share (now that's a thought they definitely don't want you to think), yes, share all of the bounty this world has to offer. In the final analysis, you really can't digest money. But an apple? Now that has real value, doesn't it? Especially if you want to eat. The hippies knew this and that my friends, is why they had to be crushed.
Don't get me wrong Nixon was a complete psycho. A paranoid, most of the time drunk incompetent for the most part clod who weaseled his way into the White House. Oh, he did have some legitimate reason to hate the hippies. Opposition to the draft made continuing to fight the unwinnable and therefore illegitimate Vietnam War all the more difficult. Tricky Dick couldn't very well let all the shareholder at GM down, now could he? Did Richard M. really care about bell bottom jeans, long hair, free love, even drugs? Probably not.
What he and various chamber of commerce's around the globe did care about was the emerging new sense of not individuality, but community, locality, communal living and trading. Together. In neighborhoods. Without them. The war on drugs was merely an excuse for violence. A good, time-proven but entirely wrong headed cultural target for "law enforcement" that in essence created the need for the drug cartels we see today. Remember supply and demand? As if we could forget.
Today, we have all but abandoned the idea of communal living. It somehow got thrown under and splattered upon the undercarriage of the socialism bus. Mad Max style road warrior kill in the interest of maintaining an already way past it's prime late term mature capitalist economy that has continued unabated for the past 35-40 years or so and, where we find ourselves today. At the mercy of the merciless. Of those who disdain any act of kindness as an act of weakness.Who disdain any act of charity unless it comes from a billionaire peeling off his blood-lunch money as an act of treason.
Whatever happened to helping people whether they are capable of helping themselves or not? To provide for the people not only according to their ability to contribute, but their need to survive? The injured, the sick, the elderly and yes, even the children have not been spared from the rod of indifference, intolerance or economic injustice in the name of nothing more than profit. Not justice. Not equality. Not empathy. Not love or compassion for humanity. Profit, the ability to better one's economic position through obtaining the goods or labor of another, at a price higher than the hard cost of materials over advertising. How much is your labor or goods worth? Whatever you say they are.
My advice? Plant a tree, learn a trade, or keep paying $1.29 an apple. Tax not included.
Be the divine spark of life within you wish to be. -Namaste
-Philip Drucker for http://www.DruckerReport.com