Thursday, October 28, 2004

Contrary Economics

In the Rune Stream way of seeing the world, Othalo is wealth, like family land holdings. Its symbol could easily be representative of a fence. Fehu with its representation of cattle horns symbolizes wealth too, but in a more money exchange sort of way.

For one from the Appalachian culture, this makes perfect sense since our ancestors raised cattle for money, rarely eating them themselves. For their own family's food they raised pigs and kept chickens, supplementing this with game such as squirrels and deer and rabbits.

One of my favorite family stories is of my great-grandmother on her deathbed. If you've cared for someone legitimately ill, you know that appetite often wanes and when the sick have a taste for something, well, you'd just do anything you could to accommodate that. She had a taste for squirrel gravy. One of her sons grabbed the shotgun but found there was only one shell. He took that shotgun and that one shell into the woods knowing fulfilling his mother's wish rested with him and that one shot. Then he saw what he'd hoped the most for -- two squirrels sitting on the same branch. He took aim, shot, and took home two squirrels for one of his sisters to fix for his mother to enjoy!

You hopefully get the idea from that story that my grandmother and her family were both very poor and very wealthy.

Two dollars for a dozen eggs, and having only a few dozen eggs per week to sell certainly doesn't seem to portend prosperity. But our eggs have few expenses in them. A small incubator and a little bit of feed maintains our flock. And we get to eat all the meat and eggs we want from this as well as add fertility to the place. We bought the cow for $600 and a month later she had a calf. That calf ate milk and grass and eventually became, with only a few days hard work for us in the slaughter and butchering, 200+ pounds of meat in the freezer plus lots of dog food. For free. It is like the $800 truck we bought that has been running for 8 months now -- that is $100/month now, which will only go down (and quickly). If you buy a new car for $20K, how many months is it until you get it for that cheap? 200 months, not counting interest, that's how many. Nearly 17 YEARS.

In other words, money, particularly having a large cash flow, is not synonomous with enduring wealth or prosperity. Security certainly seems an illusion in a society where Social Security steals from the next generation and politicians promise jobs that are just another form of "yes massah" slavery. It is insightful of what is really going on that to make payments on debt is referred to by the sexual term "servicing". Although a lot of people get by on cash flow, they do so only by dumb luck and only until something bad happens.

Something bad always happens so folks, plan for it. Real security is possible IF it is based on that enduring wealth combined with relationships. At least that is what economics looks like around here.

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