Friday, February 25, 2005

Economics of Bread

Admittedly, I haven’t gotten far on my dissertation on economics which itself centers on the fact that consumption cannot, in the end, be greater than production. If a body isn’t being useful, then he is consuming off someone else’s usefulness. Period. And pretty much anybody can be useful but our first-world exploitative economy allows us to pretend that a huge minority of our population, and maybe even a majority, don’t have to be useful – they can be “retired”, or “disabled”, or cubicle dwelling paper pushers, or coordinators, interveners, educators, grant-mongers and such as that. Our first-world economy allows us to pretend that because we rape the earth’s resources and we enslave huge populations and we grow food with petroleum instead of nutrition. And the self-same people who decry the Old South for slavery quite willingly enslave Chinese and Indians for the economy’s sake, and in fact themselves to service their debts.

But, I’m not meaning to talk about that just now because as you might can tell, I’m way too passionate and opinionated about it. Nope, now I’m waiting for a loaf of bread to finish baking in the oven and I’m considering the economic impact of that, a single loaf of bread. A single loaf of bread that I make just about every single day.

The cheapest loaf of bread that is whole grain costs about $2.50 hereabouts. That’s the Wal-Mart price, and not really good bread without useless additives but at least with 100% whole grain. So, I round that up to every loaf of bread I make immediately saves us $3. That is, $3 we don’t have to spend. Or make.

But wait, it doesn’t stop there. There’s taxes. For every dollar we don’t make, that’s 15 cents we don’t have to pay for the “geezers ripping off younger people” (aka social insecurity) tax. No income tax on what isn’t income. No sales tax on what we don’t buy.

But not only that. There’s no gas for what we don’t drive to the store to buy. No gas for the product not transported to the store in the first place. No extra drink or food to buy because we are stuck out and about and get hungry and thirsty. No impulse item that speaks to us at the check-out counter and overrides our non-acquisitive-ness. No maintenance on the truck, no risk of injury in car accident.

But not only that. There’s no time off the farm, so we have the time not only to bake the bread but to culture the buttermilk and grow the corn and beans and make the cake from scratch and milk the cow and make the butter and make the ice cream and increase the fertility of the soil and make things that are useful (be productive) and to play and laugh too.

Sure, I don’t employ anyone with my loaf of bread, but then I think the need for people to be employed is highly overrated. And so by not participating in that exploitative economy, I am not supporting it so even that is another plus.

And that’s just the off the top of my head economic impact of that loaf of bread.

1 comment:

justrose said...

You always say something cool that spins my head around and sets me to thinking in a different and better way.

I've been in such a funk, so sorry I haven't been here.

But here's what you said today that hit me:

Only idiots think their prayers are answered only when they get what they want.

That rocks.