How Wealth Is Created

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6v81VH6k4A

April 22, 2019. Tags: , , , . Economics. Leave a comment.

Where did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get her sweet potatoes?

http://tennesseestar.com/2019/02/27/commentary-where-did-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-get-her-sweet-potatoes/

Where did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get her sweet potatoes?

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

February 27, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SUDG7FIFK8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-haN_2oztvw

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was trying to explain to me that the world is going to melt, we are all doing to die, and probably we shouldn’t be having any more children, but I was distracted by the dinner she was preparing on camera. She was carefully cutting sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven.

She put salt and pepper on them. Salt was once so rare that it was regarded as money. Ever try to go a day with zero salt? Nothing tastes right. That was the history of humanity for about 150,000 years. Then we figured out how to produce and distribute salt to every table in the world. Now we throw around salt like it is nothing, and even complain that everything is too salty. Nice problem.

Sweet potatoes are not easy to cut, so she was using a large steel knife, made of a substance that only became commercially viable in the late 19th century. It took generations of metallurgists to figure out how to make steel reliably and affordably. Before steel, there were bodies of water you could not cross without a boat because no one knew how to make an iron bridge that wouldn’t sink.

As for the oven in her apartment, it was either gas-powered or electric. In either case, she didn’t have to chop down trees and build a fire, like 99.99 percent of humanity had to until relatively recently. She merely pushed a button and it came on, a luxury experienced by most American households only after World War II. Now we all think it is normal.

I also presume that her house is warm in the dead of winter and that this is due to indoor thermostatically controlled heat. There are still people alive today who regard this invention as the greatest in the whole course of their lives. They no longer had to work two days to heat a house for one day. Again, one only needs to push a button and, like magic, the warmth comes to you.

The more interesting question is where she obtained those sweet potatoes. The store, I know. No one grows sweet potatoes in Washington, D.C. But where did the store get them? For many thousands of years, the sweet potato was trapped in distant places in South America; it somehow made its way on boat travels to the Polynesian islands, and finally landed in Japan by the late 15th century.

Only once boating technology and capital expenditure for exploration grew to reveal the first signs of prosperity for the masses of people did the sweet potato make it to Europe via an expedition led by Christopher Columbus. Finally, it came to the U.S.

But this took many thousands of years of development — capitalistic development — unless you want to see this root vegetable as the ultimate fruit of colonialism and thus to be eschewed by any truly enlightened social justice warrior.

Even early in the 20th century, sweet potatoes were not reliably available for anyone to chop up and bake, especially not in the dead of winter. Today Americans eat sweet potatoes grown mostly in the American South but also imported from China, which today serves 67 percent of the global sweet potato market.

How do we obtain them? They are flown on planes, shipped on gas-powered ocean liners, and brought to the store via shipping trucks that also run on fossil fuels. If you are playing with the idea of abolishing all those things by legislative fiat, as she certainly is, it is not likely that you are going to obtain a sweet potato on the fly.

I admit the following. It drives me crazy to see people so fully enjoying the benefits from private property, trade, technology, and capitalistic endeavor even as they blithely propose to truncate dramatically the very rights that bring them such material joy, without a thought as to how their ideology might dramatically affect the future of mass availability of wealth that these ideologues so casually take for granted.

To me, it’s like watching a person on IV denounce modern medicine — or a person using a smartphone to broadcast to the world an urgent message calling for an end to economic development. It doesn’t refute their point, but the performative contradiction is too acute not to note, at least in passing.

Now to this question about whether there should or should not be a new generation of human beings. After all, she points out, no one can afford them anymore because young people are starting careers tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans. She says there is also the moral issue that we need to take care of the kids who are already here rather than having more.

Truth is, she doesn’t really explain well why she is toying with the idea that it is a bad idea that people have kids. Let me suggest that it is possible that she is drifting toward the path of countless environmentalists before her and finally saying outright what many people believe in their hearts: humankind is the enemy. Either we live and nature dies, or nature lives and we die. There must be some dramatic upheaval in the way we structure society to find a new way. It’s the application of the Marxian conflict fable to another area of life.

Maybe.

In any case, those are big thoughts — too big, really, for a delightful cooking session after which a fancy meal beckons. We’ll get back to what AOC calls the “universal sense of urgency” following dessert.

March 4, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Economics, Environmentalism, Food. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders says Uber’s employees are treated unfairly, so why does his campaign use Uber for 100% of its taxi rides?

Bernie Sanders has criticized Uber for not having the same government regulations, worker protections, and employee benefits as regular taxi companies.

However, public campaign records show that Sanders’ campaign has actually used Uber for 100% of its taxi rides.

I would love to hear Sanders explain his hypocrisy.

February 25, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Politics. 5 comments.

I agree with Obama for allowing a U.S. corporation to open a factory in Cuba

Obama just gave approval for Cleber LLC, an Alabama-based company that builds tractors, to open a factory in Cuba. This will be the first new U.S. factory to be built and operated in Cuba in over 50 years.

As a libertarian, I totally agree with Obama on this issue. Bringing global capitalism to Cuba is a wonderful idea.

The average Cuban citizen earns $20 per month.

Usually, when U.S. corporations open up factories in poor countries, in order to attract workers, they usually pay between two and five times what the average worker in that country makes. So if this trend is followed in Cuba, we can expect this factory to offer workers between $40 and $100 per month.

And then, if current trends continue, we can expect U.S. protesters on the radical left, who never complained about Cubans making $20 per month while employed by the Cuban government, to complain that the $40 to $100 per month the Cuban workers get paid by this U.S. corporation is “exploitative,” just as they always make that same complaint whenever U.S. factories in other poor countries pay their workers between two and fives times what the average worker in those countries makes.

My take on this? Unlike those leftist U.S. protesters, I actually trust Cuban citizens, and citizens in all other poor countries as well, to choose the job that they believe if best for them. I would never protest against someone switching to a new job that pays between two and five times as much as their old job.

Anyway, as someone who believes in free trade and global capitalism, I applaud Obama for letting a U.S. corporation open up a factory in Cuba.

 

February 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Economics, Politics. 4 comments.

Poll: If you could abolish income inequality, or poverty, but not both, which one would you choose?

December 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Polls. 5 comments.

Poll: man who created 7,000 jobs tells his employees what he’ll do if Obama gets reelected and raises taxes

David Siegel is the founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, a real estate and timeshare company. In a recent letter to his 7,000 employees, he wrote:

Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7,000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?

I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

That’s really quite good – I like that. Perhaps he’s read Atlas Shrugged.

October 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Politics, Polls. Leave a comment.