Thursday, June 28, 2012

Venture Capitalists: Doing More with Less

The destruction of farm jobs, and doing "more with less," since the 1700s has brought about economic prosperity.
In the Freeman, economist Steve Horwitz responds to the Doonesbury cartoon below and comes to the defense of maligned venture capitalists like Bain, who generate huge benefits for society by "doing more with less":  

"Innovation enabled us to create more food with less work (see chart above), freeing humans to create other valued products through other jobs. This destruction of jobs and reallocation of labor and capital are the true sources of prosperity. Bain Capital's attempts to allocate resources more effectively can lead to big-time profit for it and its investors—and increased prosperity for everyone else even as jobs are destroyed in the process. 

Government’s attempts to create jobs do not do more with less. On the contrary, politicians get votes by creating as many jobs as possible, and they have no incentive to care about the price tag or what if anything those jobs produce. In other words, politicians will tend to do less with more. That’s called waste

Profits guide firms like Bain to meet people’s needs. This can lead to a growth in employment for some companies and a drop for others. But ultimately it means that resources are better allocated, increasing prosperity for all. When more is done with less throughout a market economy, billions of people are made better off, which only shows that firms like Bain are not vultures preying on the dead, but bees bringing the pollen of life from plant to plant. They are about profits and people."

Click to enlarge.


124 Comments:

At 6/28/2012 9:05 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

But ultimately it means that resources are better allocated, increasing prosperity for all.


===============================

Hard to make that argument stick in the face of declining real income and net worth for much of the American population.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:06 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:12 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

well...my personal experience indicates that government workers are wildly less efficient than private. I would say it takes 5 government employees to to the work of one private employee.
I base this opinion on the number of employees at the Community Corporation in Santa Monica, which operates rentals.The conclusion would be that government workers are a drag on the economy. We are better off without them as much as possible.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:20 AM, Blogger Moe said...

VCs are all saints or VCs are all sinners - take your pick. This is the U.S., there is no middle ground.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:23 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Profits guide firms like Bain to meet people’s needs.

=================================

Horse manure. See the comments in the natural gas post below about T Boone Pickens search for profits, and who they benefit.

Sure, profits are the incentive for companies to produce things people want, at the moment. I get it.

But profits are insufficient incentive to produce all the things people will want eventually. There are many instances of market failure, and needs that are not met just because thee is profit in it.

Also, profits can come from entrepreneurial and creative work, but they can equally well come from various kinds and levels of exploitation.

Not all profits result in everyone being better off. In order for that to happen the profits need to be put back to work, somehow. Retained profits only make the profiteer better off.

Is the profiteers customer better off? Probably. Presumably he got something for less than he could produce it himself, so he is better off.

But is he better off because of the profit made? Not exactly. The customer would be better off (on that transaction) if the profit was smaller. This is one reason the government beats up on its suppliers to take smaller profits.

Will the customer be better off because of the profit made, eventually? the only answer here can be "maybe".

 
At 6/28/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The interesting thing about this is that it is essentially a socialist argument: "Hey, everyone will be better off, eventually, if you just pay more in the tax we call profit."

 
At 6/28/2012 9:29 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

...my personal experience indicates that government workers are wildly less efficient than private.

===============================

Less efficient maybe, wildly less efficient is probably an overstatement. Government workers are burdened with procedures, which are supposedly to prevent fraud and unfair practices, among other things.

Many businesses operate without such strictures, which makes their wmployees appear to be more productive. Until the company takes a big loss and/or disappears.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:32 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Hard to make that argument stick ..." -- Hydra

You must be right, because if real income and net worth are declining, "for much of the American population", at any given period of time the whole system must be a fraud. You're sooo smart.

"Is the profiteers customer better off?" -- Hydra

I don't know. IS they?

 
At 6/28/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Hydra states:

"The interesting thing about this is that it is essentially a socialist argument: "Hey, everyone will be better off, eventually, if you just pay more in the tax we call profit."

So Hydra, if you choose not to buy a particular product from a private company, then you are not paying the profit tax and thus guilty of tax evasion?

What about purchasing a Kindle? If Amazon is selling it a loss to generate other e-commerce sales then the purchaser would be a tax evader.

Profits emanate from consumer choices and taxes from government monopoly.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:17 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

less people working on farms = lower quality foods. some in our government see the need socialized because people cannot afford the healthcare they need because of the cheap crap food we create. maybe we need more people working on small farms creating high quality food.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:31 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

less people working on farms = lower quality foods.

You're going to have to explain that one, especially when our food is as healthy as ever.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:40 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

@jon

less people working on farms typically leads to less natural growing of the food. animals are confined to small spaces to be easily managed by few people. the animals have to be medicated due to unnatural diet and confined living.

large plant farms are reliant on genetically modified plants that can withstand herbicides. they also have to rely of petroleum based fertilizers because the soil is constantly having it's nutrients drawn from it.

in the end it certainly does not make for healthier food products. cheaper, yes, but not healthier.

 
At 6/28/2012 12:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Hard to make that argument stick in the face of declining real income and net worth for much of the American population."

that's a straw man. you are blaming the victim. repeated stimulus, bad monetary policy, and thickets of regulation and poor governmental policy are doing that.

you are even more wrong on profits.

profits are how individuals communicate with providers. you cannot make them without satisfying needs unless, of course, you use coercion, like government.

you make incredibly persuasive arguments against your own views hydra.

and notions of "want" are irrelevant. i can WANT a pony. so what?

what matters is demand. demand is a want that you can and will pay for. we can all want megayachts, but few can and do buy them.

profit is not about serving wants. it's about serving demand. want is infinite. demand is what matters if you have a less than infinite amount of somehting.

you seem to be deeply confused on the basis for transactions.

 
At 6/28/2012 12:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

"less people working on farms = lower quality foods.

You're going to have to explain that one, especially when our food is as healthy as ever."

i would actually not agree that our food is more healthful. it's full of hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. veggies ripen on trucks and do not get minerals while so doing.

but you are bang on with your criticism of chuck's point.

why is a field plowed with a tractor less fertile than one plowed by hand? why is wheat harvested with a combine lower quality than wheat harvested by hand?

if anyhting, machines make it better by letting you harvest more right at peak.

i too would love to hear his explanation on that.

oh, and chuck, it's FEWER not less.

if you can count it, it's fewer.

 
At 6/28/2012 12:17 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Hydra,

Hard to make that argument stick in the face of declining real income and net worth for much of the American population.

Idiot. A recession is temporary and is but a small down tick in otherwise explosive growth.

Per capita income:
1980 - $25,640
2010 - $42,204 (down from the 2007 high of $43,726)

So it's "[h]ard to make that argument stick" when real income declines by 3.48% after increasing by 70.54%? And don't forget that real income is increasing again, from the low of 2009 at $41,313.

If we go all the way back to 1800, when real per capita income was $1,396, then we see just how dramatically explosive growth really has been. Even from the low of 2007, that's a real income increase of 1258.67% increase. Yeah, "[h]ard to make that argument stick" indeed.

Basically, your entire argument is based on assumptions and the fallacy of composition.

You truly are a self-parody.

 
At 6/28/2012 12:20 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"The interesting thing about this is that it is essentially a socialist argument..."

I now know everything I need about your thought process, Hydra. To think that I actually considered any of your previous posts as valid makes me wonder if I'm slipping. That sentence may be the single dumbest thing I've ever seen on this blog...I'm actually stunned by it....

 
At 6/28/2012 12:32 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"maybe we need more people working on small farms creating high quality food." -- Chuck

I volunteer you. Right after you complete your reeducation.

 
At 6/28/2012 12:35 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"less people working on farms = lower quality foods."

This is about the same as saying mobile home parks cause tornados.

You see two things you don't like and think they must be related. If the number of people working in that sector was the reason for (arguably) lower quality, it would be the only sector (ever?) that has not benefitted from tech/efficiency progress.

 
At 6/28/2012 1:05 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

considering this is an economics blog, i am not expecting the readers to be versed in modern farming practices verse traditional farming practices.

large farms tend to rely more on artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to grown their foods. they also tend to use more genetically modified seeds. all these practices are there to create faster and larger yields. it is speculated that these artificial inputs wreak havoc on the human body.

the typical factory farm fertilizer is a phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium blend that is derived from petroleum. problem is that there are millions of nutrients drawn from the soil during the growing process that don't get replaced yearly.

traditional farming practices are more labor intensive. they see the raising of our food as a symbiotic relationship with mother nature which they want to nurture not battle. do they use technology where appropriate? sure but not while sacrificing raising something naturally. animals and plants raised naturally have much more nutritious inputs yielding more nutritious end products.

 
At 6/28/2012 1:12 PM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

This link demonstrates what the consequences are of what Mitt Romney and people like him have done at Bain and elsewhere.

 
At 6/28/2012 1:45 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

none of that is employee count based.

an organic farm can use 10 guys or 1 tractor to plow a field.

i can have a machine put out organic chicken feed or hire a guy to spread it.

the number of people has nothing to do with the quality of the output in that case.

you seem to be confusing two issues.

 
At 6/28/2012 1:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

moe claimes: "VCs are all saints or VCs are all sinners - take your pick. This is the U.S., there is no middle ground"...

Well moe if that's the case here's your chance to open and operate a 'saintly' venture capital firm...

I'm sure all your fellow travelers will flock to your place of business and invest their hard earned money, right?

 
At 6/28/2012 2:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

From out of the ether hydra snatches this 'maybe' gem of wisdom: "But profits are insufficient incentive to produce all the things people will want eventually. There are many instances of market failure, and needs that are not met just because thee is profit in it"...

Well here's your chance lad to jump into the market place and rectify those 'failures' with your inventiveness and your money...

What the heck! You just might make a fortune...

 
At 6/28/2012 2:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"less people working on farms typically leads to less natural growing of the food. animals are confined to small spaces to be easily managed by few people. the animals have to be medicated due to unnatural diet and confined living"...

Well chuck, nice of you to 'chuck' that bit of info out there but it also obvious you've never worked a ranch...

 
At 6/28/2012 2:14 PM, Blogger Moe said...

juandos:
I have no idea how your comment relates to mine - elucidate please - if you care to.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:19 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Yet another 'non-rancher' chimes in: "i would actually not agree that our food is more healthful. it's full of hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. veggies ripen on trucks and do not get minerals while so doing"...

Well morganovich I don't know where you got the impression that somehow range fed beefs were somehow healthier and don't contain or those 'horrible additives' but you would be wrong...

The only reason we're not paying $25 to $30 per pound for ground 'pseudo chuck' is due to the modern methods of raising beefs for market...

The modern methods that are applied to the production of fruits and vegtables are why we're not paying $10 to $15 for a head of lettuce or a single apple...

 
At 6/28/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I have no idea how your comment relates to mine - elucidate please - if you care to"...

So moe what you're saying is that you didn't know that you made a blanket judgement on people in the VC business and the suggestion that you should jump in on the side of the saints escapes you?

 
At 6/28/2012 2:34 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

jaundos:

i pay $5.25/lb. for 100% grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free beef. this is for all different cuts including ground and filet.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:34 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

any given period of time the whole system must be a fraud.

================================

I did not say the Whole System was a fraud. I merely pointed out one way that statement could be taken to task.

Eventually increasing prosperity won;t mean much to real people if eventual means 60 years or so. How long will people wait for the trickle down theory to work?

 
At 6/28/2012 2:36 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

"
Well morganovich I don't know where you got the impression that somehow range fed beefs were somehow healthier and don't contain or those 'horrible additives' but you would be wrong.."

once more, your reading comprehension fails you. that is not what i said. get out of the hay field and stop making straw men.

my point is that if you looked at beef now compared to say beef from 1920, our food is NOT more healthful. (you focus on expensive, which is a whole separate issue and further demonstrates your inability to read for comprehension)

compare milk now over the same period.

now, you have to shop very carefully to avoid steroids, hormones and drugs in your meat, milk and eggs.

(and i only buy those with none and happily pay up for it)

but taken as a whole, they are full of crap that was not around in our grandparent's time.

milk was not loaded with estrogen and growth hormones.

beef was not full of steroids and antibiotics.

tomatoes did not taste like cardboard and have the nutritional value of pumice.

grains were not "enriched" with starch that ups their calories and spikes their glycemic load (while making them taste worse)

i said nothing about range fed. do you even read before you opine?

your comment has zero to do with mine. it's all orthogonal irrelevancies.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:37 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Is the profiteers customer better off?" -- Hydra

I don't know. IS they?

==============================
Who is they? The profiteers customer (singular)? ?

 
At 6/28/2012 2:38 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

"
i pay $5.25/lb. for 100% grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free beef. this is for all different cuts including ground and filet."

that is anyhting but typical unless you are buying whole sides of beef.

it's $20 for organic fillets here and was $25 in california and that was not even for prime which could easily run $35.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:41 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Jaundos

Not even close.

I believe some VC's are good and some are bad; that's reality. However, the bias in our media presents them as either saints or sinners - depending on your source.

Keep re-reading it, you'll figure out enventually.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:41 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

morganovich:

although there are some that may argue otherwise, the yields are typically lower with naturally raised foods. this is the reason it will take more farms, thus more people.

the good news is there is plenty of open space in the US alone to achieve this. the land tied up in lawns, horse farms, and golf courses could would work out well for food production. we used to be a largely agrarian culture. our grandparents and great grandparents had family gardens that feed the household many days of the year. we moved away from that but no one is arguing we are healthier. we rely on large corporations to feed us with little to no knowledge of how they produce the product.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So Hydra, if you choose not to buy a particular product from a private company, then you are not paying the profit tax and thus guilty of tax evasion?

=================================

An interesting question in the light of todays supreme court decision.


I was merely pointing out the analogous reasoning behind this argument and the socialistic arguments often made that claim everyone will be better off if (some program) and the takes to support it are paid.

Most commenter here would be derisive of such socialistic claims, and yet that argument and the one made here are structurally the same. The only difference is that with government we call excess payments excess taxes and with business we call them profits.

Either way, it is hard to claim that the consumer is better off, but the arguments are so similar that if you beleive one, you had best believe the other.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Well here's your chance lad to jump into the market place and rectify those 'failures' with your inventiveness and your money...

What the heck! You just might make a fortune...

================================

Exactly not.

I would not do it (those jobs) for the same reason business doesn't: the time franme is too long, the risk is too high, the capital requirement are large, and it takes more coordination among groups than a business can manage.

Some things are better left to government: even if it is bad at them, it is still better than business would be.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:48 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

"although there are some that may argue otherwise, the yields are typically lower with naturally raised foods. this is the reason it will take more farms, thus more people."

this is still not true. it may take more acreage, but not necessarily people. one guy, one tractor, and a 20% bigger field and you keep yields that same. (or whatever, i picked 20% out of a hat)

it's not the absence of people that drops yields.

you seem to be making a jump from lower yielding process to more people that need not be true.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:50 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@morganovich

yes, we buy the whole cow and split it up amongst family. in ohio we are fortunate to have many great farmers to pick from at reasonable prices.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

moe-

juandos has some pretty poor reading comprehension.

the rest of us understood that you were talking about public perception and media portrayal, not trying to state some fact about white hats and black hats in reality.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:52 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

it also obvious you've never worked a ranch...

===================================

Ranches are not confined animal feeding operations of the sort Chuck describes.

Chucks observation is partly correct. To some extent smaller farms are reverting to more organic and natural growth methods out of self defense: they cannot afford the highly capital intensive methods used on large operations, and some people will pay a higher price for the goods they produce.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:53 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"yes, we buy the whole cow and split it up amongst family. in ohio we are fortunate to have many great farmers to pick from at reasonable prices."

ah, well, you can do that if you have the freezer space, but i do not think it is a typical experience, especially not in a city.

buying retail quantities would quadruple your price.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I'm with Morganovich here: $5.25 sounds too cheap to be true.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Some things are better left to government: even if it is bad at them, it is still better than business would be."

other than providing for national defense and running a court system to protect rights and uphold contracts, name one.

 
At 6/28/2012 2:57 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@morganovich:

there is simply so much daylight in a day. to make the simple statement of farming more land with the same amount of people is perplexing to me. often times, farmers don't even have the ability to just add 20 acres of crop worthy land to their tillage. it requires a geographically disparate location. this means another farmer in another place.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Morganovich,

Lesson learned - have a good evening.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@hydra

i can send you the invoice if you'd like. bottom line is that i do get a great price because of where i am located and because i buy in bulk. i have been to the farm several times and have seen how they operate. they are amish and do things right. of course they don't have hefty mortgage bills or workers comp insurance to pay. their expenses are low so they can pass a good price to their customers.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

had family gardens that feed the household many days of the year.

==============================

We still grow a fair amount of our own food here. When we get it, it seems to be fresher, tastier, cleaner, and free of additives, wax, etc.


When we get it. Our entire squash crop was wiped out nearly overnight by some kind of wilt. The loss might have been prevented with chemicals.

I argue withthe wife over this. She does not want to use chemicals. So now she will buy squash treated with chemicals, and she won't know how much. And she still had to plant (and now dig up) the squash anyway.

At least with her own squash she could minimize the amount of chemicals used, and know what they are.

And that stuff about a tractor and a 20% bigger field - mostly nonsense, some things just don;t scale up well.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:09 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

"there is simply so much daylight in a day. to make the simple statement of farming more land with the same amount of people is perplexing to me. often times, farmers don't even have the ability to just add 20 acres of crop worthy land to their tillage. it requires a geographically disparate location. this means another farmer in another place."

there seem to be a lot of assumptions baked into that including that time and equipment are fully utilized and land not contiguous and fully used etc.

it COULD mean more people were used, but i see no reason it must.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:17 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"The only difference is that with government we call excess payments excess taxes and with business we call them profits."

And the hits just keep on coming. Hydra, are you actually saying that the difference between taxes and profits is semantics?
Would it then be true that, as citizens, we are forced to buy shares that we cannot sell and dividends paid are unevenly distributed to those with the fewest shares?

 
At 6/28/2012 3:21 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Because I buy in bulk

==============================

That explains it.

Around here, bulk grassfed hormone free beef is $6.85/lb. and that is if you go to the farm to get it, which is a hidden cost.

Even live cattle for laughter at the auction house sell for 60-110 per hundred lbs. So you are getting a very good deal.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:28 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra, are you actually saying that the difference between taxes and profits is semantics?

=================================

Read it yourself. This argument says we are all better off because of profits (eventually).

Assuming that you get (something) for the taxes you pay, you probably would not paying a fair amount. The problem isnt that there is no amount that is fair, it is that government is (allegedly) so inefficient that it has to charge you more than the (product or service) should cost, as a result you pay excess taxes.

You object to paying excess taxes, but by this argument you might not object to paying excess profits, because they lead to prosperity.

I am saying that th argument that you should be happy to pay more, because it leads to prosperity makes no more sense for profits than it does for taxes.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:36 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Oh, ok. The problem is that you don't understand how competing companies make big profits.
Government is a monopoly that charges more to those who inevitably use fewer services, companies make huge profits by offering more for less than their competitors. Slight difference.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

their expenses are low so they can pass a good price to their customers.

===============================

Why would they do that? Why not charge the same price as the market will bear and pocket the difference as PROFIT. It is not like they are going to increase production and make it up on volume.

 
At 6/28/2012 3:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The problem is that you don't understand how competing companies make big profits.

================================

No, the problem is that you do not listen. It does not matter how companies make profit or how much.

The argument says that you should be happy to pay profits because it increases prosperity.

That is the same argument made by people who claim you should be happy to pay taxes because they result in prosperity.

They are both dumb arguments.



I understand the theory, but I don't often see it working in practice.

Take your argument and apply it to the Amish guy who is apparently giving away beef below market price. Is he going to make enough additional sales due to his low price that he can increase production, and wind up with more total profit?

 
At 6/28/2012 3:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

companies make huge profits by offering more for less than their competitors.

=================================
The US is currently making huge profits by offering more than its competitors.

 
At 6/28/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger Mike said...

OK, I understand the breakdown now. The fact that I have never once heard a consumer say, "Boy, I'm sure happy I overpaid for X so the company could make huge profits...." makes me question your understanding of the argument.

When a company has strong profits, it means that they are providing a better/cheaper product at a price that draws buyers. They make a ton of money and the company is stable. Stable companies retain and hire while providing advantage to the consumer who freely chooses to act...so, yes...win, win.

The government does not work that way.

 
At 6/28/2012 4:09 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"The US is currently making huge profits by offering more than its competitors."

WTF? You're just messing with me now. I can go watch something stupid on TV instead.

 
At 6/28/2012 4:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"To some extent smaller farms are reverting to more organic and natural growth methods out of self defense: they cannot afford the highly capital intensive methods used on large operations, and some people will pay a higher price for the goods they produce"...

Oh no doubt hydra, the 'botique ranch' really is quite fashionable in certain parts of the country and some of them actually do make a rather decent profit all things considered...

Still truck patches (local fruit & vegtable production) and botique ranches aren't going to feed 300 million people...

 
At 6/28/2012 4:17 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Even live cattle for laughter at the auction house sell for 60-110 per hundred lbs

How many laughs per pound is that?
:)

 
At 6/28/2012 4:18 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"the rest of us understood that you were talking about public perception and media portrayal, not trying to state some fact about white hats and black hats in reality"...

Says the clueless rancher and farmer...

 
At 6/28/2012 4:21 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Some things are better left to government: even if it is bad at them, it is still better than business would be"...

hydra, so what you're really saying is 'some things are better left to the taxpayer to pay for', right?...

 
At 6/28/2012 4:25 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I believe some VC's are good and some are bad; that's reality. However, the bias in our media presents them as either saints or sinners - depending on your source.

Keep re-reading it, you'll figure out enventually
"...

Try it in real English next time moe...

BTW what the heck is a 'bad' VC?

 
At 6/28/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Moe,

Embarrassingly, I'll admit, I sat there and looked at 'laughter' for far too long without understanding what the hell it was supposed to mean. Why I'll never make it on Wheel Of Fortune.

 
At 6/28/2012 4:34 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"i pay $5.25/lb. for 100% grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free beef. this is for all different cuts including ground and filet"...

Good luck on avoiding the brucellosis contagion chuck...

 
At 6/28/2012 4:37 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Mike'

I've done far worse!!

 
At 6/28/2012 4:46 PM, Blogger Moe said...

For those of you who have not been insulted by juandos yet, please be patient and wait your turn.That kind of witty repartee does not grow on trees!

 
At 6/28/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

Jaundos:

Don't worry I always wear a condom.

 
At 6/28/2012 5:44 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

moe's comment made perfect sense, you just do not seem to be able to grasp the point he was making and desperate to blame him for your shortcoming.

you also seem unable to figure out the context of chuck's comment.

he buys beef a whole cow at a time. thus, he gets prices far below retail.

you really need to work on your reading comprehension.

your math is not doing so well either.

"Even live cattle for laughter at the auction house sell for 60-110 per hundred lbs"

so, if we take the high end of your range, that's $1.10 a pound.

what about that number makes $5.25 seem impossible for the meat?

look, it's right here:

http://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/grass-fed-beef-whole.asp

$5.49/pound for 4 quarters.

"Our cattle are bred for the quality of their beef and receive a forage diet free of herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizers as they are continually rotated to fresh new pastures. Our animals are never held in confinement, are never fed antibiotics and never receive synthetic growth hormones."

that sure makes your descriptions of others as "clueless" pretty ironic.

 
At 6/28/2012 5:54 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

oh, and it's $4.14 a pound if you pick it up yourself.

 
At 6/28/2012 7:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Not all profits result in everyone being better off. In order for that to happen the profits need to be put back to work, somehow. Retained profits only make the profiteer better off."

Please learn some economics before you write nonsense like this and embarrass yourself further.

 
At 6/28/2012 7:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"you make incredibly persuasive arguments against your own views hydra."

LOL

*like*

 
At 6/28/2012 8:01 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

""Not all profits result in everyone being better off. In order for that to happen the profits need to be put back to work, somehow. Retained profits only make the profiteer better off."

and how would this be possible?

why did you guy the thing he made a profit on if you did not value it at more than it cost?

are you in the habit of buying things that you do not think are worth the price?

if so, i have some wonderful items to show you.

 
At 6/28/2012 8:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Horse manure. See the comments in the natural gas post below about T Boone Pickens search for profits, and who they benefit."

Did you miss the glaringly obvious point that Pickens is seeking taxpayer dollars?

We would applaud him if he used his own money or that of investors or other private money to seek a profit, but that's not what he's doing.

By the way, what do you think happens to profits after they are earned?

 
At 6/28/2012 8:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"less people working on farms typically leads to less natural growing of the food. animals are confined to small spaces to be easily managed by few people. the animals have to be medicated due to unnatural diet and confined living.

large plant farms are reliant on genetically modified plants that can withstand herbicides. they also have to rely of petroleum based fertilizers because the soil is constantly having it's nutrients drawn from it.

in the end it certainly does not make for healthier food products. cheaper, yes, but not healthier.
"

Chuck makes the same puzzling comment using a lot more words, but still without explaining why modern food is less nutritious.

Do you really believe this method of growing food is somehow better than this method?

Incidentally, if you are interested in learning more about modern farm life, check out this blog. Fascinating stuff.

Scroll down for some interesting glimpses into a farmer's daily experiences.

 
At 6/28/2012 8:44 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I am always a bit surprised when "conservatives" cite agriculture as a success story. It is the most socialized, protected, subsidized, regulated sector of our economy.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"it is speculated that these artificial inputs wreak havoc on the human body. "

Speculated is right. There is absolutely no evidence to suport such an alarmist claim.

Do you think a plant can tell the difference between "natural" minerals in the soil and "artificial fertilizer"? Give me a break.

"the typical factory farm fertilizer is a phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium blend that is derived from petroleum. problem is that there are millions of nutrients drawn from the soil during the growing process that don't get replaced yearly."

Like what?

"traditional farming practices are more labor intensive."

Ill say, that's why we don't do them any more.

"they see the raising of our food as a symbiotic relationship with mother nature which they want to nurture not battle. do they use technology where appropriate? sure but not while sacrificing raising something naturally. animals and plants raised naturally have much more nutritious inputs yielding more nutritious end products. "

If you want to claim that your belief is an article of faith, then there is no arguing with fundamental beliefs. But, if you want to make a logical or scientific claim, please cite some credible references to support it.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the number of people has nothing to do with the quality of the output in that case.

you seem to be confusing two issues.
"

I believe Chuck's point about the superiority of manual labor is that people, unlike machines, are in tune with nature, and the reverence accorded each stalk of grain as it is separated forever from Mother Earth using only primitive hand tools, provides those of us who eat it with better spiritual and physical nutrition.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:27 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@ronh

http://www.soilandhealth.org/06clipfile/0601.lemag/le%20magazine,%20march%202001%20-%20report%20vegetables%20without%20vitamins.htm

 
At 6/28/2012 9:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the good news is there is plenty of open space in the US alone to achieve this. the land tied up in lawns, horse farms, and golf courses could would work out well for food production."

Wow. What are you suggesting? Do the present owners of those lawns and horse farms and golf courses have any voice in this matter? Could it be that these areas are now what they are instead of farms because they are the highest and best use of the properties?

"our grandparents and great grandparents had family gardens that feed the household many days of the year."

That's because they were much poorer than people are now. Are you really recommending returning to a time when most people spent much of their time finding enough to eat? No thanks.

"we moved away from that but no one is arguing we are healthier."

Yes they are, whatever are you talking about? You must be aware that we now live longer, better, and healthier lives. The food we eat certainly isn't making people less healthy than they were 100 years ago.

You need a better argument.

 
At 6/28/2012 9:54 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@ronh

wow, you are out of touch with what is going on in this country. healthcare reform and lack of health in general are on the verge of crippling the economy. i, for one, am sick of subsidizing sick people in this country.

 
At 6/28/2012 10:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The interesting thing about this is that it is essentially a socialist argument: "Hey, everyone will be better off, eventually, if you just pay more in the tax we call profit."

Socialism: yet another concept you fail to understand.

A socialist would claim that profit is the unpaid labor of the working class and rightfully belongs to them, not the business owner.

You have it exactly backwards. You really do make the best arguments against yourself.

 
At 6/28/2012 10:48 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"other than providing for national defense and running a court system to protect rights and uphold contracts, name one."

Well, scratch that court system protecting rights.

 
At 6/28/2012 10:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "From out of the ether hydra snatches this 'maybe' gem of wisdom:"

That's not "ether", that's his ass.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:09 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I sure hope you guys are smart enough to invest based on uwhat actually happoenks rather than your political beliefs.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:16 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I would never claim that profit is the unpaid labor of the working class.

All I did was point out two arguments which are structurally identical. Some of you seem to have a hard time with that.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:29 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hard to tell if the food we eat todday makes us sick, because the health care is Jason much better than a hundred years ago. A hundred years ago, I owould have been dead at 27, and again at 45. Not because of anything I ate.

I have to agree with chuck: if you believe in personal responsibility, you cannot support free rikdership in health care. I believe one should get what they pay for, Anne pay for what one gets. That is a good, safe, conservative position.
Health insurance reform will improve that position.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"i pay $5.25/lb. for 100% grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free beef. this is for all different cuts including ground and filet."

This is great if you have a very large family, can't shop for meat very often, don't mind the expense of keeping lots of beef in your freezer, and love hamburger, or tough, unattractive cuts for some reason. The amount of desirable steaks from a half beef is about 45 pounds, of which 2 to 3 pounds would be tenderloin. That means 2 large or 4 small filet mignons, which are the small end of the tenderloin, from your 280# beef purchase.

Most people might prefer to shop more often, pay somewhat more per pound, and get just the cuts they prefer.

 
At 6/28/2012 11:59 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Anyone know if there is a way to turn off the spell checker on a Droid? This thing is a pain in the ass.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:05 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You object to paying excess taxes, but by this argument you might not object to paying excess profits, because they lead to prosperity."

Choice has a lot to do with it also. Remember that important word - choice. Also, I object to paying any taxes as any amount is excess.

"I am saying that th argument that you should be happy to pay more, because it leads to prosperity makes no more sense for profits than it does for taxes."

Look, When you buy something it's because you value it more than the money you trade for it. You have no idea how much, if any, profit is involved, you just know you are better off than you were before.

When you read in the business section that XYZ company, the one whose product you bought, posted a good profit this quarter you know that they are making good use of their resources by making products that people want to buy, just like you did.

You have no way of determining what amount of profit is "excess".

Profits signal a producer that they are doing the right thing, so they will continue to do it, or more of it, and/or make new and improved products.

If you got your product at a lower price which produced lower profits, the company might reasonably conclude that the product line should be discontinued. If you wanted to buy more more of them, tough luck. They're no longer made.

So no, the consumer isn't necessarily better off if the company makes lower profits.

Learn some economics.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:06 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Ron: I have a garden, and I am not poor.

My wife's grandfather made a better living off the farm than I am able to make from it.

Not all modern advances are worth what they cost.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:14 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I understand the theory, but I don't often see it working in practice."

OK, "Larry", but I suspect you just don't understand what you are seeing.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

As far as I know, pickens has no interest in opening a chain of natural gas truck stops at public expense.

His claim is that the cost would be born by those getting the benefit, by using cheap natural gas.

This will happen anyway, but it will happen sooner with government " interference".

 
At 6/29/2012 1:16 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

@Chuck

You must be kidding.

You reference a magazine article in a magazine published by an organization that sells health supplements, which concludes that one way to correct for vegetables whose vitamin contents have changed over the years according to the USDA, and for poor eating habits, is to take vitamins and supplements WE JUST HAPPEN TO SELL!

You're funny.

There is no study here, no scientific research, just a comparison of vegetable vitamin contents in a USDA report in 1963 and in 2000.

There is no indication of why these changes occurred, only an n that they did, and then without a conclusion, we're on to a discussion of poor eating habits, then the recommendation to "buy our products".

You really have to do better than that.

 
At 6/29/2012 1:22 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I would never claim that profit is the unpaid labor of the working class."

If you were a socialist you would, and if you understood that you wouldn't have claimed that "it's basically a socialist argument".

".All I did was point out two arguments which are structurally identical. Some of you seem to have a hard time with that."

Many of us have a hard time with nonsensical bullshit.

 
At 6/29/2012 1:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"wow, you are out of touch with what is going on in this country. healthcare reform and lack of health in general are on the verge of crippling the economy. i, for one, am sick of subsidizing sick people in this country.
"

You are right about that first item, healthcare reform better known as Obamacare is on the verge of crippling the economy. And if you don't wish to subsidize sick people, you should be vehemently opposed to it.

You have yet to support your initial strange claim that more people working in agriculture would make us all healthier.

 
At 6/29/2012 1:48 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I have to agree with chuck: if you believe in personal responsibility, you cannot support free rikdership in health care."

What do you imagine you are agreeing with? Chuck hasn't mentioned either personal responsibility or free riders.

"I believe one should get what they pay for, Anne pay for what one gets.

Most would agreement with you on that.

" That is a good, safe, conservative position."

??

"Health insurance reform will improve that position."

There's a little more to it than health insurance reform, and it will do just the opposite. You are contradicting yourself here.

Forced participation isn't personal responsibility, it's tyranny, free riders only exist because people like you insist that we all be forced to pay for them. Otherwise those in need would rely on family, friends, community, and charities for care they are unable to provide for themselves.

 
At 6/29/2012 2:07 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ron: I have a garden, and I am not poor."

You have a garden because you want to have a garden. For the amount of work, you could as easily buy all the food you eat. It's a hobby. You think you are closer to nature or a man of the soil or something.

You should be aware that self sufficiency isn't a desirable goal no matter how romantic it's made out to be. Living naturally off the land is what our ancestors did, and it's brutal hard, all consuming work, and you die young. That's why we don't do it any more.

That hard life is what drove so many young people to the cities hoping for a better life. Even when they lived crowded together in slums with barely enough to eat they considered themselves better off them when they were on the farm.

"My wife's grandfather made a better living off the farm than I am able to make from it."

Of course he did. That's because food and farm products were so much more expensive then.

How much of the typical family budget went for food then compared to now?

"Not all modern advances are worth what they cost."

If they weren't, they wouldn't exist. What could you possibly mean by that.

Would you rather pay 4 times as much for food and have 10% of the choices?

 
At 6/29/2012 2:20 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"His claim is that the cost would be born by those getting the benefit, by using cheap natural gas.

This will happen anyway, but it will happen sooner with government " interference".
"

Pickens has vast natgas interests that would benefit from taxpayer supplied access roads and infrastructure. His taxpayer subsidized wind scheme would have provided that for him, but he realizes that one is dead. He also has vast water rights which he could develop with eminent domain for pipelines.

He would like to sell water to the City of Dallas, but it's not practical unless he can reach into your wallet.

Pickens for Pickens.

Don't worry that he's become either soft headed or soft hearted in his dotage.

 
At 6/29/2012 7:15 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

our food used to be produced on millions of small scale farms 100 years ago. the food was more nutritious.
http://www.nutritionsecurity.org/PDF/NSI_White%20Paper_Web.pdf

do we have to go back to millions of small scale farms to restore nutrition back into our food? some say yes, other say no. to do it large scale it will definitely take different technology than we have now. on the other hand, people argue the we had the technology 100 years ago, we can repeat that today.

problem is, on the whole america likes it's air conditioning and padded seat. face it, men of america 100 years ago would laugh at men of today, kick their ass, then laugh at them again. men of today would probably do nothing but cry about their lawyer.

traditional farming is hard work. but it is a line of work that is trending up as demand has risen.

everyone has their bubble they live in. my bubble and view on the health of our country is probably very different than people in different bubbles.

 
At 6/29/2012 8:20 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"wow, you are out of touch with what is going on in this country. healthcare reform and lack of health in general are on the verge of crippling the economy. i, for one, am sick of subsidizing sick people in this country."

you seem to be making a big jump here. are you blaming that on farmed food?

i'll be the first to agree about issues with meat, milk, and eggs and cautiously agree about vegetables etc not having quite the same nutrition as they tend to truck ripen in transport (though that is a distribution, not a farming issue) but if you want the sources of obesity, they are much more complex.

HFCS is a big culprit. blame sugar tariff.

so are the "enriching" laws on flour that get potato starch added upping calories and creating a much higher glycemic load.

some of it is demographic (suburbs).

and, ironically, some of it comes from medical advances.

blood pressure meds, heart meds, treatments for diabetes etc all enable obesity. they effectively lower the price of being fat. so people consume more. one of my econ profs did a study of airbags this way. airbags increase the number of accidents (by lowering their cost). you get more crashes but fewer deaths. drugs that mitigate the effects of obesity work the same way.

personally, i am a very healthful eater and happily pay up for better food, but pinning the whole obesity epidemic on changes in agriculture seems pretty outlandish. have you traveled abroad recently? it's hard not to be struck by just HOW FREAKING BIG serving sizes are here when you come home.

the fact that we are a nation of fatties has many and complex causes. i think you are really oversimplifying.

 
At 6/29/2012 8:24 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

hydra-

"
My wife's grandfather made a better living off the farm than I am able to make from it.

Not all modern advances are worth what they cost."

well, that depends on your viewpoint, no?

the reason you have a harder time making a living is that many kinds of food are cheaper in real terms than 50 years ago.

harder for you, but great for everyone else.

on a societal basis, that's good news, not bad.

i'm sure the guys who hand make shoes feel the same way, but i really prefer being able to buy my shoes for less than $1500.

 
At 6/29/2012 8:37 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron+chuck-

i think you may both have some merit to your arguments on nutritional content.

my understanding is that the produce at grocery stores IS in fact, less nutritious and the USDA reports seem to bear that out. i don't think you can toss out those reports based on what website discussed them ron. the vitamin guys did not write them, just pointed them out. if they had written them, i'd be the first to join you in skepticism, but as it's 3rd party data, i don't think that holds.

why is a tricky question.

personally, i suspect it has a great deal to do with distribution. we consume food much further from where it was produced. they pick tomatoes green and they ripen on a truck. it's difficult to see where they would be getting minerals et in a crate. less time on the vine, less and you get fewer nutrients in so less nutrition in the final product.

might some of the new strain grown to be drought resistant, higher yielding etc have different nutrition? sure. there is no reason to assume that all strains of wheat are the same. what is that difference, i have no idea.

arguments that phosphates are different etc based on origin is also possible. when you take a vitimin c tablet, it's generally ascorbic acid. that is called vitiman c, but it's not really. it's most of vitamin c. eating an orange gets you a stack of micronutrients as well that make up what we used to call c. we test for ascorbic acid to measure c, but if the other things that come with it are absent, you cannot use it as well. this could well flow over into chemical fertilizers, but i have never really looked at it.

but none of this has to do with needing farmers. you can use a tractor to spread chemicals or manure. this notion of the halcyon days of little farmers hand raising food is just a romantic bit of revisionism.

it has little do to with quality. even the best vineyards in napa do no hand pick grapes anymore. it does not work as well.

 
At 6/29/2012 8:58 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

@morganovich

there are many that think people overeat because they are starving for nutrients. they continually eat nutritionally void food and still remain hungry. some think it is because the body is not getting what it needs.

also, death is the most inexpensive solution to chronic diseases. symptom suppressing drugs extend life but they don't solve the underlying problem. they also tend to create new problems which more drugs are prescribed to address.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

"there are many that think people overeat because they are starving for nutrients. they continually eat nutritionally void food and still remain hungry. some think it is because the body is not getting what it needs."

that's psuedoscience. there is no pathway by which the body craves vitamins and expresses it as hunger. in fact, if you starve or fast for more than a few days, you stop being hungry entirely. (i have tried this personally. i once did a 14 day fast and by about day 4, you have no hunger. you also get tremendous energy once you start eating again as you mitochondria have had a chance to repair and divide)

i used to be a semi pro bike racer. i got so sick of the bad pop-nutritional advice that is so prevalent that i actually took classes at USCF and read maybe a dozen hard science books on the physiology of exercise and nutrition, so i actually have a pretty good grounding here and have applied it extensively.

overeating is caused by the overproduction of insulin. (or some psychological condition) insulin production is driven by glycemic load which is the amount of carbs in a food X their glycemic index, a measure of how quickly the sugar breaks down.

you body regulates blood sugar with insulin. give it a pile of sugar and it produces insulin to store it.

american foods are incredibly sweet and worse, use the very high GI sweetener high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.

our grains are an even bigger nightmare due to enrichment. enrichment sounds like vitamins, but that is accomplished predominantly with potato starch. a potato is one of the highest GI foods extant. this fills our bread and pasta with "quick" sugars that spike insulin.

ironically, the other killer is diet soda. you start producing insulin based on taste. your body responds to the sweetness. but, as such soda has no calories, you get insulin with nothing to grab, so it sucks the sugar out of your blood and makes you hungry.

but, as i said, there is no way for your body to crave food because it lacks vitamins. there is simply no chemical pathway and while a trained and in tune individual can get some sense as to what they need (potassium, salts, etc) 99% of americans are completely unable to do this as it comes only from repeated training and having a very clean system so you can actually feel it.

be very careful of all pop culture nutritional info. there is an astounding amount of very bad data and theory out there.

regarding death being inexpensive, i think that's a much more complex question than you are considering.

first, it depends on what we value. if life has value, then that needs to be factored in.

second, if an individual is productive, then death might be more expensive. $1000 in drugs is not much to pay for $100k in worker productivity. that would make treatment seem cheap.

that argument gets a little recursive as you can say, well, you'd be better still if you just got thin, which is true, but faced with fat or dead, fat may be the better economic outcome.

 
At 6/29/2012 12:25 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@morganovich

did you study under Dr. Lustig?

can you explain how overproduction of insulin drives overeating? is it that high levels of insulin in absence of glucose causes people to have to eat glucose?

 
At 6/29/2012 3:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Chuck: "do we have to go back to millions of small scale farms to restore nutrition back into our food? some say yes, other say no. to do it large scale it will definitely take different technology than we have now. on the other hand, people argue the we had the technology 100 years ago, we can repeat that today."

Of course we can. How much do you want to spend for food, and how many hundreds of millions of people living at a subsistence level do you want to push off the cliff?

In the US food prices have consistently dropped as a percentage of household budgets from more than 40% in 1900 to less than 15% in 2003.

You would argue for returning to those much higher food prices by throwing away the advances in technology that have allowed such dramatic price decreases, despite the fact that none of your concerns about nutritional content of food or soil depletion are addressed by the use of more manual labor and simpler equipment.

This was carefully explained to you previously by morganovich, but you have chosen to ignore it as it doesn't support your health scare narrative.

"everyone has their bubble they live in. my bubble and view on the health of our country is probably very different than people in different bubbles."

Boy, I'll say!

 
At 6/29/2012 3:22 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@ronh

you bring up some interesting points. many were discussed here.

http://escapetheherdblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/self-sufficient-healthcare.html

 
At 6/29/2012 3:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich:

"my understanding is that the produce at grocery stores IS in fact, less nutritious and the USDA reports seem to bear that out. i don't think you can toss out those reports based on what website discussed them ron. the vitamin guys did not write them, just pointed them out. if they had written them, i'd be the first to join you in skepticism, but as it's 3rd party data, i don't think that holds."

I agree with you on this. My complaint is with citing an obviously biased source that uses USDA data - which I'm not questioning by the way - to show a difference in nutritional values without any attempt to explain the difference, only to suggest that it's a REALLY BAD THING, although most of the differences are marginal, and some are actually positive.

Even the title "Vegetables Without Vitamins" is clearly not an accurate representation of the article nor of the USDA charts. Such sloppy and alarmist writing always gives me a case of the ass, especially when the solution is "buy our products.

Chuck then goes on to assert, without any basis, that these nutritional changes are due to fewer workers on the farm. Why there is a connection has not yet been made clear.

"personally, i suspect it has a great deal to do with distribution. we consume food much further from where it was produced. they pick tomatoes green and they ripen on a truck. it's difficult to see where they would be getting minerals et in a crate. less time on the vine, less and you get fewer nutrients in so less nutrition in the final product."

I'm in full agreement with this also. I much prefer fresh picked fully ripe produce, because the taste for sure, and most likely the nutritional value is better, but I can't always get it. There are no mangoes or kiwis grown anywhere near me, for example, so if I want them I'm stuck with what's available in the store.

I'm just having a hard time believing that the fresh food we eat is a national health crisis and that returning to inefficient farming methods and 3 times the price is the solution. It certainly isn't for those who can barely get enough to eat now.

 
At 6/29/2012 3:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

There's also the obviously problem of convincing millions of people that their services are required on farms doing backbreaking and mind numbing work like their great grandfathers did, instead of that cushy job in an air conditioned cubicle.

Good luck with that one.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:14 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

My tractor has an air conditioned cubicle.

Probably what we eat is less dangerous to us than how much we eat.

I am convinced that what I get out of my garden is better than what comes from the grocery. Likewise, corn that I pick, blanch and freeze immediately is better than frozen corn I can buy.

But, my home grown food is a LOT more expensive than what I buy. My home grown food is basically a luxury, and I treat it that way.

Enough people do feel the way Chuck does to create a niche market, even a pretty big niche market. But unless a lot more people start shopping that way, there won't be any resurgence of people making a living off of small farms.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

chuck-

"can you explain how overproduction of insulin drives overeating? is it that high levels of insulin in absence of glucose causes people to have to eat glucose?"

it's actually sort of the opposite. i did not explain this well before.

in itself, insulin has somehting of an inhibitory effect on the brain by inhibiting NPY/AgRP-secreting neurons and by activating POMC-releasing neurons. the issue is that your body is only good at modulating insulin levels within a certain range of glycemic load particularly at high glycemic indexes.

so, you can eat a granola bar and get an insulin response from the pancreas to take up the sugar and that works and you feel full, but if it is an otter pop, the sugar is so fast that your pancreas mistakes that for a very large load of lower GI carbs and produces too much insulin which drops your blood sugar below where it needs to be.

low blood sugar leads to production of gherin and glucagon that drives hunger.

so it's not really insulin that drives hunger so much as the overshot condition of low blood sugar from too much insulin triggering G+G which are the actual signaling chemicals for hunger.

this is why the kind of carbs you eat matters. the speed at which the sugars break down is the key to insulin response modulation and insulin overshot triggers the cycle that drives hunger.

does that makes sense?

i was focused more on sports nutrition around training, extended effort, and recovery and ways to optimize kreb's cycle and mitochondrial density to drive ATP production etc, so i'm a little hazy on the deep specifics of the hunger stuff as i did learn it, but never used it much so it kind of faded, but i think i got that mostly right.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:17 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

There's also the obviously problem of convincing millions of people that their services are required on farms doing backbreaking and mind numbing work like their great grandfathers did.

================================

Modern farming is hardly mind numbing: it takes a combination of skills very few people have anymore. As for convincing them to go back to othe farm, all it would take would be similar pay as other backbreaking and mind numbing jobs get.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

re lustig:

no, i did not. i've read some of his stuff though. he gets a bit close to the line on zealotry sometimes, but, i think, by and large has a point.

i took some classes (not as a full student, just an interested busybody) and did some work with the guys at the sports med center and the zion campus nutritional guy as well as working with a private sports nutrition guy whose name i cannot seem to remember.

i also read a lot of academic books on the topic based on actual studies as opposed to "paleo this and atkins that etc". not fun, but it's the only way i could figure to actually get the info and start making informed decisions.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Chuck,

Thanks for the link to "Self Sufficient Healthcare". The discussion of costs rising due to third party payers is spot-on.

Obviously an article of that length can't address all the causes of rising health care costs, that would necessarily include government interference in what should be a free market.

The sudden jump to a discussion of shrinking food costs and a last minute suggestion that better nutrition would equate to better health almost made me dizzy with its abruptness. Is there a connection to rising medical costs? I didn't see one.

Perhaps the author tried but failed to show that if medical treatment and health maintenance were treated like food in a relatively free market, costs would be dropping like food costs have. Could that be the case?

As you're no doubt aware, medical proceedures typically not covered by health plans, such as lasik and cosmetic surgeries have become less costly over time. Perhaps there's something to be learned from that.

 
At 6/29/2012 4:58 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"does that makes sense?"

Yes it does. Thank you.

 
At 6/29/2012 5:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"My tractor has an air conditioned cubicle."

I think Chuck believes you should ditch that tractor for 4 or 5 hundred unskilled drones with various hand tools, who will show the plants they tend the proper reverence and not frighten the nutrients out of them like your tractor probably does.

"I am convinced that what I get out of my garden is better than what comes from the grocery. Likewise, corn that I pick, blanch and freeze immediately is better than frozen corn I can buy."

I'm almost certain you are correct, but...

"But, my home grown food is a LOT more expensive than what I buy. My home grown food is basically a luxury, and I treat it that way."

Exactly. Not very useful for 95% of the Earth's population, and many who advocate it are clueless about the cost.

"Enough people do feel the way Chuck does to create a niche market, even a pretty big niche market. But unless a lot more people start shopping that way, there won't be any resurgence of people making a living off of small farms."

We can hope not.

 
At 6/29/2012 5:21 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@ronh

the point of that article was to spend more on higher quality food leading to healthier people and lower medical costs.

the cheapest foods in america also tend to be the least nutritious, with most available energy and the most addictive.

 
At 6/29/2012 5:22 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

@morganovich

what did you learn about raised insulin and it causing overeating?

 
At 6/29/2012 5:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Chuck: "the point of that article was to spend more on higher quality food leading to healthier people and lower medical costs."

I know that was the intent, but no connection was made.

There was really no explanation for why healthcare costs have risen, other than the obvious point that people aren't nearly as thrifty with someone else's money as they are with their own, and then suddenly the subject was decreasing costs for food.

Of course what employers pay for healthcare coverage is really part an employee's income, and if not spent on healthcare coverage could be in their paychecks, but few see it that way.

"the cheapest foods in america also tend to be the least nutritious, with most available energy and the most addictive."

Sweeping generalities like that without any attempt to support them aren't very convincing.

 
At 6/29/2012 5:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Dr. morganovich:

"this is why the kind of carbs you eat matters. the speed at which the sugars break down is the key to insulin response modulation and insulin overshot triggers the cycle that drives hunger."

I had never heard it explained this way before. Thanks. Can you explain how drinking a diet soda can cause an insulin response when there isn't really a glycemic load present?

 
At 6/30/2012 7:33 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

not all insulin production is caused by what hits the stomach.

even just smelling food can start to trigger digestion and the hormones that go with it, but far more comes from your mouth.

when you taste sugar, your body starts expecting sugar to hit you system and produces insulin in preparation to absorb it.

to make matters more complex, as weird as this sounds, you actually have taste cells in other parts of your body, including the pancreas, which is where insulin is produced.

artificial sweetener works because the molecule as shaped enough like real sugars that they fool the taste receptors. this is true of pancreatic ones as well as those in your mouth.

thus, the pancreas thinks there is sugar present, releases insulin and triggers the overshot condition i was talking about above.

try it sometime. on an empty stomach, drink a 16oz diet pepsi. you'll be hungry in 30 mins.

also:

a bit of a sidenote, but there have been a number of people claiming in the past that HFCS is no worse for you than sugar.

this is categorically not true. it's more glycemic and worse, compounds with other sugars in a manner that leads to more fat storage because fructose is absorbed differently.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/338193/title/Taste_of_fructose_revs_up_metabolism

chuck-

"what did you learn about raised insulin and it causing overeating?"

i'm not sure what you are asking. could you clarify that a bit?

 
At 7/01/2012 12:34 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich:

Thanks for the explanation and the link. Interesting stuff.

Your brief explanations on this thread make more sense than huge volumes of popular reports on the subject.

Could you recommend some relatively light reading on the subject? I don't plan on going anywhere near as in depth as you apparently have, but something more substantial then the popular press provides would be worthwhile.

Thanks again.

 
At 7/01/2012 10:40 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

unfortunately, i have not come across much "light reading" in this space that is of much worth.

it's mostly sensationalized and badly researched pop drivel.

if you are willing to put in a little more time and effort, mcardle, katch and katch: "exercise physiology - energy, nutrition, and human performance" is a very solid book and will give you pretty much everyhting you need. that said, it's 1000 pages of what is essentially a science textbook, so "a little more time and effort" may be a bit of an understatement, but it's really, really worth it.

finding that book first would have saved me months.

 
At 7/01/2012 10:58 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"if you are willing to put in a little more time and effort, mcardle, katch and katch: "exercise physiology - energy, nutrition, and human performance" is a very solid book and will give you pretty much everyhting you need."

Thanks. I will give it a try. I have nothing to lose but the price of a book. A rather expensive book at that. :)

 

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