Category Archives: To Build up the Land

Why What We Use as Money Matters Trailer released

Today we present the fresh release of the trailer for our recent book, Why What We Use as Money Matters, a reflection on current systems of finance and governance and how they may be throwing the earth wildly out of balance.

Could it be that it is not how, but what we use as money matters when searching for the root cause of Climate Change and other Global Problems?  These nine volumes are a thought provoking exploration of modern financial and political systems and their effects on both people and the land.

WWWUAMM BannerPick up your copy today and stay fresh!

 

To Build up the Land, Thoughts on Mankind’s uneasy intercourse with Nature

To Build up the Land
To Build up the Land

Our latest ebook offering here at The Mint, To Build up the Land, Thoughts on Mankind’s uneasy intercourse with Nature, is now available on Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle.

It is a thought provoking look at the root cause of climate change and the origins of mankind’s interaction with the land.

From GMOs to CAFOs and back through to the elusive Garden of Eden, To Build up the Land explores how the modern day urban centric worldview has given rise to both the myth of overpopulation as well as the all too real phenomenon of climate change.

However, rather than searching out the usual suspects of increased carbon footprints, fossil fuels, and over development, we masterfully pinpoint the root cause of climate change.  It is a cause that is seldom recognized or addressed, yet it lies at the heart of the myriad of crises which increasingly besiege our planet.

As a special offer to our loyal readers, you can pick up a free copy here at The Mint until June 11th.  Just click here and follow the check out process.

Visit Smashwords.com, Amazon’s Kindle Store, or pick up your very own Mint edition today!

The Land Needs Rest

5/28/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming ebook release, “To Build up the Land, Thoughts on Mankind’s uneasy intercourse with Nature,” due to hit digital shelves late this week.  Enjoy!

To Build up the Land
To Build up the Land

The Land Needs Rest

There is indeed a perfect balance between the time for building up the land and that for allowing the land to rest.  It is commonly known as the Sabbath, it is a pattern of time that has literally been encoded into the creation itself.

The Sabbath is best known, at least in the United States, as part of Jewish religious observances.  The base of the observance is taken from two passages in the Torah:

2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done.

Genesis 2:2-3

12 “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Yahweh your God commanded you. 13 You shall labor six days, and do all your work; 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God, in which you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore Yahweh your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

The seven day weekly cycle that is anchored by the Sabbath is so entrenched in the creation that every attempt by man to supersede it, the most notable recent attempts being the French Republican Calendar and the Soviet Calendar.  Both were suspended after experiments that lasted roughly twelve years.

While the texts in the Torah, which form part of the Christian Bible, offer clear guidance of the divine to observe not only a seven day week, but a seven day week consisting of six days of work and one day of rest, religious tradition alone cannot account for the origins of the seven day cycle.

Cultures throughout the world have operated on weekly structures consisting of anywhere between three and thirteen days, notable ancient examples are the eight day Roman market calendar and the 13 day Mayan week.  Indeed, it appears that even the Jewish Sabbath was not observed by the Jews until they were exiled to Babylonian captivity between 597 and 587 BCE.

Adding to the mystery of the seven day week is that it is they only time construct known to mankind that does not conform to any astrological, lunar, or solar cycle, as days, months, and years are designed to do.

The reason that the seven day weekly cycle, ordained in the Torah, has emerged as the dominant time cycle that is now observed by every large society on the planet, is that seven day cycles are deeply ingrained in both plant and animal life at a cellular level.

Dr. Franz Halberg at the University of Minnesota, is the foremost authority on natural rhythms which is the subject matter of an area of science known as chronobiology.  Halberg’s research has shown that all rhythmic functions of the human body are likely to possess an innate seven day frequency.

The divine call for a day of rest every seventh day appears to fit perfectly with an unseen but deeply felt rhythm common to the interplay between all living things down to the most basic cellular level.

While an understanding of the seven day weekly cycle and the need to collectively rest on the seventh day is somewhat easy to grasp based on personal experience for most, what is harder to grasp but equally and perhaps more important with regards to building up the land is the need for the land to rest every seventh year.

In other words, the seemingly arbitrary command to abstain from work on the seventh day not only applies to the cycle of days known as the week, but the need to rest on the seventh year of a cycle after six years of production.

Again, the basis for the resting of the Land on the seventh year by abstaining from all productive agricultural activity can be traced to the Torah:

10 “For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In the same way, you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.

Exodus 23:10-11

2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Yahweh. 3 You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in its fruits; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and you shall not gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7 For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food.

Leviticus 25:2-7

The command to rest the land every seventh year is often embodied in a practice that is known as crop rotation.  Crop rotation is a method of agriculture in which a series of different types of crops are planted in the same area, usually a field, in sequential growing seasons.

The planting of different seeds on the same field each season helps the land to achieve balance because different types of plants require from and provide to the land different types of nutrients, allowing the land to replenish itself.  An additional benefit to crop rotation can be found with relation to pests.  By constantly changing the types of crops grown in a certain area, the farmer can avoid the possibility that a pest become entrenched in an area, as simply changing crops can deprive certain pests of the means necessary to establish viable habitats over long periods of time for their colonies.

Many crop rotation plans call for a field to lie fallow for a season.  While the benefits of allowing the land to rest are numerous, the most common benefit of this practice is that it allows the water table underneath the Land to reestablish itself in anticipation of providing crops for the next six years.  Given that water tables are not field specific, but cover large areas encompassing many fields, it is important that the fallow years for fields be coordinated to coincide with each other for the benefits of the Sabbath year to accrue to the Land and, consequently, to the land’s inhabitants.

Stay tuned for the ebook release and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for May 28, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.30
Oil Price per Barrel:  $95.01
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.66
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.13%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US:  $128.50
FED Target Rate:  0.08%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,381 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  15,409
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,429,700,000,000 ANOTHER MARKED DROP
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,544,600,000,000

The Land Needs Rest or Conservation, what occurs when man attempts to control rather than build up the land – To Build up the Land part V

5/8/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We return today to complete our series entitled “To Build up the Land.”  It is an exploration of the co-dependence of man upon the land, and the land upon man to build it up.  While the former statement is obvious, what may be less clear in light of today’s political and environmental climate is the latter.

Does the land really need man to tend to it so that it, too, will prosper?  The clear answer is that the land not only needs the activity of man upon it to survive and thrive, but also that of animals.  However, the land does not simply require any type of activity, it requires human activity which helps the land to achieve balance.

Today, there are roughly 7.1 billion souls on the planet, more than at any other time in human history.  If one watches the numbers roll on the page linked above and then sees that the world’s net population is on track to grow by roughly 80 million souls this year alone, it would appear that this population growth is nothing short of exponential and that the world’s population is on something akin to a warp curve when plotted out graphically.

World Historical Population
World Historical Population courtesy of US Census Bureau

However, while 80 million souls per year seems a staggering amount, it is important to note that the actual growth rate, as a percentage of the current population, is on a gentle decline, currently at 1.1%, just half the growth rate experienced in the early 1960’s, which is the most recent peak in the growth rate based on United Nations estimates.  The United Nations further anticipates that by 2050, the growth rate will again be halved to just 0.5%, and that the world’s population will stabilize at around 10 billion persons after 2100..

As we have explored earlier, overpopulation is largely a myth constructed by persons who both live in crowded urban areas and assume that current statistical trends will invariably accelerate.

The myth is intensified by the fact that a majority of mankind has chosen to live in urban settings and has left large swaths of land to lie fallow, something that benefits neither man nor the land.  According to statistics in the 2013 edition of Demographia’s report on World Urban Areas, roughly three out of every ten, or 28.2% of the world’s population lives in an urban area of over 500,000 total inhabitants with an average density of 14,000 persons per square mile.

The current increase in urban populations and corresponding worldview has left an increasing burden on those who build up the land via agriculture to provide the food necessary for the 7.1 billion souls and counting to survive and be adequately nourished.

If one, for the sake of argument, were to make the broad assumption that those living in urban areas were completely reliant on their rural counterparts for their food supply in an equal proportion, this would mean that the rural population must produce, on average, 139.3% of their annual food consumption.  In other words, they must produce enough food for both 100% of their own consumption and an additional 39.3% to be consumed by the otherwise occupied urbanites.

However, this is an overly simplified view of the actual dynamics of food production, for while it is clear that while a small proportion of urbanites may collectively achieve communal or territorial self sufficiency when it comes to food production, it is also clear that 100% of the earth’s rural inhabitants are not dedicated to agricultural.

What, then, is the true ratio?  How many persons are spending their lives building up the land?

On average, each American farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people.  This is up from roughly 26 people in 1960 and, in terms of statistics, would mean that one person armed with the proper agricultural equipment, technology, and favorable climate patterns, can produce 15,500% of their own caloric requirements.

This staggering advance in American agricultural productivity is largely owed to the extended period of peace which has reigned in America which gave birth to, or at a minimum coincided with, rapid advances in agricultural science and industrial machinery.

It may be said, then, that these advances in agriculture have made possible the urban centric worldview that is widely espoused today.  This is not a bad thing, however, and the current awareness of climate change and its potential impact on the increasingly delicate food chain upon which an increasing majority of the world depends is rightly cause for alarm.

Agricultural Alarms

GMOs

While it is staggering that one American farmer can provide nourishment for up to 155 persons, the question that is at the heart of the present debate on the merits of using Genetically Modified Organisms in seeds and the modified seeds’ reliance upon pesticides to ensure adequate crop yields is the following:  At what long term cost does this productivity come?

It is an important question, for the long term security of the world’s food supply may hang in the balance.

Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are a prime example of mankind’s attempt to control nature.  It is a form of conservation in that it attempts to conserve the current balance of food production by creating crop yields in excess of that which would occur under normal conditions.

It cannot be argued that GMOs have played a major role in human population growth.  However, it is also clear that there are many direct and indirect side effects to exerting this type of control over the food chain which have yet to fully manifest themselves.

First and foremost, the staggering crop yields that the combination of GMO seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides provide come at a high price for the land itself.  Rather than achieving a balance with the land, allowing it to produce and rest in natural occurring intervals with intermittent obligatory rests in the form of Sabbath years for agricultural land and herd rotations for pasturelands, mankind’s GMO induced yield highs convert the land into an addict, unable to function without regular shots of fertilizer and irrigation.

Again, fertilization and irrigation are important parts of farming and the building up of agricultural land when done in moderation.  However, when these tasks are taken to the extremes under which they are practiced today, they rob both the land and mankind of their most important survival mechanism; self sufficiency.

CAFOs

Another less known but equally widespread practice that may ultimately threaten the food supply is the increased reliance upon Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.  The proliferation of CAFOs, which are facilities where animals are raised in relatively cramped quarters and fed things that are not part of their natural diet (the equivalent of fertilizer in the GMO example above) and injected with antibiotics (the equivalent of pesticides in the above example) poses a twofold threat to the environment.

First, it produces animal based foodstuffs that have been proven to be harmful to humans over time.  Second, and perhaps more importantly for reasons that are obvious, it limits the animals’ natural and mutually beneficial interaction with the land which robs the land of an important means of natural fertilization and rejuvenation, urine and manure.

After a personal epiphany regarding the detriments of setting apart land for conservation, a practice that is widely thought to be beneficial, Ecologist Allan Savory has made it his life’s work to reverse what he now sees as a dangerous policy of conservation.

For over a century, well meaning ecologists like Mr. Savory have labored under the belief that desertification, the fate that awaits the land when mankind and animals cease or severely limit their intercourse with it, was the direct result of large herds of animals grazing upon it.  The initial conclusion of attributing desertification to large scale animal grazing is a logical one.  After all, if one has seen the relative devastation that large herds leave in their wake, one can only conclude that the animals alone are responsible for desertification, as they leave the land barren and trampled.

Yet Savory holds out that this first analysis is incomplete.  In fact, it is necessary for animals to consume, trample on, and leave their excretions on the land so that it may be left in peace to rejuvenate itself with the necessary fertilizer and just the amount of greenery necessary to thrive.

Part of the logic of Mr. Savory’s approach is that if the animals are left to graze freely, they will leave the land for greener pastures, as it were, once they have eaten the top layers of grass and shrubbery, the equivalent to pruning a plant.  Furthermore, the animals will quickly tire, as anyone would, of tromping through their own excrements in search of food, leaving the land both pruned and fertilized.  The land will then rejuvenate itself in time for the next grazing cycle.

While it has remained on the fringe of land management, Mr. Savory’s work has received the endorsement of royalty.  At the 2012 World Conservation Congress, none other than the Prince of Wales gave this endorsement of Savory’s methods:

“I have been particularly fascinated, for example, by the work of a remarkable man called Allan Savory, in Zimbabwe and other semiarid areas, who has argued for years against the prevailing expert view that it is the simple numbers of cattle that drive overgrazing and cause fertile land to become desert. On the contrary, as he has since shown so graphically, the land needs the presence of feeding animals and their droppings for the cycle to be complete, so that soils and grassland areas stay productive. Such that, if you take grazers off the land and lock them away in vast feedlots, the land dies.” {via wikipedia.org}

While GMOs and CAFOs may appear to be nothing short of modern miracles with respect to food supplies, they are a result of man attempting to control the land as opposed to working with the land for mutual benefit.  Left to its own devices, mankind will destroy the land to the extent that it wishes to unilaterally exert its will upon it.  What is needed, then, is an acute awareness that to destroy the land through an exertion of unnatural control over it, is to destroy ourselves.

Conservation dooms the land to desertification

It is clear that the land, mankind, and animals live together in a delicate balance.  Maintenance of this balance requires both constant interaction between mankind and nature and a measure of restraint, a general recognition that nature cannot be controlled in a healthy manner.

The opposite of the action of building up the land is a term that implies something that could not be farther from the truth:  Conservation.

The term conservation implies the maintenance and upkeep of something.  In terms of land management, it may be mistaken for actions taken or not taken to build up the land.  However, in practice, conservation has come to embody a form of forced abstinence on the part of man with regards to the land.

There is much debate and scientific evidence which points to the activities of mankind being the ultimate cause of climate change and desertification.  These findings are true to the extent that mankind’s activities are not aimed at building up the land.  However, the only thing worse than mankind working to throw nature further out of balance by chasing a misplaced monetary premium is for mankind to abstain from interacting with the land altogether in a vain hope that the land would be better of without us.

The land needs mankind, and mankind needs the land.  Both the land and mankind need animals to freely roam over the land rather than suffer in the constraints of a CAFO, the equivalent of prison in the animal world.  All efforts to halt this natural interaction are an unwitting step towards squandering what arable land remains on the planet.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for May 8, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.34
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.53
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.75
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.76%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US:  $113.38
FED Target Rate:  0.12%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,472 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  15,105
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,565,500,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,571,400,000,000

Why the monetary premium must be attributed to a tangible good – To Build up the Land – Part IV

4/1/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

On this April fool’s day we will attempt to lay out yet another premise.  It is the underlying premise and our ultimate contribution to man’s understanding of monetary theory.

Our choice to present the premise today may mean one of three things:

1.  If it is so absurd as not to be accepted by any thinking human being, we may attribute it to a cruel April fool’s joke.

2.  It may be received as such a revelation that mankind will take what they have assumed to be money for a cruel April fool’s joke.

3.  It just happens to be April 1st as we are writing.

We can assure you of that the third reason is absolutely true, as for which of the first two may be valid, we leave the decision up to you, fellow taxpayer.

The premise is the following:  The monetary premium, which is the increase in the value of an object owed to its usefulness as a store of value, medium of exchange, and/or unit of account, must be primarily attached to a tangible good for the activities which mankind carries out to be in balance with the resources that exist in natural world.

The world has operated on a system of fiat currency, or currency by decree, on and off for as long as there has been an Empire capable of dictating what its subjects must use as money in settlement of debts.  Fiat currency is not harmful in and of itself.  In fact, given enough time, any fiat currency which is not flexible enough to change with the needs of the economic activity which it is intended to aid will either self destruct on its own, owed to it being eschewed in favor of a more suitable currency, or, if its use is rigidly enforced, cause the underlying economic activity to self destruct or cease, causing another form of fiat collapse.

To control what is used as money and the monetary premium represents the ultimate power in the material world.  As such, such control can never be gained by force.  Rather, it must be created by a great many deceptions which cause otherwise rational persons to hand over control over this most important of decisions.

For over 40 years now, much of the world has not only subjugated itself to accepting a form of fiat, it has come to accept as money the worst form of fiat, a fiat currency that comes into being as a debt instrument.  As a result, mankind has attached this precious monetary premium to credit, which is not dependant upon the production of goods in the real world, nor on existing property, rather, it is primarily dependent upon the character of a man.

Today we read a list of quotations compiled by Frederick Sheehan which came to us via Credit Writedowns.  Two of the quotes speak directly to the nature of credit, which will help to underscore our premise:

“Credit is not money.  Credit is trust. Trust can vanish in an instant.” – Frederick J. Sheehan, March 25, 2013

In response to questioning by Samuel Untermeyer during the Pujo Committee hearings, J.P. Morgan famously made the following observations on money and credit:  {Editor’s note: You may read the Pujo Committee, formally known as the Money Trust Investigation, testimonies here via the St. Louis Fed.

Untermyer: ‘The basis of banking is credit, is it not?”

Morgan:  “Not always. That is evidence of banking, but it is not the money itself.  Money is gold, and nothing else.”

Then, during the same lime of testimony:

Untermyer: “Is not commercial credit based primarily on money or property?

Morgan: “No sir, the first thing is character.

Untermyer: “Before money or property?

Morgan: “Before money or property or anything else.  Money cannot buy it”

Both Sheehan and Morgan’s observations on credit are sufficient to gain an understanding of what credit really is.  Most persons are conditioned to assume that credit is backed by collateral.  However, were credit backed by collateral, it would cease to be credit.

The essence of credit is trust.  Trust, by definition, is created by the belief in an inherently uncertain future outcome.  Again, by definition, trust may not always be well placed.  The plans upon which the credit and underlying trust are built may just as well not turn out as planned.

Money cannot be destroyed, it can only change hands.  Credit and trust, however, can be destroyed in an instant, for they are subject to the fickle decisions and imperfect plans of men.

When money is based on trust, the world moves to a very dangerous place with regards to the planning of daily activities.  This is where the world is today, circa 2013, after 40 years of what we refer to as the insane debt is money financial system.

Trust is good and necessary to a point, however, it can vanish in an instant.  When there is an excess amount of trust, or promises to pay, circulating in relationship to a finite number of money, goods, and capital in the real world, there are bound to be a few broken promises.

If kept to a minimum, the economic systems which are organically created by man to trade and deal with scarcity, a state of being that we call True Capitalism, will correct the errors that result from misplaced trust which manifests itself by credits which are defaulted on.  The activities of men will then return to balance with the underlying natural resources which the earth affords him.

Forest Clearing in Cameroon, and example of man's imbalance with nature? Photo credits:  © Greenpeace / Alex Yallop
Forest Clearing in Cameroon, and example of man’s imbalance with nature?
Photo credits: © Greenpeace / Alex Yallop

However, if misplaced trust in the form of bad credits are allowed to perpetuate themselves, men will have no incentive to investigate whom amongst them is worthily of the trust that credit represents.  This state of being will, and indeed does, cause much of the earth’s natural resources to fall into unproductive hands where it will ultimately be squandered.

Meanwhile, those who are capable will not be able to coordinate their efforts with their fellow men in any meaningful way.  Indeed, the capable ones will simply learn how to take advantage of the over abundance of trust which is being created in the world.

This proliferation and misallocation, if we can call it that, of trust has two real world consequences:

1.  Natural resources are wasted at an alarming rate.  For this reason we believe that the placement of the monetary premium on credits has lead to the crisis that most people have come to call “Climate Change.”  It was previously known as “Global warming.”  This represents a myriad of symptoms whose root cause is that man’s activities are severely out of balance.  The cause of this imbalance in the current situation is that man’s activities, both those worth of trust that have succeeded and those that have failed miserably, have been greatly accelerated by the dangerous mix of credit and the monetary premium that circulates as currency.

Man is in a desperate race to meet a timetable that the earth’s resources cannot provide for.  The result is the severe imbalances which we are now observing.  It is this, and not the industrial revolution, fossil fuels, or any of the other symptoms that is the root cause of climate change.

2.  While there are a great deal of men who are busy scorching the earth with their activities, the wise have learned to concentrate their efforts not on the productive activities to which they would otherwise dedicate themselves, but to profiting from the explosion of trust and credit, from the misjudgments and miscalculations or their fellow men.

The land is either laying fallow or being scorched by the misguided activities of men, rather than being built up, as Old Jules encouraged.

However, it is not man himself or any of his inventions which constitute the root cause of the problem.  Rather, it is the simple misplacement of the monetary premium on credit instruments which emits the false signals that we all either follow or are forced to follow in the planning and execution of our daily activities.

This is our premise.  If one man in a million will grasp it, we can change the world.  Will it be you?

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for April 1, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.40
Oil Price per Barrel:  $97.07
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.42
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.84%
FED Target Rate:  0.13%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,599 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,573
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,425,000,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,547,600,000,000

To Build up the Land part III – The Myth of Overpopulation

3/4/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We return to the series that started earlier this month, “To Build up the Land.”  If you need to refresh yourself, please take time to read the first two segments by clicking the links below:

To Build up the Land – part I

To Build up the Land part II – Maintaining the Peace

It has been so long even your easily distracted author had to do a bit of review!

It is common in modern day urban environments to lament the lack of open spaces.  Living in structures that are surrounded by other structures and spending time overcrowded streets or public transportation systems tends to solidify the perception that there are too many people in one’s immediate environment.  The feeling is completely normal and understandable.  What is not normal is to wish evil or impose limitations on others because of this perception, for a sober look at the data suggests that, while one’s immediate surroundings may appear to be hopelessly overpopulated, the earth continues to suffer from chronic under population, or a lack of people willing to build up the land, in the parlance of Old Jules.

The answer, then, to a personal state of dissatisfaction with a perceived state of local overpopulation is to remove oneself from the overpopulated environment to a lower density locale.

There is no doubt that the world today is more populated than at any other time in its brief history.  There is also no doubt that increasingly, mankind struggles to adequately nourish itself.  It is an error, however, to blindly assume that an increased population is the root cause of relative shortages of food and potable water.  It is equally erroneous to assume that there are limits to what the land can produce.

In Old Jules’ day, the Sandhills of Northwestern Nebraska were harsh and relatively uninhabited.  Old Jules recognized this as a problem.  Untamed land is largely unproductive land.  The land requires men and women to interact with it so that it will produce fruit and, in turn, allow the men and women to produce their own fruit, so to speak, and so on.

Old Jules, like many inhabitants of what Nabokov called the “Rotting old world,” or Europe, had come to America either in pursuit of greater opportunities or in flight from what was decrease of opportunities in Europe.  This phenomenon was most notable in England, as the Industrial Revolution brought about an exponential improvement in general living conditions and life expectancies, it also brought a population boom which overwhelmed the British Isle.  It was there that the idea of overpopulation bloomed.

As war seemed to grip Europe from time to time, it seemed that the continent was suffering from an overpopulation as well.  However, this feeling had nothing to do with actual scarcity of land.  It was, rather, a result of the various wars, socialist policies, and other acts of aggression which hindered man’s ability to build up the land to its full potential in Europe.

For this reason, during the 1800’s and continuing, in many respects, through today, the greatest immigration known to man has been taking place on both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere of the Americas.

The land was harsh and virgin yet, with a bit of luck and help from neighbors such as Old Jules, those who braved the frontier found an abundance of both resources and freedom beyond their wildest dreams.

What is surprising, or perhaps not, is that this untamed frontier produced not a chaos of fiefdoms waging war against one another, but rather gave birth to perhaps the most honest and upstanding society that exists on the face of the earth.  It is a society largely untainted by the banes of urban existence.  It is a society that understands that the planet, far from having an overpopulation problem, suffers from a lack of people willing to roll up their sleeves and build up the land.

To encourage and help people to choose to build up the land has proven difficult, especially in the aftermath of the farm crisis of the 1970s and 80s in America.  The crisis, which was largely the result of the sinkhole left in the money supply by erratic Federal Reserve policy, left thousands of family farms in ruin.

Even in Old Jules’ day, it was difficult.  It required someone who had a vision for the land and could see past the allure of temporary personal gain so that both the people and the land could carry on their productive intercourse.

Again, we pick up with Mari Sandoz in Old Jules describing Jules’ efforts to assist homesteaders to take advantage of the Kinkaid Act of 1904, an amendment to the original Homesteaders act passed in the 1860’s.  Jules had hoped that the act would reign in the cattlemen and bring in the people that the land so desperately needed to build it up:

“In the evening Jules, rifle across his arm, limped about among the newcomers and felt young again.  It was like Valentine {Nebraska} in the eighties, but different too – many more people and not so young, not nearly so young   Many of these were old – defeated men…

“…The day of the opening long queues of homeseekers waited for hours, only to find that even the sad choice of land that was free had been filed earlier in the day.  There was talk of cattleman agents who made up baskets full of filing papers beforehand and ran them through the first thing.  One woman was said to have filed on forty sections, under forty names, at five dollars a shot.  The land was covered by filings that would never turn into farms.  Yes, the Kinkaid Act as a cattleman law, as it was intended to be……

“Nevertheless Jules was busy.  His buckskin team, colts of Old Daisy, threaded in and out between the hills.  In six months, all unoccupied filings would be subject to contest.  For twenty-five dollars Jules showed the land, ascertained the numbers, took the settler to Alliance to the land office, helped him make his filings, and later, when he was ready to fence, surveyed the homestead completely.  If the homeseeker found nothing to please him, there was no charge.  Otherwise, Jules pocketed the twenty-five dollar fee……

“And every few days some land agent or attorney from, say, Chicago suggested that Jules charge fifty or a hundred dollars and give him a fourth or half of the fee for steering prospects to him.  Jules stuck his cob pipe between his bearded lips and threw the letters into the wood box.

“I am not in this business for the money.  I’m trying to build up the country.”

At the end of this discourse, Old Jules pins down the crux of the matter.  If one is in pursuit of money, overpopulation will always be a problem.  Money, as the good of highest order, is indirectly sought but all, and each additional person on the planet represents another competitor. This is an inescapable fact of the rigid debt based money supply of today.

However, if one’s aim is to build up the land, as was the case with Old Jules, they will quickly see that the truth of the matter, which the failure of the debt based money supply, as do all socialist machinations, serves to mask, is that money really does grow on well tended trees, and what is truly lacking are men and women brave enough to perform their conjugal duty to the land.

For without it, both the land and mankind will grow frigid, and the earth will become a cold and desolate place indeed.

more to come…

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for March 4, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.50
Oil Price per Barrel:  $90.24
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.23
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.88%
FED Target Rate:  0.14%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,575 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,128
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,400,000,000

To Build up the Land part II – God Made a Farmer

2/5/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we continue with our exploration of the concept of building up the land.  We are using, as our living example of someone who dedicated their life to building up a harsh land, a Swiss settler of the sandhills of western Nebraska, Old Jules.

Yesterday, before we deviated into our normal rant about the monetary premium being attached to debt instruments being the root cause of widespread resource misallocation and, by extension, what today is called “climate change,” we explored the idea that mankind was created to live in balance with the earth.

He was neither to overly molest it via excessive development nor ignore it via draconian conservation methods.  Rather, he was to build up the earth, and in turn allow himself to be built up by it.

There are preconditions for man to be able to live in balance with the land.  First and foremost, he must live in relative peace.  If one is to invest adequate time in building up the land, he or she cannot spend an inordinate amount of time preoccupied for and tending to their personal safety.  This is why war, far from being an economic boon, is ultimately fatal to man’s efforts to build up the land.

How, then, can peace be encouraged?  By allowing uninhibited trade between communist style communities, such as families or tribes.  As we explored yesterday, the link between free trade and peace is so strong that it can be said that if goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.

It all seems ideal, doesn’t it?  Living in peace, in perfect balance with nature and our fellow man.  It doesn’t sound like much to ask of everyone.  Yet in practice, building up the land is a difficult endeavor.  It is so difficult, that most people, when given the choice between working to build up the land and enjoying the fruits of the land, naturally choose the latter.  The debt based money supply has allowed an unprecedented number of humans to spend more of their time enjoying the fruits than building up the land, and every day that this situation persists brings the actions of mankind further out of balance with the need to “build up the land.”

What type of person chooses to build up the land?  In gentle climates, like the one we currently enjoy in Oregon, where a minimal effort in planting often leads to an above average yield, gentle persons can build up the land.  As the land is strong, the people don’t have to be.

This has been true of the indigenous groups who inhabited the territories and, at the risk of offending our fellow Portlanders, we dare say that it is true of the population today.  If one can stand the rain, life is relatively easy.  A gentle, forgiving land will produce a gentle and forgiving people.

The corollary to this, naturally, is that a hard and unforgiving land will initially yield a hard and unforgiving people.  Or, as Sunday’s Dodge Ram truck Super Bowl spot reminds us, on the eighth day, God made a Farmer:

Again for proof of this, we turn to Mari Sandoz’s account of her father, Old Jules.  Jules Sandoz, our settler of 100 years ago, lived in a harsh land.  He lived peacefully with the indigenous peoples there, who were being forced away by the Federal Army.  He lived less peacefully with the bankers and cattlemen, who attempted to claim the land he was trying to build up by force.

Sandoz give us a glimpse into her rough, determined, and surprisingly refined father:

“Jules Sandoz was not a nice man, but he was smart and tough and talented, and he was a survivor.”

“Old Jules was always ready to serve as a “locator,” to help a new arrival stake out a claim and “find his corners,” locate the precise boundaries of his land.  For this, he charged little or nothing, as he wanted so badly to “build up, build up” the community.”

“His (Old Jules’) house was briefly the local post office, until he feuded with the officials and they took it away.  His place was the unofficial storytelling center of the community.  His skinny daughter, Marie (later Mari {the author}), would hang back in the darkness to stay up and listen to the immigrants and Indians {Indigenous peoples} and, less frequently, the cowboys tell their tales.

Old Jules maintained a well-stocked medical kit and was the unofficial frontier doctor to one and all.  He befriended the local Indians, some of the last Lakotas to live free in lodges, tipis, near his home.  They called him “Straight Eye,” honoring his shooting skill.  He spent windfall money he could ill afford on a Victrola {record player} and phonograph records, because he liked good music and thought he and his family should have it.  They loved it.”

“Old Jules became a nationally known fruit breeder and grower, a correspondent of Luther Burbank.  He was sure that this land was ideal for raising cherries.  He was wrong.  It wasn’t.”

Excerpts from “Old Jules” by Mari Sandoz

It took hard people, like Old Jules and the nomadic indigenous people who passed through the Sandhills following the ratings {bison}, to slowly build up a hard land.  As the land became softer, Old Jules became softer.  For this reason, Old Jules was passionate about bringing settlers to the Sandhills to build up the land.

Today, the sandhills of Western Nebraska are inhabited by kinder persons who have reaped the benefits of the efforts of pioneers like Old Jules.  He and countless others whom he encouraged have worked to build up the land to a point where the effort to build it up is falling into balance with the time spent enjoying its fruits.

In Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, the opposite may be happening.  Attempts to minimize man’s interaction with the land via conservation, essentially declaring the land off limits for development, is conserving countless acres of land as wilderness.  While the efforts are noble and well intentioned, this too will, over time, throw the efforts of man to build up the land out of balance with the time spend enjoying the fruits of the land.

For it is true that the land needs rest, just as man needs rest.  But rest must come in the right proportion for both man and the land to maintain their edge and to keep the dynamic between mankind and the land in a healthy balance, allow both to rest and production in a perfect proportion, providing for the future without robbing the next generation of the tools needed to continue building up the land.

More to come…

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 5, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.74
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.64
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.29
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.02%
FED Target Rate:  0.13%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,673 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,979
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,455,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,500,000,000