Tag Archives: Balance

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

To Build up the Land – part I

2/4/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

“Then once more he raised his head, his face alive, his eyes far-focused, burning.  He began to talk slowly, as though his lips were metal, stiffening.  “The whole damn sandhills is deserted.  The cattlemen are broke, the settlers about gone.  I got to start all over-ship in a lot of good farmers in the spring, build up–build–build–“

Old Jules’ dying words from the biography entitled “Old Jules” by Mari Sandoz

Today at The Mint, we continue our journey, and we are glad that you are along with us.  With the inflationary fruits of five, nay, 100 years of loose monetary policy beginning to destroy the very currencies which gave birth to them, the world will all too soon be left to pick up the pieces and boldly move forward when all hope is lost.

When there is no hope, one must fight to become hope.  This is our charge to you, fellow taxpayer.  Fortunately, this is far from the first time that mankind has found itself in this situation.  For inspiration, we look back roughly 100 years to a man who had a vision for a place that was then, as now, a place that is difficult to inhabit, the sandhills region of Northwestern Nebraska.  (The sandhills have appeared in the news as a possible route for the long delayed Keystone pipeline.)

That man is Old Jules.

Old Jules was a Swiss immigrant who settled in the sandhills and, as our title implies, devoted much of his interesting life to “building up the land.”  What does it mean to build up the land?  Your idea of building up the land probably means something quite different than my idea of building up the land, and we would both probably have visions quite different for building up the land than someone living 100 years ago, like Old Jules.

Yet all of our visions have merit, for the idea of building up the land, while it may manifest itself in any number of different ways, implies working with the land to help it produce.

The whole idea of man being able to help the land to increase its production and that production helping mankind, in turn, to increase their own production (or reproduction, to be precise), is a miracle.  For those who inhabit urban settings, it may seem a mystery from a far off place.

Yet it is the command received by Adam and Eve at the dawn of creation.

Man was never meant to sit back and simply eat the fruits passively produced by the land, rather, the creation and mankind were created to have an intercourse, if you will, with the fruit of one producing fruit in the other, and vice versa.  Mankind’s activities were meant to be intimately connected to the land.  Mankind is to build up the land, and, in return, the land will build up mankind.

While the Victorian Yeoman farmer ideal may immediately spring to mind when one thinks of building up the land, it should be clear to any thinking person that the division of labor is a far more productive and resilient system by which to build up the land and to reap the benefits of such building.

Even in the Yeoman model, the division of labor existed.  One fetched wood, another dug and plowed, another prepared food, still another shelter, and another fetched water, and so on.

The division of labor could flourish beyond close knit communal groups, such as families or tribes, only via a system of trade.  The concept of trade, which further enables the division of labor to operate, is important not only for the concept of building up the land, but also for the maintenance of peaceful relations amongst communal groups.

The link between mutual trade and maintaining peace between groups is inseparable.  In the words of Frederic Bastait:

“If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”

If all of these things, building up the land, the division of labor, and the necessity of trade, are to operate, the concept of money, or what is better described as the emergence of a good of the highest order which carries a monetary premium, must be tacitly agreed upon by all groups that engage in trade.

Today, circa 2013, there is something desperately wrong with where the monetary premium is placed today:  Central bank credits, or what most of us know as currency, or money.  The problem is that they are debt, and not part of the natural world.

Because the monetary premium has been tied to debt, the operation of money, which should serve to build up the land, instead operates to tear it down.  The obvious effects of this purely monetary problem have led man, a la Al Gore, to react to effects the environment by treating a limitless myriad of symptoms.  The most extreme of which is the cry for conservation.  At its extreme, conservation seeks to cut off the intercourse of man and the land, ensuring the ultimate death of both.

What the land needs, however, is neither the over zealous building up which takes place in the debt based monetary system, nor the sterile, hands off idleness called for by extreme conservation agendas.

What both the land and mankind desperately need, is balance.  The only way to achieve this balance, is to return the monetary premium to things in the natural realm.

One of our many “inquietudes” (a Spanish word for which a rough English translation would be agitation) here at The Mint is that the concept of money has been removed from the natural realm of coin, currency, or anything physical and naturally occurring (at least at a base level), and has been elevated and attached to the enigma of a debt, which exists purely in the imagination, if not aspirations, of men and women.

The disconnection, while giving rise to advances beyond our imagination, has thrown the earth’s resources wildly out of balance, via the unnatural transfer of control into few hands.

What many Keynesian trained economists praise as a triumph over the shackles of specie money, we lament as perhaps the ultimate delusion of our time.  Such is the delusion that nary one in a million men will understand these words.

More tomorrow…

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 4, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.74
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.17
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.34
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.97%
FED Target Rate:  0.15%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,667 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,880
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,455,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,500,000,000

Natural Law: The Golden Rule

11/15/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We continue today with our brief examination of the foundations of society here at The Mint.  We are finding that while society appears complex on the surface, the further that its elements are reduced, the foundation is extremely, perhaps painfully simple.  Any complexity that we experience is not a product of an inherent complexity in natural laws, rather, it is a product of the human relationships and actions that are a result of man’s choice of response to the demands of natural law.

For those of you joining us for the first time, let us get you up to speed with a synopsis:

Anarchy, the lack of government, is man’s natural state.  It is an ultimate given.  It simply is.  A clear understanding of the current state of affairs depends upon grasping this inescapable fact.

In response to Anarchy, man has two choices.  He can choose to mutually cooperate with his fellow man, respecting both his fellow man’s right to live and his right to property, or He can choose to take his fellow man’s life and property through the use of force.  We have called the path of mutual cooperation “True Capitalism” and the path of forceful coercion “Might Makes Right.”

Ideologically, there is no middle ground between these two paths.  In practice, men live at various points on the spectrum between these two ideological extremes.

We argue that True Capitalism is the response which creates the greatest benefits for the greatest number of people.  The proof of the superiority of True Capitalism is that it allows man to best adapt and react to the inescapable demands of Natural Law.  Like Anarchy, Natural Law is immutable.  It does not change, for its statutes are etched in the foundations of the earth itself.

Last Thursday we presented the Natural Law of supply and demand, a law that deals with what is concrete and tangible.  Today we will deal with second law which primarily governs human relationships and works in conjunction with the law of supply and demand.

It is popularly called the Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule is articulated and exalted as an ideal in some form in nearly every society and religion on the planet.  The Bible famously articulates the Golden Rule in the following way:

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

It is important to note that the Golden Rule is a positive declaration.  It is a call to action.  In many societies and religions the Golden Rule is stated in a negative declaration, a command to abstain from action.  An example of this can be found in Hinduism:

“One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”  (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8 )

The negative declaration is sometimes called the Silver Rule.  It is important to understand that only the Golden Rule, the positive call to action, is Natural Law.  Observance of the Silver Rule, while highly advisable, does not rise to the level of Natural law.  However, it is a logical corollary to the Golden Rule.

Compliance with the Golden Rule, as with all natural law, is indispensible.  It is ignored at one’s peril, for it operates regardless of one’s acceptance of its validity or not.  The Truly Capitalistic society greatly facilitates and encourages compliance with the Golden Rule.  Conversely, compliance is hindered in a society that has embraced Might Makes Right as its ideological response to Anarchy.

“Wait a minute,” some of you are saying, “I’ll give you that the Golden Rule is a great ideal but Natural Law?  No one requires it of me, right?”

Remember, the essence of Natural law is that it is universally true and applicable to all.  The law of Supply and Demand, for example, can be ignored for a time, but every moment of ignorance causes the consequences of that ignorance to accumulate further until a final breaking point is reached.  The result of the failure to comply with the law of supply and demand is material scarcity and ultimately death.

The same is true of the Golden Rule.  Every moment of ignorance causes the consequences of that ignorance to accumulate further until a final breaking point is reached.  In the case of the Golden Rule, the result of the failure to comply is by definition a failure to properly comply with the law of supply and demand as well, with the end result, as mentioned above, being material scarcity and ultimately death.

Compliance with the Golden Rule is a necessary prerequisite to compliance with the law of supply and demand, for the Golden Rule governs relationships in the purest sense.  This is evident to most who have taken the time to ponder it.  So broad are the implications of the Golden Rule that the origins of both the rule of law and more recently the concept of human rights can be traced to it.

What thrusts the Golden Rule out of the realm of being simply a good idea and into the realm of Natural Law is this:  All attempts to comply with the Golden Rule serve to coordinate the actions of men in such a way that the greatest number of human needs are met in the most efficient way.  Any deviance from the Golden Rule, by definition, is a failure to meet human needs in the most efficient way.  Again, by definition, failure to meet human needs in the most efficient way means that a greater number of human needs are simply not being met.

Far from being simply a moral standard, the Golden Rule is elemental in the determination of supply and demand.  As the equilibrium price serves as the beacon of production for the law of supply and demand, the actions taken by men, governed by the Golden Rule, initially determine the supply and demand factors which, when combined, produce the equilibrium price.  In this sense, the Golden Rule serves as the beacon for both supply and demand which enable the creation of an initial equilibrium price.

How can the Golden Rule run ahead of the Law of Supply and Demand?  This is one of the beauties of Natural Law.  Natural Law always compliments and never contradicts itself.

An Example of the operation of the Golden Rule

Each human being has needs and wants which are sources of uneasiness.  Human Action, to paraphrase Von Mises, consists of men acting to dispel their most intensely felt uneasiness.  If a man is hungry, he will direct his actions towards getting something to eat.  Other tasks will be put on hold until this intensely felt uneasiness is relieved.

The operation of the Golden Rule, in the example of mans the need to alleviate hunger, operates in the following way.  A man feels hunger.  He has two options before him with which to fulfill this need.  First, he can forage, hunt, fish, or perform any series of actions with the end of fulfilling this need.  Second, he can voluntarily cede some of his production (or production for others via his contribution of labor) or appeal to the charity of someone else in return for something to eat.

As the second way is the most expedient, it is likely that a majority of people will elect this option.  Now reflect upon the Golden Rule:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  The person who chooses to comply with the Golden Rule will quickly understand that if he has the need to be fed, it is likely that his neighbor (in this sense, neighbor would mean anyone in the geographical realm in which he is equipped to serve, up to every person on the planet if it is possible for him to serve them) is likely to have the same need to some degree.  With this revelation, he unwittingly is on his way to discovering demand.

As he seeks to voluntarily fulfill this demand, he will need to either produce the supply of food himself or he can voluntarily cede some of his production (or production for others via his contribution of labor) or appeal to the charity of someone else in return for a supply of food with which to provide his neighbor with something to eat.  The information that his adherence to the Golden Rule provides him with regarding the needs of his fellow man will serve to guide his speculation as to where to best employ his limited time and capital.

It is a simple example, yet its simplicity serves to highlight the operation of the Golden Rule and can apply to any situation regardless of the complexity.  The Golden Rule, in modern business school lingo, is the origin of market research; it is the impulse for entrepreneurial activity and is the basis for subsequent human actions.

The Question of Charity

What about charity?  Wouldn’t adhering to the Golden Rule quickly lead to widespread scarcity and bankruptcy as catering to everyone’s preference to receive something for free would quickly deplete all available supplies and production?

The answer lies in the Golden Rule itself:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  Would you like to provide something for someone and not receive compensation?  Our guess is only if you are in a position to give something away and are willing to do it.  If all members of society are complying with the Golden Rule, the norms of charity will fall under the governance of the law of supply and demand.

The beauty, the perfection, of the Golden Rule is that above all it demands balance in human relationships and by extension, balance in the supply and demand of material goods.

True Capitalism Enable Compliance with the Golden Rule

True Capitalist ideology completely subjects itself completely to the Golden Rule and, in return, most accurately directs human actions towards fulfilling the most urgently felt needs of the greatest number of people. 

Inefficiency is naturally wrung from the system at its source as errors are quickly corrected and information is quickly disseminated via equilibrium prices.  The proper identification of demand by default leads to the most efficient allocation of scarce resources possible.  The liberty of life and property which is ensured in the Truly Capitalistic system allows men to supply this demand by employing their limited time and resources without unnecessary hindrance.

The Golden Rule may not provide everyone with what they expect or what they think they desire, but complete submission to it not only creates the most efficient allocation of resources, it gives humans the best information to base their attempts to mutually cooperate to fulfill the myriad of human desires.  It has the added social benefit of creating the greatest amount of harmony and goodwill possible in human relations.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for November 15, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.49
Oil Price per Barrel:  $99.39

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.45
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.06%

FED Target Rate:  0.08%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,781 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,096  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,215,000,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,532,200,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!