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Forum Post: Fair Trade

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 15, 2011, 6:30 p.m. EST by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

A wheat farmer and a corn farmer each labored from sunup till sundown. Each produced 300 bushels of grain a year. Each needed 200 bushels a year to feed their families and to sew next years crop. The extra 100 bushels was saved.
One day the corn farmer brought a sample of corn for the wheat farmer to taste. He told about him all about the benefits of corn and what a special crop it was. And the price was only 2 bushels of wheat for one bushel of corn! The wheat farmer was impressed with it's taste and he couldn't wait to try the corn tortillas and corn bread. So he bought 100 bushels of corn with 200 bushels of his wheat. He didn't even consider the fact that to buy the corn, he would completely use up his entire savings every year.
After 10 years, the wheat farmer looked in his grain silo and saw that he had nothing to show for his labor, only enough to feed his family. The corn farmer looked in his grain silo counted 2000 bushels of grain, nearly seven years harvest. But instead of corn tortillas and corn bread, the corn farmer dined on steak and lobster. What is the moral of this story?

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16 Comments


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[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

And the moral of the story is: Each farmer labored an equal number of hours and produced an equal amount of grain. The price should have been one bushel of wheat for one bushel of grain. The corn farmer used persuasion (advertising) to make the corn seem more valuable than it actually was. He overvalued his labor. The wheat farmer undervalued his labor. Money is your labor in portable form. If you trade your money (labor) for something that the seller spent less labor to produce, you will become poorer, while the seller will become richer. That is exactly what is happening now. The one percent overvalue their labor and the ninety nine percent undervalue theirs. Next question: What is the solution?

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21611) 2 years ago

I don't get this story. How did he keep buying the corn for 10 years?

[-] 1 points by henrycameron (34) 2 years ago

I believe that your history needs to be completed. I understand that what the corn producer (CP) offered to the wheat producer (WP) was hybrid corn seeds. Seeds from which great productivity plants will born but whose grains can not be used as seeds at the following year, (as it can be done with grains of wheat), then the formerly WP will must re-purchase seeds to CP.

If this is the story I think there is nothing immoral in it. To get his hybrid seed CP spent at least 5 years in the development of initial genotypes, applied more sophisticated agricultural technologies and taken a big risk at the year of the crossover for produce the hybridation. In addition, during the firsts harvests WP was very happy because from his 300 bushels of wheat he had gone to 600 of corn. But in the following year, when he went to market to sell his crop, WP found that CP, whose business had grown, was not now only his unique seed provider but had also become the sole grains buyer, and the price he paid was barely enough to support his family. WP thought into return to wheat, but could not because CP was also the sole buyer of this grain. In other words, CP had caught WP at both ends, controlling his income and making him run all the risks of agricultural production (drought, hail, pests, etc.). And this does seem to be immoral.

But the history did not end there. Another year WP was visited by a Monsanto guy who told him about the transgenic soybean. But that's another tale ...

[-] 1 points by Coriolanus (272) 2 years ago

"What is the moral of this story?"

I think the moral is "Don't be an idiot."

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

Not for OWSers. The moral to them is the wrongness of the person that made good decisions and the virtuousness of the person that didn't.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

my my someone sure has a real sense of compassion.

So what if the IMF told the wheat farmer's government that it would give it lots of money if it moved over and let big corporations exploit its wheat farmers?

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

The cheap moralizing of OWSers is ridiculous. No matter how bad the decisions, no matter how ineffective, no matter how unmotivated, no matter how irrelevant the endeavor, no matter now much was borrowed, none of it should matter. But things do matter. Designing a world around the least common denominator doesn't work. Designing a world that's "you" proof isn't possible or desirable.

[-] 2 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

We have to look out for each other, that's what being human is all about.

Would you suggest we repeal rape laws while we're at it? After all, those silly women should learn to make better decisions like not wearing a skirt or leaving work through the back alley, right?

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

Doing things to you is different than doing things for you. Typical OWSer that can't tell the difference between protecting someone from rape and insulated someone with entitlement.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Well within the confines of the example above, you are blaming the victim for being swindled. My example about rape is not that different from one where someone is taken advantage of financially rather than physically, and both can hurt.

You know what a sense of entitlement is? A bank thinking it is entitled to student loan payments when the person defaults. They made a bad deal, and they should live with the consequences. Why is the government passing laws that say students can't declare bankruptcy?

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

Swindled? You, as a non-retarded grown-up, have some responsibility for yourself. We cannot run a society where you can act so stupidly so as to need protection at every turn. Freedom requires responsibility.

Students can't bankrupt out of student loans because a previous generation already pulled that stunt.

Entitlement? Borrowing money and then feeling victimized when you're asked to pay it back.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

So what? As a non-retarded bank, they should have some responsibility for their lending decisions. Freedom requires responsibility.

but seriously, not all of us are blessed with a shrewd intellect, a strong backbone, or rich parents; and as our brothers and sisters we should look after them.

That isn't the same as give them a mansion on the hill, but if there is trillions to spend on war, I'd rather see it go toward hunger or basically anything else.

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

Banks do take responsibility for the loans they make. They take losses. But rationalizing yourself to non-payment because the bank should've know n better than to believe you is self-serving.

We have a giant welfare nanny state; we do enormous amounts of looking our for each other. But when you take it too far, you build a culture where responsibility evaporates. Witness your student loan comment. Nanny states create a reaction of helplessness as we underwrite dysfunction. As the problems grow, what do we need? A bigger nanny state.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

come on now, you can't tell me someone with an education in Finance is unaware of the prospects of being paid back by someone with a degree in fluffy arts and a terrible economy. So long as the customer presents honest information, they should be aware of the risk, if not they are not being diligent.

Is it really that much of a nanny state? Did you see the article about that Mother who killed herself (and two young daughters) out of desperation because they denied her application for food stamps. Crazy yes, but you can buy a lot of food stamps for the price of one bomb.

[-] 0 points by Grownup (-90) 2 years ago

Yeah, I get that. Banks take risk. But as a borrow to say, "Well, I'm justified in flaking because they should've have trusted me." is really weak.

We have a huge nanny state. The nanny state creates its own need; it's a dangerous feature of who we are as people.

[-] 0 points by REALamerican (241) 2 years ago

Don't blow your savings? That is 100% the wheat farmer's fault.