Monday, 22 November 2021

Sometimes we forget where our 'watches' come from


The weekend's #Groundswell protests, and the #Groundswell movement itself, were intended to highlight the plight of the New Zealand farmer under an unsympathetic regime. Instead, however, the organisers have allowed it to become easily gaslighted as something it's not. As racist, or anti-vax. 

And the important message has been lost: that it's NZ farmers who allow us to live in first-world comfort -- that it's their exported produce that allows us to buy, at not unreasonable prices, all the technology of the world. As Ludwig Von Mises explained back before electronics took over:

The inhabitants of [Switzerland] prefer to manufacture watches instead of growing wheat. Watchmaking is for them the cheapest way to acquire wheat. On the other hand the growing of wheat is the cheapest way for the Canadian farmer to acquire watches.

The lesson remains the same. To paraphrase now, for us:

The inhabitants of China prefer to manufacture electronics instead of milking cows. Electronics-making is for them the cheapest way to acquire milk. On the other hand the milking of cows is the cheapest way for the New Zealand farmer to acquire electronics. 

It's those dairy exports that pay our way in the world; that, more than anything else, allow the average New Zealander to, at a reasonable price, directly acquire technology that allows them to see, hear, read and interact with the whole world's movies, music, artworks, books, and communications technology  -- to each acquire the sort of library that past royalty would have envied -- and to indirectly live the sort of lifestyles that people around other parts of the world envy still. It's those dairy exports that, more than anything else we do here, make it all possible.

Perhaps some gratitude to the farmers, rather than gaslighting them, should be the response they deserve.


homepaddock said...

Thank you. A question those gaslighting might like to ask themselves is: how much are they willing to pay for their food? All the extra costs being piled onto farmers will eventually add to the cost of food.

Peter Cresswell said...

And also to the cost of 'watches': If the NZD is backed up only by hot air and good wishes, then *everything* we try to buy with NZD becomes more expensive!