Presently in the AutoImmune Therapies public forum, is being discussed the price of worms. They are shockingly, prohibitively expensive. To be inoculated with both hook and whip worms is between a three thousand and four thousand dollar (USD) commitment. I responded to a querry saying so, by saying that I believe that given what Jasper Laurence did to get them in the first place, and the trouble it takes to separate and sterilize them is adequately reflected in the price.
My corespondent replied, “I personally don’t believe that the costs are reflective of the process involved,”
Agreed, but the asking price of a thing includes far more than the processes used to produce it.
I began to consider the economic of the thing several months ago, when I came across an article in the New York Times about some chicken farmers selling truly free range eggs, for eight dollars a dozen. Eight dollars a dozen, I choaked, who can afford eight dollars a dozen for eggs?
“Maybe,” B. said “that’s what they cost to produce.”
If the person wants to live in a heated house, with a television, a telephone and perhaps basic cable; and we want her to devote her energies to the maintenance of a flock large enough to have eggs worth bringing to market, she is then a defacto farmer, tied to the land. What should she make for her labors per hour? Once the flock is fed (extremely well) and housed (extremely well) veterinary bills paid, shipping costs paid, staff and specialist labor accounted for, what is she to pay herself. This kind of farming disappeared by the late twentieth century because it was clear that the answer to the above question was — nothing.
In order to charge the prices that urban and suburban residents wanted to pay for food, the farmer had to draw no salary. This works, when crops are tended by peasant farmers unable to aspire to a middle class life. But farmers began to leave for the city looking for clean lucrative factory work; leaving fewer and fewer behind to do the agricultural work, allowing farms to become factories, thus forcing more farmers off the land.
That got us here, where we are today, rife with auto-immune diseases, eating genetically modified corn in a thousand different permutations, paying next to nothing for it at the hyper-mart. The situation proved to be unsustainable. It might have lasted a couple more generations, infact, if the city folk hadn’t gotten so rich that they began to ask for something more. Something they couldn’t produce for themselves because getting rich takes time, time that might otherwise go into have one’s own chicken, or two. But what can we afford to pay the person who raises those chickens? Does she have any right to ask to be middle class too?
This is why some people get bent out of shape when they hear the Wall-Mart is selling organic vegetables. It is not because we believe the people who shop at Wall-Mart do not deserve organic food, but that we know that it simply can not be produced that cheaply. Somewhere along the lie is being told, a short cut is being taken, a chicken called “free range” is in a tiny hen house with a door that is opened from 8 to 8:23 in the morning , for the third through tenth week of the poor birds life. At that point she doesn’t know what the door is for, or why she should use it. Still, good enough to sell at Wall-Mart, good enough to sell for $3.00 a dozen, which is three times what they are getting for conventional eggs, for almost no more effort.
Anything that is made artistenally, anything that is crafted individually, like a chicken makes an egg, or a baker makes a hearth loaf, or Jasper makes a dose of Necator americanus is going to cost more than a middle class person can easily afford, if the maker wants to be middle class. Those in poverty will never be able to afford this luxury. The tricky part is that, their time being worth nothing to society, the poor may have the time to keep a chicken or bake a loaf of bread. The ironic part is that through out most of the world, the poor are the ones who have hook worm in the first place.