Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Food, the Market, and Unknown People

As I was eating dinner last night I began to think about what all had to transpire for the food I was eating to make it to my plate. People had to grow the potatoes, raise the cows, and harvest the macaroni ( macaroni is a plant isn't it? 8>) ). All these things had to be sold at a market, then transported to a factory, then sent out to a distributor who in turn most likely transported it to a regional distribution warehouse. Delivery trucks then had to take these goods to the local store whereupon I purchased them. Then I had to transport them home, blend ingredients together, and cook them. In the end, my cost for the meal was most likely less than $10.00 for my family of three. This sounds nearly impossible, but that's the nature of a free market. Businesses keep coming up with better ways to grow, obtain, and distribute goods such that costs keep getting lower. Of course, all of this is only possible when there is a large market for the same items. If only one person in New York wanted potatoes from Idaho, it would be prohibitively expensive to obtain them. But since thousands, perhaps millions, of New Yorkers want those potatoes, the cost can be lowered to a very affordable amount. Additionally, having a free market economy helps because when businesses have to compete against other businesses, they can't afford to be wasteful.

Another interesting aspect of the food I ate last night is that I don't personally know anyone involved in the chain of events leading from the farm to my home. Isn't it nice that all those people were so concerned with my culinary well being that they all chipped in to get me the food I wanted? Yeah, right! In actuality, they each did their part out of self-interest. They were doing their job to earn money to support self and family. Isn't it interesting how the world works. People who perform honest work strictly for their own interest end up helping many, many people eat a meal on the cheap.

Hey guys, keep up the good work of working for yourself!

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