Carpe Diem

Giving thanks for the invisible hand, the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market, and no turkey czar

turkey1

Like in previous years, most of you probably didn’t call your local supermarket ahead of time and order a Thanksgiving turkey this year. Why not?  Because you automatically assumed that a turkey would be there when you showed up, and it probably was there when you showed up “unannounced” at your local grocery store and selected your Thanksgiving bird.

The reason your Thanksgiving turkey was waiting for you without an advance order? Because of the economic concepts of “spontaneous order,” “self-interest,” and the “invisible hand” of the free market.  Turkeys appeared in your local grocery stores primarily because of the “selfishness” and “self-interest” (maybe even greed in some cases) of thousands of turkey farmers, truckers, and supermarket owners who are complete strangers to you and your family.  But all of those strangers throughout the turkey supply chain co-operated on your behalf and were led by an “invisible hand” to make sure your family had a turkey on the table to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  The “invisible hand” that was responsible for your holiday turkey is just one of millions of everyday examples of the “miracle of the marketplace” where “individually selfish decisions must lead to a collectively efficient outcome,” as economist Steven E. Landsburg observed.

In a 2003 Boston Globe column titled “Giving Thanks for the Invisible Hand” Jeff Jacoby offered a wonderful tribute to the miracle of the invisible hand that makes affordable turkeys available so efficiently every year at Thanksgiving through the power of “spontaneous order” and without the need for any central planning or a “turkey czar”:

Isn’t there something wondrous — something almost inexplicable — in the way your Thanksgiving weekend is made possible by the skill and labor of vast numbers of total strangers?

To bring that turkey to the dining room table required the efforts of thousands of people — the poultry farmers who raised the birds, of course, but also the feed distributors who supplied their nourishment and the truckers who brought it to the farm, not to mention the architect who designed the hatchery, the workmen who built it, and the technicians who keep it running. The bird had to be slaughtered and defeathered and inspected and transported and unloaded and wrapped and priced and displayed. The people who accomplished those tasks were supported in turn by armies of other people accomplishing other tasks — from refining the gasoline that fueled the trucks to manufacturing the plastic in which the meat was packaged.

The activities of countless far-flung men and women over the course of many months had to be intricately choreographed and precisely timed, so that when you showed up to buy a fresh Thanksgiving turkey, there would be one — or more likely, a few dozen — waiting. The level of coordination that was required to pull it off is mind-boggling. But what is even more mind-boggling is this: No one coordinated it.

No turkey czar sat in a command post somewhere, consulting a master plan and issuing orders. No one forced people to cooperate for your benefit. And yet they did cooperate. When you arrived at the supermarket, your turkey was there. You didn’t have to do anything but show up to buy it. If that isn’t a miracle, what should we call it?

Adam Smith called it “the invisible hand” — the mysterious power that leads innumerable people, each working for his own gain, to promote ends that benefit many. Out of the seeming chaos of millions of uncoordinated private transactions emerges the spontaneous order of the market. Free human beings freely interact, and the result is an array of goods and services more immense than the human mind can comprehend. No dictator, no bureaucracy, no supercomputer plans it in advance. Indeed, the more an economy is planned, the more it is plagued by shortages, dislocation, and failure.

It is commonplace to speak of seeing God’s signature in the intricacy of a spider’s web or the animation of a beehive. But they pale in comparison to the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market. If it is a blessing from Heaven when seeds are transformed into grain, how much more of a blessing is it when our private, voluntary exchanges are transformed – without our ever intending it – into prosperity, innovation, and growth?”

Bottom Line: As you celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with your family, make sure to express some thanks and gratitude to the thousands of “invisible” strangers who won’t be there in person, but who were led by the “invisible hand” of the market over the last several months to make sure your holiday feast was possible.

59 thoughts on “Giving thanks for the invisible hand, the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market, and no turkey czar

  1. The invisible hands that provide turkey meat to the U.S. have provided even more abundance. From the USDA: “Turkey meat production in fourth-quarter 2012 is forecast at 1.55 billion pounds, which again would be almost a 4-percent increase from the same period a year earlier.”

    That’s about five pounds of turkey per U.S. citizen this Thanksgiving and all done without a gobbler czar.

    • Just wait. Someone at the NY Times will cry loudly that 2% of the population doesn’t get as good a deal on turkeys as the other 98% because, well, they’re disadvantaged in some way. Maybe they don’t have 59 cent turkeys in Bootlick, Nevada. There will be calls for food equalization boards. At which point the 59 cent turkeys will all be replaced by $3 turkeys raised on government approved low fat meal pellets (produced only by ADM). And there will be shortage of them.

  2. Speaking of turkeys, I don’t get it, we are spending almost enough on welfare to write every poor household in the U.S. a check for $60,000 and I still see stories on the evening news about poor people needing turkeys, and could we all please drop one off at the local food kitchen. What gives?

    • You’re making the incorrect assumption that welfare payments go only to poor people. When I was a kid people generally fed themselves. It was sort of their first priority. Our church organized food banks for those who truly couldn’t. Now, apparently there are 47 million people who can’t feed themselves? I don’t think so. There are, however, 47 million people who are happy to get their food costs paid by someone else so that they can use their cash for other things — maybe a cellphone. Oh wait, they get that free, too, don’t they.

    • Che, the care and feeding of useless and bloated bureaucracies engaged in the act of wresting the fruits of your labour from you and then redistributing them….to themselves (for the most part) is very expensive. Only about $1000 of that $60,0000 gets to “the poor” and then it’s in the form of nasty government cheese.

    • Not sure I consider CNS a credible source but I question the numbers used – they say 16.8 million are below the poverty level and the implication is that they are splitting the trillion dollars but we know – for instance that 50 million people alone receive MedicAid, so clearly CNS is playing with numbers conveniently so to confirm the biases of those looking for such “outrageous” info.

      and the trillion dollars itself is “not” welfare per se for every program. For instance, the child-tax credit is not considered welfare any more or less than say an itemized deduction for education.

      so if you wanted an honest injun appraisal for welfare alone – you’d have to look ONLY at welfare dollars and ONLY at welfare recipients.

      Otherwise -you’d be a turkey!

      What “gives” is that there is a crap-load of propaganda that is masquerading as a “report” from folks like CNS.

      • Larry prematurely ejaculates the following:

        Not sure I consider CNS a credible source but I question the numbers used – they say 16.8 million are below the poverty level and the implication is that they are splitting the trillion dollars but we know – for instance that 50 million people alone receive MedicAid, so clearly CNS is playing with numbers conveniently so to confirm the biases of those looking for such “outrageous” info.

        CNS isn’t a source, Larry, it is reporting on data provided by the Congressional Research Service and the US Census Bureau, both of which are clearly linked to in the report. You may not like CNS, but if you are questioning the numbers you may want to look at the actual sources before you invoke your automatic “right wing propaganda” nonsense comment.

        For instance, the child-tax credit is not considered welfare any more or less than say an itemized deduction for education.

        As even you should know, the Child tax credit is an amount paid to those who qualify whether or not they owe any federal income tax. Free money pure and simple, for no other reason than that you are a low income parent.

        A deduction for education, on the other hand, reduces the amount of your taxable income.
        and the trillion dollars itself is “not” welfare per se for every program. For instance, the child-tax credit is not considered welfare any more or less than say an itemized deduction for education. If you have no taxable income, there is no deduction.

        • Please ignore the following in my comment above:

          “and the trillion dollars itself is “not” welfare per se for every program. For instance, the child-tax credit is not considered welfare any more or less than say an itemized deduction for education.

        • re: ” CNS isn’t a source, Larry, it is reporting on data provided by the Congressional Research Service and the US Census Bureau, both of which are clearly linked to in the report.”

          they do what AEI and other propaganda mills do – they reference a credible source but some of the data they are using is synthesized data that is not in the reference.

          the spending data was there but not the numbers of recipients which CNS incorrectly stated was the number of people living in poverty.

          It is totally wrong and easy to see that, for instance, there are 50 million people receiving MedicAid – not the 16 billion they cited as “proof”.

          this is a common tactic of those seeking to misrepresent the facts and spew sound-bite disinformation that the gullible will then believe and spread.

          for your info Ron – there ARE – REFUNDABLE and NON-REFUNDABLE tax credits that have absolutely NOTHING to do with what most folks view as traditional welfare which is aid to dependent families that DO live at or
          below the poverty level.

          CNS is yet another “source” that corrupts the meaning of the data – on purpose – to promote their agenda.

          I mark organizations by whether or not they do this and once I see them doing it (more than once), then I know what that organization is really about – and it’s NOT promoting a better understanding of the facts.

          • re: ” a list of those approved vendors ”

            when information is synthesized, the “source” needs to support what they did – and the data they used to synthesize needs to also be verifiable by a credible source.

            I’ll accept data from ANY source as long as they explain how they synthesized the data if the source they use is raw data that was manipulated and/or combined with other data.

            Some providers of data have developed a record of manipulating it .. AEI is one , CBN is another… but these are not one person entities so sometimes it boils down to who the person is because some folks in AEI are scrupulously honest with their data and others are simply hacks..

            so I follow the data.. if they give a reference, I expect it to fully support their claims.

            In the CBN article, the money was right by the number of recipients were either carelessly done or outright deceptive.

          • “It is totally wrong and easy to see that, for instance, there are 50 million people receiving MedicAid – not the 16 billion they cited as proof.”

            They never claimed that 16 billion receive MedicAid. Plus now your math challenged brain has to explain why you think it would jack up per individual claims by watering down the spending on a mere 50 million over the larger 16 billion people.

            They did explain that the original report only included means tested individuals but that went zoom right over your head. Because you are poorly equipped in your mental abilities to detect true deception I’m going to take all your claims about how deceptive this and other articles are with a lump of salt.

          • for your info Ron – there ARE – REFUNDABLE and NON-REFUNDABLE tax credits that have absolutely NOTHING to do with what most folks view as traditional welfare which is aid to dependent families that DO live at or
            below the poverty level.

            So you don’t consider a refundable tax credit to be welfare?

            If I earn $20k and have a $0 tax liability and the IRS sends me a check for $1500 because I’m a low income parent, that’s not a form of welfare?

            Don’t be silly.

          • So you don’t consider a refundable tax credit to be welfare?

            If I earn $20k and have a $0 tax liability and the IRS sends me a check for $1500 because I’m a low income parent, that’s not a form of welfare?

            Don’t be silly.”

            It’s NOT classified as welfare by the govt.

            do you consider any/all “credits” as welfare by the way?

            http://www.1040.com/federal-taxes/credits/

            you can classify welfare, entitlements, credits any way you wish as long as you get the right number of recipients per category of “welfare”.

            you can’t just choose a sub category of entitlements as “welfare” and then claim that ALL entitlements only go to that smaller group – as CBN did to claim that welfare recipients are getting an average of 60K each.

            that’s incompetent or dishonest or both but it feeds the confirmation bias of those who live on propaganda.

        • re: ” If you can do math then you don’t have to rely on the credibility of the source here since they provided their sources.”

          you can’t do the math if they don’t tell you how they did their math.

          All you can do is what I did was to do a simple check on how many people do receive entitlements and recognize that “welfare” is a specific category of entitlements and not all of them – in the way the govt categorizes them.

          What CBN did was to consider all entitlements as welfare but they only counted actual welfare recipients as the total receiving entitlements.

          this is a tried and true tactic of folks like CBN and AEI who appear to purposely conflate real data with synthesized data to produce misinformation and disinformation.

  3. And, unlike government, the free market provides abundant goods for the masses at low prices, with little wasted resources, and creates, rather than destroys, capital.

  4. but WAIT! – Walmart, and most of the grocery stores in our area give turkeys to the needy.

    does that mean the rest of us are paying more than we should for turkeys so that Walmart can give some away?

    Oh…the…OUTRAGE! how dare Walmart “f” up the free market! String those do-gooders UP forthwith!

      • ” In a free market, a business owner can sell a product for as little as he wants; and he can offer it for sale at a price which is as high as he wants”

        yes.. but can he jack up the price so he can make enough extra to give away turnkeys to the needy??

        • Yes, he can, and you as a free individual are not mandated to buy from him if it offends you. That is one of the great features of a free market.

    • Larry, please grow a brain so you won’t keep writing stupid stuff like that.

      You will never pay “more than you should” in a voluntary exchange. If you buy a turkey at Walmart you are not paying too much or you wouldn’t do it. It matters not at all what business they conduct with anyone else, including giving things away. If you don’t like their price or how they spend their money, don’t buy there.

      • re: ” You will never pay “more than you should” in a voluntary exchange”

        but what if you’re a dim bulb like yourself and did not know that WalMart and others were giving away free stuff to the shiftless and lazy with your money ?

        I mean it’s starting to sound like the government, eh?

        I mean how voluntary can it be if they could have sold you the turkeys 10 cents a pound cheaper had they not given away some of them – AND they did not tell you that during your “voluntary” transaction?

        • No it is not staring to sound like the govenement because Walmart doesn’t have the power to extract a single dime from me by force (except via the government like eminent domain which is not a free market defect).

          It’s 100% voluntary and it doesn’t matter what Walmart does with the money I voluntarily hand over for a turkey. They can double the price and spend it all on prostitutes and it would still be a voluntary transaction if I decide to buy a to Irish from them instead of another vendor. In fact it was Walmart’s ability to keep it’s costs below other supermarkets that made prices drop as far as they did.

          Honestly, I have to ask, are you stupid? I’m serious, because you’d have to be stupid to not understand why the transaction her is voluntary.

          • re: ” Honestly, I have to ask, are you stupid? I’m serious, because you’d have to be stupid to not understand why the transaction her is voluntary.”

            go back to the Target thread and you’ll see who objected to the concept of a retailer contributing money to charities from it’s sales.

            I think the idea is fine but others complained that had they known that Target was doing that – they would not have purchased from them.. Their attitude was that it was wrong for Target to take people’s money and spend some of it on local community charities.

            If you find that argument stupid – I do too. Capiche?

          • go back to the Target thread and you’ll see who objected to the concept of a retailer contributing money to charities from it’s sales.

            I think the idea is fine but others complained that had they known that Target was doing that – they would not have purchased from them.. Their attitude was that it was wrong for Target to take people’s money and spend some of it on local community charities.

            The Target thread, Larry, was about how the Target board of directors was spending the *owners’* (read – stockholders’) money. You kept missing it then, and you are still missing it. It had nothing to do with voluntary exchanges of money for merchandise between Target and its customers.

            A customer can always decide to buy or not buy for *any reason*, including the silly notion that a merchant is charging them too much by giving turkeys to the needy. If they don’t like it, they are free to shop at another store that doesn’t give away free stuff.

            This has been explained to you by several people on this thread. What’s so difficult?

      • not that long ago, in this blog there was a lot of back and forth over Target donating to local community groups from their “profits” and there was palatable “outrage” from people in this blog that deeply resented the idea that Target would do such an “un-free-market / socialist THANG!

    • No, because you don’t have to buy your turkey from Walmart. Go to one of hundreds of other supermarkets and groceries in the US. You can even bypass the distribution system and buy direct from a farmer, or even raise one yourself. You can also have a ham for Thanksgiving if you want. Plus just because they give out turkeys doesn’t mean they have to raise turkey prices to make up the difference. They can be lowering profit margins,jacking up the price on condoms instead, etc. You have about aero comprehension of how economics works.

  5. Good grief Larry.

    The prices in WalMart are clearly labeled. If I don’t like the price, I can buy my Turkey from Target, one of several large grocery chains, the family owned supermarket or the local organic farmer. What’s my choice if the government is wasting my money?

    It takes a team of forensic accountants to even attempt to figure out how much the government spends. As Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” Does anybody ever EVER gets to see the full price tag or what hidden expenses have been piled on a program?

    I call your bluff. If you are such a good accountant, how many free “turkeys” is the government giving away and who is getting them.

    • re: ” I call your bluff. If you are such a good accountant, how many free “turkeys” is the government giving away and who is getting them.”

      I did not say the govmint was giving away turkeys, I said that Walmart, Food Lion and other grocery stores in our area were donating turkeys to the needy for thanksgiving and speculated that someone was paying for those turkeys…and likey other purchasers of goods from these stores.

  6. I understand your point and don’t necessarily disagree. It’s important to remain mindful of where our stuff comes from and what it takes to make it all happen.

    But the folks who were involved in the chain of production have already received our “thanks” in the form of the money we have paid them. I understand and agree with gratitude, but I dislike the idea of thanking people for merely doing their jobs. It feels like the tip jars in retail establishments which non-tip employees establish by the cash registers.*

    Thanksgiving is the time I remember the sacrifices and faith of a small band of families which risked their lives to find a place where they could worship God in the way they saw fit. It is a time when I thank God for His many, many blessings to us today. Among which is the glorious gift of permitting my family to have been born and live in a nation which, at least to this point, recognizes not only that religious freedom, but the economic freedom that makes all our material wealth possible. Which includes that mysterious but fantastically powerful “invisible hand” of millions working together in enlightened self-interest.

    * And yeah, I worked a gracious plenty of minimum-wage jobs, and I couldn’t live on them either. Which is why I denied myself many things until I got out of those sucky jobs in which employees now ask for tips for doing.

  7. Thanksgiving is the time I remember the sacrifices and faith of a small band of families which risked their lives to find a place where they could worship God in the way they saw fit.

    And we can be thankful that they realized that they wouldn’t survive a 2nd winter as a commune, with all property communally owned., and all work shared. They only succeeded after adopting a private property, capitalist society in which each group was responsible for their own well being, and benefited according to their own efforts and their own property.

    • ” The Plymouth Company was an English joint stock company founded in 1606 by James I of England with the purpose of establishing settlements on the coast of North America.”

      • Larry, the colonists at Plymouth were not granted royal charter from James I BUT the king did control the land. The Plymouth Company had claim to the land where the Pilgrims settled.

        So, how did the Pilgrims, puritans that did not believe in the devine powers of James I, get help in getting to what became Plymouth? They got backing from the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London (here is a wiki rundown <A HREF=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_of_Merchant_Adventurers_of_London). The Merchant Adventurers wanted to make a profit from the efforts of the Pilgrims.

        As Ron has pointed out the colony quickly discarded their communal beginning.

        • re: ” As Ron has pointed out the colony quickly discarded their communal beginning.”

          I’m not sure it was ever communal if the King granted them land he did not buy or own and he helped to finance the venture from money he took from citizens engaged in commerce..

          right?

          • “Their original plan contemplated a settlement in South Virginia on lands owned by the London Company; but the king not being willing to tolerate them in their religious worship by his public authority under his seal, they concluded to form a partnership with certain merchant adventurers of London. The terms of this partnership were hard upon these pilgrims; but as there was to be no interference with their civil and religious rights, the articles were agreed upon.”

            Source: <A HREF=http://www.celebrateboston.com/history/ma/plymouth-colony.htm.

            And yes Larry, the Crown taxed its citizens.

          • “who did they buy the land from?”

            Buy would be the wrong word. Military and royal power decreeing the land for the Crown would be better. Larry, what’s your point?

          • so they took land that did not belong to them and they financed the settlements with taxes taken from the King’s “subjects”?

            My point? Thanksgiving was not a celebration of collectivists who came here as a commune.

          • Larry, the Pilgrims financed their passage to Plymouth by borrowing from private parties(Merchant Adventurers of London). They settled on land under the King’s control but chose not to be under his political/ religious control. New England was not very importnant to the Crown and Virginia was. I think it took about forty years for land to be granted to the Plymouth colonists.

          • how “communal” can it be when the King is giving you land and collecting tribute from citizens to help finance the effort?

            “Thanksgiving” is likely yet another a touchy-feely “myth” as most of these settlements depended on land grants and financing from the “king”.

            that does not sound very “socialist” to me.

          • I’m not sure it was ever communal if the King granted them land he did not buy or own and he helped to finance the venture from money he took from citizens engaged in commerce.

            LOL

            Good old Larry, never hesitant to jump right in with a disagreement without knowing what he’s talking about.

            The “pilgrims” ended up settling in an abandoned Patuxet village. An area they had no authority from the King to settle. They later signed a treaty with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag tribe, of which the Patuxet had been a band.

            It’s all there, Larry, if you choose to do a little reading. Then you won’t sound so ill informed when you jump in.

            Why does the word “communal” give you trouble? I would think a card carrying collectivist like you would be thoroughly familiar with the word.

          • speaking of “reading”:

            ” Plymouth Colony (sometimes New Plymouth, or Plymouth Bay Colony) was an English colonial venture [link below] in North America from 1620 to 1691″

            “The English colonial empire comprised a variety of overseas territories colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries.”

            taxation in England: ” Taxation in medieval England was the system of raising money for royal and governmental expenses. During the Anglo-Saxon period, the main forms of taxation were land taxes, although custom duties and fees to mint coins were also imposed. The most important tax of the late Anglo-Saxon period was the geld, a land tax first regularly collected in 1012 to pay for mercenaries. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the geld continued to be collected until 1162, but it was eventually replaced with taxes on personal property and income.”

            Ron – if you READ son…taking your own advice…

            you’d know the King collected taxes from his subjects and used to money to finance colonialism to lands that he did not own but just took ….

            now.. that just does not sound very “communal” to me.

            ” In 1628, a group of distinguished Puritan businessmen formed a venture named the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, which was initially conceived as a profit-making endeavor in the New World. A land grant was received from the Council of New England, the successor to the ineffective Virginia Company of Plymouth, providing rights to the area between the Charles and Merrimack rivers and westward to the Pacific Ocean. Preliminary voyages were made in 1628 and 1629, and resulted in the establishment of a small colony on Cape Ann and later at Salem.

            The careful Puritan businessmen sought additional protection for their scheme by requesting and receiving a charter from the king, who had apparently been misinformed about their religious views. The charter took a generous view of the geography involved:”

            http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h572.html

            not communes but corporate cronyism…

            :-)

            read and learn Ron

          • Larry, you never cease to amaze with the depth of your confusion and your insistence on being wrong. Does nothing embarrass you?

            This discussion is about that group who arrived in the New World in 1620 on a ship named the Mayflower at a location they had no charter to settle in. They chose an abandoned Indian village for their first settlement, which became known as the The Plymouth Colony, not the Massachusetts Bay Colony that you linked to. That’s an entirely different group, and is not part of this discussion.

            This Plymouth PLantation as gov. William Bradford described it, was initially farmed as communal land, with the harvest divided equally amongst the settlers. This proved to be such a disaster that the settlement nearly starved the first winter, and only after dividing the land into separate parcels to be farmed by each family, and the proceeds kept by each family, did survival seem likely.

            You can see this in Gov. Bradford’s own writing if you wish as he kept a journal which is available here in modern English.

            The rest of your comment, including meaningless OT drivel about taxes in Britain prior to the Norman Conquest has no place in this discussion.

            Get a grip.

          • ” The Plymouth Company was an English joint stock company founded in 1606 by James I of England with the purpose of establishing settlements on the coast of North America.
            The Plymouth Company was one of two companies, along with the London Company, chartered with such a purpose as part of the Virginia Company. In form it was similar to the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London. The territory of the company was the coast of North America from the 38th parallel to the 45th parallel, but being part of the Virginia Company and Colony, The Plymouth Company owned a large portion of Atlantic and Inland Canada. The portion of company’s area south of the 41st parallel overlapped that of the London Company, with the stipulation being that neither company could found a settlement within 100 miles (160 km) of an existing settlement of the other company.”

            that’s the truth… which Ron seems to have trouble with.

            Almost all of these ventures were joint-stock with investors who got financing and preferential territorial grants from the government.

            they were no more communal than the Koch Brothers are.

            It’s a myth … it was from the get go – investors who sought preferential treatment from govt.

          • ” on lands owned by the London Company;”

            who did they buy the land from?

            The Settlement at Plymouth had nothing to do with the London Company, you moron, AT LEAST read your OWN references, even if you don’t read those provided by others.

          • ” The Settlement at Plymouth had nothing to do with the London Company, ”

            oh but they did – they were both joint stock companies at least partially financed by the King and “given’ land that the King claimed as is.

            The entire point here is that these was NOT folks working collectively and living in “communes”.

            these were business ventures subsidized by govt.

            only a “moron” would continue to “believe” they were “communes”.

            and if they were really a business venture – as they were, then the “meaning” of Thanksgiving is a little more complicated than “joining hands to give thanks” unless it was to the King – government if you will.

          • Larry – unfazed by reason or logic – continues quoting references to some other group of New World settlers and other irrelevant stuff without ever addressing the narrow topic of discussion, while ignoring a first hand account by the governor of that settlement, all without a hint of shame. It’s just mind boggling.

            You might be interested in knowing that the separatists found it necessary to write a new governing document for themselves as they had not landed in the Colony of Virginia as they had intended, so the previous authority for settling and operating didn’t apply to their new location.

            If you’re at all interested, this information and the compact they wrote, now known as the Mayflower Compact.

            A description of the communal structure of the Plymouth Colony, the problems it caused, and the ultimate conversion to an individual property model can be found in Gov. Bradford’s own words here if you’re interested, or you can continue to write stupid shit about the colony not being a commune, when everybody knows better.

            the pertinent parts are right here: A little lengthy, but maybe worth your time if, and ONLY IF, you are interested in shedding a small piece of your ignorance.

            “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

            The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; and that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>