A pencil. One of the simplest pieces of creation, seemingly. It’s used for school, business, architecture, carpentry, designing, writing famous books. A kid drops it, breaks it and you can buy a whole new pack for a couple bucks. And yet a pencil is so much more than just a piece of wood and graphite with an eraser stuck on the end.
Think about it. Where does the pencil come from? Who made it? What work went into it? Where did the materials come from?
To get to the roots of the pencil, we go to the Northern Pacific US. There, a logger cuts down a tree. But in order to cut down the tree, in order to make the pencil, he has to have a chainsaw. To make the steel chainsaw blade, you need iron ore. The list could go on and on.
Once the tree is cut, you need trucks and cranes and other equipment to get it to the mill and the factory where you get it cut to proper size. After that it’s carted off using more machinery and people to the place it gets refined and put together with the other pieces.
Graphite comes from China, Hong Kong and South America. It’s mined and taken to a facility where it’s compressed, baked and compressed again. It’s then cut into strips and sent to the same factory where the wood is waiting for it. Continue reading “I, Pencil”
Which promotes greater personal responsibility, the free market or the welfare state?
It’s almost too easy—the free market, of course. Why? Because the welfare state creates dependency and even greater need than the need it is trying to solve. The free market offers opportunity, a chance to create something all your own, something made out of your own two hands, so to speak. That, in essence, is what America is all about—the need and joy of entrepreneurship. The joy of making it on your own and the realization of personal freedom, from which stems your creativity and ability to fulfill your dreams.
The welfare state, on the other hand, deprives people of the ability to live for themselves. It eradicates the bustle of entrepreneurial ideas. Instead of the welfare state, which only temporarily reprieves a situation, there is a far greater need for the bringing up of people—the raising of self-esteem and courage and honor, which in turn naturally leads to a desire to fend for yourself. Once that is accomplished, you can gradually turn off the tap on welfare, until the people are standing on their own two feet, proud and free once more. Continue reading “The Free Market or the Welfare State?”
It’s a topic of long debate and longer longevity: “Who should have the authority to set prices, the free market or the state?”
Although many people could spend hours thumping fists on the table about this, there is actually a very simple answer: If the state had the power to set prices, it would only set them to benefit itself.
That’s it. Now, elaborate.
If the state arranges prices according to its own benefit, it would not benefit the customer, the every day citizen. But if the free market were to regulate prices, it would benefit the consumer because businesses cannot survive without customers. The state can afford to regulate prices selfishly. Businesses cannot. Continue reading “Prices: The Free Market or the State?”
Mercantilism is a type of trade and manufacturing system that was employed by almost all the kingdoms in Europe roughly from the 16th to 18th centuries. In some countries it was more strongly applied than in others, but all countries had the same basis: control.
Mercantilism was the opposite of a free market. The two had very different mindsets. Mercantilists thought of a pie. One merchant or another could get a bigger piece than the other. For free marketists, the pie could get bigger, thus everyone can get a bigger piece.
Most countries were focused on exporting, not importing. When a country exports goods, it means that it ships its own goods internationally. Thus, other countries buy their goods and the money comes in. When a country imports, it receives goods from other countries. Thus, this country buys other countries’ goods and the money goes out.
Let’s make a character and go through his day. Continue reading “Mercantilism”