Saturday, January 23, 2010

The real price of predation

Every day in thousands of ways we can see how Predator Class economics destroys lives and human potential.  But this story really bothered me.  My father was a Lutheran preacher in rural Minnesota and North Dakota.  In every congregation, he would have at least one dairy farmer parishioner.  I grew up knowing these people.  They are easily the finest folks I have ever met.

And here's the economic reality.  When folks go into dairy farming, they are signing up for a brutal work load.  Those cows must be milked twice a day, every day, no exceptions!  No one gets rich milking cows but with the right conditions, at least the bills get paid.

Since milk is highly perishable, there is no way to "time" the market--the milk goes to the creamery every day no matter the market conditions.  So over time, dairy farmers organized their market so as to keep the prices steady and high enough so they could stay in business.  Well, this drove the free marketeers nuts.  You would have thought dairy farmers were child molesters, the way the marketeers railed at their price supports.  The Gods of the MARKET were offended and so were their high priests.  So the organized dairy market had to be destroyed.

Of course, Predators being what they are, they must dehumanize their victims.  I mean, you just weren't cool if you said anything good about milk.  To listen to some Predator yuppie hold forth on his imagined lactose intolerance might lead someone to believe dairy farmers were selling toxic waste.

So then came the big bust in 2008 and most dairy farmers haven't been able to pay their bills ever since.  And so we see some poor guy in upstate New York coming to the realization that there was simply no way he could work hard enough to save his farm.  So he killed himself and his herd hoping to leave enough behind so his wife could survive.

I am so furious about this sort of thing, there are moments when I wish I could find some smug free-market economist and beat him with a large stick.  But since I cannot do that, I promise to do everything I possibly can to utterly discredit these ethical monsters. Oh yes, and may they ROT IN HELL!
NY dairy farmer's widow wants to keep farm going
COPAKE, N.Y. – The widow of a New York dairy farmer who methodically slaughtered 51 cows before taking his own life says she wants to figure out a way to keep the farm going.
Dean Pierson, 59, was found dead Thursday on the floor of his barn in Copake, a rural hamlet 115 miles north of New York City. Nearby, half his herd lay in their milking stalls, also dead of gunshot wounds.
Pierson left no explanation for what he'd done, just a simple note on the barn door warning whoever found it not to come in and to call the police.
But there appeared to be a method to his bloody work. He killed only the cows that required frequent milking, letting 50 others live, including heifers and calves.
Neighbors speculated that he was trying to spare his family the burden of caring for the animals.
He left no suicide note, said his wife, Gwynneth, who was home at the time of the shootings but heard nothing.
"No one knows why for sure," she told the Times Union of Albany, adding that her husband had been "talking a lot to his mom."
Now, she said, "We need to figure out how to keep the farm going ... It wouldn't be right for all that work he put into it to go to nothing."
On Friday, neighboring farmers used a backhoe and bulldozer to bury the animals, pushing them into a deep pit in the Columbia County soil.
Pierson had four children, but he milked the herd alone — once before sunrise and again at night, neighbors said. He kept mostly to himself, rarely visiting with other farmers.
"Dean had no help on the farm and he worked really hard to do it all himself," neighbor Susan Kiernan told the Times Union.
"It's hard to hang in now and a lot of dairy farmers are going out of business," she added. Kiernan's family has operated a dairy farm for three generations.
The gruesome scene in the barn was discovered at about 1 p.m. Thursday by a neighboring farmer
State police Capt. Scott Brown told the Rockford Register-Star that an investigation revealed that the farmer was having "personal issues."
The farm was founded by Pierson's father, a Swedish immigrant. He named the property High Low Farm. source

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