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The subtleties of the economy The subtleties of the economy
by Joseph Gatt
2020-11-02 10:59:59
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This article will be a commentary on the saying “teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.”

-You could give the man a rod and teach him how to fish at a pond. Maybe he'll catch 5 or 10 fish a day. That's not enough fish to sell at the market. So the man had better have a garden to plan fruits and vegetables, and find something to trade in exchange for cooking oil and perhaps bread. And the man will still be surviving one day at a time.

-You could give the man a fishing boat, nets, and perhaps a couple of people to help him fish.

-But then, you would need to install a market right at the port for people to buy his fish.

econ001_400-You would also need the people who buy the fish at the port to sell it at the market who and at stores or in market stalls or to supermarkets so that clients can purchase the fish. Those people need ice carts or minivans with fridges at the back.

-You would also need the market to have basic quality control and hygiene practices training so they can make sure clients aren't getting bad fish.

-And you need the kind of economy that would purchase fish every day. If the clients don't have enough money to buy fish, there's no point in fishing in the first place.

-In sum, if you're teaching a man how to fish, you're not really feeding him for a lifetime. You need to teach the man how to fish and you need the whole fish market ecosystem to work properly.

-How could the fish ecosystem collapse?

-First, you could have thugs forcing the fisherman to give up his fish or they'll break his boat. So you need a good police force to prevent thugs from acting that way.

-Second, you could have government thugs threatening to revoke the fisherman's license if he doesn't bribe them every day. So you need the kind of government that won't terrorize fishermen and steal their hard-earned money.

-You could also have the port market guy not show up. That means the fisherman will either need several emergency contacts in his smartphone willing to purchase his fish, or he'll have to throw the fish away.

-You could have the market shut down for various reasons (epidemics, natural disasters, war, weather conditions etc.) which could lead you to throw away the fish you caught for the day.

-There could be storms that prevent you from fishing and catching fish.

-There could be a company called “Giant Golden Diamond fishing” that starts fishing at your port with huge vessels and hundreds of people on board, catching all the fish. So other fishermen like you are going to have to borrow money to purchase bigger vessels and hire staff. Problem is all you fishermen are going to supply way more fish than is in demand, and there will be a fishermen debt crisis.

-There could be a rumor or media campaign arguing that eating fish can lead to led poisoning. So consumers are going to start eating chicken instead.

-You could be tempted by all kinds of financial products that you don't really understand that could lead to a massive debt crisis.

-There could be a national debt crisis that leads to social change such as massive divorces and so on, which leads to a higher demand for canned tuna and sardines, and a lower demand for the kind of fish known as “family dinner table fish.”

-You could be tempted to invest in researching and developing better nets, rods and vessels, and spend so much money in research and development, and you end up forgetting focusing on how to fish.

-There could be huge difficulties finding labor to work on your vessel, because everyone has a college degree or would rather work as a bar tender than on a fishing vessel.

-There could be an overflow of communication which leads to saturation at the fish market ecosystem. For example, the ministry of environment could be issuing new rules or regulations every day, and the ministry of commerce and industry could be constantly changing the rules of the game at the market, leading to rumors, absences of key people, and overall disruption in the supply chain.

-There could be migrations of fishing vessel staff and labor to countries where fisherman get better pay and have better working conditions.

-There could be an opoid epidemic or a drug pandemic or an alcohol pandemic leading it to be very difficult to find staff to work on your vessel, and to the people in the market being frequently absent from work, not to mention vandalism and security issues.

-There could be so much infighting at the local government that the government will forget to issue directives to the police, the police will forget to come out and catch the thugs, and you have a bit of a problem fishing safely.

-Many other scenarios can play out in the economy.

-Point is, you can't just teach a man how to fish.

-A lot of people think that if you teach people how to fish, you'll feed them for a lifetime.

-Unfortunately, feeding a population requires team work, solidarity, division of labor, reliability, good communication, good supply chains, healthy demand and many other factors.

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