You know what happens to the chops, but what happens to the rest of the pig after it's slaughtered? Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma wanted to know, and We Make Money Not Art reports:
Over three years, the designer tracked the products made from parts or even tiny particles of pigs. Her quest led her to a tattoo artist, dentist, farmer and weapon specialist. She discovered that the skin, bones, meat, organs, blood, fat, brains, hoofs, hair and tail of the pig are used in no fewer than 187 products: shampoo, medicine, munitions, cardiac valves, matches, desserts and bubblegum, beer and lemonade, car paint and brake discs, pills, bread, etc.
I just realized something as I was trying to fit some glasses into the cupboard around five or six plastic cups that we got "free" from a local Italian eatery. Gresham's Law works for housekeeping. Bad kitchenware drives out good. This is why my cupboards and closets are filled with things I don't use and my countertops (and other exposed surfaces) are filled with things I do use but consequently have no workspace for.
one knows, no one has ever known, and no one can possibly know, all
that is necessary to make even the ubiquitous commercial-grade pencil. It's astonishing how prevalent is the view that economies are "run" by people pulling levers -- or should be, or could
be, run by people pulling levers. This misconception is the economics
equivalent of the belief that the earth is flat, or that volcanoes
won't erupt if they are fed a sufficient number of virgins.
If the Lancet had its way, African doctors would be denied the right to emigrate -- or at least denied the opportunity to see what's on offer in other countries.
Recruitment agencies in rich countries which actively recruit health
workers in Africa are guilty of an "international crime," a
hard-hitting viewpoint published on Saturday in The Lancet says.
By poaching doctors and nurses from south of the Sahara, rich
nations are sapping poor countries of vital personnel who have cost a
fortune to train, according to a piece in the U.K. journal.
Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States alone have more
than 13,000 doctors who were trained in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of
them were lured abroad through advertisements, recruitment workshops,
emails and websites placed by agencies, some of them operating out of
South Africa, says the article.
"Poaching" . . . "lured" . . . Nice word choice, there, doctor. Such language implies -- as the whole article implies -- that African medical personnel are incapable of acting as informed moral agents -- that they're too stupid and venal to make their own economic decisions. Clearly if someone waves shiny objects at them, they will grab for them regardless of the consequences to their countrymen-- therefore, we enlightened Westerners must keep them from seeing the shiny objects in the first place. No advertising please, we're Africans. How condescending. And, frankly, how racist.
If charitable African doctors who take jobs in "rich countries" even make the effort to send their pocket change back home, they can save more lives by supplying massive quantities of AIDS drugs, antibiotics, and antimalarials than they could by doctoring a handful of individuals in some poorly funded clinic; the uncharitable ones would likely have worked for the ruling elites in their own countries, ignored or exploited the poor, and dipped their greasy paws into the international funding if they'd stayed in Africa. They probably do less harm in the first world than they would in the third. Doctors in rich countries -- e.g., the editors of Lancet -- should mind their own business and let individual Africans decide what's best for themselves and their homelands.
Backed by studies showing that middle-class Seattle residents can no
longer afford the city's middle-class homes, consensus is growing that
prices are too darned high. But why are they so high?
An intriguing new analysis by a University of Washington economics
professor argues that home prices have, perhaps inadvertently, been
driven up $200,000 by good intentions.
Between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a
Seattle house rose from $221,000 to $447,800. Fully $200,000 of that
increase was the result of land-use regulations, says Theo Eicher —
twice the financial impact that regulation has had on other major U.S.
The tender, tasty tomatoes we buy at the Farmer's Market in the summer are vastly preferable to the bland, rubbery things we have to settle for in the winter, but taste is probably the only good reason for calculating "food miles." People touting "localization" -- i.e., eating only locally produced foodstuffs to "reduce their carbon footprint" are economically misguided. Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek links to several articles that happily demolish their arguments. In particular, Boudreaux highlights an article at Coyote Blog that sets it all out in neatly bulleted form:
[Localization] doesn't work. The total energy used for transport, say of
food products, is a small percentage of the total energy used in the
total production process. The energy transportation budget is
generally smaller than efficiency gains from scale or from optimizing
location. For example, a wheat farm in Arizona on 50 acres is going to
use a lot more energy (and water, and fertilizer, and manpower) than a
wheat farm on a thousand acres in North Dakota.
It leads to poverty. Our modern society, our lifestyles, our
lifespans all are a result of the fantastic increases in efficiency we
have reaped from the division of labor. A push to localize all
production reverses the division of labor. Many products, such as
semiconductors, become outright impossible on a local scale.
It leads to starvation. It is hard for us to imagine famine in the
wealthy nations of the world. Crop failures in one part of the world
are replaced with crops from other parts of the world. But as recently
as the 19th century, France, then the wealthiest nation on earth but
reliant on local agriculture, experienced frequent crop failures and
I would only add that an attack on the transportation of foodstuffs is basically an attack on modernity. Long-distance trade developed very early in human history. Aztec
obsidian was distributed throughout Northern and Mesoamerica in the
pre-Columbian era (Smith). But people can't eat stone, and perishables are, alas, perishable. Until quite recently, local farmers were unable to provide local communities sufficient security against the vagaries of weather, soil, and social instability (e.g., war) to prevent sporadic famine. Hunger was an ever-present threat until the massive project of transporting foodstuffs safely and rapidly over wide areas became practical -- mainly through the expenditure of fossil fuels. We think nothing of flying tons of grain to starving people halfway across the globe, but without the worldwide mechanism of food transport that has evolved over the past century, we would be the ones starving when the weather failed us and there would be no one to help. The community of nations would collapse into a Hobbesian nightmare. Homo homini lupus, man is a wolf to man, when basic survival is at stake. The only alternative is to band together in larger and larger communities of mutual aid and mutual profit as we have done and will continue to do unless we frighten ourselves into isolation once again, draw ever smaller circles around ourselves, direct all our charity inward, and all our enmity to those who have something we might want to take by force.