A post from Facebook has been making the rounds, where I came across it by way of my Federalist colleague Scott Lincicome.
Here’s the mind-blowing argument: “If we each grow a large crop of different food, we could all trade with each other and eat for practically free.”
Where to start?
Well, for one thing, growing your own food isn’t exactly “free,” not even “practically free.” As anyone who has his own vegetable garden knows, it requires seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, weeding, protection from insects and birds and animals, and a lot of work. The cost may not all be measured in monetary terms, but it isn’t free. In fact, it’s notoriously easy for a vegetable garden to end up costing more money than it saves, which is why most of us do it just as a hobby.
I’ve long said that the Comedy Central series South Park is some of the best social satire of our time. In the Season 9 episode Die, Hippie, Die, a group of hippie-dippie college freshmen explain to Stan and Kyle what a hippie utopia would look like:
Hippie 1: Right now we’re proving we don’t need corporations. We don’t need money. This can become a commune where everyone just helps each other.
Hippie 2: Yeah, we’ll have one guy who like, who like, makes bread. A-and one guy who like, l-looks out for other people’s safety.
Stan: You mean like a baker and a cop?
Hippie 2: No no, can’t you imagine a place where people live together and like, provide services for each other in exchange for their services?
Kyle: Yeah, it’s called a town.
Hippie 3: You kids just haven’t been to college yet. But just you wait, this thing is about to get HUGE.
This episode ran in 2005, but if the hippie college freshmen were being portrayed now, eleven years later, one could only portray them as Sanders supporters; the kind of economic illiteracy displayed by the hippies in the linked article and the hippies in South Park is precisely of the same order as that displayed by the supporters of the loony old Bolshevik Sanders and the $15/hr minimum wage crowd. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair; our parody has become reality.