Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Industry Revitalization is Like Blood Sausage

The point of a free market system is this: businesses that have customers will thrive because they produce products that other people are willing and able to pay for; businesses that don't have customers will fail because they produce products that other people are not willing or able to pay for.

O.k. o.k. that's the nutshell version, but the free market system works because of these reasons. And because the free market system works, the government does not need to get its micromanaging hands into it.

Please bear with me for a couple of paragraphs; i'm going to make an attempt at an illustration of this principle.

During the nineties, i had the pleasure and privilege of spending 3 summers in the nation of Germany as part of a missionary group from my college. We would travel from town to town visiting different churches as pre-arranged by our guide. In each town, the church would arrange for our lunches to be catered. In one of these towns, it just so happened that our lunches were catered by a local nursing home, who i'm sure offered a very competitive rate. On one of the nursing home days, while we were waiting to be served our lunch, i remember hearing the fateful German words, "schwein blutwurst," (schwein = swine or pig; blut = blood; wurst = sausage).

As part of our training for this "missionary journey," we had been instructed that we should always eat all that was set before us and never show if we didn't like something, in order to never be offensive to the people there. But on this particular day, the smell coming from the kitchen, even before we saw our food, was enough to send a few tender palettes running to the restroom. And of those who were left, the first bite or two of this delicacy finished off at least 50% of our team.

Much to our relief, our kind hosts in that particular city were young and understanding. And we actually learned that they were watching us to see how we would do with the blood sausage, almost as a prank. They told us later that this isn't really what they would ever normally eat, but it was a food eaten mostly by the older generation who probably learned to eat such things during bleaker economic times.

Now, imagine with me that the government of Germany noticed that some old established blood sausage factory in (let's just say) Berlin was in danger of going out of business because the growing younger generation was no longer buying or eating their product. Now let's say that the government decided to supplement the blood sausage factory's budget so that they could stay afloat and continue to produce the legendary and nostalgic blood sausage.

You would think that the German government was full of complete idiots! Wouldn't you!?

Well, now there is legislation being introduced to change the tax status of newspapers so that they could continue to operate even though people aren't buying their newspapers. Do you know why people aren't buying their newspapers? Because people got computers. Do you know why people don't buy blood sausage? Because everything else tastes better than blood sausage.

This is like that.


  1. i like the way you think... and write...

  2. yes.. odd they don't think of this. it will still not work.

    holding a computer mouse is nicer than getting ink on the hands,


What do you think about that?