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Bill Moyers On The Economics of Bread

We're not used to turning to Bill Moyers for insight into anything, much less economics. But maybe we've been too harsh, turned off by the dopey earnestness and knee-jerk politics of his PBS specials. This piece from his commencement address at Hamilton College is actually very good stuff.

Bread is the great re-enforcer of the reality principle. Bread is life. But if you're like me you have a thousand and more times repeated the ordinary experience of eating bread without a thought for the process that brings it to your table. The reality is physical: I need this bread to live. But the reality is also social: I need others to provide the bread. I depend for bread on hundreds of people I don't know and will never meet. If they fail me, I go hungry. If I offer them nothing of value in exchange for their loaf, I betray them. The people who grow the wheat, process and store the grain, and transport it from farm to city; who bake it, package it, and market it--these people and I are bound together in an intricate reciprocal bargain. We exchange value.

Pass the Bread: Text of Bill Moyers' Address at Hamilton College
[ via blog]


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