html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: As long as I am talking crazy talk.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

As long as I am talking crazy talk.

You know, I wonder something else too. The picture of a depression that is forming in the comments below is grim. (Keep going, please. I am genuinely interested.) But here is what I wonder.

So you see existing cities imploding. Detroit returning to prairie, housing standing empty, their peoples trapped in very grim fighting. You hear the occasional story of cities planning to become smaller. I'm talking all gloom and doom about depression and climate change. Here's my question. For cities like Detroit, why don't they return to the basics? They are collapsing, right? They are arguably in some sort of negative rate of growth. You can get a relatively small, but pretty reliable rate of return from agriculture. By doing nothing but aggressively farming their city, they could get, say, two or three percent a year return on capital.

I mean, for cities that can't lure industry and have no jobs, cities where policies attached to federal funding do great harm, why not say screw the modern system? We can't make it work this way. But, as an entity, we could feed ourselves and have a very little extra every year*. We can scavenge some of the abandoned capital and improve our quality of life. For some American cities, or some parts of some cities, an economy based on non-monetary self-suffiency has to be an improvement.

Why not? Because most people no longer have the skills? Because most people no longer have that self-conception? Because no one has brought it up? Because the idea of farming, or of leaving a modern economy is stigmatized? Because of property laws? Because the start-up effort for farming is a monstrous amount of work? (But dude. It can't feel worse than begging for food for your family every day.) Because it takes initial capital and organization? Because it would be admitting failure and going backward?

If your blighted city is collapsing, why not farm it? Soil and sun, rain and labor are still there.







*Yes, I genuinely believe that some cities (on the right soils and in some climates, and by that I mean most of the Midwest) could mostly feed themselves with urban agriculture and a huge amount of labor. I wish Margie had sent me those pictures we took last week. I need to show you those.

47 Comments:

Blogger Fake Name said...

I've heard of someone speaking about farming blighted areas of downtown Detroit, which is increasingly ironic because the real farms around Detroit are being turned into the San Fernando Valley like the rest of the world.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dude. It always freaks me out when you reddit a post.

San Fernando Valley represent!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Subsistence farming sucks royal ass, that's why. Without capital, there's a good chance you'll starve, and if the government gives you money it's better to just buy food.

Think about it for a second. People risk near-certain death to go from subsistence farming to be urban poor in a first-world country. Why would you expect urban poor here to want to go back?

This is all sounding disturbingly Cambodia-in-the-1970s.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Also, if you are farming areas that used to be houses, you need to rip the foundations and sidewalks and roads out before you can use a tractor effectively. If you are farming areas that used to be factories, you have huge ground pollution issues to deal with.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Urban poverty sucks royal ass too, which is why I think the balance between the two is closer than most people believe.

I think that for food, at least, subsistence farming does better by its people than urban poverty. My sketchy understanding is for the rural poor, the Great Depression didn't mean food shortages. It meant seeing no cash or coin for four years, but they ate. My grandparents talked about visiting their folks on the farm every Sunday night because they knew they'd get a meal there. (Indiana)

I know -monstrous start-up efforts. But if they are mired in the "near-certain death" of urban poverty, why not use the tangible resources that are still there?

I think it is stigmatization and unfamiliarity with that kind of labor. And property laws.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Sounds to me as though you'd be better off leaving the city and doing your subsistance farming in a rural area.

The land is cheaper, even compared to the most blighted urban area. And the land is far more suited to farming, without all the concrete/steel/heavy metals etc.

Also, less neighbours, means less chance of a local gang running off with your goat.

6:22 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Megan, I think you may have been taking those Kid Rock songs too literally. The standard of living in Detroit is not so bad that the average resident would be made better off by switching to farming.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

DoctorPat: Oooh. Very high discount rates in blighted cities. I wonder if that isn't most of it.

BobVis: I saw 8 Mile. I know everything about Detroit.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I think that even the relatively stingy social programs in the US set a minimum standard of living well above that of subsistence farming. Partly this is due to seeing really nasty urban poverty in India, which people still seem to rate as more or less as bad as subsistence farming.

The certain death was in third-world cities or in the trip from subsistence farming to a first world country.

Hell if I know what to do about Detroit, though. It's tempting to look at the MLS, but without knowing anything about individual neighborhoods...

6:55 PM  
Blogger billoo said...

Megan, your ideas sound a bit like Rebecca Solnit ('Exploring the Post-American Landscape). Great!

But I can't see it happening-not for the reasons you state. It's just that 'having more' is now part of the system, part of our way of thinking. Subsistence isn't just about an economic system but a set of customary norms, stable expectations, and a certain relation with the environment (and to time).

As for picturing a depression: I think it would mean less bombs falling on other people's cities.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jake, I'm talking about stuff I don't know very well, but I have a vague notion that midwestern soils are WAY more productive than third world Indian soils. That same vague nation makes me think that soil quality is one of the explanations for third world conditions. So I'm not sure it would balance out the same.

I'm not confident on this one, though, so if an agronomist wanted to weigh in, that'd be great.

And then I also wonder if this is a collective action problem. Like, maybe it scales funny. Maybe it is better for each person to live off social safety nets (mostly because of amount of labor involved), but in the aggregate, it would be nicer to live in a farmed city. Not confident on that one either.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

As for picturing a depression: I think it would mean less bombs falling on other people's cities.

That is excellent. Thanks, Billoo.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Wow.

A full response to the "depression=not so bad!" thesis would probably take more space and time than either of us is willing to lend the endeavor, so let me just address Billoo's statement.

I take "As for picturing a depression: I think it would mean less bombs falling on other people's cities." to mean that the United States' economic situation is so messed up that it cannot project military power anywhere. If we make that assumption, the geopolitical fallout is pretty severe. Let's hit a few high points: Russia rolls back over the Baltics, and probably takes a stab at many of the other former Soviet republics; China collects Taiwan; North Korea attacks South Korea; Turkey invades northern Iraq; Israel goes under. Japan and Western Europe are forced to remilitarize as fast as ever they can.

It's impossible to prove a counterfactual, of course, but all of those things are likely to happen. What is there in the history of any of the above countries to show that they would hesitate to do such a thing?

In sum, there might be fewer American bombs falling on foreign cities, but the absolute number of cities bombed would probably go up pretty darn quick.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous HC said...

The idea that a depression means fewer bombs falling on other people's cities is a pleasant thought.

I do wonder, however, why it would be most plausible for poorer, more desperate people to become more moderate and less militaristic. My guess would be that logic cuts the other way: more murders, as per Justus in the previous thread, more wars. I think that the 5:43 Anonymous in the other thread had it righter than Billoo. [And, on preview, Nathan.]

As for why the cities have not and are unlikely to become subsistence farming gardens - sure, there's the startup costs, and the high discount rate, and the unfamiliarity with the work, but there's also just price. It's just cheaper to do odd jobs, when you can get them, and buy food rather than farm it yourself.

This is true outside the inner city, for that matter: it's not as if there's some resurgence in family farming going on. The market is increasingly dominated by large corporations, and some of the reasons for this are good. I remember your discussion of the difficulties of persuading farmers to switch to from furrow surge irrigation, and overfertilization, and how large agribusinesses handled that better. Specialization of labor matters a great deal.

I believe you when you say that living simply has made you happier; I believe that most of us would be happier if we chose to live more simply. But there is a world of difference between choosing to make do and having to make do - it's the difference between fasting and starving. I believe a worldwide depression would not lead to blooming inner-cities and a less consumerist society, but rather to an awful lot of misery.

Your life or mine might well not change so much, but people would be, on the margin, sicker, more scared, and hungrier.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Terra preta, baby. Right on I-94.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

Farming requires a lot of knowledge, quite a bit of capital, and is a big gamble if you're doing it to feed yourself and are going to sink all your resources into it. When you're poor you don't have the resources to take the risk.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

To elaborate: when you're days are spent scrounging up food to meet your immediate needs you don't have the ability to wait for the harvest. Subsistence farming requires you live off last year's harvest, so you need to bootstrap in some way.

3:20 AM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Division of labor is _really_ powerful. The comments about how much subsistence farming sucks are right on. I think the first order explanation for why subsistence farming blighted inner cities isn't happening is because the lives lived by poor and unhappy inner city people is many orders of magnitude better than subsistence farming. Remember that subsistence farming means losing almost all division of labor.

Shoot, based on what I've read of the comparative archeology of prehistoric hunter gatherer cultures and early agricultural cultures, subsistence farming sucks more than being an Ice Age tribesman. The worst of today is much, much better than that.

I also want to amplify hc's distinction between forced simplicity and chosen simplicity. I actually enjoyed working as a slum lord maintenance worker during the tech crash because I knew someday I'd again have the chance to do something more complex. The guys who never had done anything else, and knew they never would felt the burden much more severely.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Scott, interesting point regarding prehistoric diet is that the fossil record suggests we're only recently (like, maybe since the 50s) regained the level of nutrition enjoyed by the hunter/gatherer. Really, agriculture has sucked it for the rest of human history.

I imagine that being a hunter/gatherer would be more fun than being really poor in a modern city. Imagine working only 15 hours a week, being well nourished, and having no concerns over the future. Of course, I don't think you can attain this life virtually anywhere on the planet.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous ROXsen said...

What has held back urban farming is the lack of an economically viable model. SPIN-Farming provides one. Developed by a Canadian farmer named Wally Satzewich, SPIN-Farming is a nontechncial, easy-to-learn, inexpensive-to-implement farming system that makes it possibel to earn significant income frozbqzjm land under an acre in size. Minimal infrastructure, reliance on hand labor to accomplish most farming tasks, utilization of existing water sources to meet irrigation needs, and situating close to markets all keep investment and overhead costs low. SPIN therefore removes the 2 big barriers to entry for new farmers – they don’t need a lot of land or money.
It is allowing a growing corps of first generation entrepreneurial farmers around the world to, literally, take matters into their own hands by establishing farm businesses wherever they live. Can farming be successfully integrated into cities? You bet!

6:13 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Very rough overview of spin-farming here. Interesting.

6:32 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

This is blindingly ignorant -- I don't know if it's a real worry or not. But if I were considering subsistence farming on urban land, I'd be worried about lead poisoning and so on. I have a diffuse, sourceless impression that food grown on urban soil is likely to have all sorts of nasty evil stuff in it.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I think you guys are underestimating subsistence farming (again, I don't think third world farmers are the right comparison). Farming for your living can be REALLY HARD. But subsistence, here? You can feed your family on a tightly farmed half-acre garden. That takes, roughly... four, five hours a day.

Besides, if a city were organizing it, they could do stuff like provide grains so people weren't growing those.

I'm not saying this is an easy model. But it is available in places where nothing has worked.

LB - I think your fear of brownfields is well founded.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Feed your family on half an acre?...

How big is the family? What about non-California places where you get only one growing season a year? Bad weather? Lack of fertilizer? Pests? Theft?

You might be able to feed a family this way, but I would sure hate to try it.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

If this is a city-organized project, a year of crop failure puts people exactly where they are now. People can do whatever they do now if crops fail once.

An acre is more than a family of several needs if they aren't growing their own grains and meat.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous the Other Paul said...

I think another big issue is getting the important non-agricultural products, like pharmaceuticals, specialized tools, and even textiles like cotton that don't grow locally (never mind synthetic fabrics). I think that if they went over to subsistence farming that stuff would be very hard to get, since they'd need to get it by trade and a lot of the crops wouldn't be very good sources of cash. And what about vegetables in wintertime? Even if you assume that people would be OK with going back to the land and giving up their cellphones, iPods etc, things would still be pretty rough.

Also, I think that Detroit has too many people and too little area to support itself by farming, even though it's been shrinking steadily. According to the numbers I found the core urban area is 91,000 acres and has 870,000 people. Going by your figures on agricultural productivity that's not a workable situation.

9:14 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

In support of Megan, there's a lot to be said for subsistence farming as a supplement, rather than a substitute, for cash income. My husband grew up poor, and his family had a huge (quarter acre?) vegetable garden and kept chickens. His parents worked, so they had money income for other stuff, but a big part of their diet was stuff they grew, and he says it made things much easier.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Yeah, as a supplement, it is pretty darn easy. On the other hand, stewed, canned, tomatoes for four months of the year... *shudder* Bad memories.

9:37 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

I think that, barring evidence otherwise, we should take as a given Megan's estimate that 1/2 acre, farmed 25 hours/week, can feed a household of 4. That seems first-order plausible to me, and there's no point in quibbling (unless, again, someone has a firm counterargument from example, not intuition).

Let's say that what actually happens in a 4-season climate is that that 1/2 acre gives some surplus which is given to the NGO in exchange for wintertime veg, year-round dairy, etc. Meat is on a cash basis, or you permit goats and chickens. So food is plausibly taken care of, and in some ways with better results.

This leaves cash issues, plus the acreage requirements. Given Megan's time requirements, one adult working full time or the farmer working part time gives spending cash, but not much; it would be hard to get past housing costs (maybe the farm comes with house?) A half acre is a lot of land in an eastern city - something like half a (residential) city block. The trouble I see is that you have scattered abandoned houses/vacant lots. Just because you've got 12 families on 4 blocks doesn't mean that you can move them all onto one block and let them farm the rest - people aren't chess pieces, and abandoned houses can't just be "fixed up" as easily as that.

I can see the utopia that Megan imagines; I can even see it being a desirable lifestyle for some of the urban poor (thinking in terms of horticulture, not agriculture, makes it a lot more plausible). What I can't see is how to effect it on a scale that would be meaningful.

9:49 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

On the other hand, stewed, canned, tomatoes for four months of the year... *shudder* Bad memories.

As opposed to what? Fresh? I avoid "fresh" tomatoes 4 months out of the year even with plenty of access to them. Not even the magic of Whole Foods can make a hydroponic tomato or a Mexican tomato taste good in January.

9:51 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Of course, all that said, people are doing it, to an extent. Here's a really good example a few blocks from me. One of my ex-neighbors, a really sweet guy, is involved. It's awesome. But I have no idea how the immediate neighbors feel about it - I suspect that, to them, it looks suspiciously like a bunch of weird hippies dropping into their neighborhood.

9:53 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Oh, and please, Megan, no CA triumphalism about the tomatoes. I have snow outside my window right now, and I wouldn't trade it for a bushel of peak-ripe heirlooms. To everything there is a season....

10:06 AM  
OpenID clew said...

There is at least some re-farming in Detroit (enthusiatic history). I've seen, somewhere, an interview with part of the Detroit city bureaucracy that remarked that they were all personally happy to see abandoned lots put to use, but it was professionally risky for a (poor, probably indebted) city to plan to have only agricultural tax revenues, if any. Like everyone else, they weren't sure Detroit had a choice.

I also know someone who was involved with several (Dominican? Puerto Rican?) community gardens in New York City's Lower East Side, in the eighties and nineties, when those neighborhoods were incredibly dangerous and abandoned; he said they produced more food than he expected, and much more safety and community feeling; as the city got safer the landlords came back in and repossessed the ground. (Some of which they'd tried to buy when it was worth nothing, but no-one would admit to owning it (because they were delinquent in maintenance) -- that was the really embittering part, and the part city government should have been more helpful with.)

I don't know about tainted soil, but I also probably ate crops from Quincy, Washington during its bad years, so I don't know *how* much difference it makes.... less nihlilistically, that sounds like a great job for the extension service. There's plenty of industrial ag land with toxic problems, so the problem needs to be solved anyway.



A more general subject:

I think "subsistence farming" covers a couple of different experiences, depending on who's talking. For some people, it means all you can do is farm and it wins you bare subsistence in calories. Clearly this is awful. For economists, though, it sometimes only means that the market value of farming is nothing; the non-market value can be quite high -- plenty of food, regular spare time.

And when markets are unreliable means of earning a living, as in the Depression, or much of the poor world, or Detroit, having a subsistence farm is vital; it can save you from having to go be immiserated urban peasants. My grandparents, also, got through the Great Depression on scant cash but plentiful barter. When the Depression ended, everyone was pretty healthy and most of them were educated, and we've been surfing the boom ever since. I know towns in Nicaragua for whom this is also vital: the grandparents and one of the adult sibs keep the home farm running, and the rest of the sibs (doctors! programmers! etc) get hard-currency city work when the economy is moving, and beef up the farm when it isn't. This is vital to keeping the family out of debt, which is impossible to escape.

I think the people who risk death to get US jobs (etc) are usually either landless, so below subsistence farmers; or are the wandering, currency-earning branch of a family with a farm; they send money home to build and buy more land.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall, Megan wrote about the travails of running a community garden a couple of years ago. I think that's where a lot of this is coming from.

Depending on how dependent I was on this garden, its physical security would get pretty hairy pretty quick. -K.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Bill Harshaw said...

"Farming" no, "gardening" perhaps.

NYC and I suppose other cities has had cases where a community garden established on a vacant block was banished because the owner was able to sell it for building. Possibly a problem in Detroit is the needed combination of land ownership, initiative and knowledge to establish community garden(s).

11:29 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

I think the real reason Detroit isn't converting to mass farming is because that doesn't solve any problems. Even the poorest people in Detroit aren't starving, the government makes food the easiest thing to afford. Farming food just wastes their labor on a good they readily have access to (and is difficult anyway with MI's short growing season)

What they need is money to pay the rent and the heat bill. Subsistence farming won't keep you warm when it's -10 degrees out. You need shelter and warmth.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous justus said...

Detroit is hardly alone in the whole shrinking population thing. It is true for a lot of otherwise successful cities. Of the 10 largest American cities in 1950 all but two (NY and LA) have seen their populations decline. Boston, for example, was at 800,000 and is now at 590,000. Philadelphia was at 2 million and is now at 1.5 million.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

jake re: Detroit MLS

In Detroit you can buy a 30-room, 12,000 square foot mansion situated on half a city block with muraled ceilings, granite kitchens, marble floors, a 3 1/2 car separate garage with an 1100 sq.ft. in-law apartment above it for only $900,000.

http://www.realtor.com/realestate/1093045356/

12:38 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

noel - I think there was an article in The Atlantic(?) recently about how our perception of neolithic nutrition has been vastly overstated because the incidence of murder and other violent death was much higher than traditionally believed.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous E said...

Your understanding of the first world obscures your imagination of the third. Subsistence farmers lead very hard lives, and nobody in America is remotely as poor as people who are living under the equivalent of a dollar a day.

Your far less sensational version of the question - why don't the poor supplement with urban gardening - is far more interesting. Part of the answer, I think, is transaction costs. Where the urban poor are immigrants from farming communities elsewhere, and land is plentiful, you do see supplementation. Otherwise, less so.

A third point has to do with peoples' diets. You're talking about gardening because you like to eat fresh fruits and veg. However, most people in the inner cities eat meat and grains, even when fruit and veg are available. So you're talking about something that would take 5 hours a day of hard work and which produce an output that people in those communities are not that interesting in.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

e - there's a lot of assertions in there about what other people think and want. They may be accurate, but it kind of put me off to have you guess at my understanding of thirdworld conditions.

erik - interesting thought that food isn't the leverage.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous E said...

there's a lot of assertions in there about what other people think and want. They may be accurate, but it kind of put me off to have you guess at my understanding of thirdworld conditions.

First, my apologies for being presumptuous. I would prefer my responses to be constructive.

I did say "most people in the inner cities eat meat and grains" which is a fact as is "you like to eat fresh fruits and veg."

I did claim that people in the inner cities tend to eat diets high in grain and meat even when fruits and veg are available - which is an assertion, but it's based on articles I have read about efforts to make fruits and veg available in lunchrooms, and also based on things I have heard about inner city greenmarkets, and how even when there is fresh fruit and veg more cheaply available, demand for it is lower than amongst wealthier individuals. I've also spent time in such greenmarkets, as well as in inner cities, observing people.

As for "it kind of put me off to have you guess at my understanding of thirdworld conditions"

I'm sorry if I put you off, that wasn't my intent. The question struck me as reflecting more of a grasp of poverty in the first world than the third in terms of what you described. This is why I thought it was more useful to talk about gardening as a supplementation strategy for people in first world circumstances than to think about farmers who genuinely are subsistence farmers.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks for clarifying, e. I do think a supplementation strategy for people in the first world is the context we should use to think about the whole idea.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Swissarmyd said...

One small-medium sized thing... land in the midwest? very fertile. But not in the city. Having journeyed through the empty lots on the west side of Chicago [burned to the ground in '68 as I recall] as a commuter for years, the land is not what you would call arable. It's just that whatever buiding that was there has been buldozed and either buried in place, or the topscrape trucked away. What's left isn't soil, for what you would use for a garden. The soil that IS what you would use for a garden is miles and miles away, and already owned by someone.

So in the original scenario, this was due to a depression ["a recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose your job."]

So, where are you going to get the capital to buy the soil to make your vacant city block arable? To buy fetilizer? Seeds? Water? Fencing to keep other people from helping themselves to what you have grown?

If you have lost your job, and all your neighbors too, the city can't help. Broke people pay no taxes, No Taxes, No city Help.

Personally, I think there would simply be a mass exodus from the cities, because of this. Midwestern farmers might be inclined to take in lots of hand labor, if the price of fuel was so high that it was hard to run the tractor, and the market fo what they sell had gone away.

What are people in a city like Phoenix or LA going to do. There isn't the same types of arable land around them anyway.

This is that cascading failure thing.

A word on depression. Thinking it can't happen today just because it was a number of factors rolled together, is goofy. It's isn't totally likely that the dustbowl will happen again because farmers have changed their tilling practice, but the drought is already here. The fact that very few people actually farm in the first place is far more telling. A farmer will keep farming even without much money, because he need labor. If you are flipping burgers though, your job goes right away, because it relies not only on the company being solvent, but on other people buying burgers. When other people lose their job, that isn't happening.

The big thing about depression is that my definition of it IS what happened in the 30's. Severe recession in Japan was terrible, and has scarred them going forward, but I don't imagine that was depression, because there was no displacement. It's a small compact country. We are not. So it would be different, anyway.

The bottom line is really That cities would empty because they aren't viable without capital, and workforce division relies on capital. Without capital and people, governments don't collect taxes, and so they are broke too. Without a skillbase to do farming? You do what you need to to get food. It's easier to take it from someone else than to grow it, and that spiral is way down.

I'nm only half joking when I say a modern depression looks like Soylant Green. A depression by nature is second worst case sceario to economic collapse, but for an individual, the outcome is similar, methinks.

Finally... the thing about any of this, is it only takes shape after you have passed it, and can see it from a distance. In the 30's they had no clue what the endpoint would be. THAT's the scary part. A depression is supposed to be a long recession. But you can't tell how long a recession is until you are done...

Just like you can't tell if you are getting enough rain this year. Or if the pattern will set up till it rains for weeks, and the local river floods everything and your crops rot...

5:21 PM  
Anonymous the Other Paul said...

If you're talking about a supplementation strategy, then it's a pretty nifty idea, as long as you can get land that's both cheap and safe for growing things on. Community gardens would be a good way to give more people access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Or you could give people their own plots and have a farmer's market kind of thing.

10:39 PM  
Blogger 無名 - wu ming said...

as a supplement, relatively small garden plots helped a whole lot of russian urbanites avoid starvation during the collapse of the soviet state. gardening on the side is a time-honored way of making it through hard times, although you've got to know how to do it and want to eat fruit and veggies for people to start doing it.

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for picturing a depression: I think it would mean less bombs falling on other people's cities."

Oh, yeah. 'cause the world from 1933 to 1941 was so pacifistic. Right.

I don't want to be gratuitously disrespectful of anybody here, but ... would somebody please read, like, a HISTORY BOOK about actual world events in the 1930s before emanating these child-of-the-1990s misconceptions about what a genuine global economic depression would probably be like? Would that be too much to ask?

Gah!!!

Yours in fear and loathing,

--Erich Schwarz

4:15 PM  

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