“Slow Poke” is currently being run in “The Inlander.” This particular political cartoon caught my eye because, it addressed this matter of salmonella infected chicken that I do believe was being recalled by Foster Farms. Seems that the salmonella bacteria was now super resistant to antibiotics. I’ll describe what “Slow Poke” said here (a Jen Sorenson cartoon): (Market place guru sitting on a table with an eager crowd of listeners prepared to hear him out) “The Market Liberation Army in ‘Freedom Fowl’.” Cult leader Charles Mansion preaches to his disciples, Gather round, my flock, for today’s sermon on the glory of the market! (Next panel), I hold before you a chicken from Foster Farms, who’ve been accused of spreading antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Some are even calling for new regulations. (The crowd gasps. Next panel) They do not understand that markets are perfect and must not be distorted, lest the invisible hand become the fist of an angry God! (At this point, the crowd of disciples proclaims in unison,) all hail unregulated poultry! (Final panel, and someone in the crowd of disciples asks,) Can we eat the chicken o wise one? (To which the guru answers,) HELL NO! I mean, let’s order a pizza.
In other words, the market guru isn’t about to eat something that is sure to make him sick and will likely kill him. Just think about it, antibiotic resistant salmonella. Then there is no antibiotic that will save you from this type of food borne illness. Ms. Sorenson also handed “The Inlander” readership with this timely nailed it! The mythical Charles Mansion doesn’t want a regulated marketplace, that might keep the customers from getting sick because of the food they eat. But knowing about the food that definitely isn’t safe to eat, he will never buy it to serve at his own table. Obviously because, something about those regulations, that had Foster Farms even recalling these chickens in the first place, worked. It worked in the fact that “Charles Mansion” learned about this potentially dangerous chicken at all.
Now how should we recognize market distortions that are mentioned here? Seems to me that market distortions probably involve governments that move to protect specific companies, corporations, industries, and what not. Very specifically against competition. If it isn’t say, done through Congress (using the U.S. as an example), then it might be done through the courts of law as various companies, corporations, etc. vie with one another via lawsuit. Of course the market distortions that Adam Smith likely referred to were with reference to the British government and what it would allow in trade between the colonies and England. Trade with any other European nation, came with a hefty price tag. The question is, when does something become a “market distortion” if all the customers ask for is safe food to eat? Then I also guess it would be a good time to remind my readers of what Christ said about worshiping God, or worshiping mammon. You come to love the one and hate the other. Therefore, you couldn’t possible love both equally. Well, the pursuit of mammon ahead of peoples’ health and safety, is what is now in the news these days. And there is a lot in the bible, after all, of what God was supposed to want. Not just a worship of himself, but also honoring what were set down as commandments. One should not deliberately do harm to others. Nor set aside the need for compassion for the all consuming passion of getting lots and lots of money. Both of these elements can be found in the bible. Ignore them, because money/profit matters more, has a tendency to vindicate what Christ said. Further, the “invisible hand” allusion was undoubtedly referenced from Adam Smith’s condemnation of the English government, protecting its own mercantile trade against the upstarts in the British colonies. Well, if farmers and ranchers to food processing plants, have more interest in the $$$ to considering whether the final product will be of quality and safe to eat. Then there is going to be a loss of $$$, on a huge scale, to recall those same products. Which is preferable? Invest more to ship safe foods out of the factory and the warehouse? Or lose more, because these products must be recalled, not sold, and ultimately must be destroyed as unsafe. Take your pick. Oh, and Foster Farms put out those flashy ads about how much better their chicken was, too.
The wrath of God if the market is meddled with (and the captains of industry aren’t appropriately protected from the wrath of the customers) was an interesting touch. Shall we say of Jen Sorenson, she packed loads of meaning into her four panel cartoon.