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The Company Store

The Company Store

Leaves almost nothing to live on

In the song Sixteen Tons by Merle Travis (and made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford), the idea of the ‘company store’ referred to a system of debt bondage that effectively trapped workers within an unfair system designed to harvest all of their labor at very low cost.

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go

I owe my soul to the company store

       Sixteen Tons – Merle Travis

How exactly did the company store system operate?

Under a scrip system, workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with non-transferable credit vouchers that could be exchanged only for goods sold at the company store. This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings.

Workers also usually lived in company-owned dormitories or houses, the rent for which was automatically deducted from their pay.

(Source – Wiki)

This model was simple enough to understand.  “Pay” your workers with scrip vouchers, then sell them your marked up goods at the company store, pocketing a nice profit. On top of that, force your employees to live in company housing, too,  also at terms very favorable to the company.

Add it all up and the workers found themselves in perpetual service to their employer. No matter how hard and long they toiled, there was nothing left for their own private benefit after all was said and done.  The company succeeded in skimming off any and all  ‘excess’ for itself.

This vast unfairness eventually led to the formation of unions as well as to regulations providing protection to the workers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Prepping: Why You Should Store Wheat And How To Use It

Food Prepping: Why You Should Store Wheat And How To Use It

Ready Nutrition - Healthy Food Storage, Wheat and Why You Should Store It

Although wheat is the cornerstone of a prepper’s food storage, many don’t understand why they should have a bunch on hand, or even how to use it if the SHTF. It certainly feels like every single preparedness author out there recommends the storage of hundreds of pounds of wheat, but why? And what can you use it for?

The first reason and maybe the most obvious one as to why many suggest storing wheat is because it has a long shelf life. Hard grains, (which include more than just wheat) such as buckwheat, corn, flax, mullet, Kamut, spelt, and triticale, if stored properly, have an average shelf life of 10 to 12 years, however, this can be increased to 30 years or longer. Not to mention wheat is fairly inexpensive and storage isn’t all that difficult.  It’s actually pretty easy to add to your food storage, as many have discovered. To ensure the proper long-term storage of grains, use the following:

But is there more to it than the storage longevity, a relatively low cost, and ease of storing? The simple answer is yes.

Who wants to be hungry, especially in a time of difficulty? Extra activity and stress can cause an increase in a person’s appetite. But whole wheat bread or other whole wheat foods can more quickly fill those ravenous and hungry stomachs. High-fiber foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Many of the freeze-dried gourmet meals out there are light in calories and meal plans often provide for only two entrees a day, leaving those who require more food on edge with a slight hunger.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia’s Wheat Crop Fails?

The weather turned very cold this year as our computer has been forecasting. The importance of our model’s forecasts lies in determining what will be the next cycle focus. Each cycle tends to shift from one to the next sector. While we still risk a strong dollar rally into 2020 creating the economic recession through deflation as assets decline, the next 8.6-year cycle appears to be setting up to be a commodity cycle. As the climate changes to bitter cold, we have warned this is when FAMINE and DISEASE rise. The flu season is always when it turns cold – not warm.

It is important to keep an eye on the climate cycle and prepare for the next real bull market. This year, the wheat crop in Russia has failed because of the bitter cold with even April coming in as the coldest in more than 140 years. The people who want to believe in global warming are so enamored with this idea mixing up pollution with climate change that they fail to see the trend coming. As crops fail with colder winters, food supplies will decline and prices will rise. So look for the next 8.6-year Economic Confidence Model Wave to bring higher prices in food.

Wheat & the Drought Cycle

QUESTION: Interesting that $1.3T US spending bill was enacted on March 23, 2018, exactly 31.459 years after passage of US Tax Reform Act of 1986:

Also, the 86 year cycle in drought conditions in the midwest US seems to approach – is this why Marty thinks wheat will bottom this year?

The below Wikipedia link mentions a “short drought” in 1890 in the US Great Plains, and then a dust storm on November 11, 1933, in South Dakota (43 years later). Wikipedia also mentions that the US Great Plains entered an unusually dry era in the summer of 1930 (a little more than 86 years ago), with droughts coming in 1934, 1936 and 1939-1940.

Kansas is having drought conditions currently:

Poor winter wheat condition worrying Kansas farmers

I wonder if this is the year to go long wheat, especially since Marty forecast a bottom for this year?

Best,
J

ANSWER: Here is a chart of Wheat from 1259 to 2017 with the currency converted to dollars from British pounds using the conversion rate at the beginning of the US dollar extending it back in time. Here we can see the overall trend. Yes, there is an influence with respect to weather. However, the Dust Bowl was a local event.

What our computer is warning about begins next year with a Directional Change in Wheat. This cycle appears to be impacted by (1) significant climate change, and (2) the War Cycle. The combination of both is pointing to a bull market in nominal dollar terms.

 

Money as a Measuring Stick

Money as a Measuring Stick

Imagine if the world’s metre sticks all grew or shrunk a bit each year. That would make for a confusing system of weights and measures, wouldn’t it? Well, that is exactly what happens with money.

We have been measuring the world around us for thousands of years. Units like feet and cubits have been used for distances, pounds and kilograms to measure weight, and dollars and yen to measure economic value. Measuring value, however, is by far the most complicated of the measurements that must be taken. This is because – unlike the other units – the various items that have been used to represent dollars and yen are constantly fluctuating in value.

The British Pound, or lb

Monetary units have always been closely tied up with units of weight. For instance, the word “pound” has been used to describe both the British monetary unit (£) and the weight (lb). The pound weight was originally based on wheat. In 1266, King Henry III decreed that the British unit referred to as the grain should be defined as the weight of a corn of wheat “well dried, and gathered out of the middle of the ear.” Thirty-two grains were to be equal to a pennyweight, twenty pennyweights equal to an ounce, and twelve ounces added up to a pound. So the early English pound, otherwise known as the Tower pound, was comprised of 7,680 “well-dried” grains from the middle of an ear of wheat.

Grains of wheat

The Tower pound wasn’t the only pound weight used in England. The Troy pound, used for gold and silver, contained 5,760 grains, while the Merchant pound was made up of 6,750 grains. To add to the confusion, the avoirdupois pound would contain 7,000 grains.

The Exchequer Standard

Although the grain unit served as the basis for weights, people didn’t go about their regular business of measuring the weights of things by counterbalancing them against tiny grains of wheat. Imagine how awkward it would be to go to the local market to ask for an ounce of meat! The butcher would have had to count out 640 grains and then counterbalance them on a scale against the hunk of meat, an arduous process that would have brought the gears of trade to a near halt. Buyers would have been constantly accusing sellers of not using appropriately dry grains, adding to the confusion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Toxic Wheat, GMOs and the Precautionary Principle


Ben Shahn Daughter of Virgil Thaxton, farmer, near Mechanicsburg, Ohio 1938
Recently, I posted a two-tear old article on facebook.com/TheAutomaticEarth that was shared so many times it seems to make sense to use it for an Automatic Earth article as well. The article asks how toxic the wheat we eat is – or Americans, more specifically-, and why that is.

But first I would like to touch on a closely connected issue, which is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘war’ on GMOs. Taleb, of Black Swans fame, has been at it for a while, but he’s stepped up his efforts off late.

In 2014, with co-authors Rupert Read, Raphael Douady, Joseph Norman and Yaneer Bar-Yam, he published The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetic Modification of Organisms), an attempt to look at GMOs through a ‘solidly scientific’ prism of probability and complex systems. From the abstract:

The precautionary principle (PP) states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain (affecting general health or the environment globally), the action should not be taken in the absence of scientific near-certainty about its safety. Under these conditions, the burden of proof about absence of harm falls on those proposing an action, not those opposing it. PP is intended to deal with uncertainty and risk in cases where the absence of evidence and the incompleteness of scientific knowledge carries profound implications and in the presence of risks of “black swans”, unforeseen and unforeseable events of extreme consequence.

[..] We believe that the PP should be evoked only in extreme situations: when the potential harm is systemic (rather than localized) and the consequences can involve total irreversible ruin, such as the extinction of human beings or all life on the planet. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Growing intolerance

Growing intolerance

Bread has always been at the heart of human history – we’ve been baking it for the best part of 10,000 years. But over the past decade there has been an explosion of people reporting problems with eating it. How could wheat, a staple food that has sustained humanity for so long, have suddenly become a threat to our health? What’s happened to wheat that is causing the increase in digestive disorders? And can we get back to the bread we ate for millennia without becoming wheat intolerant?*

The story that lies behind our problem with bread is a sad one. In the space of one century we abandoned both the flavour and nutrition of our most basic food in favour of producing vast amounts of cheap industrial loaves.

The impact of the Industrial Revolution

Bread remained almost unchanged for thousands of years. Then, from the late 1850s to the 1960s, every aspect of it changed. We didn’t just change the way we made it – we altered it to the point that our bodies no longer recognised the ingredients. A combination of the Industrial Revolution and the hybridisation of wheat fundamentally changed the nature of the flour we use for baking.

The problems we now face can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century, when Gregor Mendel developed what are now known as the laws of biological inheritance, or hybridisation. This revolutionary technique was quickly applied to wheat, but the grain was hybridised and developed not for its flavour, but for increased yields and levels of gluten. In doing so, we lost both taste and nutrition in our flour at an incredible speed. In just a few decades the gene pool was narrowed from thousands of varieties of to less than a hundred. It was the start of a monoculture.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Wheat Crop Seen Falling Short in Australia on Frost, Hail Damage – Bloomberg

Wheat Crop Seen Falling Short in Australia on Frost, Hail Damage – Bloomberg.

Australia’s wheat harvest may drop short of a government forecast after frost and hail damaged crops in the world’s fifth-biggest shipper. Futures climbed to a six-week high.

Production may total 23.2 million metric tons in 2014-2015, according to the median of five analysts and trader estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. That compares with a government forecast of 24.2 million tons and 27 million tons a year earlier. Farmers started harvesting the crop this month.

Wheat futures in Chicago tumbled 12 percent this year on speculation farmers worldwide will reap record crops. Increased supplies of grains are helping to pressure global food prices, with a United Nations’ index dropping for a sixth month in September, the longest slide since 2009. Disappointing rain in winter and early spring across many Australian grain-growing regions as well as reports of frost damage are weighing on expected yields, according to National Australia Bank Ltd.

…click on the link above to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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