| The "Good News" (Gospel) > Archives > Thoughts on Liberty > Providing food for people
Providing food for peopleDecember 13, 1980
It seems to be true that: (1) Men need to eat food to live; and (2) Most men do not find enough food immediately available for simple gathering or picking from the trees of Paradise.
These conditions lead to two alternatives. Either (1) Individual men must work to produce the food which they will eat, or (2) Other men or groups of men must provide the food necessary to sustain their lives.
The first alternative is expressed in the recognition that man will eat bread produced by the sweat of his brow, and that the man who will not work has no right to expect food to eat.
The second alternative is the basis for much of our current thinking. It is assumed that the government will insure the provision of the needs of men. This assumption is extended to any need which is seen as a natural “right"; such as the need for food, the need for housing, the need for health care, etc. Real estate people tell each other that, because people will always need housing, the government will find some way to be sure that peonle can buy the houses they need. Farmers tell each other that, because people will always need food, they will always pay the price which is necessary to make production of food profitable, either directly or through government subsidies. Medical professionals assume that, because people will always need health care, the government will assure the future availability of health care for all people. All of these are examples of the assumption that the group of men called the government will provide for the needs of men if they cannot provide for themselves.
We should remember that the government cannot give anything to a person in need unless it either (I) takes from another man what he has already produced, or (2) forces another man to produce something so that it may be used to meet the need.
Taking from another man is a means of taking away private capital, which results in a decreased supply in the national storehouse. Forcing another to produce is the beginning of a coercive system, which leads to a reduction in production and eventually to slavery.
When the government takes from those who have, and thus decrease the national storehouse, it begins a process which will lead to an empty storehouse. An empty storehouse is the horrible prospect to which present government policies are leading. When the storehouse is empty, the intensity of the needs of people and the benevolent intentions of the government will do nothing to produce food. Food is produced through the productive labor of individual men. An act of congress does not produce food. Neither does a declaration of commitment by a national society for the promotion of humane government policies. When the storehouse is empty, bellies will be empty. No increase in welfare or social security benefits will give the needy enough paper currency to buy the food which does not exist.
The automobile and housing industries in our country may be in the process of shutting down production as we have previously known it. There is not enough capital left in the country to support them. Interest rates are the thermometer which tells us how severe our lack-of-capital sickness is. The supply of houses and cars in the national storehouse will now decrease.
Many government subsidies are now necessary to keep enough capital flowing into farming enterprises so that the production of food is not decreased or stopped. These subsidies include billions of dollars of subsidized low-interest loans. Projections indicate that great increases will be needed in farm prices and the amount of credit made available to farmers, if the food production process is to continue.
The basic necessity of food will make agriculture the area where the government will make its last frantic attempt to prove that it can provide for the needs of men. After all, if a government cannot guarantee an adequate food supply for people, what need can it be trusted to meet? This final stand of the transfer society is developing as the poor (and, in some cases, everyone) in other countries and in this country become dependent for food upon United States agriculture.
When the economic structure of this country (and of the world) is strained to the extent that the capital needs of American agriculture cannot be met, then the farmer will decrease his production, or stop producing altogether. Then men everywhere will realize that the storehouse, if not empty, will soon be empty. The worldwide implications of this realization are not pleasant to contemplate.