Mises Wire

Home | Blog | Solve the world's problems: plant a tomato

Solve the world's problems: plant a tomato

August 24, 2006

The idea that we need to be "self sufficient" when it comes to producing food just keeps getting more respect than it deserves. As Sallie James of Cato pithily observed, "I know of only two other countries that pursue a policy of total self-sufficiency in food: North Korea and Zimbabwe."

But people love it, from politicians, to the Crunchy Con guy, Rod Dreher (given the smackdown by Jeff Tucker here). Dreher suggests bringing back a concept from the good ol' days of World War Two- the Victory Garden. Since, he explains, "...a broader Mideast war that caused another oil shock could make it a lot more expensive to feed ourselves. Getting into habits of self-sufficiency now is smart." My take on it isn't nearly so cheerful. Rather than giving me the warm fuzzies about being self-sufficient and doing my little part for the war, I think my Victory Garden would remind me that nothing can screw up the power of the market economy to feed everybody like government can.

I don't worry about Wal-Mart, Kroger, or the local Whole Foods suddenly deciding to cut off my food supply, or jacking up their prices because they've decided to go to war with one another. It's only when governments meddle with individuals wishing to engage in peaceful trade that we all have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. As things are, my backyard garden has yet to produce a single tomato. In the event of a Mideast war and huge oil price spikes, I will apparently be living on my only successful crop: weeds. But at least they'll be weeds I grew myself.

Follow Mises Institute

Add Comment