Friday, October 10, 2008

Small producers and their situation after the crisis

Yesterday there was a special report on a TV program called “GPS” - by a reporter called Rolando Graña, about child labor.

No wonder, there’s a lot of child labor here, working all day long, even as young as 4 year olds, in factories, selling on the streets and working the fields in the country as well.

The program focused on several small farms and orchards, about 3-5 hectares, where entire families (husband, wife and their children) worked all day growing vegetables.
The program focused on two main points.
1) That these families worked all day, but not only the parents like one would expect, but also the children from ages 4 and 5 to 14, from dusk to dawn. These kids of course didn’t go to school, nor did they have time to play, they truly worked all day, and you could see it to be true in their faces.
2) The irony about it, was that this particular case was going on in the “Children’s city”, a lot that was originally intended (and until before the crisis was quite popular) as a child amusement park, with games and parks for kids to play in, and families to spend the day there.

These folks worked all day just to barely feed themselves and buy the basics any person need to live (one of the guys mentioned clothes, shoes, maybe a toy for the kids once in a while).

The parents interviewed seemed to realize that a 5 year old child should not be working all day, but they explained that they simply had no other choice. They could either do that, or go collecting garbage in the city for paper to recycle like thousands of others do, and still have to do that with their kids along with them as well.

But how’s this possible? Given inflation and the prices you pay at the grocery store, that aren’t exactly cheap?

The middle man makes all the profit.
These people only get 15% to 20% (if lucky)of what the customer ends up paying for.
The middle men have a monopoly over the distribution and selling points each run.

Instead of thinking of thinking about “The little house on the Prairie” scenario, a middle ages Feudal Lord-Vassal relation ship is much more accurate to depicture what small producers are going through in our own in my country, after the 2001 crisis.

So, if you are a producer with a few acres of land (less than 300/400), and you don’t have a critical mass of production , just being an extremely hard worker isn’t enough, and what is happening today to these people may happen in America in the future.

Find some market, some niche, be an entrepreneur because if you do what pretty much everyone else already knows how to do, you’ll end up working so that the middle man makes the profit, while you barely survive.

Edited to add: Child labor in Argentina went up 600% , since the 2001 crisis.



Ryan said...

That is sad. At least they are getting fed. Hopefully we don't see that here but who knows.

Natog said...

And these folks are sufficiently remote so people from the cities cannot afford the gas to buy at a produce stand they set up to cut out the middle man.

I started working at 7, but only part time. I thought that was bad enough, never mind being born into serf-dom.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about protection. (OT For this post I realize.) One adult in our house suffers from depression, so having a deadly firearm in the house is not a good idea. What is an alternative for personal protection?

Anonymous said...

alternative to a firearm?

Never bring a knife to a gun fight

FerFAL said...

Question with no easy answers right there.
It depends a lot on how serious you are about firearms, your mindset, training ( or lack of) and physical condition.

Personally, I’d still get a gun and carry it at all times, but that’s just me. Maybe you can get a S&W revolver ( the ones with a lock) and carry the key with you at all times.

I carry the key to the place where my loaded guns are at all times around the neck, in a gold chain with a little cross, Holy Heart image, and a little image of the virgin Mary my wife gave me when we first started dating ( it’s all VERY small, I don’t carry an oz. of gold around the neck all day).
Point is, is you are responsible you can to that.

The best alternative is to simply buy a quality small safe and keep it there.

I’ve never heard of a depressed person using a blowtorch to open a safe to kill himself.
Other than that OC spray is better than nothing, a large knife or short machete is also a pretty lethal weapons in the right hands.


Anonymous said...

FerFAL said : "Find some market, some niche, be an entrepreneur because if you do what pretty much everyone else already knows how to do, you’ll end up working so that the middle man makes the profit, while you barely survive."
You're relating this to an older post about the top 5 businesses in a crisis, right ? :-)
It depends also on which contry you live in. In France (as in the USA), the average farmer is 55 years old ; here nobody wants to work in agriculture so there are hundreds of farms to pick up and there's a market for local products (no middle man, cheaper prices).
I bet that people will have trouble getting by concerning food in the years to come and I'm having an agriculture training right now.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal -- OT, I just read an article posted at The Automatic Earth indicating Argentina is one of several nations facing bankruptcy...hope you're not in for a repeat of 2000-01!