The Good Society Episode 2: Work, Creativity, and Exchange

The Good Society Episode 2: Work, Creativity, and Exchange

Each person is a unique and
unrepeatable individual. We are also social beings who
flourish in relationships. In this episode, we’ll
examine the interaction of our individual and
social nature through our ability
to work and create. We’ll also examine how we
cooperate, exchange, and trade with others. Humans are created as
co-creators with God, to complete creation, to
steward it, cooperate with it, and improve it
through the use of our reason. Farmers will tell you that wild
trees and wild vines don’t produce good fruit. Nature must be cultivated. My name is Brian Hosmer, I’m a
winemaker here at Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula
in northwest Michigan out in the middle of Grand
Traverse Bay, where normally people don’t think about
growing grapes as something you do this far north in Michigan. But because of this, this water
around us it’s something that we’re able to do that you
can’t do much further one direction or
the other. So we’re in a very special
place out here. And this water helps us buffer
the temperatures so that when cold fronts or
warm fronts come through we are protected. The name of what we do explains
everything: it’s viticulture. So the first part is Vita,
which is vitis vinifera, which are the European grape
varieties that we know of. And then the other part is
culture, which is the human interaction, where we are
actually working with the vines to get them to
do what we want them to do. We’re here in Palisade
Colorado. I was born here. My father was raised around the
peach orchards. The microclimate here is unique to anywhere in Colorado. There’s five or six areas that grow peaches in the
United States. There’s California; there’s
Georgia obviously; there’s Michigan; there’s
Idaho and Utah. And we have a unique situation, being forty six hundred
feet up in the air, and being able to grow peaches. In order to raise peaches, we
start in February. We go through the pruning process, and that lasts through the
middle of March. And then we have what we call our stressful time, and
that’s our frost season. We have propane heaters,
we have wind machines that we’re all
getting ready to go. Then the blossoms come out. And we go into the summertime
so that brings in the irrigation season, because
we’re starting to have the hot weather, and we’re starting to
have the peaches form after the blossoms, if
they make it through the frost. And then by July, we are
starting harvest. A peach has to be picked twice. When we start out, this is all
covered with blossoms. This branch will have up to 20
peaches on it. So then they have to go through
and knock them off with their thumbs until you
have just two or three. And we leave about a hand’s worth of spacing, as you can
see. So they probably
already picked, there was probably a
peach right here. So there was three peaches on
this branch. We have to go seven days a
week during harvest time. Usually harvest ends in
September, and then we go through a
period of maintenance. So basically, we have to
maintain all our tractors, all our trailers. We have semi trucks, and all of the
packing line equipment that we use, and everything else. So from
September till January. That’s our maintenance time. Then we start all over again,
back to pruning. What happens in the vineyard
just doesn’t happen naturally. What we have is a situation
where humans are coming in and manipulating the vines to
get what we want. So what nature does give us is
the sun and the soil and the plants. But we have to then harvest
them, and then take them
into the cellar, which is where the next
part of the process begins: the wine making. After we harvest the fruit, we
bring it in from the vineyard. We bring it in the cellar now, and we put it in the
crusher/de-stemmer. And then when it’s a red wine
we do one thing; with the white wine we go
a separate direction. So for a red wine, we put it
directly in the tank, and we ferment on the skins. And that’s where we get a lot of
the flavors and colors for red wine. Whereas a white wine what we’ll
do is we’ll press it immediately, and put it into a tank and
settle it out. Then what we do, is then we
inoculate it with the yeast. And this is the biological part,
and the natural part, in a sense, of where
winemaking happens. So you have this yeast called
saccharomyces cerevisiae that converts sugar into
alcohol, and flavors, and CO2, and so you
know fermentation is going on. And after that fermentation is
when we have wine. Wine making is essentially
controlled rot, because one of the things that winemakers
say is that “God makes vinegar; we make
wine.” Nature is chaotic. Man has to tame it
and order it. There’s also what’s called the
law of entropy: things fall apart over time. If you let something go, it
returns to the wild. So the second law of
thermodynamics is entropy, so everything is always moving
towards chaos. And so what we have is, we’re
essentially trying to control and guide this chaotic
situation into something that people can
enjoy. Peach trees do live naturally
out in the wild, but they don’t live very long. Typically, on a farm, a peach
tree lasts about 20 years. A peach tree out in the wild,
once it starts producing, it’ll probably kill itself in
about four. Because there would be
so much fruit on the tree, that it just saps the
life right out of it. So if you were just to let
these vines grow wild, what would happen is after a couple of years,
they would stop fruiting. And this is because there is no
stress put onto them that, onto them that, where they would
feel the need to create seeds to pass their genes along
to the next generation. So we are constantly cutting it
back, and making it stressed, and making it
want to produce fruit. We also cooperate with nature
by using our intellect and creativity to transform
matter into usable things: iron and carbon into steel
to build machines; Petroleum into gasoline and plastic; silicon for cement and computer chips; and trees for lumber
to build houses and barns. If we think about it, building a
house takes two creations: first, there’s the mental
work of design and planning. Second comes the physical work
of actually building the structure. Man doesn’t just create
with his hands, but with his creative mind. Just as we cooperate with
nature, we also cooperate
with each other. We are social beings, and no man is sufficient unto himself. We’re designed to live in
community. And through interaction with
others, we realize our needs and take care of ourselves. Through work, we
earn our daily living. But we do more. Through work, we realize our
vocation to serve others, and build civilization
and culture. Each person is unique and
unrepeatable, with different skills,
talents, and interests. And this combination of our
individuality with our social nature means that
humans accomplish more when we work together, divide tasks, and engage in trade. This leads to an important
economic principle. It’s called the mutual
benefit of trade. Trade is when two people
decide to exchange some good or service
for another. Trade enables people to get
something they want or need without having to make it or
grow it themselves. Because of specialization in
trade, people can enjoy a wide variety of
goods and services that they wouldn’t be able
to do otherwise. As long as people
are not coerced, trade is mutually beneficial. It makes both parties better
off than they were before. Otherwise, they wouldn’t
engage in trade. Nowadays we rarely barter. Instead, we use money. Yet the principle is the same. One of the mistakes we often
make when we think about trade is to view it as a
win/lose proposition instead of mutually beneficial. This is the idea that
success can only come at the expense of others. For every winner,
there must be a loser. This is the fallacy called
“the zero sum game”, where we imagine the economy
as a pie. And if one person has a bigger
piece, that leaves a smaller piece
for someone else. While this is sometimes the
case, it’s not the general rule. The problem with the zero sum
game is that it fails to acknowledge
the mutual benefit of trade, and that the pie can grow. As productivity increases,
or as new inventions or innovations take off, the
pie can expand. This means that everyone’s
share can get bigger. And this is what we call
economic growth. Over the last two hundred fifty
years, we’ve seen the pie grow at a rate unmatched in
history. In fact, In just the last 30 years, we’ve seen life expectancy doubled and the poverty rate
cut in half across the globe. Of course a growing pie doesn’t
mean that things are perfect, and that everyone benefits
equally. We still have issues with
global volatility, technological disruption,
pollution, And poverty and exclusion
resulting from crony capitalism and corrupt
regimes. These are all problems
that we must address. But to do so well, we need to
avoid the fallacy of the zero sum game. At its core trade
is a human relationship, and that’s what markets are:
networks of human relationships where people
interact with one another to obtain goods and services
that they want or need. We like to talk about the
market, but the market is really a collection of lots
of different markets. There are markets for nearly
everything: food, clothes, coffee, fish, oil, and
electricity. There are even markets for
stocks, which are ownership
interests in companies selling all
these things. As we’ve all witnessed,
markets are not perfect, and they come with many cultural
and social challenges. Markets cannot address
every social need. And just because there’s a market
for something doesn’t mean it’s OK. Markets must always be guided
by moral principles. Authentic community requires
much more than economic exchange. It requires families, churches,
politics, voluntary associations, and
love and friendship that make moral demands on us
and encourage us to live well. But economic exchange,
trade and markets are indispensible parts of a
flourishing society. And the foundations of markets
come from our social and individual nature, and the mutual benefit of trade.

One thought on “The Good Society Episode 2: Work, Creativity, and Exchange

  1. Thanks for the Video clip! Forgive me for the intrusion, I would love your thoughts. Have you heard about – Lammywalness Green Grapes Guide (erm, check it on google should be there)? It is a good one of a kind product for learning how to become a successful grape grower minus the headache. Ive heard some super things about it and my m8 at very last got amazing success with it.

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