Of money & honey

The economists (such bores!) tell us that money can be many things. It can be, for instance, a store of value. It can be a medium of exchange. A unit of account. A source of information.

We find a somewhat different, more curt account of money in the Bible, but pass that by.

Just as particle physicists and evolutionary biologists did not consort to write the Book of Genesis, so economists of the Austrian and Chicago Schools did not compose any letters to the Corinthians. Truth to tell, a great number of things are “not covered” in our scriptures, but left to the individual or collective Jews or Christians to figure out for themselves, on their own time, working from Nature through unabridgeable human experience, or perhaps starting from a few divine hints. The need to mend clothes, for instance, or replace them when they are beyond mending: not a word!

In the parables, as elsewhere, much has been taken for granted: property and trade and politics and a whole kaleidoscope of human, instinctual, self-interested responses — the “survival skills” let us call them. As I was reminded in Mass several days ago, we are not told not to not suffer a thief from entering our house or apartment. Rather it is simply assumed that we will not not do that. Indeed, someone could write a book on “things taken for granted in the Bible,” by way of showing that various holier-than-thou poses among our more “progressive” contemporary Christians are ridiculous. Perhaps someone already has.

Here I am sidetracked already. I was intending to fixate on the boring topic of economics. I was going to write of money as a source of information. My example would be honey.

We have been told, by the usual unreliable sources, that there is a crisis in the apiaries. Honeybees have been (along with frogs and monarch butterflies, I gather) mysteriously dying off. The long-experienced fact, of honeybee die-offs, is usually omitted from this account. But seasoned apiarists are not fooled; only the gullible. These latter are invited to imagine a world without bees, without honey — unless we do something immediately through the United Nations that will cost a hundred billion dollars and provide employment for ten thousand progressive administrators and lobbyists.

Now, I do almost all my grocery shopping in the Parkdale district of Greater Parkdale (Vallis Hortensis as I like to call it). I prefer to patronize the small independent family businesses, but have ventured into a supermarket from time to time. When in one of those, such as the “No Frills” emporium at the foot of my street, I succumb to bargains — forgetting that the children of the harshly-taxed family merchants might, in the absence of my trade, be perishing from hunger. And that therefore I can only justify the purchase of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice (specifically, “not from concentrate”), to which I happen to be addicted, and which I find stocked nowhere else. Though if I had any decency I would instead buy the constituent grapefruits from the Chinese lady down Queen Street, and squeeze the bloody things myself.

Honey, my dears, has been knocked down for quite a while now. So far, that in a moment of disloyalty (for it is also available at a slightly less knocked-down price from the Bengali brothers), I bought a kilo of this substance in there. Seven Canadian bucks, who can beat that? (Used to cost ten or more.) But whether there at No Thrills, or where I usually buy my Buckwheat Honey (at the Polish shop), or Creamed Honey (from the Rajasthanis), or some exotic Floral Honey (from the co-op hippies), I have noticed the prices trending stable or falling.

Take this for the information function of money. What can I learn from it?

That the supply of honey is secure. That the scare stories I read in the media are all what that Trump gentleman calls, “Fake news.”