Farmers grow food in their self-interest, not yours or mine

Wed, 26 Feb 2014  |  

Adam Smith, the father of economics, noted:

• "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest".

So too Australian farmers.

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce has a floral view of the role of farmers in Australia. He suggests farmers are "doing what we always thought was noble and right, they've gone out into the country to scratch a living from the earth so as to put export dollars on the table for our nation."

Ahem.

Farmers do not want to feed me or you for free. They do it to make money. Cold, hard cash. Farmers like getting high prices for their produce, they like favourable weather conditions and they hope to make a lot of money when there is that combination of rain, high prices and a low Australian dollar.

That is human nature and good on them! I hope all farmers, like all other workers, can earn a lot of money.

But to think there is an altruistic motivation for farmer's wheat crops, dairy cattle or sheet production, is fanciful.

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For many people, the cost of the fires is immeasurable. 

Or irrelevant. 

They have lost loved ones, precious possessions, businesses and dreams and for these people, what lies ahead is bleak.

Life has changed forever.

As the fires continue to ravage through huge tracts of land, destroying yet more houses, more property, incinerating livestock herds, hundreds of millions of wildlife, birds and burning millions of hectares of forests, it is important to think about the plans for what lies ahead.

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