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Horseflesh and the Entropy of Capitalism

January 16, 2013

Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God?…nor thieves, nor covetous, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-10

 The UK’s largest food retailer, Tesco, pulled its Everyday Value Beef Burgers because they contained 29% horseflesh, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (source: telegraph.co.uk). Other retailers, e.g. Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Dunnes Stores (an Irish retailer) also withdrew “beef” burgers from shelves as for similar reasons. People should be relieved that horses are an ungulate herbivore and they got one type of muscle for another. It could have been – and is going to get – much worse because the entropy of capitalism leads inexorably to pink slime.

 Beer too has been watered down. Zerohedge reports that John Smith’s Extra Smooth is being diluted to 3.6% from 3.8%. It won’t compromise taste according to a company spokesman, but since the price of everything is going up (due to inflation thanks to the money counterfeiters), the brewer needs to act to maintain profits. There’s nothing wrong with profit, incidentally, as it’s what we live on in retirement.

In China, where the people have experienced capitalism without consumer rights, there was a baby food scandal a few years ago. Twenty one manufacturers were accused of adulterating their formulas with melamine, so that they scored highly for protein content. Reportedly (source: Wikipedia) 6 infants died from kidney-related illness and 860 were hospitalized from 300,000 victims. Credit to the CCP, they executed two men and put several in prison for long sentences. A few years prior to that, 13 babies died from malnutrition when their formula was unsubtly diluted to nothing.

Under capitalism, there is a logic and pattern to these decisions. People want a product, and whoever can supply it at the lowest price wins. That’s the only calculus. Therefore, if you can find a way to cut costs faster than the opposition, you do it. To quote Max Weber:

            “the man who, in the actions of life, does not adapt himself to the conditions   indispensable to success under the capitalistic system, is left behind or goes under.” from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

We are in the early stages of a change from our pampered lives following the final, financialization stage of the capitalist economy. From here till our money has been diluted away to nothing like Chinese milk formula, and we are obliged to start again, we must all abandon our morals and hope to fail later, or we can keep them and fail sooner.

“Thus, in the sphere of economic activity, the rationalization idea will be that of the lowest possible cost, but it definitely cannot prevail beyond the point at which rationalization according to this principle ceases to mean rationalization according to God.” from Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, Amintore Fanfani

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From → Chapter 1

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