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  • Writer's pictureKevin Jones

Gardening and Economics collide

When I am not managing portfolios, I enjoy spending time in my garden. The satisfaction of eating my own vegetables and fruit is accentuated every time I have to buy some at the grocery store, and see how much they cost. A book economist would argue that what I grow is actually more expensive once I factor in the value of my time. I have always thought this argument to be weak. Unless someone is willing to pay me during the time I spend gardening, then it is worth what I make it. Every time I mow my own lawn, I figure I am $25 after tax ahead of those who don't. The hippie in me believes that current agricultural practices are not only damaging to the environment, but also lead to a disconnect between the consumption and production of food. We personally participate very little in feeding ourselves other than putting a fork in our mouth. This article also got me thinking in general about the changes of the US economy from primarily manufacturing based, to services based. Current arguments for continued strength in the economy rest upon consumers continuing to spend. If you think about it, a major part of our consumption of services are for things that we can do ourselves. We choose to pay someone else to do it because we either believe our time is worth more than what we pay (see above)

, or we don't have the time. Take the time to think about all the things that you pay for on a daily basis that you could accomplish yourself, starting with that latte in the morning. This leads me to thinking about how possibly fragile our economy is. Lord forbid that we all decide to become more self sufficient. However, theoretically if we all decided to make our own coffee, eat leftovers for lunch, not eat out, and mowed our own lawns, the economic impact would be beyond significant. Of course the savings generated by doing so could be used for consumption or investment, which counteracts the loss of jobs. Bringing a sack lunch to work four days a week and making your own latte's can get you a condo on the beach in Poipu Beach for 10 days. Mow your own lawn and the flight is paid for. The reason I believe this line of thinking is important is that the Millennial generation is exhibiting a willingness to be more self sufficient, and it is imperative that we consider the economic effects of such. Think about the effect we could have on carbons if we were to all garden.

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