Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

Recession spurs millions of new gardeners

March 28, 2009

Jeff Ishee • Valley Vegetable Gardening • March 15, 2009 

The official arrival of spring is on March 20 and local gardeners are eager to get back out in the veggie patch.

I expect we will see throngs of new gardeners here in the Shenandoah Valley this spring, as well as across the nation. A recent survey conducted by the National Gardening Association confirms that vegetable gardening in the United States is on the rise.


Officials with the organization say they expect 7 million more kitchen gardens in 2009, up 19 percent from 2008. This anticipated increase is nearly double the 10 percent growth in vegetable gardening activity from 2007 to 2008 as more people seek to grow their own food.


This really doesn’t surprise me. It’s just a matter of more Americans recognizing the benefits of growing their own produce. They appreciate the improved quality, taste and, in times like these, the savings on their grocery bill. The movement is unquestionably having an impact on the gardening industry.


Officials with the National Gardening Association say consumers spent $2.5 billion in 2008 to purchase seeds, plants, fertilizer, tools and other gardening supplies to grow their own food. According to NGA estimates, even a modest, well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per garden when considering a typical gardener’s investment and the retail price of produce.


The economy is one of the leading factors driving Americans into their backyards to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. “As in previous recessions, we’ve seen increased participation in and spending on food gardening as people look for ways to economize,” explains Bruce Butterfield, research director for the NGA. “That said, these results suggest the interest in food gardening may continue to increase, even after the economy improves.”


Highlights from the survey include:


# 43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries in 2009


# 11 percent of households already active in food gardening plan to increase both the amount and variety of vegetables they will grow in 2009; 10 percent also said they will spend more time gardening this year.


Among the other reasons respondents gave as to why their households are growing their own food:


# 58 percent said for better-tasting food


# 54 percent said to save money on food bills


# 51 percent said for better quality food


# 48 percent said to grow food they know is safe

Big Deficits and a Weaker Dollar

February 9, 2009

by Michael S. Rozeff

Hyperinflation in the U.S. hasn’t happened for quite some time. The last two instances that come to mind are confederate money in the 1860s and the continentals in the 1770s. In both these cases, governments used inflation to finance wars because their tax systems were weak.

A strong tax system (from the government’s perspective) has several aspects. It has a large productive capacity that it can tax without causing production to decline by a great deal. It can enforce tax collections. The required taxes are low compared to the overall government spending.

The U.S. tax system is not weak, but it is weakening. The productive capacity is difficult to evaluate, but it too has probably weakened. The U.S. economy has a large government sector (at least 40 percent) that is relatively inefficient. It also interferes with and distorts the private economy. The federal government has not been able to finance its spending by current taxes in a long time. Instead it has resorted to borrowing (deficit spending) and inflation. The results are a large national debt and a depreciating currency.

U.S. government financing has weakened further in the past year. The government is borrowing very heavily to pay for such actions as the absorption of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailouts of AIG and large banks, and the rest of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. A short while ago, the government sent out $160 billions of dollars of tax rebates. Meanwhile the Fed has, on its own and with government cooperation, vastly increased credits to the private economy. This has dramatically inflated the monetary base.

Continued on…

Peter Schiff on the Economy, Market and Bail-outs.

December 17, 2008

Peter points out that many that are still employed are actually under employed referring to commission staff and service industry jobs. While further numbers of unemployed are not even counted in the numbers released by the Government.

5 Pieces of Advice for the New Paupers

October 19, 2008

5 Pieces of Advice for the New Paupers

By John Dolan, AlterNet. Posted October 15, 2008.

I just went through the hell of going from grad school-level poverty to the real thing.

Here are my lessons learned.


“Little did I know that when I lost everything last year, I was doing research. At the time I thought it was just stupidity or bad luck or both. But now that the economy’s crashing, it turns out I’ve been out there gathering valuable tips for millions of new paupers. And let me clarify, I’m talking real poverty. My wife and I fell through many layers of poverty in a few months. First we revisited the genteel poverty known to grad students, the sort of poverty where you have scary dreams about the rent and eat a simple, wholesome diet toward the end of the month. But we fell right through that into the sort of Dickensian privation that spoiled first-worlders like me never expected to experience. That’s the kind of poverty a lot of people are going to be experiencing soon — and I’m here to tell you, it can happen here and it can happen to you. And it’s remarkably unpleasant. You may be saying “Duh!” here, but you’re probably not imagining the proper sort of unpleasantness. So I’ll try to lay out what to watch for, how to hunker down when it’s not just a matter of cutting back or selling your second car but having no car at all, having no money for heat or food.”

Gold can protect Individuals and Countries.

October 17, 2008

In the inflationary depression which looks like it could be on the horizon,

financial analyst Max Kaiser suggests Gold is what can protect us.

Quotes on Money and the Economy

October 6, 2008

He tried to explain why men on Wall Street had jumped from skyscrapers……… because, why? Because all the businessmen realized at once, on the same morning, that paper money was only paper. What Terrible fools. What did they think it was? – Annie Dillard

When everything is worth money, then money is worth nothing.
— David Byrne

In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god. Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. Wealth will be the highest virtue, poverty the greatest vice. Those who have money will display it in every imaginable way. If their ostentation does not exceed their fortune, all will be well. But if their ostentation does exceed their fortune they will ruin themselves. In such a country, the greatest fortunes will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. Those who don’t have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. That is one kind of affluence: the outward sign of wealth for a small number, the mask of poverty for the majority, and a source of corruption for all. —Denis Diderot

Economic development, more than any single issue, is the battle line between two competing world views. Tribal people’s fundamental value was sustainability, and they conducted their livelihoods in ways that sustained resources and limited inequalities in their society. What made traditional economies so radically different and so very fundamentally dangerous to Western economies were the traditional principles of prosperity of Creation versus scarcity of resources, of sharing and distribution versus accumulation and greed, of kinship usage rights versus individual exclusive ownership rights, and of sustainability versus growth.
— Revecca Adamson
For the economy I want workers and consumers to have control over their own economic lives. I want everyone to have fair conditions that fully utilize their talents and potentials. I want incomes that accord with the efforts people expend in their labors. I want what is produced, by whom, under what conditions, and with who consuming the result–all determined in accord with enhancing human well-being and development and all decided by the people involved and affected. I want an end to hierarchies of power and wealth and to class division with most actors subordinated to an elite few. To accomplish all these ends I favor the institutions of participatory economics — worker and consumer councils, remuneration for effort and sacrifice, balanced job complexes, and participatory planning. If someone should demonstrate that those institutions somehow fail to accomplish necessary economic functions or have social or personal by-products that outweigh their benefits — I would simply return to the drawing board. Exploitation, alienation, poverty, disempowerment, fragmenting and debilitating labor, production for the profit of a few — much less harsh homelessness, starvation, and degradation — are not like gravity. They arise from institutional relations established by human beings. New institutions, also established by human beings, can generate other vastly superior outcomes. Defining and working to attain those new institutions ought to be our economic agenda.
— Michael Albert

Economics has been incurably growth-oriented and addicted to everybody growing richer, even at the cost of exhaustion of resources and pollution of the environment.
–Kenneth Boulding

“If the corporations have their way, the Earth will be killed, and that’s in your lifetime. It’s revolting to me that students are being trained to work in corporations. It’s obscene to me that the corporations are running the world. We’ve got to get cross. Anger is an appropriate emotion.”
— Helen Caldicott

The superior person understands rightness; the inferior person understands profit
— Confucius

American consumerism is about buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress friends we don’t have time for.
— Leo Horrigan