KARL MARX AT THE RICE VILLAGE FARMERS’ MARKET

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I had spent the first 18 years of the 3rd Turning, The Unraveling doing my own life unraveling from Cleveland to Atlanta to Cairo to Phoenix and finally Houston. The 3rd Turning stretches from 1984 to 2004 and by the time I discovered Karl Marx at the Rice Village Farmers’ Market I had stretched my BS of Architecture ’68 and Executive Management of Business Administration ’82 diplomas across being fired three times, foreclosed on twice, 14 months as an insecure security guard, 10 months hobbling around carrying 50lb feed bags at Tractor Supply, 14 months vacuuming under car floor mats at Wal-Mart’s Tire Lube Express and 10 years of cognitive psycho-therapy. Oh, I forgot, 5 months as a beverage counselor at a Shell station at night and a takes-too-much-time courier during the day.

marxAfter three hours of selling fresh, as in raw, goat chev and feta cheese for $5/8oz container and $4/pint raw goat’s milk kefir, paying my $10 booth fee I had EIGHTY-FIVE dollars in cash, greenbacks, real hard-earned money. Well not as hard-earned as checking the air pressure of 50 four wheeled cars at Wal-Mart. Cheese and kefir making and marketing compared to the $12.50/hr labor of milking 50 goats twice a day, seven days a week was my idea of income equality. I deducted $15 for a rib-eye at Chili’s on the way home to celebrate my introduction to Marx’s, “the labor theory of value.”

“Human labor – the time and effort needed to bring a good to market – is the “secret sauce” that determines the value of things. This is what modern capitalists want you to forget, with all their hearts. A motorbike costs more than a bicycle because more time and human effort goes into making it.

“I am in Texas and sell chev for $16.00 per pound and sell out!” Mia Bella Farm

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At my Wal-Mart, hourly wage of $7.15 I would have to work, work, for 12 hours to clear 85 bucks. Even at my 10 to 10 six days a week cushy new home sales counselor gig I netted little more than $12/hr. But at the Rice Village Farmers’ Market I was an entrepreneur and as Deng Xiaoping famously said,

“making money is exhilarating!”

PRICE OF GOOD = FIXED CAPITAL + VARIABLE CAPITAL + “SOMETHING EXTRA”

sheep-mobileFIXED CAPITAL is the machinery, equipment, information, know-how, place of business and other “tangible” factors that go into making a product and delivering it to market.

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VARIABLE CAPITAL is basically a fancy way of saying “the money spent on labor power.”

“SOMETHING EXTRA”

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PRICE OF GOOD Since it takes a gallon of milk to make a pound of cheese, our average price for our 55-30-15 mix of milk-cheese-kefir dairy, was $25.00 a gallon. = FIXED CAPITAL $2.38 per gallon + VARIABLE CAPITAL is basically a fancy way of saying “the money spent on labor power.” $3.36 per gallon + “SOMETHING EXTRA” $25 – $2.38 – $3.36 = $19.29 per gallon profit.

Thanks, Karl Marx for showing me the labor theory of value.”