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April 04, 2010

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Sardines, (not the boneless skinless kind) packed in olive oil, and smushed on a slice or two of good rye bread are one of the great ignored gustatory delights.

Sardines packed in water are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and in my eyes too.

It would be nice if Beachcliff didn't have to close, but that isn't how the world does -- or should -- work.


I can't help but wonder if this is really true. It tastes like Kool aid to me.

It can't really be more efficient to get our sardines from Europe, unless we are subsidizing the transportation costs by excluding many externalities from the cost of fuel.

I know world wide capitalism seems to be a given, these days, but there has to be a better way.

Fishy, very fishy...

Sad news, Von.

I went to my cupboard and opened a can of Beachcliff sardines and ate them with a spoon after I read your post.

Sardines, and herring, are very healthy foods.

No doubt, Obama's healthcare plan has a line or two in it about mandating cold water, lower-down-on-the-foodchain fishies for the American people, but I think Spammity and the Death Palin have convinced various sorts that it's tantamount to Stalin forcing broccoli down the throats of the Ukranians.

"but that isn't how the world does --- or should -- work."

How should it work? Should it be even sadder?

Sad -- and efficient -- that's my idea of happiness.

Not that I give a crap at this point.

I like good restaurants, but wonder about American restaurants serving an expensive $8 dollar sardine, or the polenta for $7 bucks, or maybe now the pork belly appetizer for $9 bucks.

I suspect I could serve a bale of hay napped with a fire-hydrant sauce laced with grass-clippings for $11 smackers, if the Food Channel started featuring it.

By the way, speaking of passing, Gary Farber has a nice post up with clips of the Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations in 1968.

Not sardines, but I still wonder who murdered them.

unless we are subsidizing the transportation costs by excluding many externalities from the cost of fuel.

Dunno . . . sardine cans are packed in like . . . sardines . . . no?
Seriously, if you can ship it by boat it doesn't cost much to send it across an ocean. Heck, if it's light and small enough you can economically ship it via air courier. UPS apparently charges ~$2 per kg, so an iPad costs less than $2 to air-ship from China.

I was doing a satellite view of Akutan Island and was struck by this seafood processing plant in the middle of nowhere.

It's where the Most Dangerous Catch people drop off their crab pots for productization of the beasties into sellable food.

Looking at this agglomeration of capital, labor, and enterprise, it struck me that this is hard-core wealth production, where the rubber meets the road.

Like most middle class people, I've led a detached life from the realities of wealth-production. Realtors, lawyers, doctors, computer nerds, teachers, administrators, prison guards, and a zillion other service and retail sector jobs are far removed from the actual production of real wealth.

Every economy lives or dies by this wealth production, eventually.


Even the cheap sardines haven't been an economical source of protein for quite some time, they're something of a niche luxury good. Inferior niche market goods need to be awfully cheap to survive. Beachcliff's weren't. And, as Troy points out, the shipping costs for something like sardines are an insignificant fraction of the price.

I like keeping a tin or two of sardines around for a late night snack on toast, but my wife is the main consumer in this household, and neither of us is going to go for an inferior sardine when the good ones aren't much more expensive. Or, for that matter, go for the really expensive ones, when they're not all that much better...

It would be nice if Beachcliff didn't have to close, but that isn't how the world does -- or should -- work.

Alternatives:

Beachcliff could pack their sardines in good oil instead of water.

Bumble Bee could live with a somewhat smaller return on investment.

Fishermen could change back to whatever earlier fishing techniques they used, that kept the quality of the fish higher.

Or, maybe Mediterranean sardines are simply better and the world doesn't need Beach Cliff.

But the world as it is is not the only possible, and certainly not the best possible, world.

Realtors, lawyers, doctors, computer nerds, teachers, administrators, prison guards, and a zillion other service and retail sector jobs are far removed from the actual production of real wealth.

Every economy lives or dies by this wealth production, eventually.

Truer words never.

I was doing a satellite view of Akutan Island and was struck by this seafood processing plant in the middle of nowhere.

That must have hurt. You'd think that out in the middle of nowhere, you'd have seen it coming.

"I was doing a satellite view of Akutan Island and was struck by this seafood processing plant in the middle of nowhere"

Wow, I was doing a a satellite view of Akutan Island and missed the processing plant entirely.

I keep asking myself why I happened to be doing a satellite view of a Akutan Island in the first place but couldn't remember.

Heck, if it's light and small enough you can economically ship it via air courier.

And since air travel doesn't have any unpriced externalities or subsidization, and shipping from Europe is done by clipper ships, Oyster Tea's point is soundly refuted.

You'd think that out in the middle of nowhere, you'd have seen it coming.

I'm guessing it suddenly emerged from beneath, in the manner of a Bond villain's seafood processing plant.

i dont think so.. unless the god say.

von,

This is just another example of the 'creative destruction' that free market acolytes slobber over to the point of orgasm. Expressions of regret merely expose your own personal weaknesses, and constitute a black mark against your ideological purity.

But things change, even Burke admitted that. The question is why and for whose benefit. Eddie Burke and Freddie Hayak would probably not like each other very much.

Burke Hayek chuckled malevolently. From the transparent dome atop his undersea lair, he surveyed the schools of sardines swirling lazily about the missile launchers. Soon, he would receive the word he had been waiting for ...

The intercom crackled to life. "Sir! We get signal!"

"Excellent! Stations!"

Peering upward, Hayek reached for the brass lever next to his desk. Yes, there he was! Troy in his inflatable Google was almost directly overhead. As he pulled the lever to begin the process of swiftly surfacing his unlicensed seafood processing plant, his chuckle re-emerged, breaking out into a long, wicked laugh. "First, we strike Troy out in the middle of nowhere," he thought. "Then we unleash creative destruction upon an unsuspecting world!"

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