Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Facing Place 10-16-2011 JED

The Facing Place 
(The Story of a Store)

What is a store, but a place to store things.  The basis that it has a retail aspect is but an effect of the fact that it stores things.  The goods that a store has is what is provided to it from the people who make things, or harvest things, or otherwise bring into reality, stuff that needs storage.  These are things that are over and above those things that each individual could have, or would have, in such quantities as that they had a surplus of things, such as that they would need additional storage for that surplus.  Being that they do not have the storage for the surplus, and short of building storage for the surplus, they have no place to place this surplus of things, so they need storage.

They could purchase storage, but then they would need an ever increasing amount of storage for those things that do not perish, and would need to distribute or dispose of those things that do perish, creating the need for a storage that can transfer their goods into something they have a surplus of into something they have a lack of.

If you make chairs, you can make enough chairs to sit on, and then stop making chairs, for you have enough to supply you.  The nature of chairs is such that if you have enough for now, you will not likely need to many more for a while, provided they are of sufficient design and craftmanship to withstand the ages.  Perhaps you may need to replace one or two over an average life time, and you may want one or two spares for when some extra people stop by, but that is still only a few more, and those have to be stored as well.  Further if you can not make bread but need bread, and only have chairs, well chairs taste nothing like bread, and certainly does not have the same nutritional value as bread.  Besides a chair is very hard to slice and put ham and cheese onto.

This is the need for trade.  You could trade your extra chair for bread, but the value of a chair is usually much higher than the value of a loaf of bread, so you would want many more loaves of bread for your chair.  The baker of bread who may desire your chair, being that he or she could not really make a chair, even if they knew how, their time is spent making bread, would most likely agree that a chair is worth many more loaves of bread, although maybe not as many as you might think.

Well anyway that is the basis for trade, to get that which you have lack of for that which you have a surplus of.  It is a simple thing, but it is not as simple for everyone, as the values of things keep changing, and it is hard to carry chairs to the people who have the things you need.  Besides those people might not need chairs, now how can you have a meat pie, if the meat pie hawker doesn’t want or need a chair.  Sure the hawker could then sell the chair to someone for something they needed, but it then becomes a messy issue, and everyone becomes a hawker as they must now sell things they did not make or need for things they need.  This is where the need for a trading location can be useful.  A trader takes your surplus goods, and gives you the goods you need for the trade.  You bring in a chair, and trade for 4 loaves of bread, a dozen of eggs, a couple gallons of milk, some flour, well you get the idea.  The baker needing a chair can bring in many loaves of bread and other pastries and get your chair.  What does the trader get.  Well the trader gets the surplus that you would not get if your were to trade directly with the baker.  If you went directly to the baker they may give you 10 loaves of bread for your chair, even though you think it is worth 20, but what would you do with 20 loaves of bread anyway, or even 10 for that matter, it will go bad before you can eat it all anyways.  So the trader says your chair is worth 15 loaves of bread, and the baker needs the chair, and although he could go to you and get the chair for 10 loaves of bread, you really don’t want 10 loaves of bread, you really want 2 loaves of bread, 2 gallons of milk, a dozen of eggs, and well you see where that is headed.  The baker could round up all those things, he uses them to bake with, most likely, but she might not have the pad of paper and bolt of cloth that you also want, and could get from the trader.

Now the trader has the bread, he has the chair, and when you come in with another chair, he gives you what you need for the chair, give or take a few slices of bacon, depending on demand for your chairs.  The trader then stores the goods you give him or her for the things you want, that came out of his stores of things he got from other makers of things, and that is why it is a store.

A final note; to make this process much easier yet, money was brought into the trade, and this did at first make things easier, but not simpler.  It also put the power of the value of things in the hands of those that valued the money.  It is not that the idea of money is bad, it is the management of monetary supply that creates the issue.  This continues and will continue to be an issue, but on a trade of goods for goods or services, there is less opportunity for this type of control of the system.

So a store is simply a location where the trader has decided to keep his goods, and he or she may decide to display some of them and let the customer chose what goods they would like to buy, but that usually only happens if the trader takes money or IOU’s in lou of actual goods.  However to some degree, he or she has to take in goods for goods, or there is no trade, and he or she will have to spend cash to make cash, not really how things were meant to be.

Now of course if the trader is stationary, and really only buys goods and then sells goods, they are not a trader at all, but exhibit the traits of a trader, only differently.  They are a merchant.  The merchant buys goods at a particular price and then sells them at a marked up price.  The merchant is the by-product of the monetary system.  They generally do not trade, nor do they travel to obtain their goods, preferring to pay someone to transport the goods to their storage place, where often they also sell their goods on the store shelves, saving them more money, as the storage acts as a place to sell as well as buy.  To deal with a merchant, even if you were to bring in your chair, they would not trade you for your chair, they would give you a value of money, or credit for your chair, and you would use this money or credit to buy things from their store.  Some merchants only give credit in their store, but others give a credit that is usable in more than just their store, and this is a letter of credit, or much like the IOU’s we call money.

This goes on today.  Today you go to work, you earn credit for the labor or services you provide to the employer.  He or she gives you a credit slip in the form of a check (more often today in the form of an electronic transfer of data that represents your credit with the monetary institutions).  You use this credit to purchase things that you want or need, and go to work to earn more credit.  The financial institutions (just specialized merchants) provide some people with an extension of credit so they can buy more expensive things without the means to do so, such as land or a house.  This extension of credit comes with an additional cost to the extension, known as interest which the merchant charges you for the use of their credit to your credit.  Of course this is very simplified, but that is what it is in essence.

When you can not afford something and you buy it anyway, you are now dedicating some of your labor of services to pay down that debt.  You are then obligated to keep making chairs and selling them to the merchant at the price he or she determines as you owe them more debts than you have credits to pay all at once.  You have indentured yourself to the merchant, so I hope you really like making chairs.  To get around the merchant’s price, you could just make lots more chairs, and sell them in bulk, getting more credits than debts, and therefore a profit.  How could you do this.  Well a chair consist of many parts, and these parts are often repeatable parts that could be made by a less skilled person, especially if all they had to do was assist a machine in making them.  So manufacturing is developed, and the chair maker becomes the chair designer, and getting a loan from the merchant he or she now hires people and gets machines, and buying materials in bulk, they make lots of chairs and sell them in bulk to the merchant who then sells them at retail to those who need chairs but can not make them as easily as they can purchase them.

If you are good and things work out, you will not only pay off your debt to the merchant, but also earn enough credit to buy things that exceed the amount of credit you were able to amass before you started mass producing chairs and selling them at bulk.  As long as someone else does not come along and start making chairs for less, and selling more of them to the merchant at less, you will continue to have enough sway that you can continue to earn more credits than you have debts, and therefore a profit.  If someone does come along and start making the same chair for less, and selling for less, you have to protect that interest, and maybe find another way to ensure that your chair is chosen over their chair, by increasing your value for the money spent, or lowering your price, or protecting your design through threats and other means.

This little diabolical story gets dirty in a hurry as the merchant is always looking for ways to maximize their cut, and minimize yours, and so they may actually put the competition in business for you.  Many years ago there were these organizations that watched out for this, and ensured that no two chair makers were operating in a single area, so this could not happen.  They also distinguished between the top chair makers and the lesser chair makers through a process of judgement by peers, and that the top chair maker could always get more for their chairs provided they adhered to the rules of the Guild.  The Guild was all but abolished by the merchants, as it kept them from creating a false economy, and causing master chair makers to cheapen their work to compete with novice chair makers, as the looks were the same, and the people who purchased the chairs, could no longer tell the difference, because there were no more displays of the masters work by the Guild.

Ah, but the guild was flawed as well, as it might be, because it to was based in the values of money for services not valued at the proper proportion to the actual value of the object of need.  You see there is no way to say how much a meat pie will be worth at any one time, today it may be a nickle, tomorrow a dime.  The standard basis for price is market supply and demand.  The higher the supply, and lower the demand, the lower the price, and vice versa.  The higher the demand and higher the supply, the price levels out, and there is very little profit taken, but the cost does not change much either.  It is when the supply and demand are manipulated artificially that the troubles begin.  When there is a lack of supply for high demand products, so that the price will rise, this is how it should be, but if the supply is made short to induce a large increase in price, it ripples out to other areas as well.  Now the people who make the products will demand more money for their services to be able to afford the inflated price, and so the cost rise, creating a need to rise the price even more, until at some point demand begins to fall enough that the supply becomes excessive, and then the price must fall in order to off load this surplus of supply, which should then increase demand, should mind you.  How many chairs can you really sell, if they are of good quality, they will only sell to those that do not already have chairs.  So now the suppliers of chairs must lower the quality of the goods to last less time, so that more chairs can be sold, over and over to the same customers.  This manipulation of supply and demand through less than honest practices continues to plague the economy, and is also part of the merchant plan.

Correction is neither simple nor easy, in fact it is hard, fast and devastating.  The merchants having devised these plans have realized their mistakes and knowing that they must find a way to re-set the program, after having devised the way to both inflate the market (encouraging large population growth) and inflate the value of value (through market manipulation), can no longer sustain this, and so they have protected their interest, and are setting the final stages of economic collapse into place.  When will it happen?  Well it has already, it is just  a timed release.  Now it is a matter of knowing what to do in the meantime so that when the rest of the society realizes they have been taken for a ride, and that they will be left hung out to dry, or bow to the new order, well, it will not be pretty for a while.  Overall most people will comply with the order, and those that fit the design will be pardoned the fate of those that do not.  Those that do not, well they will be fitted for whatever work they can do that will suit the order, but if they can not, they will be reduced, to put it mildly.

As for those that sit on the other side of the line (wall), life will not be safe or pretty for quite some time.  There will not be stores to go to, no supplies, nothing that would seem the same as it once was, even for those that remember that which came before the correction began.

In the years that follow there will be indications of light, pockets of hope, and new lives will live within here, remaking their lives as it should have been, in tune with the natural order, not the merchant order.  The merchant order will continue, in cloistered areas separate from the wilderness, in small Eden's, where merchants will be gods, and the people will fear that which is outside the walls of their well tended gardens.  We existed this way for many thousands of years, much more than we did out side the walls.  Will the people inside make the same mistakes again that brought them to the place where they are today, yes maybe, but I think it will be at least another few millennium before they eat of the tree of knowledge, and as long as ignorance is bliss, they will live happily ever after.  Will the gods then continue to concern themselves with that which is outside their creations?  Yes and no, they will to the degree that it might effect their interior harmony, but otherwise, no, it just is too much to do, with all that they have to do to maintain appearances.

There are many creation stories because all of them are true, all at the same time.  There have been several houses, and when several of them combined to try to destroy one another, the whole of their existence nearly ceased to exist.  Will they make that mistake again?  I do not believe they will for quite some time, but greed and desire is their downfall, and it may again cause them to repeat their own mistakes, a sure sign of insanity.

And that is a short story of a store, and how it may come to be the little lantern within the darkness that approaches, as something wicked this way comes.