Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Self-Sufficiency = Poverty?

We who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are frequently told about the value of self-sufficiency. As far as it is usually taken inside church teachings, it is a very good thing. We are taught to not rely on the labor or charity of others (welfare), to learn to do some basic manual labor to raise crops, and to stockpile food for the proverbial or literal rainy day.

There are people out there who are pushing a more extreme version of self-sufficiency (most of them on the extreme left of the environmentalist movement). They want to grow all their own food (or buy it locally), provide all their own energy, create their own clothing, and so on.

What many people don't realize is that our modern lives are dependent on so many things provided by so many people that it is virtually impossible to even comprehend how many people contribute to the creation of even the simplest everyday items. To limit our choices is to push us back to a time when products were inferior and hard or impossible to come by.

Matt Ridley gives some great examples of people who try to do it on their own, making such items as soap, a toaster, and a suit. And how successful are they? Read and find out.

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