> Sure it is.
I think its exactly because Free Market Capitalism doesn't exist in the gatekeeping process we currently call the 'The Market' that makes selling directly to consumers an anomaly rather than standard and is quite contrary to your argument.
You have to setup a share system to try and have a chance to lower your overheard and CapEX with a farm. Even Farmer's Markets are tightly regulated in some States, and they force you to accept SNAP/Food Stamps to be admitted into the program that allows you to rent a spot for a season. Which presents a whole other set of issues to be paid for your goods/services.
There is nothing about Free Market Capitalism in that. And your complex supply chain system is the symptom and byproduct of that perversion.
> Why haven't these companies reconfigured to switch chains? They CAN do this. It is a matter of time and money to do so, and they would clean up after doing so.
Because since the late 80-90s there has been a systematic eradication of small farms in the US by large Chemical and Biotech Multi-nationals; its a lot harder to petition Monsanto (now Bayer) to stop doing the things that have made them trillions in profits than it would a small and pop 15 acre operation and adapt to this model. I highly recommend this book written by a local journalist in Boulder, CO, called Harvest of Rage , and he talks about the cascade effects of ruining rural America as the food belt became the rust belt and led to extremism.
> The problem is that everybody is assuming that we will be going back to normal in about 6 months, so anything at that time scale or longer is wasted money from the point of view of profit. Nobody will reoptimize anything until they are absolutely FORCED to as part of an existential threat.
I disagree, I'm currently in discussion for a position with a startup that is going even further to capture the food loss from this kind of myopic short sighted-ness, I hope I get it as it would be a good project to really sink my teeth into.
> This is all about optimizing for profit at the expense of anything else.
Agreed. But that doesn't mean we cannot include a value system in that narrative that helps find a middle ground. We have to be flexible and understand things won't happen over night, I've been trying to tackle this very issue for nearly 15 years, hence my background. And while I always want to see more progress I cannot deny we've come a long way, especially since I was a 90s kid in the US and we didn't even know we were eating pesticide leaden vegetables: we were lab rats!
Its no surprise my generation continues to have all these food-bourne illnesses like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. So rather than opine of what should be, try to make a difference in your community. Start a community garden program and plant fruit trees around your area. This was typical during WWII and should come back in my opinion. Now that people are now able to go outside.
1: 1: https://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Rage-Oklahoma-City-Beginning/...
Also as a sidenote, here is the updated 'New Harvest of Rage'  article that predicted, among others, that Trump's election would lead to this vast polarization and eventually these protests and riots we saw this year back in 2016.
Far more workers suffered far more terribly when the workers at steel mills, coal mines, car manufacturers, etc. all got shafted at the hands of Reagan in order for the oligarchs to bust up unions.
And all of these "good, salt-of-the-earth folk" CHEERED REAGAN ON. Such a terrible shame to see these people now sliced and diced by the sword that they were happy to see used on others.
"Harvest of Rage" is trying to excuse a bunch of bigoted idiots who aren't smart enough to figure out that maybe ... just maybe ... they have more in common with the poor city dwellers than the billionaire oligarchs.
This is not new. Quoting LBJ: "If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you."
Thoughts and prayers, red state land. Thoughts and prayers.
You don't have to, but having seen in it with my own eyes I can tell you its real.
> Far more workers suffered far more terribly when the workers at steel mills, coal mines, car manufacturers, etc. all got shafted at the hands of Reagan in order for the oligarchs to bust up unions.
This isn't about whataboutism, those are all symptoms of the disease that occurs when Free Markets aren't allowed to introduce direct competition to the established players ecosystem; I can say right now having been in the Auto Industry and a car enthusiast my whole Life that Japan's dominance was already well established by the late 50s, some of it complicit with US Industry in Post-WWII Japan--I highly recommend the book Martin Bormann: Nazi in exile to see how deep Industry was in the latter years of WWII and how it led the rise of the rise of many Auto manufactures.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the most obvious case, one that led to DSM partnership (as was Daimler-Benz and things like Operation Paperclip and staffing NASA scientists with ex Nazi/SS, but I won't go into that), that made Japanese car manufactures displace the stagnant and quite frankly obsolete designs and engineering of US manufactures. The same goes for Nissan, BMW, VW etc...
Unions are exactly what made US manufactures obsolete and complacent, and the fact that the big 3 still had them up until 2008 is partly what sent them into bankruptcy and required bail outs. There were people on payroll who paid to not show up to work, that's what a Union can do, whereas a properly Free Market rewards based on merit and quantifiable, valuable input to an organization. Granted its not perfect, but its way more effective than what made US manufactures obsolete. Tesla's story is worth noting as it's turmoil as a small car startup, with a privately funded tech based ethos, was near bankruptcy; it took the loan/bailout like the GM and Chrysler, and then paid it back with interests. And still wasn't allowed to enter many Markets because they refused to adopt the Dealership model. Very interesting worth following up on.
I cannot speak about mining or steal mills, as I wasn't even born when most of those things were pretty much gone and outsourced to China.
> "Harvest of Rage" is trying to excuse a bunch of bigoted idiots who aren't smart enough to figure out that maybe ... just maybe ... they have more in common with the poor city dwellers than the billionaire oligarchs.
That may be true, but that's not the only take away, it lineouts how its those very same oligarchs (Dupont, Monsanto/Bayer, Eli Lilly et al) are the ones that systemically took their way of life in Rural America that was based on Agriculture based lifestyles and displaced them. Its not surprise these very same regions are the ones hardest hit by the Opioid Crises, either; I'd argue they were creating their demographic in a multi-phase strategy. And again, all done with State approval.
> Quoting LBJ...
Very insightful, but only further proves the notion that Unions and even racial tensions are not much different than they are today and instead we have enabled them to dictate the terms to its populace through Lobbyists and favorable legislation, which is like the Precursor to every Cyberpunk MegaCorp-ruled dystopia.
Its also telling how much more 'American' made Japanese manufactures are in comparison to its US counterpart, many of which are made in Mexico and Central America.