Post for Apr 2-8 2017

TaN: Despite watching all those documentaries regarding plants and their behavior, it did not dawned on me until lately that the defensive posture plants adopt — like releasing toxins and distress chemicals to summon biological defenders — against marauding herbivorous insects and pests and would-be plant predators is probably being deployed and employed against us too…when we harvest them and prepare to eat them.

I wonder whether plants can distinguish between their usual or traditional enemies and us humans, so much so that they will behave differently when we eat them as compared to insects and other small invertebrates that feed on them.  This is because, according to science researches to date, plants secrete or produce chemicals as a reaction and these chemicals can range from being toxic to hallucinogenic to distress signals to call on external “allies” or assistance.

Furthermore, if the chemicals are meant to be toxic to the insect or invertebrate feeders, will they have the same effect on us?  After all, one’s poison may not necessarily be poison to another.

A classic case in point is the monarch (and the lesser-known queen) butterfly caterpillar which feeds on milkweed and absorbs and adopts the plant’s defensive toxins into its own chemical defense against predators.

It is always a joy and wonder to learn about the great wisdom and majesty of God through His creations.  It never ceases to amaze me to learn of how the universe works and how integrated and interrelated everything is.  It only shows, vindicates, and reinforces the saying,  The more we learn, the more we learn how much more we need to learn…how much more there is to learn and marvel at God’s infinite imagination and creativity.

TaN: I am such a slow-wit — not realizing, until now, that the recent “trend” of thinking that God could be female or a mother is so absurd or they are not Christians or even Muslims.  It is so clear as written in the Holy Scriptures that Jesus taught us (most notably in Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2, KJV) and I quote: “(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our FATHER [all caps mine], which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” or “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy nameThy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  Is this not plain and simple enough?  It is as clear as day! Does it need further elaboration or explanation?  How simple does it have to be?

How can anyone, with the simplest and most rudimentary knowledge of the more significant passages and events in the Holy Scriptures, not know of this fact?  In truth, it is among the first to be taught us (Christians), especially when teaching the Lord’s Prayer.  Or have they so conveniently forgotten?

This alone puts the issue or controversy to rest.  There is no ambiguity or vagueness in the terminology.  There is no other interpretation of the term Jesus Christ used.

It must be remembered or reminded that it is written (and forewarned) that “(18) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (19) And if any man shall tale away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.”

And so by changing the wording or the context or God’s intention in the terminologies exposes us to the forewarnings in the immediately preceding.  Beware of trying to inject our own thoughts, biases, opinions, values, reason into God’s words; DO NOT PUT WORDS IN GOD’s MOUTH!  Do it at your own risk.

TaN: I seriously doubt that the Ripley’s data on the top 8 richest people — William Gates III, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Lawrence Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg — “own as much combined wealth as half the human race” (funnies, The Philippine STAR, March 21, 2017 issue).  Considering that their combined wealth amount to less than $1 trillion, or even just half, it pales in comparison to the annual budget of the United States of America.

By the way, it is wrong or incorrect to say that someone is a “self-made” man, especially when it is connection with wealth.  In truth, if it were not for the (“insignificant”) spending of the lowly poor and subsistence labor, there would not be any millionaire or billionaire.  It is their combined spending that make up more than 99% of the wealth of the rich.  This is the true power of the lowly consuming public — us — and let no one tell you otherwise.  We are the ones who made them rich, made them what they are, made them who they are.  If it were not for us, they would be nobodies.

Moreover, quotes regarding labor and capital attributed to have been said by Abraham Lincoln (taken from http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln97.html):
Labor is the true standard of value“;
The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly suppliedThere is no dispute upon this point.”;
If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive — all would have perished by want of subsistence.”;
Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn.”; “Property is the fruit of laborproperty is desirableis a positive good in the worldThat some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterpriseLet not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”;
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capitalCapital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existedLabor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”; and,
And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced themBut it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruitsThis is wrong, and should not continueTo [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government.”

Given these, being rich is not really much of an achievement.  If it were not for labor, there would be no capital.  In effect, capital is just accumulated excess or unconsumed (fruits of) labor.

In conclusion, I cannot remember who said it (and I paraphrase) but it was supposed to have been said that it is very wrong to have people richer than entire countries.  And this is precisely what is happening today and this exclusive club of extremely wealthy people get wealthier and wealthier — and all at the expense of the global poor (although it cannot be totally blamed on the wealthy because the poor “permit” themselves to be exploited and “subjugated”, via consumerism and commercialization and cheap labor and intellectual property and private ownership).  You get the life you permit yourself to live — i.e., the life the global elite wants you to live.

TaN: Setting the price for a particular commodity can (or should) only be based on one of two possibilities: (1) relative to the cost of materials and production cost (plus a few incidentals such as transporting and advertising), and (2) relative to the value of or to the consumer.  One is moral whereas the other is morally questionable or conditional.

Costing relative to expenses incurred bringing a particular product to the (retail) market is best and most ethical because it deters overpricing and does not prey on the needs of the consumer — i.e., how badly the consumer needs it, like pharmaceuticals (some of which are reportedly prices with a mark-up in the United States of America of over HALF A MILLION PERCENT).  It is but right that costing (or mark-up) should be based on the relative overall production cost of a commodity which still provides profit for business while assuring the consuming public that the latter is not being taken advantage of.

Moreover, it is unethical to take undue advantage of others, especially when they are at their most vulnerable.  There is a saying, Someone who takes advantage of the weakness of another is called a COWARD!  This is especially true when it comes to medicine and basic necessities (as staple and primary foods) — and the treatment of the poorest of our poor.

On the other hand, costing relative to the value of the commodity to the consumer is exploitative (in a bad way) although it does have the unintended (because business is supposed to encourage consumption and not discourage it) but beneficial advantage of slowing down or lessening a consumer’s desire to make a purchase, especially if or when the price is beyond the latter’s willingness to pay.

I remember an instance in my visit to China mainland where a street hawker/vendor displayed his wares but there were no price tags.  I was told that the price is set impromptu — at the moment during the purchase.  If or when the eyes (of the potential buyer) enlarges and has a lingering stare (indicating interest and would like to take a closer look, so the possibility of a sale is quite high), the price goes up.  However, a quick glance or nonchalant facial expression means that the browser is not really interest and it is going to be a hard sell so the price is set low — to entice or convey a potential bargain sale.

In conclusion, I recommend the best compromise would be that the production cost be explicitly printed on the packaging so that consumers will know how much is difference between it and the (mark up) retail price.  This way, it will be left to the consumer to decide whether the price difference or mark up is worth or justifiable and whether s/he will make the purchase or not.

It is — or if not, should be — a consumer right to know how much more s/he is paying for an item in comparison to its production cost.  It should be the prerogative of the buyer to weigh the price s/he is paying against the cost to produce and deliver it to him/her to decide whether s/he will (still) complete the transaction.  Transparency is ever more important today that before.

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