Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A short discussion on "Local Industry' post

The "cookie" business is a good illustration of a viable business in austere times.

1. It uses ubiquitous or local materials. One reason the Weimar Republic crashed and burned was because their industry could not buy foreign inputs to keep the equipment running.

2. Fixed costs make mass production more economical than having every household make their own. "What fixed costs?" you ask? A significant investment in fuel must be made to bring an oven or griddle up-to-heat. Once the griddle/oven is hot, additional "cookies" can be produced with minimal variable costs. In total, a production run of fifty "cookies" is much less costly than fifty production runs of a single cookie.

3. The product addresses a need near the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. People being driven from pillar-to-post are concerned about maintaining body temperature, access to oxygen, potable water and having sufficient calories of acceptable food MUCH more than they worry about status or self-actualization.

4. The process scales quickly and easily whether through more hours of production or additional apparatus. Increasing the production of an orchard of olive trees does not scale quickly. Increasing the production of Programmable Logic Controllers does not scale easily.

5. Excess production has inherent value. If nothing else, the owners of the business can profitably "eat" their losses.


  1. This is a critique in name only; technically speaking it is a critique. My intent is only to ask why essays such as this do not include transportation, storage, and storage methods?

    Production here addresses only the upfront costs. Not mentioned is, say costs of inventory.

    In this example, one may not be able to eat their goods, nor to distrubute goods before expiration.

    1. One of my flaws as a writer is to dive down the rabbit-hole and overload the reader with detail.

      I don't have data, but my gut-feel is that 1000 words is optimum for a bit of fiction and 400 words for non-fiction. Incidentally, reading those length fiction/essays is about how long it takes a person with healthy bowels to void themselves. I know my audience.

      Working within those limitations, it is hard to work in secondary costs like you mention unless I split it off as a support essay, which I will ponder doing.

      Thanks for writing.


    2. Dear ERJ, not a flaw, although I aunderstand your drift. I for one would appreciate a treatise from the fertile and provocitive mind of ERJ. Rabbit holes are a speciality.

      Speaking of fiction, I remember your mention of a root cellar in one story.

    3. Consider this my plea for you expounding on secondary costs of production.

      Thank you for your fine essays. As previously mentioned, and true today, your unique perspectives are greatly appreciated.

  2. I recently viewed a video produced by a hunting guide. I think, 'Eighty Mile Elk, is the name of the video.

    The man spoke of the recent fad towards developing the 'primitive' skills from the era of mountain men and early settlers. He said that that period was unique because commonly it centered on a small group of men, often only two to three. Whereas usual throughout history the focus was on establishing community.

    Still, we know that communities (not counting children, 25 to <100 souls) suffered. Not only because of lack of medicine and medical knowledge, but contamination of product sources or during storage after production. Food science has largely focused on storage methods.
    Any production must include for distribution and inventory. That of course includes durable goods. I'll close in saying Just In Time is a method to wrangle those associated costs; however, JIT itself places pressure on production.

    A ramble because 'everything' is connected', as a mentor was fond of saying.

  3. This is why many villages had a baker - the better oven and volume production were worthwhy even on a fairly small scale.


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