Posts Tagged ‘Bees and Beekeeping’

On The Banks Of The Styx

March 18, 2011

            Charon must have been one of the first beekeepers, ferrying the dead hives home with the start of each new season. This blog post was going to be about a different perspective on economics and capitalism derived from the bees. It was going to reference yet another report out, this time from the UN (UN Alarmed at Huge Decline of Bee Numbers, Peter Capella, AFP, March 10, 2011). That report notes the shrinking number of bees and bee keepers, and the large percentage of food consumed globally that is reliant on their pollination. This post was going to examine the failing economics of beekeeping with an eye toward what would, or could, reverse the decline. It was going to point out that the market solution just doesn’t work with bees because more money doesn’t necessarily equate with more bees, hence more money “invested” in bees, as bee numbers decline, would not produce an even greater return (scarcity being one factor that affects exchange value). This post was going to say that this is so because the “soup” the bees swim in is already so toxic, and that the diminishing foraging environment includes an ever shrinking amount of required flora. It was going to suggest that the alternative of no bees was rather unappetizing: GM cultivars of questionable quality let alone variety, hand pollinated “museum” cultivars (so we could remember what they were like), or synthetic fruits and veggies reliant on artificial flavoring (much as we have faux crab meat, beef, chicken, etc.). The post was going to conclude with an insight ultimately suggesting that only a “not for profit” type of policy regarding bees and beekeeping, that favors them as a natural resource (like water or air), as a kind of “national treasure” would radically change the orientation. But then the images coming out of Japan overwhelmed. Images even more bizarre and grotesque than any out of Katrina, the BP oil spill, Haiti, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.(ad nauseam). Here was a hybrid, a marriage of Mad Max and future Sci Fi; an obliterated environment populated by inhabitants dressed in high tech protective gear.

            Money flees trouble, devastation and catastrophe as evidenced by the immediate drop in stock markets. Glaringly absent in the aftermath of this catastrophe is the presence of names like Toyota, Toshiba, Sony, Honda, Panasonic, etc. Unlike the beekeeper un-empowered to affect the environment from which the bees, beekeepers and others benefit, multi national companies are empowered to have a huge impact on the environment from which they derive their profits. The people of Japan contributed to these companies’ successes, no matter in how miniscule a fashion. To say that these folks were already compensated for their contributions at the time and no other obligation adheres is like relying on the market to reverse the decline of bees and beekeepers. The economics just don’t work that way.

            Post Script: The Irony – A year ago at this time, in a post entitled Post Warhol Possibility, I elaborating on the impossibility of a commercial “green art”.