Hello and good day!
The photo above is a typical cacao farm house. It is in the little farming town of Guayaquil. Guayaquil is named after the Guayaquil, or Bamboo, trees that grow in their section of the jungle.
A curious fact is that while these trees grow prolifically in Guayaquil, you hardly see them growing anywhere else in the surrounding area, a sign of the extreme diversity in the Amazon jungle.
Please keep this photo in mind while reading the following message I just received from our operations manager in Peru, Oscar Ayala.
I've translated it into English for you.
"We're suffering from torrential rains, brother. It is causing the roads to be flooded with water and we don't know when the roads will be cleared.It is a disaster area all around us People have been killed, swept away by swollen rivers. My family is doing alright. But near our cacao processing facility in Cigarro De Oro, the river jumped the banks and caused a section of the road to slide away."
That is a 2022 cacao harvest update for you.....rain....lots and lots of rain.
It is a peculiar dichotomy of human life that one day we are excitedly announcing new and fun products and then the next day we must report on people dying in floods.
Houses like the one in the picture above don't stand up too well against the heavy rains. But they do have the benefit of being easy to rebuild. Floods can wash away that little house, or batter the aluminum roof so strongly that it caves in.But the house can be rebuilt quickly with materials that are abundantly available in the surrounding environment.
And here is how new products come full circle.
New products and chocolate sales give our cacao farm partners the resources they need to build houses that aren't washed away easily, that have stronger foundations. More sales means more cacao purchases at higher and higher prices. That gives these good folks the resources they need to put roofs on their homes that can't be defeated by rain so easily.
Now I want to take a quick detour to talk about war.
Given that nature is the most powerful force of destructive power in existence, war is a pretty dumb endeavor. It is a huge waste of resources and ingenuity given that nature can destroy us so easily.
Rain, plagues, volcanoes, climate change, tsunamis, earthquakes, you name it. It really doesn't make sense for human beings to be harming one another. We should be banding together, at least until we know how to handle ourselves against nature.
And this brings me to something that I wanted to share from one of my all time favorite books. It is called Economics In One Lesson by a gentleman named Henry Hazlitt. In this book, there is a discussion about what is called the broken window fallacy.
It goes like this.
A bunch of hoodlooms break the window of a chocolate shop. At first, everybody is aghast at the damage done to the innocent shop owner's property.
\But then a couple of "smart" economists come around and say that the broken window is actually a good thing.
Because now the window repairman will get some work. And with the money he earns fixing the window, he can buy a new suit, and the money will circulate, and supposedly this will be good for the economy.
However, what is overlooked here is that the chocolate shop owner has less money than he otherwise would have had....because he had to spend his savings fixing the window. And to the exact extent that the window repairer benefits, the chocolate shop owner loses.
So this doesn't really help the economy very much.
And what if the hoodlums had broken two windows and the chocolate shop owner only had enough money to repair one window? In that case, the economy would be down one window, which would be a pure loss.
On the other hand, maybe the chocolate shop owner was saving up to install a new window and was going to hire the window owner anyhow. Without the destruction, the economy would have had an extra window in it.
And that is why military invasions and anything other than defensive military spending are bad for the economy.
To my mind, wars are especially evil given that people are still living in bamboo houses that can be washed away by jungle floods. Thankfully, the universe is designed in a beautiful, simple, elegant way.
All of the best solutions are win/win.
It turns out that working hard and adding to the economy creates the resources necessary to be able to buy chocolate, which then helps cacao farmers improve their lot in life.
Peace, production, and creativity allow us to have our chocolate....and eat it too.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day.