Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Third Horseman : Food Riots of the 21st Century

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A loaf of bread for a day's wages, and three measures of barley for a day's wages; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Revelations 6:5-6


B3 said...

And there you have it, "Peak Food".

Chesterton said...

Just out of curiosity, which version of the bible is that verse from? In the KJV it's:

6And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Texas Arcane said...

Good question.

Revised KJV.

The original is not wrongly translated, it is just concealing the context from a reader who has grown up during an era of inflation.

"A penny" was an expression used to represent a day's wages to replace "denarius" in the Greek. In those days if we said we gave a man his "denarius" it meant we had paid him for a day's work. The KJV translation replaced the greek generic word for the coin with a penny, which was big money in those days as well.

When we moderns hear "penny," we can't think of anything in our lifetimes that ever cost a penny. It is hard for us to believe that even in the Middle Ages a man might work from sunup to sundown and be sent away with a penny as recompense.

At the turn of the century in this country, a "penny" could still buy half the grocery items in any store.

There's nothing natural or normal about inflation, you just get used to it.

Chesterton said...


On a bit of a side note, it's interesting that while tax cuts are an acceptable platform issue for "Republicans," proponents of sound money are universally labeled loons in the media. If the income tax were eliminated, the Fed would just print more money to fund the government's pet projects -- so they're really not too worried about taxes. One way or another, we'll still be paying for everything they want to do.

Moderns don't seem to understand that whether they lose 30% of their income to taxes or to the printing press, it's still a 30% decrease in purchasing power.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the questions Chesterton and thanks for the explanation Tex