[ExI] Don't be a locavore fundamentalist

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Sep 26 02:08:55 UTC 2009

On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 8:59 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/9/26 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:
>> ### Locovores are monkeys arrogant enough to think they can out-think
>> the market. They disregard the price signal that integrates social
>> utility over the whole world, and instead apply their subjective
>> feelings to opine about things they usually know next to nothing
>> about, like the environmental and social impact of apple farming in
>> Chile or the energy cost of trans-oceanic shipping. In other words,
>> locovory is the usual mixture of ignorance and self-righteous
>> arrogance that monkeys strut around to impress other monkeys.
> How do you disentangle market from non-market? If people prefer to buy
> locally because they have a perhaps foolish notion that it is better,
> due to Green propaganda, isn't that the market at work?

### Free exchange (i.e. non-violent, non-regulated interactions
between multiple entities) is a means of apportioning resources
according to the desires of participants - and aside from a refusal to
endorse violence, the proponent of free exchange does not pass
judgment on the wisdom or folly of these desires. So yes, locovory, as
long as it happens in a non-violent context, is market at work, and
may not be restricted by violent means.

Still, locovory is stupid. US locovores usually profess that their
choice to eat e.g. Virginia apples rather than Chilean ones somehow
"protects the environment" and "makes people better off" - and this is
simply incorrect, since the price signal tells us that Chilean apples
are more economical (i.e. more conducive to human welfare) to produce,
given the comparative advantages involved here. Locovores usually do
not understand the real social implications of prices - for them the
price is just an arbitrary number.

Furthermore, locovores tend to be insufferably smug, admonishing me
with their bumper stickers to follow their lead. They believe that
locovory, the sacrifice they make to pay extra for crappy products,
makes them better human beings - but aside from the heady feeling of
moral superiority they get, the net effect on human welfare is clearly
negative and therefore locovory cannot serve as a legitimate basis for
moral satisfaction. This makes locovory doubly stupid, and annoying to

Finally, there is always the suspicion that locovores are just
xenophobic - maybe the thought of eating apples touched by brown
people squicks them off (not that they would ever admit to it).

So, as a principled proponent of non-violence I say to the locovores,
go on and spend your $15 on a bottle of sourpiss New York wine, it's
your money and your palate. Just don't expect me to like you for doing


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