Wa’da we think of paper shufflers?

Cactus Kate  left a comment asking me to:

opine on a general farmer’s opinion of Auckland paper shufflers and speculators? Particularly the exchange speculators. I can’t do it without using expletives.

I won’t presume to speak for all farmers or even farmers in general, but I suspect Eric Roy’s observation in response to a question on Wellington would apply just as well  to paper shufflers further north:  “There’s too many people up there who’ve never had a bad lambing.”

And then I offer this story:

A farmer was grazing his flock on the long acre of a remote road in the Otago backblocks when a brand-new shiny 4WD emerges from a dust cloud.

The driver, a bloke in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Bolle sunglasses and Yves St Laurent silk tie, slides down the window and says to the farmer, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep and lambs you have in your flock, will
you give me a lamb?”

 The farmer looks from the man to the peacefully grazing herd and
murmurs, “Why not?”

The well-dressed bloke whips out his notebook, connects it to his mobile phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get a fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. Then he opens the digital photo in Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. Now he accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC-connected Excel spreadsheet on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised LaserJet printer, turns to the drover and says, “You have exactly 2,586 sheep and lambs.”

That’s right.” says the farmer. “Well, I guess you can take one of my lambs,” And he watches the man select an animal and stuff it into the back of his 4WD.

Hey,” muses the grazier, “If I can tell you exactly what you do for a living, will you give me back the animal?”

The man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a bureaucrat from Wellington” says the farmer.

“Wow! That’s correct! But how did you guess that?” the bureaucrat asks.

“No guessing required.” answered the farmer. “You showed up here uninvited; you wanted to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about sheep.

 “Now, give me back my dog.”

Stressing that I understand that town and country need each other and it ill behoves any of us to claim we’re superior to anyone else, I put my tongue in my cheek and quote Vincent McNabb:

“There are those who wrest a living from the land and that’s work; there are those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from the land and that’s trade*; and there are those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from the land and that’s finance”.

(*trade in this context refers to wholesale and retail not trades).

It doesn’t really matter what paper they shuffle and where they shuffle it, the people shuffling it make a living from the ones who do the work.

8 Responses to Wa’da we think of paper shufflers?

  1. Cactus Kate says:



  2. Pique Oil says:

    Paper shufflers are essentially parasites. Ivomectim or its derivatives do not have any effect.


  3. Paul Walker says:

    Absolutely crap! The speculators and the entrepreneurs are some of the most important people in an economy, for it is they who basically being about the reallocation of resources within an economy. They are the one who look for and exploit missallocations of resources, they are the one who arbitrage away price differences and remove inefficiencies. Insofar as an economy can trend toward equilibrium, such people are the ones who drive it there.


  4. Cactus Kate says:

    Yes Paul, but farmers do not like or trust them.


  5. homepaddock says:

    CK – I don’t think all farmers dislike and distrust all speculators and entrepreneurs – a lot of farmers are speculators and entrepreneurs too.

    It’s the ones who cost a lot while producing little or nothing who are the problem.


  6. Neil says:

    Homepaddock I would hope that the subject will not add to the simmering ill feeling between town and country .
    Rebel farmers and some in Fed Farmers see anyone not farming as the enemy.
    For goodness sake, town and country need to work together.One cannot do without the other.
    The word “bureaucrat” has become a by-line for anyone not from the country who seeks to implement policies that do not suit the rural sector.
    In Southland we had the case where Fed Farmers criticised people seeking work in non-rural industries because they were denying the rural sector employees.Sounds like nanny state from the rural sector !!!!


  7. Cactus Kate says:

    “a lot of farmers are speculators and entrepreneurs too”.

    Yes HP but you have forgotten the first rule of farming opinion – “We are the backbone of NZ and can do and say what we like”.

    The second rule of farming opinion I have found is “Anyone earning more than a farmer is earning too much and produces too little”.


  8. homepaddock says:

    CK – Re the 1st rule – Fortunately those are a tiny minority.

    Re the 2nd rule – Anyone who thinks that someone who earns more than they do earns too much, is definitely stupid and probably poor.

    You seem to know some negative close-minded and regressive farmers. Consider this an open invitation to come and meet some positive, open-minded and progressive ones if you’re ever down this way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: