Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are we hunkering?...

Wasted too much time this morning reading smug/sarcastic/funny tweets about the East Coast Snopocalypse Fail. In the process, I stumbled across this:
I don’t mean to say we’re in a panic, but we are behaving like buffoons. Obviously, if people really were afraid of going hungry, they’d be stocking up on batteries and cans of beans and would skip the baby arugula. (Blizzard tip: Salad greens are both perishable and low in energy-content. Don’t buy them.) No, this is a different kind of frenzied state than you’d find during a genuine catastrophe—less frightened than nervously excited, not so much survivalist as shopaholic. In fact there’s a name for such behavior, which takes prudence as a beard for gluttony. The word is hunkering, in the specifically American sense of digging in and taking shelter. It’s the anxious form of self-indulgence, where fear is fuel to make us cozy. The end is nigh … let’s eat!Official weather warnings feed this hunker culture. They talk in terms of quantity, not quality—an implicit exhortation to go shopping. Meteorologists say that a crippling and historic storm will dump several feet of snow or more. “More”—that’s what drives the hunkered mind: The weather will be so excessive, with so much snow on top of snow, that we should take excessive action. Politicians gin up excessive numbers, the bigger the better: We’ve got 700 pieces of equipment at the ready, says Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh, and more than 35,000 tons of salt. On Sunday, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio rallied local hunkerers with a call for immoderation: “Whatever safety precautions you take in advance of a storm,” he said, “take even more.” Got that? It doesn’t matter what you do, exactly, as long as you do as much of it as possible. [More]

Interesting. But then it hit me - is much of agriculture in a slo-mo hunker mode right now? We have been warned about the "party being over" for like, ever. Those admonitions have only gotten more shrill as grain prices swooned. And it could be there is a small portion of our conscience nagging that we really didn't totally deserve the money that fell from the skies (for grain producers) the last few years.

You can make your own judgement. But if we are hunkering, it seems to me we are likely to overshoot, just as happened in NYC. Carrying this train of thought one step further, I think there might be some competitive openings should the worst case not arrive on time, or fail to show up at all. 

People are slow to abandon "hunker mode". Maybe because it seems to admit their own erroneous thinking, maybe because they remember a late hit sometime during their lives. I don't know for sure, but I think I'm going to risk unhunkering early. 

Or maybe I never really hunkered that much to begin with.

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