Taking lessons from China

As I’ve said before, I grew up in northern New Hampshire — specifically, Haverhill, New Hampshire, the Grafton county seat. The main perq of this was we got to host the Grafton County Jail. It was a local landmark, and every couple of years there’d be a little excitement when another prisoner would escape. When I was in Driver’s Ed, I asked the instructor if I’d get extra points if I hit an escapee.

To economize, though, the County consolidated a few features into that one site. Attached to the Grafton County Jail is the Grafton County Nursing Home, and around the Jail is the Grafton County Farm.

Two years ago, officials got the bright idea to raise some money for the prison by opening a farm stand. And because they didn’t want to gouge shoppers, they priced their produce low — real low. So low, in fact, that they were undercutting other farmstands in the area. Low enough to be below cost, and putting a couple of those other farmstands out of business.

It’s kinda like how China is getting such a large portion of our manufacturing base. Labor over there is dirt cheap — and in many cases, they are using prison labor, too.

I haven’t been back to that neck of the woods in about a decade, and I don’t really miss it. But it’s nice to see the home-town folks are still on the cutting edge of economic trends.

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  1. Mike D May 3, 2005
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