Chipotle And The Beneficent Free Market

This is a slight commentary on Chipotle (the restaurant chain) and how it symbolizes the significant superiority of the free market economy and accompanying extreme wealth and their many benefits to the world at large.

Have you eaten at Chipotle? If not, you should.

It’s not really Mexican food, per se.

It’s more like Starbucks does Mexican food. We all know Starbucks isn’t really coffee, but it’s still really good and we’re willing to pay a lot for it.

Chipotle uses fresh ingredients and a limited number of choices in an efficient and modern atmosphere to serve quality food at reasonable prices.

Kinda like Henry Ford: You can get anything you want at Chipotle, so long as it’s a burrito (not completely true, but I’m suffering under a plethora of metaphors and similes today. Sorry).

Anyway, it’s good. I like it. My wife does too. And lots of other people too.

Chipotle uses it’s efficiency structure, derived from it’s owner, McDonalds Corp’s,  excellent experience at high-volume, low-cost supply-chain infrastructure management to maintain significant profits while maintaining reasonable prices.

Unless they were making tons of money from us eager eaters, Chipotle would not be able to be such a force for good so far as the environment is concerned.

Chipotle uses it’s leverage with it’s sour cream supplier, Daisy, to make sure the cows that give their milk to the Chipotle sour cream cause are not fed any hormones of any type. A non-hormone injected cow will not produce anywhere near the same amount of milk as one who is kept hormone-high. Which means that the “cleaner” milk costs more. If Chipotle were not making tons of money, it could not afford to reqire this better milk.

I probably couldn’t taste the difference between hormonal sour cream and non-hormonal sour cream, but I’m happy to be enjoying stuff that doesn’t  cause so much trouble to the cow.

Chipotle’s beef, pork, and chicken likewise come from free-range animals not injected or force-fed. This means the amount of usable meat from each animal is much less than ones that are artificially “enhanced”, lowering the profit and raising the cost of each animal.

All because I pay 5.35 for my loaded steak burrito, all these animals are able to enjoy better lives and provide me with my enjoyment in a more natural, healthful way.

Could an eatery in a poor nation support the same level of “sustainable” resource management?

It’s not that we can compel them to behave in a certain way. If the way they raise their cows raises the costs beyond what their economy can support, they’ll starve.

In a hierarchy of needs, basic human needs come before animal comfort. If feeding the cows in destitute South American and African nations means the people will be able to afford beneficial red meat while saving more money so their sons and daughters can attend school, that’s a trade worthwhile.

As their education level rises, their production will speed, efficiency will rise, and the average wealth of their economy will increase until they can afford places like Chipotle and the less efficient, but more friendly methods of production.

So don’t hate the economy, your wealth and ease, or the rampant consumerism that drives much of our lives these days. It’s not all good, but it’s far from all bad. Americans give and give and give more, by orders of magnitude, than anywhere else on the planet. We produce more per unit of labor, and we own more per person than anywhere else, and it leads to a continued cycle of growth and giving.

By working hard and excercising a responsible or even an irresponsible level of gratitude to God for His beneficence to us in giving to those without, we cause more good.

God did not punish the men who used their business acumen to double His granted funds, neither will He begrudge you trying hard, with ethics and moral behavior, to maximize your economic potential.

Now go and sin no more. And eat at Chipotle.

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