“Can we play a game of charades after we check my sugar levels?” asked Johnny while his dad pricked his finger.
“This whole thing is a one big charade.”
“What thing, what do you mean dad?”
“Never mind, it’s just been a tough week at work… you know, numbers are not supposed to lie, but I guess I can always just get a job as a magician after this…” Dad kept talking to calm himself down as he was putting away the diabetes test kit. “Our whole legal department was busy all week fudging the paperwork for the next round of government stimulus… Your levels are ok, do you still want that granola bar you were asking for earlier?”
“Catch.” Dad tossed him one of the organic non-GMO homemade granola bars they order all the way from California.
“Dad you know what, these bars seem smaller than they used to be.”
“It’s called shrinkflation son… looks like it’s seeping into even the best of them.”
“A shrink what what? By the way I know they cost a fortune, mom told me. I appreciate what you’re doing for me, dad.”
“Well, real food is expensive. But ever since the cheap fake food from the regular supermarket triggered your type one diabetes three years ago, we have to try to do what we can before it causes even more health problems for you.”
“But why is it even allowed for this harmful food to be sold to people?”
“Greed. The government allows it because they want to keep finding new ways of hiding food inflation. That way the money printing, share buybacks, and huge management bonuses can continue… and people like my CEO can buy bigger yachts… while I’ll be lucky if I get to keep my job at all.”
“Dad, could you please speak English. What are all these things you’re talking about. What is inflation?”
“When prices are rising it’s called inflation. The real, naturally grown food, goes up in price as more money gets printed. Just like asset prices. But people are tricked to think that food prices are not rising by strategies like shrinkflation. That’s when for example, the box these bars come in, or the wrappers, are kept the same size, but the bars inside are shrunk over time so that the price can be kept the same.”
“And why does it make people sick?”
“Well, that’s because of another, much more sophisticated strategy that food producers also use. I call it GMOflation. They keep the price of the food from rising by continually decreasing the quality of the food. That’s done by genetically modifying it for example. They also use cheaper, more harmful pesticides. Or grow it with cheaper unnatural fertilizers… but that’s enough of that, let’s play charades…”
“Ok you first dad!”
Dad gets up in the middle of the living room and does his best to pantomime eating a watermelon.
“Ok dad, it looks like you are eating something, but why are you spitting it out after each bite?”
“Aaah, you see Johnny, I’m eating a watermelon and spitting out the seeds. Yes. That’s right. Real watermelons have countless, hard, black seeds. You have to spit them out after each bite. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? Because you have never eaten a real watermelon! I will have to do some research and find a place where we can buy a real watermelon so you can experience it. I hope we can find one somewhere on this continent…”
Mike Krol CFA