Growing Toyotas, Manufacturing Soybeans: Sometimes it takes a little surrealism to make economics clear to people.

(Des Moines, Iowa)—Jeremiah V. Jones, a farmer living in nearby Elkhart, thinks it will be a very good year. “The weather has been excellent. We ought to get a good crop.” This fall he planted Toyotas. “We rotate the crops, of course. In fall, we plant Toyotas. In spring, it’s Nissans. In summer, we usually plant Isuzus, mostly for ground cover. It works out well most years, although a drought three summers ago wiped out half our Isuzus.”  When asked about models and colors, he says he’s betting on red winter Toyotas. “Pretty hardy crop. Withstands cold weather better than the metallic blue variety. Good crop for Iowa. ‘Course, if anything comes of this global warming business, we may have to switch. No signs of it yet, though.”

(NAGOYA, JAPAN)—Toshiro Uda, director of the Tanaka Soybean Works, is guardedly optimistic about prospects for soybean sales this year. “Demand remains high. But why not? This is Japan, after all. Our main concern is with supply. The whole industry has been adding plant capacity. The new robots have really streamlined production.”…more

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