Here's a rather Marxist thought about investing that I've been toying with lately. While cycling through the cotton fields of central Oklahoma recently, I got to thinking about agriculture. I had recently sold shares of Celera when the company announced intentions to begin stem cell research. It occured to me that investing in agriculture is a way to put my money to work in an industry that relies completely on God's creation. OK, I know this is a little thin. Like I said, I've been toying with the concept. How does this relate to Marx?Well, if my dim memory of college econ serves me right, one of the foundational elements of Marxist economics is that all value comes from the earth. Although I don't agree with everything Marx deduced from this, I do agree with this going-in assumption. Value comes from God, not software.This is why I have never really jumped into technology sectors (at least not with both feet). Ultimately, technology doesn't create value. It might add value, it might save labor, etc., but it isn't a source of value. Usually, it just re-distributes value that someone else (ultimately a farmer, driller, or miner) has brought from the earth. With all this in mind, I've been looking for a good agri investment. I'm seriously considering buying Tyson Foods for a number of reasons. They've been a solid company for a very long time. In the 70's until the late 80's they were one of the top few stocks traded in the US. For the past few years they've been hammered as a result of some bad diversifications, and an inability to hold prices in a marketplace flooded with protein. However, despite this they are still larger than the next several poultry producers combined. Recently they announced a deal to purchase IBP (Iowa Beef Producers), the larges beef company in the country. This will make them the largest protein producer in the world. Here's a post that deals with some of the issues they will face: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14024779Tyson is not a Christian company (like Covenant Transportation and some of the others mentioned from time to time on this board). However, they do make their money from the fruit of this land. What they do is feed people, and are fairly active in giving food away. I wouldn't consider them to be an evil company, although they have some stains on their history that are pretty significant. In fact, one of the recent Clinton pardons was of Archie Shaeffer, the former Tyson Director of Public Relations who was the main honcho in the Espey scandal. However, much of what they do results in a great deal of good, whatever might motivate them.At any rate, I just wanted to share some thoughts on investing. Since, after all, this is the Motley Fool website.TDT
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