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  • Kerry D. Krauss

Economics

I bought some leftover Easter Peeps yesterday. I bought them to replace last year’s Peeps that remained uneaten. As I made my way through the discounted Easter candy aisle, I watched a miracle of sorts.

A mother and her son were also looking through the discount shelf. The mother told the boy ‘two’. I know this because she showed the universal ‘two’ sign and I doubted that she was flashing me the ‘peace’ sign. He picked Peeps with his first selection. I didn’t see what he picked with the second, but it didn’t matter. What did matter is that he motioned for his mother to bend over and gave her a hug and a kiss in joy and gratitude for the gift.

It was a special moment. She didn’t need to buy him candy. He didn’t need to thank her. I’m glad to have witnessed both sides of the transaction.

The value we place on certain things amazes me. The candy those two bought yesterday couldn’t cost more than three dollars—and the candy was already discounted 50%. The value of a hug and a kiss far exceeded three bucks.

Today, U.S. oil prices fell to $-37.63 a barrel. I’m not good at math, nor am I an economist, but with an infinite supply of $0 I figured I could by ALL the oil at that price and profit nicely once the cost of oil rises. I would only need to ship it, store it, and wait. What’s the profit on 1,000,000 barrels bought at $-37 and sold for $50? [I told you I wasn’t good at math or economics.] Trust me, I would give 10% to the church.

The issue with oil is supply and demand. The sharp decrease in demand for crude oil and its products (and the stock futures focusing on the soon to be released June report)(I don’t know what that means, but it said it on the internet) has created a surplus. Much the same, too many post-Easter Peeps (and a futures report that suggests a low demand on 2020 Easter candy) brings row upon row of discounted pink and blue and flavored Peeps. It is good to be on the winning side of an oil surplus—and Peeps.

To reconsider the opening scene of a mother and her son, the supply and demand of grace concerns me more than that of crude oil and Peeps. Simultaneously, there is a scarcity of grace and a surplus of it.

The tension has nothing to do with supply and demand. The tension has everything to do with the choices we make. The choice to offer grace and the choice to be unforgiving. The choice to act kindly and the choice to act callously. The choice to show compassion and the choice to behave heartlessly. The choice to demonstrate a selfless, unconditional love and the choice to withhold it.

The supply and demand of grace, kindness, compassion, and love meet at a place called ‘equilibrium’. On a graph, oil companies and Just Born (Bethlehem, PA. maker of Peeps and other delicious holiday themed marshmallow candies) aim just slightly below equilibrium. Demand must be just slightly greater than the supply in order to drive profit, net gain, long term blah, blah, blah. Businesses, nations, economies can have it.

I want a world completely without equilibrium. I want a world in which grace, kindness, compassion, and love never run out. I want a world so wildly out of balance that no one could ever feel unworthy, uncared for, unwanted, or unloved.

I caught a glimpse of that world—a parent bought some candy and the child reciprocated with joy and gratitude. The moment was filled with grace, kindness, and love. May there will be a little bit more of that tomorrow.

I love you.

I hope for you.

Please be safe.

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