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ChocoBro

Cigarettes as commodity money during an economic crisis

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Okay this is just a thought experiment.

 

I had a discussion with my mom about this issue a while back and I was wondering what others thought of it on a general basis.

 

We have a small piggy bank with a lot of 1 - 2 EUR coins in our home that we just generally use to collect change and then exchange for large coins for rainy days. But the way I am, I'm always thinking a few steps ahead and imagining all sorts of scenarios as well as planning ahead for them to a reasonable degree. So I'm not exchanging the coins because I'm thinking that during a crisis like hyperinflation, it might be good to have some coins to go around plundering snack vending machines in the area. And that got me thinking about cigarette vending machines, because cigarettes have always become "commodity money" in such a crisis sooner or later.

 

To briefly explain, when a currency fails during an economic crisis, commodities like gold or silver coins, alcohol, cigarettes, ammunition and things like that tend to quickly become standard bartering mediums due to the intrinsic value of the item as opposed to the relative value of currency.

 

Examples of this have been post World War 2 Europe, Bosnia during the war in the 90ies (even up to this day in some rural areas) among others.

 

The problem is, that as opposed to other commodities such as ammunition which can be used for hunting or alcohol which can be consumed in moderation or even may have medicinal uses, cigarettes derive their intrinsic value from their addictive nature and have hardly any other use, except theoretically as a pesticide.

 

On the other hand, some Witnesses would sell tobacco with a clean conscience when working at a grocery store. In this case, the cigarettes become a standard medium of bartering until they find somebody who is more desperate to smoke than to exchange for another commodity.

 

So I'm curious what your opinion's on this issue are, since I can't think of any scriptural principles.

 

To make a clear distinction: I'm not talking about hoarding tobacco now in case it ever becomes currency. I'm talking about a scenario where a crisis has already spread to the point that tobacco becomes currency. Would you be able to accept it as payment with  the intent of buying another product with it later on? Or would knowing that they end up in somebody's mouth at some point or even owning cigarettes for a short period of time bother your conscience?

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2 hours ago, ChocoBro said:

To make a clear distinction: I'm not talking about hoarding tobacco now in case it ever becomes currency. I'm talking about a scenario where a crisis has already spread to the point that tobacco becomes currency. Would you be able to accept it as payment with  the intent of buying another product with it later on? Or would knowing that they end up in somebody's mouth at some point or even owning cigarettes for a short period of time bother your conscience?

I intend to pay with donuts......freezing them as we speak :lol1:

Sorry dear brother it's 10.10Pm and humor is all I got. ..good nite..

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If you, as a clerk, sell tobacco along with other items stocked by the store that you do not own and only work at, that is one thing and, as you mentioned, can be a matter of conscience.

 

However, using tobacco as actual currency would, TO ME, seem to be along the same lines as those who grow and/or process tobacco - something that we do NOT do.

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2 hours ago, ChocoBro said:

 

To make a clear distinction: I'm not talking about hoarding tobacco now in case it ever becomes currency. I'm talking about a scenario where a crisis has already spread to the point that tobacco becomes currency. Would you be able to accept it as payment with  the intent of buying another product with it later on? Or would knowing that they end up in somebody's mouth at some point or even owning cigarettes for a short period of time bother your conscience?

A Christian working in a store that sells cigarettes is not selling the cigarettes. The store is selling the cigarettes. 

 

Also considered is the type of establishment the store is.  A grocery store that also sells cigarettes along with groceries is different than the a store that sells tobacco as its main product.  I do not believe a Christian would work in a tobacco shop. 

 

Back in the late 60s or early 70s it was clarified that a Christian could not grow and sell tobacco.  They could not have their income based on growing or selling tobacco. https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1972725#h=28:0-31:620

 

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1973486#h=5:0-22:369

 

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1973486#h=13:0-13:378

 

 

Also, one of Jehovah’s witnesses in Brooks, Kentucky, writes: “As soon as I saw the illustration in The Watchtower of the man and the tobacco pile with the question, ‘Is it consistent to talk of neighbor love and yet to produce tobacco that may ruin your neighbor’s health?’ that was it for me. I sowed the tobacco spot of ground in alfalfa. No more tobacco in any form for me.”

 

 


If a Christian cannot grow tobacco as a means of income, then could a Christian rightly use tobacco he found or was given as income or a medium of exchange?  Are there alternatives? 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Shawnster said:

Are there alternatives? 

 

 

Ok let's say, for sake of argument, no. You're helping a guy out who can't feed his family and he says "Thanks, let me give you something in return. I know you don't smoke, but maybe you can barter this for something you need" and hands you five cigarettes. When you ask him if he has anything else to give you he apologizes and says no. Of course, your other alternative is to just give him the food out of generosity.

 

But I guess that the ultimate end is what counts, namely, that you are perpetuating an economic system that is reliant on somebody ruining their health with tobacco. And by using the tobacco as barter you are in essence supporting that system.

Edited by ChocoBro

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@ChocoBro if you want to know the most likely scenario of what you will be doing during a future theoretical time of material scantiness, look at what the elders are doing in Venezuela, or what the Christians did in the first-century as dramatized in our video; rather than worrying about how to continue trade with those in the world, they huddled ever closer together and shared all that they had.

 

Sharing might not be the precise opposite of trade, but it certainly flies in the face of it. Whenever followers of Jehovah shared with each other in the past from a place of love, each one always had enough. This makes sense since Jehovah naturally smiles down on, and therefore blesses, such an arrangement.

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In this hypothetical scenario, if you're seeking a good post economic decline mode of currency, there are many far better options that would be more inline with bible principles and would not stumble others. For instance, investing in a water distiller, as people will always want clean water, seeds for food, and also gold, platinum and silver tend to keep a steady value with or without paper money.

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8 hours ago, Katty said:

For instance, investing in a water distiller, as people will always want clean water, seeds for food, and also gold, platinum and silver tend to keep a steady value with or without paper money.

 

I know this, but gold, well gold is very pricey and can only be exchanged for other valuable commodities. I don't know if silver maintains the same barter value in relation to gold. But my thoughts were sort of more general for a scenario like Venezuela, not to invest in tobacco now  (obviously!) but what if it were offered as a barter item during such a crisis.

 

So like in the below mentioned thread from Venezuela, my hypothetical scenario was:

- Brother has electronics item

- Worldly person is willing to pay 10 packs of cigarettes for an electronic item

- Brother knows another worldy person willing to offer 1 kilogram of canned food per pack of cigarettes

Though this sounds extremely hypothetical, it is absolutely not. That's why I initiated the topic.

 

On 11/1/2018 at 3:41 PM, Brandon said:

@ChocoBro if you want to know the most likely scenario of what you will be doing during a future theoretical time of material scantiness, look at what the elders are doing in Venezuela, or what the Christians did in the first-century as dramatized in our video; rather than worrying about how to continue trade with those in the world, they huddled ever closer together and shared all that they had.

 

11 hours ago, Brandon said:

 

here.

 

Thanks. After reading this long thread, I noted that Brother Antonio foresaw economic hardship ahead of time and made a decision to invest his money into something sensible (electronics) ahead of time so that he would be able to help his congregation out for quite some time by trading the electronics "with those in the world". Confirming what I believe that it does make sense to at least hypothetically go through such scenarios.

 

I hear a lot of brothers always saying "Jehovah will make sure everyone has enough" but, first of all, in the end a lot of that has to do with brothers and sisters making wise choices, since Jehovah doesn't send "ravens with food in their beaks" for us, as so many expect. And secondly, I did not gather from the thread at all that everybody has "enough". Some are losing their lives, getting raped and fleeing the country. This means we also have to expect that there will be anguish and losses despite our best efforts and Jehovah's support.

 

And I'm not worrying at all, I'm focussing on things that may come as opposed to living the comfortable life that too many other brothers in the West are doing. Building a second house, planning a fancy vacation, saving for a fancy car. Don't get me wrong everybody has to make their own decisions, but mine are focussed on the future and not the pleasures of this system of things.

OBVIOUSLY sharing with the brothers what you have is important. Hard to do, though, when you've taken up debt just to pay for that designer couch just before hard times hit.

 

Like I said, this is just a thought exercise.

Edited by ChocoBro

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I think this is a good topic for discussion, Brother Ruben. It is the course of wisdom for us to think about the future. Proverbs 22:3

 

In the same way that the slave has asked us to prepare go-bags as preparation for natural and other disasters, so it behoves us to think of ways we can, hopefully, help ourselves and others a little bit through the coming GT.

 

I personally don't think my conscience would allow me to trade cigarettes. Regardless of how desperate I would be for whatever commodity was needed, I don't think it would be right to trade in something Jehovah disapproves of.  What if marijuana were legal where you lived and you were offered it as a bartering tool - would you trade with that?  (I'm not talking about prescription cannabis). What we individually do though is dependant on our own conscience and our own relationship with Jehovah.

 

I definitely think that fiat currency will become worthless, as it already is in a number of countries, Zimbabwe and Venezuela to name two, but there are others. I believe this will eventually get to us in the Western world. 

You mentioned silver in one of your posts.  Silver, being a precious metal, will always have certain value and, unlike gold, it is highly useful for industial purposes. It is widely used in solar panels, smartphones and other technology and because of the high demand of this commodity, world supplies of silver are running out. BtG has huge stockpiles of gold so when she is destroyed the governments will have plenty of that metal and silver could come into its own and be a useful bartering tool for food and other provisions. 

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12 minutes ago, GeordieGirl said:

Silver, being a precious metal, will always have certain value and, unlike gold, it is highly useful for industrial purposes

 

:confused: 

 

Gold is an extremely good conductor of electricity and corrodes less than copper - it is widely used in electronics in the upper price range

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15 hours ago, ChocoBro said:

made a decision to invest his money into electronics ahead of time so that he would be able to help his congregation out by trading the electronics "with those in the world"

15 hours ago, ChocoBro said:

I'm focusing on things that may come as opposed to... Building a second house, planning a fancy vacation, saving for a fancy car.

 

It may still be that there could be some space between:  hoarding PC motherboards, and;  building multiple houses for yourself.

In fact you may find that the witnesses at either of those extremes are in fact the exceptions, and most of us are somewhere in the middle.

(◕‿◕)

Edited by Brandon

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1 hour ago, Qapla said:

 

:confused: 

 

Gold is an extremely good conductor of electricity and corrodes less than copper - it is widely used in electronics in the upper price range

I think you will find 'widely used' is a little of an exaggeration when only about 12% of gold is used in industry compared with about 56% of silver. Also, although gold is a good conductor of electricity, silver is the most electronically and thermally conductive as well as most reflective.

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