Last week I visited a Hawaiian chocolate company – the only company in the US which grows its own cacao beans, processes them into chocolate, and sells them. I spoke briefly with one half of the husband and wife ownership team, curious about how all this got started. She and her husband moved to Hawaii and bought a plot of land which happened to have cacao trees on it. They decided they had to do something with those trees, and learned how to harvest the cacao, but discovered it wasn’t economically feasible for them to ship the cocoa beans to a producer on the mainland (or anywhere else for that matter).
They could have given up there, but the solution to them seemed obvious – produce the chocolate themselves. And here’s where the second roadblock came into play: they needed more cocoa beans than their orchard provided to become profitable as producers. So they talked their neighbors into growing cacao trees as well, with a promise to buy the pods.
Today, the company is profitable and a new industry has been created on Hawaii. Lots of Americans today think the government is the source of wealth. Good governance creates a legal and physical infrastructure for people and businesses to thrive. We need contracts we can believe in, roads to drive on, the security to go about our daily lives without fear. But it’s people who create wealth and they always will.