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Re: A moral question

 Bill Meyer wrote:

  Hi Narda,
         I don't think I implied that all nursery people were crooks. 

My Dear Bill,

It seems to me that that's exactly what you are saying. 

Do you even read what you write? In your reply to me you tried to prove
your point with examples of people who cheated others by not living up to
agreements.  Thieves and people who break contracts, even oral contracts,
are not moral people and I have never defended such people, and such
people cannot be defended, and such people were not the topic of your
original argument.

If I understand your original argument as a whole (which I never claim to
do), it is that it is unfair for a nurseryman to propagate a plant
without paying the hybridizer a royalty, even though there is no
obligation to do so and there is no mechanism to do so, and throughout
the history of plant propagation there has never been any thought that it
was a necessary part of doing business. If that's not what you are
saying, just what is your point?  This has nothing to do with thieves and
liers, and the fact that thieves and liers cannot be defended does not
prove your theory.

Let me quote you to yourself:

"If you have a nursery and you take from the hybridizers and do not give them
a fair share for what is either their find or their invention, then the word
quickly spreads that you're a greedy dishonest seller to be avoided at all

What does that mean?  I assumed that you thought that a hybridizer should
be compensated for any of his plants that are propagated and sold, even
when there is no legal obligation to do so.  If this is not what you are
claiming, then there is no argument.  If you are saying that people who
agree to pay you for your plant and then don't are scum, I agree
totally.  The problem with your lament is that it's up to you to get
compensated.  I have no obligation to you unless we have an agreement of
some kind.  If I buy your plant, it is mine, and unless it is patented or
we have come to some kind of agreement, I can do what I want with it.

There is no mention in your statement about agreements, patents,
contracts, or whatever being disregarded, so I could only assume that you
were saying that anyone who obtains your plant and profits from it is a
greedy, dishonest seller unless they find some way to send you some
money.  I admit I had to put myself in that group, along with every other
hosta grower that I know.  The only ones I could exclude would be those
who sell only thier own hybrids, or found some way to pay every
hybridizer for every plant propagated.  This last group has a population
of zero.  I guess I would also have to throw in daylily growers, growers
of non-patented roses, growers of .... oh, you get the picture.  Now, if
not all nursery owners are greedy and dishonest, name me a nursery that
doesn't fall within your definition.

Anyone who ever sold a Herb Benedict introduction, or one of Mildred's,
or the Lachman's, or Paul Aden's would obviously fall into that class
also, because in all the years that all of us have been propagating
hostas, none of us has ever paid a hybridizer anything unless there was
an agreement to do so.  And to be fair to nursery people, since you and
everybody else knew this was the case, are the people who grew these
plants knowing of the sad state of affairs less guilty?  Did you ever
send Herb his quarter?  How could you, in good consiense, grow that plant
when you knew Herb had been cheated by some greedy dishonest seller that
you knowingly dealt with in order to get his plant?  Shame! Is there no
moral obligation for educated consumers?  Apparently not until they
become hybridizers and can't figure out how to make a buck from it.  So
instead of taking it upon yourself to profit from your plant under the
system that has always been there, you want to change the rules. If your
plant is good enough, and you work at it, you can profit from it if you
make the effort.  Why don't you start a little business of your own and
put some of these theories about how honest businessmen should work to
the test.

In fact, the examples in your reply to me show that there is already a
solution to your problem, you apparently just don't want to use it.  If
you can't do it yourself, you have someone else do it for you, under an
agreement.  We all know there are dishonest people amongst us, as there
are everywhere.  But you know that I'm not dishonest, Ran's not
dishonest, Tony's not dishonest, there are any number of people you can
work with who are not dishonest. I've been in this business 25 years and
I can't recall ever making an agreement with another grower who cheated
me.  If you enter into an agreement with someone who doesn't do what they
say they will, I'd say you got cheated, but that doesn't mean you can
snap your fingers and change the whole system just because you might deal
with the wrong person. This is a business, not a hobby, and businesses
work by rules.  And as hard-hearted as it seems, they don't just give
money to people because they feel sorry for them.  That's charity. I
sympathize with people who are cheated or who get nothing for their
efforts, but to put it bluntly, that's their own fault.  Either they
dealt with the wrong person or they didn't make an effort to work within
the system. There is a way for you to be compensated for your efforts,
and if you don't want to take advantage of it then keep your prize hosta
in your garden.  You can make up all the new rules you want, it won't
change anything.

As always,

  Some of
  them are, but that's true in most walks of life. There is an unusual
  situation for ornamental hybridizers in that they have no reasonably
  available protection for their work.
  Because they have no legal protection other than the too-expensive plant
  patent, they frequently receive little or nothing from the people who
  propagate and sell their plants. It is a shame of the industry just how
  little of the money that has been made actually went to the people who
  created the
         With most things that you buy, a percentage goes to the person who
  made it, wrote it, invented it, designed it, etc. With hostas and other
  plants, the originator usually sees virtually nothing in return on their
  plant. The situation is improving somewhat from a truly embarassing past,
  but there is still no legal protection. I think the more public business
  gets the more honest it will get. If you went to Gardenwatch.com, you'll see
  some real nasty businesses to deal with, but most were rated a positive
  experience. Even all of Chick's seven customers went there to give
  him a positive rating. :-)

    In a message dated 3/15/2004 10:36:18 AM Eastern Standard Time,    njhosta@hotmail.com     writes:
    Last I heard he was in jail, and the people he cheated were
    still trying to get back the plants he owed them.
    Bill, I heard that hostas wasn't the only thing that he grew.  And he


    money to feed a bad habit he had acquired!  One thing leads to another so


    became dishonest.
    The notion that because one person is dishonest does not make the whole


    crooks.  I am sure that you know that.
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