under construction


Food matters


3 Jan 10    World’s Healthiest Food, NYT, NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
24 Nov 08   Bill Clinton: "achieve maximum agricultural self-sufficiency”, The New Yorker, James Surowiecki
26 Oct 08   Financial Meltdown Worsens Food Crisis, WP, Ariana Eunjung Cha et al.
11 May 08   Rethinking Ethanol, NYT, Editorial
11 May 08   Ethanol Navigator, NYT
6 May 08   Food Emergency, NYT, editorial
30 Apr 08   Wheat, Corn and Ethanol Fight for Acres, WP, Bruce Babcock, life discussion
27 Apr 08   The Global Grain Trade: The Haves and Have-nots, WP
27 Apr 08   Reasons for Rising Food Prices, WP, comments
27 Apr 08   The New Economics of Hunger, WP, Anthony Faiola, comments
27 Apr 08   Towards a more enlightened, ecologically sound & cooperative food policy, ICESC, Anton Keller, comment
27 Apr 08   A Full Plate Today, Uncertainty Tomorrow, WP,  Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel
27 Apr 08   Food, the new gold, WP, video
26 Apr 08   Movable Feast Carries a Pollution Price Tag, NYT, Elisabeth Rosenthal
20 Apr 08   A Worsening Food Crisis, WP, editorial


editorial
Washington Post    20 Apr 08

A Worsening Food Crisis
The U.S. and its allies need to act.

THE WORLD'S most dangerous conflicts stem from religion and ideology -- tragic proof that man does not live by bread alone. But when bread is hard to get, that, too, causes unrest. And lately, it has been very expensive indeed: The World Bank estimates that global food prices have risen 83 percent in the last three years. Hence, food riots in Haiti, Egypt and Ethiopia and the use of troops in Pakistan and Thailand to protect crops and storage centers. Many countries are banning or limiting food exports. World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick says that 33 countries are at risk of food-related upheaval. Famine may revisit North Korea, parts of Africa or, disastrously for U.S. foreign policy, Afghanistan.

To many, the villain is biofuels. U.S. and European ethanol programs, intended as an antidote to climate change and an alternative to OPEC oil, stand accused of snatching food from the world's hungry. According to India's finance minister, ethanol is "a crime against humanity." And it is part of the problem. The more corn becomes ethanol, the less will be available as food for people and livestock. In the U.S. farm belt, heavy ethanol subsidies, such as a tax break of 51 cents a gallon, encourage the shift. These subsidies were already questionable, in economic terms, before the commodity crunch. That they might contribute to hardship for the world's poor is another argument for reducing them.

But ethanol's impact should not be overstated. The International Food Policy Research Institute, which is critical of ethanol, pins about 25 to 33 percent of the recent price rise on biofuels; the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization guesses about 10 to 15 percent. Most of the crisis is rooted in three other factors: drought in grain-exporting Australia; the surging price of crude oil, which raises food prices through the costs of shipping and petrochemical fertilizer; and booming demand for food in China, India and other newly prosperous areas of the developing world. These areas consume not only more staples such as rice and wheat but also more meat from animals fed on grain. This trend is here to stay -- and, unlike Australian drought or oil inflation, no one should want it to go away. Lifting hundreds of millions of Asians out of poverty is a historic achievement.

To cope with the current situation, the United States must contribute its share to help the U.N. World Food Program fill a $500 million gap in its budget. Congress should change U.S. law to let U.S. aid buy food in developing countries themselves, which could boost local producers. Looking further ahead, the U.S. and multilateral institutions must also support greater investment in farming in the developing world, including funding for research into improved crop yields, which has been in steady decline over the last 25 years.

Today's crisis could be tomorrow's opportunity. If the era of cheap food is over, higher prices might stimulate local agricultural production in Africa and other places that now depend on imports. This will be likelier if the United States and Europe finally dismantle the wasteful crop subsidies and trade barriers that fatten their farmers' bank accounts -- but distort international markets at the expense of the poor.





April 26, 2008

The Food Chain
Movable Feast Carries a Pollution Price Tag

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

Cod caught off Norway is shipped to China to be turned into filets, then shipped back to Norway for sale. Argentine lemons fill supermarket shelves on the Citrus Coast of Spain, as local lemons rot on the ground. Half of Europe’s peas are grown and packaged in Kenya.

In the United States, FreshDirect proclaims kiwi season has expanded to “All year!” now that Italy has become the world’s leading supplier of New Zealand’s national fruit, taking over in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.

Food has moved around the world since Europeans brought tea from China, but never at the speed or in the amounts it has over the last few years. Consumers in not only the richest nations but, increasingly, the developing world expect food whenever they crave it, with no concession to season or geography.

Increasingly efficient global transport networks make it practical to bring food before it spoils from distant places where labor costs are lower. And the penetration of mega-markets in nations from China to Mexico with supply and distribution chains that gird the globe — like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco — has accelerated the trend.

But the movable feast comes at a cost: pollution — especially carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas — from transporting the food.

Under longstanding trade agreements, fuel for international freight carried by sea and air is not taxed. Now, many economists, environmental advocates and politicians say it is time to make shippers and shoppers pay for the pollution, through taxes or other measures.

“We’re shifting goods around the world in a way that looks really bizarre,” said Paul Watkiss, an Oxford University economist who wrote a recent European Union report on food imports.

He noted that Britain, for example, imports — and exports — 15,000 tons of waffles a year, and similarly exchanges 20 tons of bottled water with Australia. More important, Mr. Watkiss said, “we are not paying the environmental cost of all that travel.”

Europe is poised to change that. This year the European Commission in Brussels announced that all freight-carrying flights into and out of the European Union would be included in the trading bloc’s emissions-trading program by 2012, meaning permits will have to be purchased for the pollution they generate.

The commission is negotiating with the global shipping organization, the International Maritime Organization, over various alternatives to reduce greenhouse gases. If there is no solution by year’s end, sea freight will also be included in Europe’s emissions-trading program, said Barbara Helferrich, a spokeswoman for the European Commission’s Environment Directorate. “We’re really ready to have everyone reduce — or pay in some way,” she said.

The European Union, the world’s leading food importer, has increased imports 20 percent in the last five years. The value of fresh fruit and vegetables imported by the United States, in second place, nearly doubled from 2000 to 2006.

Under a little-known international treaty called the Convention on International Civil Aviation, signed in Chicago in 1944 to help the fledgling airline industry, fuel for international travel and transport of goods, including food, is exempt from taxes, unlike trucks, cars and buses. There is also no tax on fuel used by ocean freighters.

Proponents say ending these breaks could help ensure that producers and consumers pay the environmental cost of increasingly well-traveled food.

The food and transport industries say the issue is more complicated. The debate has put some companies on the defensive, including Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, known as a vocal promoter of green initiatives.

Some of those companies say that they are working to limit greenhouse gases produced by their businesses but that the question is how to do it. They oppose regulation and new taxes and, partly in an effort to head them off, are advocating consumer education instead.

Tesco, for instance, is introducing a labeling system that will let consumers assess a product’s carbon footprint.

Some foods that travel long distances may actually have an environmental advantage over local products, like flowers grown in the tropics instead of in energy-hungry European greenhouses.

“This may be as radical for environmental consuming as putting a calorie count on the side of packages to help people who want to lose weight,” a spokesman for Tesco, Trevor Datson, said.

Better transportation networks have sharply reduced the time required to ship food abroad. For instance, improved roads in Africa have helped cut the time it takes for goods to go from farms on that continent to stores in Europe to 4 days, compared with 10 days not too many years ago.

And with far cheaper labor costs in African nations, Morocco and Egypt have displaced Spain in just a few seasons as important suppliers of tomatoes and salad greens to central Europe.

“If there’s an opportunity for cheaper production in terms of logistics or supply it will be taken,” said Ed Moorehouse, a consultant to the food industry in London, adding that some of these shifts also create valuable jobs in the developing world.

The economics are compelling. For example, Norwegian cod costs a manufacturer $1.36 a pound to process in Europe, but only 23 cents a pound in Asia.

The ability to transport food cheaply has given rise to new and booming businesses.

“In the past few years there have been new plantations all over the center of Italy,” said Antonio Baglioni, export manager of Apofruit, one of Italy’s largest kiwi exporters.

Kiwis from Sanifrutta, another Italian exporter, travel by sea in refrigerated containers: 18 days to the United States, 28 to South Africa and more than a month to reach New Zealand.

Some studies have calculated that as little as 3 percent of emissions from the food sector are caused by transportation. But Mr. Watkiss, the Oxford economist, said the percentage was growing rapidly. Moreover, imported foods generate more emissions than generally acknowledged because they require layers of packaging and, in the case of perishable food, refrigeration.

Britain, with its short growing season and powerful supermarket chains, imports 95 percent of its fruit and more than half of its vegetables. Food accounts for 25 percent of truck shipments in Britain, according to the British environmental agency, DEFRA.

Mr. Datson of Tesco acknowledged that there were environmental consequences to the increased distances food travels, but he said his company was merely responding to consumer appetites. “The offer and range has been growing because our customers want things like snap peas year round,” Mr. Datson said. “We don’t see our job as consumer choice editing.”

Global supermarket chains like Tesco and Carrefour, spreading throughout Eastern Europe and Asia, cater to a market for convenience foods, like washed lettuce and cut vegetables. They also help expand the reach of global brands.

Pringles potato chips, for example, are now sold in more than 180 countries, though they are manufactured in only a handful of places, said Kay Puryear, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which makes Pringles.

Proponents of taxing transportation fuel say it would end such distortions by changing the economic calculus.

“Food is traveling because transport has become so cheap in a world of globalization,” said Frederic Hague, head of Norway’s environmental group Bellona. “If it was just a matter of processing fish cheaper in China, I’d be happy with it traveling there. The problem is pollution.”

The European Union has led the world in proposals to incorporate environmental costs into the price consumers pay for food.

Switzerland, which does not belong to the E.U., already taxes trucks that cross its borders.

In addition to bringing airlines under its emission-trading program, Brussels is also considering a freight charge specifically tied to the environmental toll from food shipping to shift the current calculus that “transporting freight is cheaper than producing goods locally,” the commission said.

The problem is measuring the emissions. The fact that food travels farther does not necessarily mean more energy is used. Some studies have shown that shipping fresh apples, onions and lamb from New Zealand might produce lower emissions than producing the goods in Europe, where — for example — storing apples for months would require refrigeration.

But those studies were done in New Zealand, and the food travel debate is inevitably intertwined with economic interests.

Last month, Tony Burke, the Australian minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, said that carbon footprinting and labeling food miles — the distance food has traveled — was “nothing more than protectionism.”

Shippers have vigorously fought the idea of levying a transportation fuel tax, noting that if some countries repealed those provisions of the Chicago Convention, it would wreak havoc with global trade, creating an uneven patchwork of fuel taxes.

It would also give countries that kept the exemption a huge trade advantage.

Some European retailers hope voluntary green measures like Tesco’s labeling — set to begin later this year — will slow the momentum for new taxes and regulations.

The company will begin testing the labeling system, starting with products like orange juice and laundry detergent.

Customers may be surprised by what they discover.

Box Fresh Organics, a popular British brand, advertises that 85 percent of its vegetables come from the British Midlands. But in winter, in its standard basket, only the potatoes and carrots are from Britain. The grapes are South African, the fennel is from Spain and the squash is Italian.

Today’s retailers could not survive if they failed to offer such variety, Mr. Moorehouse, the British food consultant, said.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “we’ve educated our customers to expect cheap food, that they can go to the market to get whatever they want, whenever they want it. All year. 24/7.”

Daniele Pinto contributed reporting.




Washington Post    April 27, 2008

The Global Grain Trade: The Haves and Have-nots

North America helps feed the world, supplying about half of global grain exports. People in developing countries spend up to 80 percent of their money on food. So when food prices rise sharply, partially a result of supply changes in North America and other grain-producing countries, the world's poor feel it most - and right in the gut.




Washington Post    April 27, 2008

Reasons for Rising Food Prices

No single factor can be blamed for the global food crisis. An unlucky confluence of events over the past several years contributed to soaring prices.

Comments

woodyag wrote:
You are leaving out SPECULATORS, in the commodity markets- we're talking billions of dollars dumped in by index and hedge funds- of COURSE it drives the price up. These folks want this speculation outlawed. Would we allow a "futures" market in water? In chemotherapy drugs? Why is it legal for food, which is life or death???!!
http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/2008/04/no-i-will-not-calm-down-hunger-action.html
Look here for Europe's view: www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,549187,00.html
4/27/2008 3:17:53 PM

mhamilton410 wrote:
Pretty sad isn't it! So what's next, water shortage? Better keep praying and pray the people elect intelligent leaders for the people this time and not for corporate profits. Butter not guns economy for a while until it swings back the other way.
4/27/2008 10:49:51 AM

caroleatlarge wrote:
Back in the 1970's many academics and other pundits wrote dire predictions of food shortages and chaos, mostly attributing the problem to excessive populations. Now that many countries have reduced their populations, especially the wealthy ones, the problem obviously has made a come back, only this time, it seems to be deadly real and deadly dangerous and based on an entirely different collection of reasons in addition to population needs.
What to do? There was an old Jewish proverb that went around in the seventies that still seems to resonate with human existence.
You have two men walking along with enough food for one of them; for only one more day. Well, it was said, let the two share what they have for that day, and pray for some more for tomorrow. The alternative, of course, was for a to kill b, have enough for that day, and then when tomorrow arrived, do the same thing again.
4/27/2008 8:06:39 AM

brajakmishra wrote:
Wonderful analysis of facts.
4/27/2008 3:02:22 AM




Washington Post    April 27, 2008

The New Economics of Hunger
A brutal convergence of events has hit an unprepared global market,
and grain prices are sky high. The world's poor suffer most.    video

By Anthony Faiola

The globe's worst food crisis in a generation emerged as a blip on the big boards and computer screens of America's great grain exchanges. At first, it seemed like little more than a bout of bad weather.

In Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, traders watched from the pits early last summer as wheat prices spiked amid mediocre harvests in the United States and Europe and signs of prolonged drought in Australia. But within a few weeks, the traders discerned an ominous snowball effect -- one that would eventually bring down a prime minister in Haiti, make more children in Mauritania go to bed hungry, even cause American executives at Sam's Club to restrict sales of large bags of rice.

As prices rose, major grain producers including Argentina and Ukraine, battling inflation caused in part by soaring oil bills, were moving to bar exports on a range of crops to control costs at home. It meant less supply on world markets even as global demand entered a fundamentally new phase. Already, corn prices had been climbing for months on the back of booming government-subsidized ethanol programs. Soybeans were facing pressure from surging demand in China. But as supplies in the pipelines of global trade shrank, prices for corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, rice and other grains began shooting through the roof.

At the same time, food was becoming the new gold. Investors fleeing Wall Street's mortgage-related strife plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into grain futures, driving prices up even more. By Christmas, a global panic was building. With fewer places to turn, and tempted by the weaker dollar, nations staged a run on the American wheat harvest.

Foreign buyers, who typically seek to purchase one or two months' supply of wheat at a time, suddenly began to stockpile. They put in orders on U.S. grain exchanges two to three times larger than normal as food riots began to erupt worldwide. This led major domestic U.S. mills to jump into the fray with their own massive orders, fearing that there would soon be no wheat left at any price.

"Japan, the Philippines, [South] Korea, Taiwan -- they all came in with huge orders, and no matter how high prices go, they keep on buying," said Jeff Voge, chairman of the Kansas City Board of Trade and also an independent trader. Grains have surged so high, he said, that some traders are walking off the floor for weeks at a time, unable to handle the stress.

"We have never seen anything like this before," Voge said. "Prices are going up more in one day than they have during entire years in the past. But no matter the price, there always seems to be a buyer. . . . This isn't just any commodity. It is food, and people need to eat."

Beyond Hunger

The food price shock now roiling world markets is destabilizing governments, igniting street riots and threatening to send a new wave of hunger rippling through the world's poorest nations. It is outpacing even the Soviet grain emergency of 1972-75, when world food prices rose 78 percent. By comparison, from the beginning of 2005 to early 2008, prices leapt 80 percent, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Much of the increase is being absorbed by middle men -- distributors, processors, even governments -- but consumers worldwide are still feeling the pinch.

The convergence of events has thrown world food supply and demand out of whack and snowballed into civil turmoil. After hungry mobs and violent riots beset Port-au-Prince, Haitian Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis was forced to step down this month. At least 14 countries have been racked by food-related violence. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is struggling for political survival after a March rebuke from voters furious over food prices. In Bangladesh, more than 20,000 factory workers protesting food prices rampaged through the streets two weeks ago, injuring at least 50 people.

To quell unrest, countries including Indonesia are digging deep to boost food subsidies. The U.N. World Food Program has warned of an alarming surge in hunger in areas as far-flung as North Korea and West Africa. The crisis, it fears, will plunge more than 100 million of the world's poorest people deeper into poverty, forced to spend more and more of their income on skyrocketing food bills. "This crisis could result in a cascade of others . . . and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

The New Normal

Prices for some crops -- such as wheat -- have already begun to descend off their highs. As farmers rush to plant more wheat now that profit prospects have climbed, analysts predict that prices may come down as much as 30 percent in the coming months. But that would still leave a year-over-year price hike of 45 percent. Few believe prices will go back to where they were in early 2006, suggesting that the world must cope with a new reality of more expensive food.

People worldwide are coping in different ways. For the 1 billion living on less than a dollar a day, it is a matter of survival. In a mud hut on the Sahara's edge, Manthita Sou, a 43-year-old widow in the Mauritanian desert village of Maghleg, is confronting wheat prices that are up 67 percent on local markets in the past year. Her solution: stop eating bread. Instead, she has downgraded to cheaper foods, such as sorghum, a dark grain widely consumed by the world's poorest people. But sorghum has jumped 20 percent in the past 12 months. Living on the 50 cents a day she earns weaving textiles to support a family of three, her answer has been to cut out breakfast, drink tea for lunch and ration a small serving of soupy sorghum meal for family dinners. "I don't know how long we can survive like this," she said.

Countries that have driven food demand in recent years are now grappling with the cost of their own success -- rising prices. Although China has tried to calm its people by announcing reserve grain holdings of 30 to 40 percent of annual production, a number that had been a state secret, anxiety is still running high. In the southern province of Guangdong, there are reports of grain hoarding; and in Hong Kong, consumers have stripped store shelves of bags of rice.

Liu Yinhua, a retired factory worker who lives in the port city of Ningbo on China's east coast, said her family of three still eats the same things, including pork ribs, fish and vegetables. But they are eating less of it. "Almost everything is more expensive now, even normal green vegetables," said Liu, 53. "The level of our quality of life is definitely reduced."

In India, the government recently scrapped all import duties on cooking oils and banned exports of non-basmati rice. As in many parts of the developing world, the impact in India is being felt the most among the urban poor who have fled rural life to live in teeming slums. At a dusty and nearly empty market in one New Delhi neighborhood this week, shopkeeper Manjeet Singh, 52, said people at the market have started hoarding because of fear that rice and oil will run out.

"If one doesn't have enough to fill one's own stomach, then what's the use of an economic boom in exports?" he said, looking sluggish in the scorching afternoon sun. He said his customers were asking for cheaper goods, like groundnut oil instead of soybean oil.

Even wealthy nations are being forced to adjust to a new normal. In Japan, a country with a distinct cultural aversion to cheaper, genetically modified grains, manufacturers are risking public backlash by importing them for use in processed foods for the first time. Inflation in the 15-country zone that uses the euro -- which includes France, Germany, Spain and Italy -- hit 3.6 percent in March, the highest rate since the currency was adopted almost a decade ago and well above the European Central Bank's target of 2.0 percent. Food and oil prices were mostly to blame.

In the United States, experts say consumers are scaling down on quality and scaling up on quantity if it means a better unit price. In the meat aisles of major grocery stores, said Phil Lempert, a supermarket analyst, steaks are giving way to chopped beef and people used to buying fresh blueberries are moving to frozen. Some are even trying to grow their own vegetables. "A bigger pinch than ever before," said Pat Carroll, a retiree in Congress Heights. "I don't ever remember paying $3 for a loaf of bread."

Ill-Equipped Markets

The root cause of price surges varies from crop to crop. But the crisis is being driven in part by an unprecedented linkage of the food chain.

A big reason for higher wheat prices, for instance, is the multiyear drought in Australia, something that scientists say may become persistent because of global warming. But wheat prices are also rising because U.S. farmers have been planting less of it, or moving wheat to less fertile ground. That is partly because they are planting more corn to capitalize on the biofuel frenzy.

This year, at least a fifth and perhaps a quarter of the U.S. corn crop will be fed to ethanol plants. As food and fuel fuse, it has presented a boon to American farmers after years of stable prices. But it has also helped spark the broader food-price shock.

"If you didn't have ethanol, you would not have the prices we have today," said Bruce Babcock, a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. "It doesn't mean it's the sole driver. Prices would be higher than we saw earlier in this decade because world grain supplies are tighter now than earlier in the decade. But we've introduced a new demand into the market." In fact, many economists now say food prices should have climbed much higher much earlier.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world seemed to shrink with rapidly opening markets, surging trade and improved communication and transportation technology. Given new market efficiencies and the wide availability of relatively cheap food, the once-common practice of hoarding grains to protect against the kind of shortfall the world is seeing now seemed more and more archaic. Global grain reserves plunged.

Yet there was one big problem. The global food trade never became the kind of well-honed machine that has made the price of manufactured goods such as personal computers and flat-screen TVs increasingly similar worldwide. With food, significant subsidies and other barriers meant to protect farmers -- particularly in Europe, the United States and Japan -- have distorted the real price of food globally, economists say, preventing the market from normal price adjustments as global demand has climbed.

If market forces had played a larger role in food trade, some now argue, the world would have had more time to adjust to more gradually rising prices. "The international food trade didn't undergo the same kind of liberalization as other trade," said Richard Feltes, senior vice president of MF Global, a futures brokerage. "We can see now that the world has largely failed in its attempt to create an integrated food market."

In recent years, there has been a great push to liberalize food markets worldwide -- part of what is known as the "Doha round" of world trade talks -- but resistance has come from both the developed and developing worlds. Perhaps more than any other sector, nations have a visceral desire to protect their farmers, and thusly, their food supply. The current food crisis is causing advocates on both sides to dig in.

Consider, for instance, the French.

The European Union doles out about $41 billion a year in agriculture subsidies, with France getting the biggest share, about $8.2 billion. The 27-nation bloc also has set a target for biofuels to supply 10 percent of transportation fuel needs by 2020 to combat global warming.

The French, whose farmers over the years have become addicted to generous government handouts, argue that agriculture subsidies must be continued and even increased in order to encourage more food production, especially with looming shortages.

Last week, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier warned E.U. officials against "too much trust in the free market." "We must not leave the vital issue of feeding people," he said, "to the mercy of market laws and international speculation."

Staff writers Dan Morgan, Steven Mufson and Jane Black in Washington and correspondents Ariana Eunjung Cha in Beijing, Emily Wax in New Delhi and John Ward Anderson in Paris contributed to this report. 


comment
Towards a more enlightened, ecologically sound & cooperative food policy
Anton Keller, Secretary,
International Committee for European Security and Co-operation
+4122-7400362    +4179-6047707    swissbit@solami.com

The Haber-Bosch process helped embargoed war-time Germany to produce munition and fuel from susbstitute base products. Rudolf Eickemeyer's subsequently developed wood hydrolisis process (US patent 3787241) provided for the economical and ecology-friendly industrial-size production of ethanol, xylitol, etc. on the basis of weed, hard wood and such waste products of bagasse (residue of sugar cane; www.solami.com/foodcrisis.htm#ethanol).  In the seventies, UNCTAD, the International Sugar Council and some Swiss pharmaceutical firms tried hard to convince sugar cane producers in Australia, Brasil, Cuba, Jamaica and South Africa that as exporters, primarily, they are not in the sugar but in the hard currency-producing business. However, visionaries belong to a rare, if not endangered specie. Since then, Hoffmann-Laroche and others successfully have used the FDA-approved sugar-substitute Xilit in a range of food products mainly due to its outstanding dental and other medical qualities. And in the wake of growing ecological awareness and global drives to reduce CO2 emmissions by increased ethanol use, corn producers have increasingly switched to supply that industry, rather than the food market. No force being able to push through an idea whose time hasn't come, maybe it's time now to draw inspiration from the other side of that same coin: no force in the world can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. But what does it take to get the world's responsible farmers and industrialists also to look back in order to change track into a more broad-minded and cooperative future?

Comments

melbournegirl wrote:
This is not "new" economics. Anybody who knew anything about the subject could have predicted EXACTLY what happened. Many did, to deaf do-gooder ears.
4/27/2008 5:20:31 PM

thardman wrote:
Has anyone other than me noticed that every time someone mentions "what just happened was the Perfect Storm", along comes some other factor to make the perfect storm even more perfect. Feh.
Right about now, the only things that could make the outlook a bit more grim would be if the global influenza pandemic started and was only about halfway done and then have the New Madrid fault kick loose an earthquake of power comparable to the one of 1803.
That quake last week in Indiana or wherever may well have been a warning shock.
If you think the people in the third-world are starving now, wait until an 8.1 magnitude quake collapses St Louis and changes the course of the Mississippi. Well, then we could have another Katrina on top of that. Oh, and isn't there an asteroid headed right at us in a few years?
4/27/2008 5:13:17 PM

thakorevipul wrote:
IT IS ALSO NECESSARY TO CONTROL THE GROWTH OF POPULATION WORLDWIDE. THOSE COUNTRIES AND ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS SUCH AS CATHOLICS AND MUSLIMS WHO REFUSE TO CONTROL POPULATION GROWTH SHOULD NOT RECEIVE ANY INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE.
IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES CHILD BENEFIT SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO FIRST TWO CHILDREN ONLY. SENSIBLE COUNTRIES AND TAX PAYERS SHOULD NOT SUBSIDISE IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR OF COUNTRIES OR GROUPS.
4/27/2008 5:05:00 PM
Recommend (1)

debera109 wrote:

vandeswaluw1 wrote:
Capitalism will kill this planet.
Bad public policy is not the fault of Capitalism. Capitalism will be the SOLUTION to this problem. New technologies are required to advance a credible fuel substitute, and this will come from private enterprises, not government agencies. A Bill Gates type will be responsible for fixing this problem, not an Al Gore type.
4/27/2008 4:56:11 PM

6925thCobras wrote:
Has anyone here been to Detroit lately? Back in the 17 and 1800's Detroit used to have "ribbon farms". These were long, narrow farms with access to the Detroit River and Lake St Clair, the primary transportation source in those days. The soil, which at one time or another was river bottom is very fertile. There we many creeks running through the Detroit area. Eventually the farms gave way to nice houses and neighbors as well as a lot of factories.
Now the factories are gone, most of the houses are gone (burned or torn down). Hardly anyone wants to live "in" Detroit anymore unless they have to. It offers no services for daily life (grocery stores, gas stations, post offices, or mass transit etc.) It's city government is corrupt.
Now let's get to the point about food and food shortages. Along with there being a lot of open land in Detroit, which is being reclaimed by pheasants and even coyotes, there are a lot of unemployed, unskilled, undernourished people in Detroit. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could take back a great deal of this land and put the people to work growing a wide variety of vegetables and even raising livestock. Why couldn't it be a self sustaining village again? And if it could work in Detroit, it would work throughout the country and the world.
I know that this is a pipedream but maybe, just maybe, it will give someone who has the knowledge, ambition and clout, an idea that could be built on.
4/27/2008 4:45:55 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
pilot22a is spot on!!
4/27/2008 4:38:05 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
The bee is one of disappearing species; Albert Einstein said that without bees we're lost.
4/27/2008 4:34:02 PM

Beck_Childs wrote:
"Consider, for instance, the French." Only the laziest authors reply on francophobia to try add some zip to their vanilla interpretations. Shame on you. France believes that protecting its culture, including its farmers, is important. The US outsourced its culture to the lowest bidder long ago.
4/27/2008 4:31:38 PM
Recommend (1)

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Listen to the song: Umaguma by Pink floyd. We're destroying the rain forests, the lungs of the world. I don't like that. Do you?
4/27/2008 4:25:28 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
billmosby,
The subject at hand is caring for our planet. We humans are part of mother nature, we're neglecting our duties. Having a good time is for most people more important than respecting what our Creator gave us. We should have a collective conscience instead of letting the rats take over our planet.
4/27/2008 4:16:41 PM

soonerthought wrote:
wake up, world.
4/27/2008 4:15:30 PM
Recommend (1)

peristyle wrote:
When we let the religions and the politicians run a planet instead of administrators and scientists along with good skilled workers we will always be doomed and badadoomed, no matter where we live or believe, they are the shepherds, and sheep on us.
4/27/2008 3:57:09 PM

billmosby wrote:

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
There are more people dying because of smog,etc, than of smoking. If Americans cared about air pollutions then they wouldn't use DU-ammo in Irak/Afghanistan.
Not sure what this has to do with the subject at hand. However, there could be a connection- Integral Fast Reactors can use DU as fuel, thus making it too valuable to shoot from guns. Also alleviating some of the "need" for biofuels. And for those who will surely mention the nuclear waste "problem", google "Integral Fast Reactor" and see what that system does about the waste problem.
4/27/2008 3:55:09 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
We eat too much!!
4/27/2008 3:47:13 PM

magellan1 wrote:
Who is this dude with the grass coming out of his mouth on the lead page? He looks like a black Yoda! But I do LOVE those pricey designer sunglasses he's wearing. He could feed a lot of people with what he paid for those! LMAO!
4/27/2008 3:43:38 PM
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shipfreakbo214 wrote:
I would like to give a donation to world hunger,including our country,because it exsists here to. Trouble is you just don't know who to trust.You have 10% going for food and 90% going in to some jokers bank account.
4/27/2008 3:35:44 PM
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shipfreakbo214 wrote:
Greed and more greed Once every one gets there piece of the action ,we will have plenty of food.Business as usual,profits over people. Only problem here is it's creating starvation in the world. We have people in the world who just don't care.Look at the pictures coming in from Africa on starving people. SHAMEFUL
4/27/2008 3:24:00 PM
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wsToronto wrote:
The factor that is missing here is the massive expulsion of small-scale subsistence farmers from the land in poor countries. These people end up in city slums needing money income to obtain food for their families and having very little of it. The loss of a small-holding peasantry in the name of modernization and agricultural 'progress' means a loss of the traditional subsistence 'cushion' in tough times, an increasing reliance on wage income and international grain markets, with drastic results for the unemployed poor, rural and urban. This is what the development economists mesmerized by the money economy fail to grasp -- the fatal consequence of the loss of subsistence agriculture for local consumption.
4/27/2008 3:12:08 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
There are more people dying because of smog, etc, than of smoking. If Americans cared about air pollutions then they wouldn't use DU-ammo in Irak/Afghanistan.
4/27/2008 3:07:47 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Capitalism will kill this planet.
4/27/2008 3:01:19 PM
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charko825 wrote:
By John Coleman     jcoleman@kusi.com
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM.
Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data back in the late 1990's to create an allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental wacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.
Environmental extremist, notable politicians among them then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild "scientific" scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda.
Now their ridicules manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.
I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you "believe in." It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a nonevent, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won't believe me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.
I suspect you might like to say to me, "John, look the research that supports the case for global warming was done by research scientists; people with PH D's in Meteorology. They are employed by major universities and important research institutions. Their work has been reviewed by other scientists with PH D's. They have to know a lot more about it than you do. Come on, John, get with it. The experts say our pollution has created an strong and increasing greenhouse effect and a rapid, out of control global warming is underway that will sky rocket temperatures, destroy agriculture, melt the ice caps, flood the coastlines and end life as we know it. How can you dissent from this crisis? You must be a bit nutty.
Allow me, please, to explain how I think this all came about. Our universities have become somewhat isolated from the rest of us. There is a culture and attitudes and values and pressures on campus that are very different. I know this group well. My father and my older brother were both PHD-University types. I was raised in the university culture. Any person who spends a decade at a university obtaining a PHD in Meteorology and become a research scientist, more likely than not, becomes a part of that single minded culture. They all look askance at the rest of us, certain of their superiority. They respect government and disrespect business, particularly big business. They are environmentalists above all else.
And, there is something else. These scientists know that if they do research and results are in no way alarming, their research will gather dust on the shelf and their research careers will languish. But if they do research that sounds alarms, they will become well known and respected and receive scholarly awards and, very importantly, more research dollars will come flooding their way.
So when these researchers did climate change studies in the late 90's they were eager to produce findings that would be important and be widely noticed and trigger more research funding. It was easy for them to manipulate the data to come up with the results they wanted to make headlines and at the same time drive their environmental agendas. Then their like minded PHD colleagues reviewed their work and hastened to endorse it without question.
There were a few who didn't fit the mold. They did ask questions and raised objections. They did research with contradictory results. The environmental elitists berated them brushed their studies aside.
I have learned since the Ice Age is coming scare in the 1970's to always be a skeptic about research. In the case of global warming, I didn't accept media accounts. Instead I read dozens of the scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct when I assure you there is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. It is all a scam, the result of bad science.
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/comments
4/27/2008 2:58:44 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
In the meantime deserts are becoming larger, droughts, excessive rain,etc, destroy crops for millions of people. But as usual Americans know anything better than others.
4/27/2008 2:54:15 PM

MarkinJC wrote:
Hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds have shifted their tremendous resources to commodities to drive up prices and manipulate the markets for personal gain and unquestioned greed. Old news.
4/27/2008 2:51:52 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
charko825, Your using foul, insulting language, typical republican manners.
4/27/2008 2:49:50 PM
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ChristianM wrote:
Actually there are about 8 billion acres of arable land on this planet and Al Gore is right, global warming will reduce that by 10% with rising waters by 2060, ten years after we cannot produce food enough to feed a population of 13 billion.
What to do? Interesting, but birth control or war, which do you choose?
We have limited resources, the oceans are over fished and 80% of our oxygen comes from the oceans so. 2 children families or war.
Actually, the numbers are real, and with a population of 13 billion there is not enough arable land factoring in an 11% increase in protein yields and 5% increase in disease and drought resistance.
Eleven areas, over 12,000 islands will be uninhabitable in 30 years due to rising water and what to do.
WAR or LIMIT FAMILY size? I vote limit family size and mandate it world wide and do not ship food to countries that do not comply.
Technology? I already listed the obvious and they are projections, not proven seeds.
Farming of fish can help, but that too is limited.
Smaller lots, vertical building and clearing 90% of the world’s forest lands can help but we do not have 100 years.
We have 40-50 to make tough choices and enforce them.
If the Pope is allowed to preach no birth control then the fate of Catholics in poor countries is sealed.
We have 8 billion acres of arable land and that is it and IT is shrinking.
Innovation can help, but look over the past 50 years and project forward and I am optimistic based on just the advances in the past 30 years!
Stop gaps are COAL TO LIQUID (OIL), Nuclear POWER that can be used to increase oxygen rates and electrolyze water for hydrogen fuels and synthetic protein, our potential savior using bacillus and seaweed we can create foods rich in protein and vitamins but we need NUCLEAR POWER to make it happen and stop all arable land production for synthetic fuels and we may make it to 2080.
We must limit families and as cruel as it may sound, limit food to those countries that do not support 2 child maximums and we must furnish them birth control.
We may have to nationalize food production, but to insure maximum yields.
4/27/2008 2:45:19 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Per head of the world populatiomn, the Americans are the biggest polluters. America has 5%% of the world's pop[ulation but uses 25% of the total energy resouces!!
4/27/2008 2:43:22 PM
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charko825 wrote:

pilot22a wrote:
There is a people surplus, not a food shortage. Any famine we bring upon ourselves, because we refuse to limit our production of human beings. Somewhere this unrestricted breeding must stop.
can we start by eliminating you first?? LOL
4/27/2008 2:28:14 PM
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hc2254 wrote:
Ted Turner is right. Plus he's too rich to either miss a meal or run out of gas.
4/27/2008 2:26:46 PM

pilot22a wrote:
There is a people surplus, not a food shortage. Any famine we bring upon ourselves, because we refuse to limit our production of human beings. Somewhere this unrestricted breeding must stop.
4/27/2008 2:25:58 PM
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infuse wrote:

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
@infuse, Another 100 years at the most and our existance on this planet is history.
And your evidence for this is what? Besides, my comment addressed your assertion that the current world food shortage is due to global warming. You didn't offer any evidence of that connection either. Global warming has extended the growing season of millions of acres of fertile land. How does that help create shortages of crop production?
4/27/2008 2:12:29 PM

charko825 wrote:
The silence from Al Gore is deafening on the current food prices and coming famines. It was good ol' no brain Al that broke the vote in the Senate back in 1994 that has mandated ethanol and other renewable fuels get a share of the gasoline additives market. Of course the current Senate just revalidated what Al did....

$6.00/gallon of gas is coming....our politicians are failing us miserably.....they should all be bought pink dresses to wear--they act like women....
4/27/2008 2:08:56 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
We've to go back to basics or we'll pay a price we cam't afford.
4/27/2008 2:02:26 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
WATER is more important than OIL!!
After the oil wars, the water wars?
4/27/2008 1:55:02 PM

rat-the wrote:
Coal to Oil. Liquified Coal. What ever you want to call it, WE have the Technology and the Resources, to make it HAPPEN! Jobs for Pennsylvania-Kentucky there McCain? ;~)
4/27/2008 1:53:51 PM
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AVirginiaPlanter wrote:
Condoms and Birth Control Pills. The world is overpopulated and Thomas Malthus was wrong. Humans are stripping and destroying the World's resources.
4/27/2008 1:53:41 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
My conscience tells me that I feel so ashamed that we'll leave a contaminated planet behind for our own flesh and blood.
I feel; guilty. Do you?
4/27/2008 1:50:05 PM

billmosby wrote:

magellan1 wrote:
China - 20% of the world's population, 7% of the arable land
U.S. - 5% of the world's population, 20% of the arable land
It will be interesting to see which comes first - $500 a barrel oil or $200 a bushel of wheat. Beauty of it is, wheat is renewable. Heh, heh, heh!
Yeah, unless you might be dependent on oil to produce that wheat. Or else, you want to go back to 19th-century, labor-intensive methods of farming. In which case, perhaps the real cost of production of wheat might be just a tad higher than you're thinking.
4/27/2008 1:32:58 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Their bank accounts are more important than keeping people alive- the Irak profiteers are a good example!
4/27/2008 1:32:37 PM
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rat-the wrote:
First-Ethanol from Food, was just about as dumb as a sack of Rocks! :-(
Second, you ain't seen NOTHING Yet. This is occurring during a Seasonal Optimal Period. The Warm environnment of the Planet, is at it's BEST to capitalize on the largest Harvests the World can produce. VAST regions of Northern Europe, Asia, and Canada, are able to produce now, what could easily be GONE in as little as 5 Years. See Ostriches, there is every possible chance, that for any of several reasons, we are about to go from WARMING, to Cooling. :-(
Famine, Pestilence, and Death by Exposure, go Hand in Hand, With ICE AGES! And WHAT, has Al Gore the Moron, or anyone else done to prepare for the events that could follow the Gulf Stream Shutting Down due to not enough support from the Thermohaline Conveyor, or a Series of Large Volcanic Eruptions, or Both?
Why do MOST of our Leaders all look like Lemmings? :-(
WHY, are they running for the Ocean screaming "Follow Us!"?
4/27/2008 1:31:33 PM
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ChristianM wrote:
Greed and a government and agency heads elected by the government and a war for OIL and ISRAEL is the cause. Greed, the mantra of the conservatives. Alcohol as few is INSANE from a country with our coal reserves we can convert coal into GAS at HALF THE PRICE of CORN ethanol or switchgrass. We have no energy policy except that written by ExxonMobilConocoPhillipsARCOBPAMOCO. Alcohol as a fuel is insane and starving the world's children. Coal to oil is cheaper and keeps people from starving and within 5 years, with focus could eliminate all Middle East needs.
WITHIN 5 years ELIMINATE ALL Middle East Oil needs! CTL technology produces FINISHED fuels and we could produce 9,000,000 barrels equivalent a day IF we wanted to at a cost of ONE THIRD the price of OIL today! Bush and Cheney are killing children in Iraq and now in the world with their criminal heads of every department and the greed inherent in the system.
4/27/2008 1:24:42 PM
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billmosby wrote:
Ethanol might be a minor player at present, but with mandates or incentives in place aimed at increasing US ethanol production by a factor of 6 in the next several years, it won't remain minor for long.
This article mentions wheat production already being displaced onto less fertile land in favor of ethanol feedstocks. For all the talk of grass ethanol feedstocks being producible on less fertile land, what guarantees can we get that, if and when production shifts to those feedstocks, they won't also displace food crops on more productive land?
Will midwestern farmers, for example, forgo ethanol feedstock production on land they own just because someone else may want to plant on less productive land somewhere else? Or if the regulators try to get into the act, will we have a supersized version of the enforcement problem posed by bans on certain other flora today?
4/27/2008 1:24:00 PM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Feed America first is nonsense. Wheat, corn,etc, will be sold to the highest bidders. That's how a capilistic system works. Do you really be lieve that these people care about feeding the poorest Americans? Never. The biofuel conspiricy is going after the very poor first and then the rest will follow. Why? The existance of the elite is in danger and they'll take their own measures. My Granny used to say that a FULL belly doesn't care about an empty belly!! Let her words enter your thoughts.
4/27/2008 1:23:39 PM
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bobmarleyforpeace wrote:
HEMP
4/27/2008 1:23:04 PM

charko825 wrote:

pgbsan wrote:
charko825 -- Perhaps you should do a Google search before harping on the amazing benefits of the Bakken Formation. Your news report is from early February (which reads more like oil industry propoganda), and relied on a very preliminary USGS report from 1999. The latest USGS report referenced in your article was released: Bakken holds about 3 billion barrels, not nearly enough for energy independence and, considering the huge area it encompasses, squeezing oil out of the asphalt in LA is probably more economical... http://newsok.com/article/3230048/1208235289
I find it amusing that a liberal would trust the USGS--the liberal influence upon the USGS is extremely powerful just as it is upon other U.S. Government agencies--The USGS has been wrong before and they will be wrong again...regardless, America needs to drill for oil wherever it is found. Full scale oil drilling needs to be done ASAP up in ANWAR... We also need to develop existing technologies to drill/process the shale oil which is estimated at 1.5 trillion barrels...It's time for America to stop this Global Warming hysteria which has no foundation in Science and become energy independent...
WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND TELL THEM--LET'S DRILL FOR OIL!!! The following is from:
http://www.dailyreckoning.com/rpt/OilShale.html
"The technical groundwork may be in place for a fundamental shift in oil shale economics," the Rand Corporation recently declared. "Advances in thermally conductive in-situ conversion may enable shale-derived oil to be competitive with crude oil at prices below $40 per barrel. If this becomes the case, oil shale development may soon occupy a very prominent position in the national energy agenda."
Estimated U.S. oil shale reserves total an astonishing 1.5 trillion barrels of oil - or more than five times the stated reserves of Saudi Arabia. This energy bounty is simply too large to ignore any longer, assuming that the reserves are economically viable. And yet, oil shale lies far from the radar screen of most investors.
But we here at The Daily Reckoning are on the case. Just yesterday, I caught a first-hand glimpse of a cutting-edge oil shale project spearheaded by Shell. I trekked out to a barren moonscape in Colorado to tour the facility with Shell geologists. To summarize my findings, oil shale holds tremendous promise, but the technologies that promise to unlock this promise remain somewhat experimental. But sooner or later, the oil trapped in the shale of Colorado will flow to the surface. And when it does, it will enrich investors who arrive early to the scene.
Can Oil Shale Change The World?
America's oil shale reserves are enormous, totaling at least 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. That's five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia! And yet, no one is producing commercial quantities of oil from these vast deposits. All that oil is still sitting right where God left it, buried under the vast landscapes of Colorado and Wyoming.
Obviously, there are some very real obstacles to oil production from shale. After all, if it was such a good thing, we'd be doing it already, right? "Oil shale is the fuel of the future, and always will be," goes a popular saying in Western Colorado.
But what if we could safely and economically get our hands on all that oil? Imagine how the world might change. The U.S. would instantly have the world's largest oil reserves. Imagine…having so much oil we'd never have to worry about Saudi Arabia again, or Hugo Chavez, or the mullahs in Tehran. And instead of ships lined up in L.A.'s port to unload cheap Chinese goods, we might see oil tankers lined up waiting to export America's tremendous oil bounty to the rest of the world. The entire geopolitical and economic map of the world would change…and the companies in the vanguard of oil shale development might make hundreds of billions of dollars as they convert America's untapped shale reserves into a brand new energy revolution.
Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter may have been entertaining similar ambitions in the late 1970s when they encouraged and funded the development of the West's shale deposits. A shale-boom ensued, although not much oil flowed. The government spent billions and so did Exxon Mobil. New boomtowns sprung up in Rifle, Parachute, Rangely, and Meeker here in Colorado.
And then came Black Monday. May 2, 1982. The day Exxon shut down its $5 billion Colony Oil Shale project. The refineries closed. The jobs left (the American oil industry has lost nearly as many jobs in the last ten years as the automobile and steel industries.) And the energy locked in Colorado's vast shale deposits sat untouched and unrefined.
4/27/2008 1:21:21 PM
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genuineone wrote:
It just doesn't seem fair that the poorest people in the World, who are even too poor to own a car, have to pay for the high cost of gas too.
The high cost of gas, and greedy governments are driving the poorest to starvation and ultimately death. Wasn't the economy and the inability to get bread that drove the French masses to revolt during the French Revolution against the Monarchy? If, we as a Global Society, continue to ignore these social catastrophes and ignore their problems, I would not be surprised if communism or a form of socialism again becomes a highly popular dogma in many of those countries. The seeds of discontent are there to be picked all over the World and the soil for Marxist or similar ideas will become more fertile. This could become an alternative for people who feel that they are unfairly ignored and exploited. People like Hugo Chavez, or worse, will rise and take over Latin America and Asia. Hugo Chavez is immensely popular among the poor in Venezuela because he has seen the disparity among the rich and the poor. Gas in Venezuela cost 12 cents a gallon, after Hugo Chavez decided to nationalize gasoline. While some Americans, especially, people like Bush are very critical of Hugo Chavez, I have observed that both Hugo Chavez and Bush are very similar in personality.
THEY BOTH REMIND ME OF ROBIN HOOD. HOWEVER, THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT HUGO CHAVEZ STEALS FROM THE RICH TO GIVE TO THE POOR, WHILE GEORGE W. BUSH STEALS FROM THE POOR TO GIVE TO THE RICH. YOU CAN JUDGE FOR YOURSELF, WHO IS A BETTER PERSON BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM.
4/27/2008 1:19:45 PM
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debera109 wrote:

winemaster2 wrote:
Along with the flawed economic, that does not work, conservative ideology of preference of war, inequity and rights only of their kind, propaganda of terror hype, fomentation of hate, fear and conservative patriotic feeding frenzy to control the hearts and minds of the misled and the gullible, using food to produce the like of ethanol with Government subsides for the pockets of like minded conservative republican farmers, should there be any doubt the megalomaniac's scheme will yet be another total failure.
Conservative ideology???? What the heck are you talking about? From the Democratic Party website: "Democrats want to develop a vibrant domestic biofuels and alternative fuels industry." ... and have consistently slammed Bush when he said it was not a good idea and tried to deny funding for biofuels. Liberals, if their double-speak wasn't so dangerous, it would be laughable.
4/27/2008 1:18:44 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
@infuse,
Another 100 years at the most and our existance on this planet is history.
You underestimate what global warming is doing at the moment. The air we're breathing is polluted to such an extent that it causes long cancer. How about the smog cities in America? The growing shanty towns on the outskirts of the big cities?
Ever heard of Smokey Mountain in Manila,
Mexico City,etc? Our effected foodchain,
contaminated lakes and rivers floating with dead fish?
4/27/2008 1:11:40 PM
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Catjone wrote:
Hey, I have an idea?! We should ask the candidates about how they would fix the problem.

Oh...that's right, we're too busy asking them about flags on their lapel and about an event 10 years ago in a forgotten Eastern block country...Kosovo was it?
4/27/2008 1:07:38 PM
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charlie8 wrote:
The article “The New Economics of Hunger” covers most strategic problems. France, most European countries and the US decided to subsidized agriculture following the world wars I&II. From the late 1940’s to date enormous excess of food products were built especially throughout the G-7 nations. Politicians frequently draw battle grounds arguing either for the producer or as a tool for urban vote. In the mean time global population has grown to six billion inhabitants on this earth.

Per capita growth of income linked to shortages of production has severely depleted old excesses. Shortages linked to radically increasing transportations costs now are suddenly gripping the throat of all global consumers. The media of radio and then television somewhat sped global communication but the Internet has “closed the deal” with news traveling in real time. Humanitarian aid given by governments and benevolent organizations have budgeted a fixed currency amount. These amounts will now purchase from 1/3rd to ½ the quantity of just a year ago.

Simply earthly dwellers are facing a third world war leading to mass destruction, or global trade leveling per capita income meaning as well a redistribution of wealth. The question remains can the extreme wealth recently accumulated by entities and some individuals be redistributed or will this recent excessive wealth accumulation continue to control the global political leaders? Hopefully the power of people will prevail.
4/27/2008 1:05:44 PM
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TheodoreRoosevelt wrote:
sandylong5274 wrote:
And so,Michelle Obama turned to her husband Barack Hussein Obama and says,
"Let them eat cake!" ...So don't count on
Obama doing a damn thing about this problem or any other prolem,based on Obama
miserable track record so far folks.
--------------------------------------
And Hillary said cake? Thats to good for them!!

2 terms as a Senator and Hillary says grub for worms you mangy dogs, I am to busy ducking snipers to worry about your problems.
4/27/2008 1:00:14 PM
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infuse wrote:
mhr614 wrote:
So many countries have been mismanaged, for example Zimbabwe, which went from being one of the most productive countries in the world to one of the poorest. Much of Africa has suffered under black rule, a fact that the liberal media keeps as quiet as possible. To them the white race is the responsible party- ask the Reverend Wright, mentor and pastor to the man who just may become president of the United States. That would suit the international left just fine.
-------------------------
Not a single mention of Argentina? Or the potato famine in Ireland years ago? The great depression in the U.S.? Could it be that when whites mismanage an economy it distorts your racist attitude?

But we can venture well beyond the whitewashed world you prefer. Have you any racist comments about the poor economies in India, China, Latin America? Darker skins seem to get your attention. How did you manage to omit them?
4/27/2008 12:53:48 PM
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Madjack11 wrote:
HugitThrough wrote;

"haha. Maybe calling you a name was a little juvenile, but you just can't shape individual behaviors on a global level.

We can't even do it here at home because of our "one party system".

You're right, and wrong. It's a change in thinking that I'd like to see - a change from the me-me-my small town and nothing else' mentality that afflicts most people. Even a small thing - if done by hundreds of millions - can shape the destiny of this planet and utilmately, our human race.

It's a matter of realizing that change starts with thought, and continues through action.

As an example, if everyone in the US made a conscious effort to not purchase items with outrageous packaging, and made it clear to the companies producing such items that they won't be until their packaging becomes biodegradable, then the companies would be forced to come up with an alternative to stay in business. And this scenario has been played out before with changes to products that companies make every day due to consumer complaints, suggestions, and buying patterns.

But that takes sacrifice - "Sorry kids, you'll be drinking Milk, water, and Cool-Aid from now on" - and that's not what most people are willing to do because they think that it won't make a difference, so what's the point? After all, no one else is doing it so why should I? It's a viscious cycle that can be broken with the simple thought that "I have a personal stake in my environment and I will do everything I can to keep it healthy, regardless of what anyone else is doing." That's why I ended my post with my favorite "doomed" statement.

Unless and until people start to think of themselves as the keepers of our planet, we humans will continue to pillage and rape the resources of this earth - to the total destruction of our species.

I don't want it to be that way, but I have little faith in the intelligence of people or their ability to see the future consequences of their current actions.

4/27/2008 12:53:31 PM
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ricinro85212 wrote:
It seems that there is a recommendation for the "liberalization" of international food markets. This seems reasonable and prudent but with one warning and over-riding rule: no one goes hungry. In return we clearly need to keep our population within its means and stop using food for fuel.
We are ready for the new solar/wind economy but it requires much change. The primary change is that we mush stop believing that some "invisible hand" will wean us off fossil fuels in the short term. Other changes will force the public ownership of the electrical grid and standards for photovoltaics so solar power harvesting is on everyones roof.
Point is that when we can stabilize global warming and stop using food for cars then we can feed the world.
4/27/2008 12:49:27 PM
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jaybyrd1 wrote:
The article seems to merely skim over the root cause, which has been acknowledged by many others,is the impact of the demand for biofuels on the food supply. THe article id not fully address the fact that supply and demand curves are being negatively impacted by the demand for alternative fuel sources, financed to a large degree with our tax dollars. It may be time to reassess our commitment to alternative fuel sources...I am sure AlGore and concert promoters will soon have the answer to this dilemma.In the meantime, prepare to starve.
4/27/2008 12:46:41 PM
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arrabbiato wrote:
Schmeterling is absolutely right: Food for fuel, is an INSANE idea, just as the idea of ethanol is, even if it were possible for EVERYONE to use ethanol as motor fuel, oil consumption through automobiles only accounts for some one quarter to one half of America's total oil and energy needs-and agribusiness is getting TRIPLE subsidies to grow this? And as arable land is being used all over the world to line the greedy pockets of agribusiness while the developing world starves-but the problem is, we do live in a global community, and whatever the developed world does to act on market forces negatively, rebounds like a boomerang back to the developed world in a variety of ways, and on many different levels-soaring prices for grain in the developed world, political instability in the developing world-ethanol is a joke, a chimera-what we need is ENERGY INTERDEPENDENCE-NOT ENERGY INDEPENDENCE-ETHANOL IS A BYPRODUCT OF PURE EVIL GREED-IT MUST BE STOPPED
4/27/2008 12:42:57 PM
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darrelldavis wrote:
Issues like these, hunger, death and war are issues that the candidates should be talking about. Even more- justify over a half billion dollars in campaign spending when children have no food.
4/27/2008 12:41:02 PM
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infuse wrote:
jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
This is a world wide problem this problem is aggrevated by our global warming.
---------------------------------
Global warming actually helps farmers produce more by extending the growing season for millions of acres of fertile land. That is definitely not the problem for this food shortage. Droughts come and go. And the one in Australia is not at all unusual from an historical perspective.

Biofuels are another thing however. In the face of growing worldwide populations and extreme third world poverty, selling off foodstuff for machinery fuel seems not wise at all.
4/27/2008 12:40:06 PM
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mhr614 wrote:
So many countries have been mismanaged, for example Zimbabwe, which went from being one of the most productive countries in the world to one of the poorest. Much of Africa has suffered under black rule, a fact that the liberal media keeps as quiet as possible. To them the white race is the responsible party- ask the Reverend Wright, mentor and pastor to the man who just may become president of the United States. That would suit the international left just fine.
4/27/2008 12:38:08 PM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
This is a world wide problem this problem is aggrevated by our global warming.
Anybody who watced CNN's The world in peril knows what I mean. In a nutshell: Our planet will not grow in size, what does grow in size is the planet's population. In the end there will be not enough resources to sustain us all. Most people don't realize that we've to MORE with LESS. In 1950 we were with 2.5 billion people on the planet, in 2050 there will be 9.5 billion people on the planet! In one hundred years an increase of 7 billion people. I believe that we blew it. Facts are facts.

4/27/2008 12:33:22 PM
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infuse wrote:
As we taxpayers subsidize giant American corporations like ConAgra to sell grain to third world countries, pushing indigenous farmers off their land, we are observing the smug corporate victory of what they and their Republican sycophants call free trade. In the end it has produced a free traders' panacea: subsidies and outrageously high prices.

That people are starving is but a by-product of those proverbial winners and losers in the "free" market.
4/27/2008 12:32:57 PM
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HugitThrough wrote:
Madjack11 wrote:
HugitThrough wrote:
"madjack11, you are crazy and stupid. Thats a deadly combination."
Now that's not playing nice! I didn't call you names. Oh, wait...
You wouldn't be one of those tits on a boar's A$$ I referred to in my post, would you?
_________________________________________

haha. Maybe calling you a name was a little juvenile, but you just can't shape individual behaviors on a global level.
We can't even do it here at home because of our "one party system".
4/27/2008 12:31:23 PM
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oddlyamerican wrote:
The debate over the more immediate causes (biofuel, China, drought, etc.) of the crisis, almost becomes moot when considering the draconian global economy that has consciously allowed the world's poor to suffer under such sudden impacts to the system.

In order to comprehensively address the crisis we obviously first need to recognize the immediate problem of the shortage (no small feat), but then it is crucial to make allowances for the lesser developed markets of poorer countries when flooding them with cheap subsidized goods.

Otherwise we throw one half of the world's population to the wolves when the global economy is impacted.

http://oddlyamerican.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/food-glorious-food/
4/27/2008 12:29:03 PM
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jfisher23 wrote:
It is time to empty the sperm banks, give all males a vasectomy, and all women a tubal ligation, thus giving back the planet to a kinder gentler animal!!!!!
4/27/2008 12:15:09 PM
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Madjack11 wrote:
HugitThrough wrote:

"madjack11, you are crazy and stupid. Thats a deadly combination."

Now that's not playing nice! I didn't call you names. Oh, wait...

You wouldn't be one of those tits on a boar's A$$ I referred to in my post, would you?

4/27/2008 12:14:16 PM
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edbyronadams wrote:
"Will the Lord be kind to the creaters of this cruel mess?"

Was it the Lord or somebody else that gave Australia the drought?
4/27/2008 12:12:55 PM
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braultrl wrote:
Mmmmm! Soylent green!
4/27/2008 12:11:30 PM
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winemaster2 wrote:
Yes indeed, let us keep pushing more wars, conflicts propaganda of terror hype, fomentation of hate, fear, keep on sinking over $17 billion a month for fraud wars, war on terror, while the country is growing more polar, neighbors are told to spy on neighbors. Droughts persisting, and the hypocrite Governors in their Sunday best preying for rain.

If the past Feb. was any measure, all we will need is another few hurricanes like Katrina and Rita and the drought to continue in the S.E. US, where main Atlanta water sources is 16 feet below level.

Should there be any reason why the likes of Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans not buy our wheat, corn and other food stuff, when the value of the USD is rock bottom.

Perhaps it is a world combined conspiracy against the US to keep on jacking up oil prices, running us into more debt and totally destroy the flawed economic structure and system. We already have the worst ever over $4 trillion federal deficit since George Bush took over, over $14 trillion foreign to the Chinese, Arabs, Japanese and other, the lowest ever value of the USD, not to mention over $17 billion monthly cost of the Fraud Iraq war and the BS war on terror.
4/27/2008 12:10:49 PM
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va22207 wrote:
Ban the using of food to produce fuel.
Where is the poor man's right to survival?
The corn can convert only 0.03% solar energy into corn seeds.
On the other hand, a good solar panel converts 25% solar light to electricity.
Boycott ethanol.
4/27/2008 12:10:39 PM
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fedupindc wrote:
In response to the earlier comment about switchgrass:It seems that Corn is the only material being pushed for ethanol production. Why not push for other materials to produce ethanol? Switchgrass can be planted on those acres that farmers are paid not use!!

Good point about switchgrass but the technology to convert switchgrass to ethanol is not there yet and may never be there. Chemically you have to have something thatkes close to ethanol like sugar, a solid state alcohol.

You also have to take into account water and pollution byproducts. The latest farm passed in Congress has $405 million in it for MD to clean up pollution in the Chesapeake Bay from biofuel farming. And Corn ethanol requires more energy in than is gotten out. Any farm land has to be use for food production, not fuel production. Maybe scrub land but that's speculative.
4/27/2008 12:05:00 PM
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bluelagoon21 wrote:
SO GLOBALIZATION IS DOING WONDERS WITH POOR COUNTRIES
4/27/2008 11:58:55 AM
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schmetterlingtoo wrote:
This is all about the false promises of "energy independence"-it is a MYTH, AND THE PRODUCTION AND USE OF ETHANOL IS QUITE LITERALLY STARVING THE DEVELOPING WORLD AND CAUSING POLITICAL INSTABILITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AS GRAIN PRICES SOAR THROUGH THE ROOF BECAUSE ARABLE LAND IS BEING USED TO GROW CORN FOR ETHANOL.

Ethanol has the publicity, it has the subsidies-it has the "allure" of that non-sensical term "energy independence" and of "going green." THE USE OF ETHANOL IS BASED ON MYTHS, NOT REALITY.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS CONTAIN JUST TWO THIRDS OF THE HEAT ENERGY OF GASOLINE, SO THE BILLIONS OF ETHANOL GALLONS THAT THE US PRODUCES ARE BUT A DROP IN THE BUCKET FOR THE US OVERALL ENERGY NEEDS.

In 2006 the US produced about 5 billion gallons of ethanol from corn and around 250 million gallons from soybeans.

Although that sounds like a lot, when you compare that to a country as large as the US and its overall energy needs IT IS INFINITELY MINISCULE. AMERICAN AIRLINES USED 3 BILLION GALLONS OF FOSSIL FUEL IN ONE YEAR ALONE!

Biofuels cannot match the performance requirements of jet fuels. Nor can biouels begin to meet US growing need for diesel fuels.

Back in 1997, the GAO issued a report concluding that "ethanol's potential for substituting for petroleum is so small that it is unlikely to significantly affect overall energy security."

Ethanol and other biofuels cannot significantly affect overall oil consumption patterns because they cannot replace key oil-based fuels.

So the fact of the matter is this: EVEN IF THE US TURNED ALL OF ITS CORN INTO ETHANOL, IT WOULD SUPPLY LESS THAN 6 PERCENT OF AMERICA'S TOTAL OIL NEEDS-JUST 6 PERCENT-A NEGLIGIBLE AMOUNT. THERE IS OBVIOUSLY NOT ENOUGH ARABLE LAND TO PRODUCE WHAT IS NEEDED FOR BIOFUELS IN ANY WAY, UNLESS THE BIOFUELS CAN BE MADE FROM THINGS LIKE GRASS, OR STRAW-OR ALTERNATIVE FUELS, -NATURAL GAS BYPRODUCTS CHANGED TO LIQUIDS-BUT THE TECHNOLOGY TO PRODUCE SUCH BIOFUELS, AND ALTERNATIVE SOURCES TO FOSSIL FUEL IS JUST A PIPE DREAM AT THIS POINT-THE IDEA THAT SUCH COULD PRODUCE ENOUGH FOR AMERICA'S ENERGY NEEDS ANYTIME EXCEPT THE DISTANT FUTURE IS JUST NUTS.

Pres. Bush wants 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel use a year, BUT HERE'S THE THING: that will only account for around 11 percent of the US TOTAL oil consumption, by volume, AND EVEN IF YOU TOOK PRES. BUSH'S TARGET GOAL OF 35 BILLION GALLONS A YEAR AND QUADRUPLED IT-THIS AMOUNT OF FUEL COULD NOT PRODUCE THAT WHICH IS NEEDED TO MEET AMERICA'S ENERGY NEEDS-AND THAT IS EQUALLY TRUE OF OTHER LARGE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, NOT JUST THE US.

Making ethaol from corn borders on fiscal insanity. It uses taxpayer money to make subsidized motor oil from the single most subsidized crop in America. A recent study shows that biofuel subsidies in the US were as much as 7 BILLION A YEAR, LIKELY TO RISE BY SEVERAL BILLIONS A YEAR. What this means is, that the American taxpayer may soon be paying 16 BILLION PER YEAR TO SUBSIDIZE THE PRODUCTION OF A FUEL-ETHANOL-THAT WILL DO LITTE IF ANYTHING TO REDUCE AMERICA'S OVERALL OIL IMPORTS.

FOOD OR FUEL? THAT'S WHAT YOU'VE BEEN INDOCTRINATED WITH BY YOUR POLITICIANS-DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN-GROW CORN FOR ETHANOL, AND THAT WIL ELIMINATE FOOD SHORTAGES THROUGH THE MONEY WE SAVE FROM FOSSIL FUELS.

As Fidel Castro said last year, "converting food into fuel IS A "SINISTER IDEA" ad that the expanded use of biofuels would cause hunger among the people in the poorer countries of the world.

AND FIDEL CASTRO WAS 100 PERCENT RIGHT-SAYING THIS JUST THIS PAST YEAR.

TRIPLE TAX SUBSIDIES FOR AGRIBUSINESS-TO THE CRIMINAL PRICE FIXERS ARCHER DANIELS MIDLANDS -THAT YOU, THE TAYPAYER GIVE THEM EVERY YEAR, ARE LITERALLY DRIVING UP FOOD COSTS ALL OVER THE WORLD AS ARABLE LAND IS BEING USED TO GROW CORN FOR ETHANOL - IT IS STARVING THE WORLD AND IT IS ALREADY CAUSING POLITICAL INSTABILITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

STOP BUYING INTO THE MYTHS OF ETHANOL, STOP LINING THE POCKETS OF AGRIBUSINESS THROUGH THEIR TRIPLE TAXPAYER-FINANCED SUBSIDIES-STOP STARVING THE DEVELOPING WORLD-AND DO IT NOW.
4/27/2008 11:53:35 AM
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jfisher23 wrote:
So much for a Global economy. The rich get richer and the poor now eat dirt!!!!
AND NO CAKE!!!!
4/27/2008 11:53:26 AM
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jfisher23 wrote:
So much for a Global economy. The rich get richer and the poor now eat dirt!!!!
AND NO CAKE!!!!
4/27/2008 11:53:26 AM
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analyst72 wrote:
...and who, do you think, 'The New Economics of Hunger' is going to hit the hardest, to the point of starvation?
Does anyone think that the b*stards from Fox Aljazeera, or the inner circle of Stupid One are going to suffer one bit?
Do you think that the CEOs, with 300 million retirement packages, are going to starve?
WAKE UP, G.D.!
4/27/2008 11:49:17 AM
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JohnTovar wrote:
Will the Lord be kind to the creaters of this cruel mess?
4/27/2008 11:44:09 AM
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gerrypadfield wrote:
Thank you for this series. The in-depth reporting on this issue is important to us all. I will be reading all week.

M. Padfield
4/27/2008 11:41:19 AM
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winemaster2 wrote:
Along with the flawed economic, that does not work, conservative ideology of preference of war, inequity and rights only of their kind, propaganda of terror hype, fomentation of hate, fear and conservative patriotic feeding frenzy to control the hearts and minds of the misled and the gullible, using food to produce the like of ethanol with Government subsides for the pockets of like minded conservative republican farmers, should there be any doubt the megalomaniac's scheme will yet be another total failure.
4/27/2008 11:40:36 AM
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6925thCobras wrote:
rpotah, the way you state your comment makes it hard for me to know if you are being sarcastic or if you are making an arguement for being wasteful. "Being less productive" sounds like a negative. Our productivity and consumerism has led to the birth of the proclivity of storage units all across our nation. We buy so much junk that we have no where to keep it. And, unfortunately, most of the junk we buy, we don't manufacture here in the U.S., we get it from Third World Countries.
4/27/2008 11:35:21 AM
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magellan1 wrote:
China - 20% of the world's population, 7% of the arable land

U.S. - 5% of the world's population, 20% of the arable land

It will be interesting to see which comes first - $500 a barrel oil or $200 a bushel of wheat. Beauty of it is, wheat is renewable. Heh, heh, heh!
4/27/2008 11:33:31 AM
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sophie138 wrote:
jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Ever heard of the ratcage test? In the end the rats start eating each other for the lack of food!!

yes, i heard about it in a high school psych class in 1951 or '52, and the reason was over-population. are we ever going to get it? will our politicians ever address it?
4/27/2008 11:31:05 AM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
madjack11,
The world is doomed as you said. I wonder who's guilty of it. The human being, the meanest animal in the jungle.
4/27/2008 11:20:06 AM
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illslope wrote:
It seems that Corn is the only material being pushed for ethanol production. Why not push for other materials to produce ethanol? Switchgrass can be planted on those acres that farmers are paid not use!!
4/27/2008 11:18:48 AM

jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Ever heard of the ratcage test? In the end the rats start eating each other for the lack of food!!
4/27/2008 11:15:55 AM
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horend wrote:
Lavrat,

Difficult times are definitely ahead, and I agree that individuals/nations should take a proactive stance with regard to family planning. However, this is not a plan which can be implemented overnight.

First, based on various studies concerning the climate, African nations are the first to face the direct impact of climate change. The poorest of the poor in Africa most be educated to understand the impact of their family planning choices. The drought conditions effecting these nations are not changing.

Second, we here in the United States, live in excess. Most individuals base their success on their individual wealth and accumulated assets. Most people believe free flowing clean water is a God-given asset, clean air will always be there. What we do not realize is that our water basins are drying. Look at the current drought situation in the southern states. Without water, migration will occur to northern states stressing resources in that area. The Ogallala aquifer which allows the midwestern breadbasket to feed our nation is dwindling. This is a non-refillable aquifer. Additionally, land is continuing to be subverted for corn/ethanol crops setting aside less for consumption, more for energy, but surprisingly to most people, ethanol production consumes more energy than it produces. Rainfall is limited and we are in the midst of, I believe, a very serious seven year drought.

Third, every time Ben Bernanke reduces our interest rates to keep our financial institutions afloat, the dollar loses further value making food more expensive to the countries holding our dollars.

Fourth, desertfication is growing in both China and Mongolia, Australia has made poor farming choices and is suffering from serious drought conditions.

We can not simply cut-off food to poor countries. Massive change is required - BUT it is required from all nations. We have one planet, and one planet only. In all of our years of space exploration, we have yet to find another planet to relocate to. Government leaders must seriously address these issues and stop remaining ignorant. When government leaders inform their citizenry, only then will the populations begin to understand the precarious situations we face.
4/27/2008 11:14:32 AM
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egalitaire wrote:
inherent dangers of speculative trading, where traders never grow, store, transport, or process a commodity.

this scenario is not unlike the current mortgage industry bust or the Great Depression.

i thought fed chair ben bernanke was the Great Depression guru. instead, he sells us kitsch.
4/27/2008 11:11:21 AM
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rpatoh wrote:
6925thCobras:

You make some good points. The US should quit being so productive. Less productivity would lead to the use of fewer resources. It is bad politics for the US to feed the world and use up a disproportionate share of resources in the effort. "Forcing" the worlds hungry to depend on the US for substinance has been likened to colonialism and led to world hatred, and the justification for terrorism towards our nation. We should only produce and use what we need for ourselves while allowing other countries do the same. Surely the water we save will help the peoples of northern Africa.
4/27/2008 11:09:44 AM
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cschotta1 wrote:
this is what happens when we elect a bunch of out of touch elitists to Congress. they have no idea what the cost of gasoline is nor do they care about how their actions effect the rest of the world, since they are NEVER held accountable.
4/27/2008 11:06:10 AM
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6925thCobras wrote:
Families living on one dollar a day for food is uncomprehendable, if not impossible, in the United States.

This is a very disturbing story. There is much that can be done about this situation with proper leadership and organization.

We need to look at how much food we waste in the U.S. Look at the supermarket shelves across the country. We have 50 or more types of bread for sale. Every evening a great deal of that is never sold and just goes stale. You can see it in the dumpsters behind the store or, hopefully, given away to food banks or charities.

Secondly, and this is not some radical, anti-meat eater idea, but it takes a lot of grain to raise one steer. Our farming pratices have gotten to be inefficient and wasteful. We need to look at what we eat on a daily basis.

Thirdly, it takes a lot of water to grow grain. This cost adds to the price of food products. How much water is put into plastic bottles for the store shelves everyday? This practice too, is wasteful. Not only do we use petrolium products to produce these bottles but we have to dispose of them somewhere and that means more landfill. Many tests have shown that the water in these bottles is no more pure than the tap water we have at home. It gets to be very tiresome to see people walking around with plastic bottles of water as if they are doing something good for their health, when in actuality they are harming the environment.

One would hope that the fine citizens of our country would become a little more aware of how we effect the world in our everyday lives.

Just thinking out loud....and hopefully, someone with more knowledge than me, can add to the list of things we can do on a personal level to help alleviate this situation.
4/27/2008 10:54:02 AM
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HugitThrough wrote:
madjack11, you are crazy and stupid. Thats a deadly combination.
4/27/2008 10:52:35 AM
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dunnhaupt wrote:
The human race cannot keep doubling in number every few years indefinitely, or there will be standing room only. We are totally unprepared today for a catastrophe, for instance a volcanic eruption that wipes out all crops worldwide for a year, such as the US last experienced in 1806 when it snowed all summer.
4/27/2008 10:51:26 AM
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georgettec28 wrote:
This may sound simplistic or to some even, self-serving. I am very concerned about global hunger more so than any other issue that has surfaced world-wide in my adult years. I would like to donate to the cause as would I'm sure many Americans. However, the traditional agencies that accept donations truly don't seem to make a dent in the issue. There are to many adminstrative costs and delays - on the receiving end, too much fraud. I would really like to see a more grass roots collection point and distribution receiving point to assure that donated money is used exclusively for the benefit of the world's hungry.
4/27/2008 10:50:27 AM
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robeste wrote:
Thank you, senator algore, and all the other geniuses in congresses, recent past and present, for doing your part to drive up food prices and screw us all with your ethanol idiocy. Heaven forbid if you facilitated more nuclear power, coal use, or drilling or refining of oil.
4/27/2008 10:49:27 AM
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Ciap wrote:
At the same time, food was becoming the new gold. Investors fleeing Wall Street's mortgage-related strife plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into grain futures, driving prices up.
Investors control our world now.
4/27/2008 10:48:03 AM
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pgbsan wrote:
druvas:

"Developing nations also have the same right to be industrious and work their land to grow their own food. What right they don't have is to demand that the US give it to them. If the lands they occupy don't support growing food, then I would say that that was a poor choice in which to locate a Nation-State. Propping them up with imported food that can't last forever is just plain stupid."

That is quite possibly the dumbest thing said today and is dumb for a number of reasons:

a) you're apparently advocating the mass starvation of 100s of millions of people. Good job!

b) you seem to blame the people who live in these nation-states for their formation which ignores, oh, about 250 years of Western colonization and the drawing of boundaries with no heed to religion, ethnicity, or economic functionality.

c) food isn't exactly something you demand the right to have. When you're on the brink of starvation, you're pleading for the privilege to live.

d) did you seen anywhere in that article third world nations blaming US for not providing them with enough food? No. They're blaming the US and the EU, in general, for having sky-high subsidies that has made it impossible for their farmers to compete in past years, driving them out of business. These countries have been critical of the US/EU government policies, such as ethanol production, that have caused basic foodstuff prices to skyrocket recently. (And, in case you haven't noticed, many people in the US are also blaming these polices for price increases, as well.)
4/27/2008 10:47:23 AM
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Madjack11 wrote:
Looking at this as a parent who has had to budget-budget-budget over the years, and thanks to the lessons of two parents who lived through the great depression, he solution is really very simple. Use only what you need, and what you have, use to the max. If everyone on this planet thought this way, there would be no problem. Randomly:

Do you really NEED an SUV to get your groceries? Don't think so...

Does anyone really NEED to eat meat every night? Don't think so...

Do companies NEED to pay their executives millions in salaries? Don't think so...

Does the population of the earth NEED to get larger every year? Don't think so...

Do schools NEED to have 6/7/8 different types of sport for their students' physical activities? Don't think so...

We are in a time of excess in every single area of our lives - from activities that are mundane to those that are globally consenquential

Some answers?

1.Immediately ban the manufacturing of large fuel-guzzling vehicles for personal use.

2. Immediately put those activities that sustain life (like farming and other food production) to the top of the heap. I'd rather pay a farmer 1.5 million a year than some bloated, Gucci wearing executive who is really as useless to our society as a tit on a boar's a$$.

3. Immediately ban the use of certain materials in product packaging that use valued resources in their making and are not biodegradable.

4. Immediately begin research on ways to recycle the trillions of cubic feet of trash produced every day for use in manufacturing and as a viable energy source.

5. YOU NAME SOMETHING IN THIS SPOT....

I've always found it amusing that people can be so caught up in the notion of "nations", that they fail to realize that we are all "earthlings" and each of us, in whichever nation we happen to live in, has a stake - a duty - a responsibility to use the earth's reasources wisely.

After all, we are all guests here, and like a good guest, when we leave, things should be the same as when we arrived.

But no one has any common sense and are largely mired in the small problems of their puny lives.

The world is doomed...
4/27/2008 10:46:28 AM
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j0nx wrote:
Three certainties in this life:
1. Death
2. Taxes
3. Whenever a Bush is in office the world takes one in the seat

Enjoy!
4/27/2008 10:46:27 AM
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LibertySpinner wrote:
Portland, Oregon has a train system well used and connected to the national bus lines and the airport and Amtrak.
It cost a great deal of money and we can say it is well worth it.
Use some city planning in your city.
Go to Portland, Oregon and see for yourself what 50 years of a planned liveable city look like.
Then duplicate the model in your hometown.

The states of Oregon and Washington also subsidize Amtrak so the tickets are affordable. The trains run every couple of hours north and south.
4/27/2008 10:45:13 AM
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HugitThrough wrote:
But I thought there was no downside to going green?

I think referring to the poorest nations, mis-frame's the discussion. They should be referred to as The poorest and most corrupt nations. Not all poor nations are without wealth.
4/27/2008 10:44:31 AM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Ever heard of the ratcage test? In the end the rats start eating each other for the lack of food!!
4/27/2008 10:43:25 AM
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PresidentGeorgeWashington wrote:
The corrupt Argeninian government is trying to steal wealth from the farmers, they have raised export taxes on Soybeans from 33% to 46% so the worthless government can cash in on the farmers hard work. Well, I have a plan to defeat the corrupt guv: The soybean farmers need to act as a group and buy futures contracts to take delivery of soybeans in say three months...purchasing on the chicago exchange. Once the futures position is established, the farmers need to give the government of argeniana an ultimatium: cancel all taxes on soybean exports and refund all such taxes collected over the last three years, OR the farmers will collectively burn their entire soybean crops. The guv will refuse, so the farmers must immediately follow thru on their threat, and turn the sky black with their burning crops. The futures contracts they have purchased will increase greatly in value, as argentina is the third larges exporter of soy beans in the world. The farmers will make back from the futures contracts much more than their crops were worth, and they will pay no taxes to argentina, since the profits will be in Chicago and beyond the reach of the corrupt guv. The next step for the farmers will be to threaten to refuse to plant any crops next year, especially soybeans, unless the guv removes all taxes on soybean exports, and refunds the last FOUR years of taxes. Thats right, they must escalate their demands, and arm themselves for guv goons to invade the farm lands. If the guv escalates more, the farmers must initiate a scorched earth policy on their land...their wealth will be safe in Chicago, so burn anything the guv seeks to steal. Viva la Revolution - No government has the right to tax agricultural exports, it is just stealing from the farmers.
4/27/2008 10:38:42 AM
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magellan1 wrote:
pgbsan-

It's pretty clear that no one has a good handle on the extent of the oil field, while you were googling maybe you saw this:

https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Bakken/newpostings/07272006_BakkenReserveEstimates.pdf

The USGS report is hardly the last word on the formation and you sound like a NYMEX oil trader propagandist.
4/27/2008 10:37:03 AM
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LibertySpinner wrote:
TRAINS. Insist on a decent viable train system to deliver food and other freight to the entire USA. How can we go on kissing the ring finger of the trucking industry. One freight train outdoes 180 truck drivers in delivering goods.
Many can change jobs to working the railroads and others can become short haul truckers for the local markets and see their families every morning and evening.
Let's get our train system up and running to get away from the fuel crisis.
Then we can use our land grow food.
4/27/2008 10:36:05 AM

scarnicwil wrote:
Articles on global food scarcity always point to an increase in crops designated for bio fuels. But 60 minutes had an interesting point a few weeks ago, that certain parts of the farm bill give subsidies for not farming and if a U.S. farmer chooses to grow a certain amount of rice he will not receive the subsidies. I assume they meant he wouldn't make as much money for growing rice as he would for letting his land set. So this is a more subtle point that should be pointed out in a news article.

The second point is that in speaking about U.S. citizens taking the squeeze of the food crunch that some are trying to grow their own vegetables. The nuances of this statement imply that growing ones own food is somehow beneath the modern person. This “thinking” is a problem that needs to be addressed. There is nothing better than standing in the garden in the summer time and eating a homegrown tomato. Changing our "public thinking" to respect and revere the growing of food and those who grow it is the solution. So if we can change this scoffing at farmers to saying even I (a mover and a shaker) grow some of my own food - we might have a different understanding and experience of reality as U.S. citizens and as members of the world. It comes down to this. Each of us lives on this earth. All of us are going to experience climate change regardless of nationality. We have got to change our thinking and our habits Let’s start with these questions. What it means to be a modern person? What it means to be successful? What it means to have it all? If we can change our answers to these questions from keeping up with the Jones house size to keeping up with the Jones tomato or from a material, consumer oriented position to something more community connected and homemade then we might just make it alright.
4/27/2008 10:33:53 AM
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Lavrat2000 wrote:
The issue is not Ethanol but the overpopulation in Africa, China, East Asia, Bangladesh etc.. These people have gotten the idea that matter how big the population goes there US will always be there to feed them. They have to learn to feed themselves, and limit their population. The US is not responsible for feeding the entire world. It is time these overpopulated countries learned the facts of life -- too many people and you starve. I oppose the US giving any more than the $200 million we have already pledged. We should not empty our food stocks for the sake of the Third World. We come first -- the rest of the world needs to learn farming and birth control not how to stick their hands out for free food.
4/27/2008 10:32:27 AM
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solami wrote:
The Haber-Bosch process helped embargoed war-time Germany to produce munition and fuel from susbstitute base products. Rudolf Eickemeyer's subsequently developed wood hydrolisis process (US patent 3787241) provided for the economical and ecology-friendly industrial-size production of ethanol, xylitol, etc. on the basis of weed, hard wood and such waste products of bagasse (residue of sugar cane; www.solami.com/foodcrisis.htm#ethanol). In the seventies, UNCTAD, the International Sugar Council and some Swiss pharmaceutical firms tried hard to convince sugar cane producers in Australia, Brasil, Cuba, Jamaica and South Africa that as exporters, primarily, they are not in the sugar but in the hard currency-producing business. However, visionaries belong to a rare, if not endangered specie. Since then, Hoffmann-Laroche and others successfully have used the FDA-approved sugar-substitute Xilit in a range of food products mainly due to its outstanding dental and other medical qualities. And in the wake of growing ecological awareness and global drives to reduce CO2 emmissions by increased ethanol use, corn producers have increasingly switched to supply that industry, rather than the food market. No force being able to push through an idea whose time hasn't come, maybe it's time now to draw inspiration from the other side of that same coin: no force in the world can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. But what does it take to get the world's responsible farmers and industrialists also to look back in order to change track into a more broad-minded and cooperative future?

Anton Keller, Secretary,
International Committee for European Security and Co-operation
+4122-7400362 +4179-6047707 swissbit@solami.com
4/27/2008 10:31:01 AM
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alance wrote:
John McCain said back during the Iowa primary that he was against agricultural subsidies. Both Obama and Hillary say they are for farm subsidies, including subsidizing corn for ethanol production.

When you have corrupt politicians with their hands out for paybacks from agri-biz companies like ADM - how can we ever end these terrible farm subsidies?

The American taxpayers pay countless billions to agri-biz. This is the main reason we have rising food prices in the world.

The politicians who vote for farm subsidies have blood on their hands of starving people all over the world.

For the sake of so-called energy independence and "green politics" and Wall Street tycoons boosting grain futures - everyone in the world has to pay more for groceries.

Vote for John McCain to keep the world from starving. Vote against greedy politicians who are corrupted by agri-biz bribes and "donations."
4/27/2008 10:30:56 AM
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pgr88 wrote:
Some of you blogging here are truly lost - your conspiracy theories, anti-Bush (or whoever propoganda), your sentimentalism. It is frightening. This shortage which can quickly be remedied by increased investment and production. Demand has been growing faster than investment/production, which has led to speculation, which is leading to present shortages. Don't screw up the market with wrong signals and producers will respond.
4/27/2008 10:29:02 AM
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justjunkemail wrote:
And those who are supposed to be leaders of the world wonder why people want them thrown out of office or shot!

These self-serving SOB's have been more worried about lining their own pockets or stuffing their own faces that they have ignored those who put them there.

If violence occurs, they they deserve it.
4/27/2008 10:27:50 AM
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pgbsan wrote:
America's fixation of ethanol subsidies and farm subsidies, in general, can be blamed on a couple eccentricities in our Constitution, which are related, and the way our presidential election is run.

1) small (generally rural) states have, per capita, considerably more representation in the Senate. They create a powerful voting block when it comes to "farming interests." This same inequity in representation allows these same small states to have more presidential electors, per capita, than the big states (the smallest state, even it had 50,000 people will always have 3 electors).

2) somebody, somewhere, thought it was a great idea to put the first presidential caucus in Iowa; as a result, every presidential candidate since 1996 always promises to increase ethanol production, because it will help Iowans. Oddly enough, this is one of the few promises presidents follow through on...
4/27/2008 10:27:37 AM
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NaeraPuruks wrote:
Hungry? Let them eat cake then.
4/27/2008 10:26:39 AM
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AlanBrowne wrote:
Eliminate the $0.51 / gallon ethanol subsidy.
4/27/2008 10:25:21 AM
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pgbsan wrote:
charko825 -- Perhaps you should do a Google search before harping on the amazing benefits of the Bakken Formation. Your news report is from early February (which reads more like oil industry propoganda), and relied on a very preliminary USGS report from 1999. The latest USGS report referenced in your article was released: Bakken holds about 3 billion barrels, not nearly enough for energy independence and, considering the huge area it encompasses, squeezing oil out of the asphalt in LA is probably more economical...
http://newsok.com/article/3230048/1208235289
4/27/2008 10:17:14 AM
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rjma1 wrote:
Another component not mentioned is that perhaps a billion rural peasants have moved from the countryside to the city. They are no longer available to grow much food. And they have largely forgotten how to anyway.
4/27/2008 10:17:11 AM
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gary4books wrote:
More expensive wheat may help us pay for more expensive oil. We need something to sell.

But ethanol is not the universal villain that some would like to call it. In his discussion on energy Robert Bryce, author "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence,' would not even mention ethanol from celulose. Get used to it. Even the President was specific to say cellulosic ethanol in his energy speech. Corn for fuel and to burn in the stove (as promoted by the Post) is not reasonable.
4/27/2008 10:16:25 AM
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rpatoh wrote:
>Last week, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier warned E.U. officials against "too much trust in the free market."

"We must not leave the vital issue of feeding people," he said, "to the mercy of market laws and international speculation." <

Ain't socialism grand? Government policies create an unrealistic market for corn and they subsidize producers to meet the demand they've created, then blame the chaos they've created on the "free" market system. The bright side is that with increased farm income to be taxed socialist governments can hire more beaurocrats.

4/27/2008 10:15:50 AM
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edbyronadams wrote:
Here is a good visual of what people eat across the world. It is good to note that the smaller larder folks pay much more of a percentage of their income for what they have.

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519,00.html
4/27/2008 10:14:39 AM
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charko825 wrote:
Thank you Al Gore for the current food crisis with your bogus science...

As President of the Senate, Al Gore cast the deciding vote (1994) to develop and subsidize ethanol from corn. Like all Gore projects, ethanol from corn is absolutely the least efficient means - more efficient only than squeezing ethanol from rocks, which Al Gore would also very much like us to invest in.

Unfortunately, corn only yields a pathetic 300 gallons of ethanol per acre, while sugar beets yield 700 gallons of ethanol per acre in France. Sugar cane in Brazil yields 662 gallons of ethanol per acre. Switchgrass yields 1000 gallons of ethanol per acre in United States trials. Another biomass source trial (U. Illinois) finds Miscanthus producing up to 1500 gallons ethanol per acre.

The net energy gain in ethanol from corn (the energy which comes from the corn) is 21%, the rest of the energy in ethanol from corn comes from conventional sources. But this 21% neglects distribution and overhead costs; when these are considered, corn is a NET WASTE OF ENERGY when converted to ethanol. Which explains why Al Gore likes it. Switchgrass yields a net energy gain of 343%.

An important consideration, as we perhaps enter the Al Gore Sunspot Minimum and Gore Ice Age (as are most indications not “corrected” by James Hansen, Al Gore’s “science” advisor), is the efficient use of the growing season and cropland. But this aside: if we cannot process Miscanthus today, we should eat the corn anyway, at least as a matter of government policy. This would give us a real gain in energy; not an Al Gore gain (A gain for Al Gore is a loss for everyone else, as history and ethanol from corn shows). However, Al Gore persistently interferes in good government.

Source Link:
http://hypsithermal.wordpress.com/
4/27/2008 10:13:47 AM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
A while ago some idiot suggested to put a tiger in our gastank-ESSO? Rockefeller?
Now they want us to put our own food in our gastank. I wonder who's crazy us or them?
It's a given fact that our planet is able to sustain a certain number of people, because of tyhe availibility of our NATURAL resources. If they're gone then we're gone! As simple as that.
4/27/2008 10:11:32 AM
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edbyronadams wrote:
I'm amused at the blame game that people play about this subject. The causes of the food price rise are rising standards of living in much of Asia (a good thing), a crop failure in Australia and energy policy in the US and Europe.

I suppose that the only thing we can and might want to change is the last item so blame the republican form of government we have and the unforeseen consequences of an attempt to fight global warming.
4/27/2008 10:10:41 AM
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gary4books wrote:
The headline says "unforeseen."

Where have you been? Robert Heinlein wrote about this in the 50's.

But this is a classic hoarding syndrome. How many who just escaped the housing bubble will but their last dollars into wheat futures or oil stocks? By by money.
4/27/2008 10:09:25 AM
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Mariel1 wrote:
These are intelligent comments! It seems the posters know (or at least are willing to admit they know) more than our government, including the three senators running for President of the United States. If these three senators have addressed these issues, such as corn being wasted on ethanol production, the media have not told us much about it. They wrangle over personality issues and do not address these vital issues!

If there is indeed great oil to be found in North Dakota, what are we waiting for? Get that stuff out of the ground, build refineries even while doing so, and get that oil into our American cars ASAP! And candidates for President, please talk about this NOW.
4/27/2008 10:07:22 AM
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san202003 wrote:
where is the analysis on the huge agribusinesses' role in all of this and what about the IMF forcing developing counties to abandon their farmers by cutting subsidies
and now they are at the mercy of the so call free market-- it's immoral and disgusting!!
4/27/2008 10:02:05 AM

Contrarian wrote:
Lay most of this at the feet of capitalism, war, outrageously stupid energy policies, and population growth (Catholicism - no contraceptives). The first three problems primarily belong to the USA, so what are we doing about it?
4/27/2008 9:53:52 AM
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KateSaunders wrote:
With so much hype, it's getting harder to believe anything that comes out of the media anymore.
4/27/2008 9:49:53 AM
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charko825 wrote:
Let's keep this blog on topic---The article by Anthony Faiola can be summed up in this one quote:
"If you didn't have ethanol, you would not have the prices we have today," said Bruce Babcock, a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University.
The earth has given us wheat, corn, soy etc. to eat. Such items were never intended to be used for fuel for combustion mechanics.
Mother earth gave us oil for our combustible mechanics vehicles....
Mankind has upset the balance of the earth's resources is mis-using them based upon false suppostions and now we have a crisis of global proportions...
It's time to put our natural resources back into proper balance...the earth is waiting for us to right our ways...
4/27/2008 9:48:24 AM
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ag1976 wrote:
I sure hope that Bush and his friends are making enough off oil. Bush is an evil, cold hearted, terroristic war criminal who has the power to do something oil prices (take if off the stock market...call his terroristic friends and ask for a break from the greed...anything).
4/27/2008 9:47:48 AM
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zackyinfo wrote:
The campaign strategy of the alcohol problem by the Republican Party is large.

I think that security issues that the United States holds are consolidated in a basic
following national strategies after the cold war.

?Energy national security
?Food national security

A huge enterprise twines to support this two in the United States. The oil majors and another one of one is grain major.
Bush administration has taken the policy from the oil majors as a lot of people say.
When biotechnology is seen from such a viewpoint in President Bush's State of the Union address of 95 years, having been surprised is an honest impression.

The bioethanol is agricultural measures obviously, and the agricultural engaging person
measures of Midwest in the ground of the Republican Party.
It is announced that this is a farm policy at an international conference at which the
government official of United States Ministry of Energy is done in Japan.

As for the movement of Bush administration, it thinks the grain such as Cargill to be major. (There is no tangible proof, and is being sure not to leave it. )Actually, all the grain market prices have risen suddenly. I think that not only the agricultural engaging person but also the grain majors maked a profit because cereal prices had fallen.
Because the grain market price went up enough by the biotechnology fuel, Cargill hears that it discontinued the new factory construction of the bioethanol in February this year.

Still, if he becomes it if the fuel alcohol is done, Uncle Sam will keep doing. I think that it is the United States style.
4/27/2008 9:47:48 AM
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druvas wrote:
Developing nations also have the same right to be industrious and work their land to grow their own food. What right they don't have is to demand that the US give it to them. If the lands they occupy don't support growing food, then I would say that that was a poor choice in which to locate a Nation-State. Propping them up with imported food that can't last forever is just plain stupid.
4/27/2008 9:37:21 AM
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ratl wrote:
Criminals running a global economy - wars, drugs and hunger are an agenda, not an unexpected coincidence of nebulous circumstances.
4/27/2008 9:34:05 AM
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postisarag wrote:
Figure out a way to keep the inhabitants of the third world from procreating and the world hunger problem will be solved.
4/27/2008 9:20:18 AM
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losthorizon10 wrote:
Let me guess....George Bush says that "hunger ain't no problem for them foreigners" and that they can always eat soylent green?
4/27/2008 9:19:56 AM
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deadkoz wrote:
MONEY CHANGERS, Tech Stocks then Real Estate then oil then corn then gold and now food. Speculation has been driving up the prices for everything. GREED is finally going to destroy man. Business cycle is a joke, lets call it what it is, SCAM. They make money up or down as they manipulate the world markets.
4/27/2008 9:19:23 AM
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charko825 wrote:
Beacon2--I've never said there was a shortage of oil-the fact that you say that tells me you don't really know the issue but only have a infantile animosity against the "big bad oil companies"...
...America's dependence upon foreign oil is the issue...We do not need to be dependent upon foreign oil...read below...it should help...

America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.

It was not until 2007, when EOG Resources of Texas started a frenzy when they drilled a single well in Parshal N.D. that is expected to yield 700,000 barrels of oil that real excitement and money started to flow in North Dakota. Marathon Oil is investing $1.5 billion and drilling 300 new wells in what is expected to be one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

The US imported about 14 million barrels of Oil per day in 2007 , which means US consumers sent about $340 Billion Dollars over seas building palaces in Dubai and propping up unfriendly regimes around the World, if 200 billion barrels of oil at $90 a barrel are recovered in the high plains the added wealth to the US economy would be $18 Trillion Dollars which would go a long way in stabilizing the US trade deficit and could cut the cost of oil in half in the long run.
Source Link:
http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news2.13s.html
4/27/2008 9:18:59 AM
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abroadventure wrote:
Headlines like these must be sexually saticfying to the likes of the Federal Reserve Bank which is private, not federal and not a reserve. The CFR must also be elated. Can anyone say the pits of H, their master down there and the anti-C, you know what liars.
4/27/2008 9:15:40 AM
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edbyronadams wrote:
"We have the same right to eat as you."
That is the same line the grasshopper tried on the ants.
4/27/2008 9:15:31 AM
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edbyronadams wrote:
Many governments with large populations of poor people are instituting price controls on food, as if that will do anything to increase supply.
4/27/2008 9:12:25 AM
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treetopflyer wrote:
Bush's pathetic plea to the Saudis earlier this year to open the spigot was a joke. The Saudis watched their economy sink during the nineties because low oil was the price of our troops being in their country to protect them from Saddam. Once his regime collapsed, so did our protection racket.
Funny, in a way Saddam was as responsible as any other factor in the economic boom of the nineties. Never thought of that before.
4/27/2008 9:12:17 AM
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Linda7 wrote:
Those that are pushing biofuels didn't put enough research into the consequences. Or, perhaps they are being compassionate and starving us now to save us from the Global Warming future? Which Presidential candidate voted against ethanol subsidies?
4/27/2008 9:11:35 AM
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treetopflyer wrote:
This is the result of the developing nations waking up, turning to the West and making a simple, truthful and dangerous declaration:
"We have the same right to eat as you."
4/27/2008 9:08:37 AM
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charko825 wrote:
The source link for the article I posted below is-here's a repost...
http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news2.13s.html
Good Source for oil information:
http://www.oilonline.com/news/headlines/default.asp
Call your congressman and encourage them to begin a National Consensus to drill for oil. It's time to reverse the tide...
4/27/2008 9:07:31 AM
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Skyline1 wrote:
karenmarieromero
I haven't a clue what you are talking about, but I'll bet the word you wanted to use was "annihilate."
4/27/2008 9:03:15 AM
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Beacon2 wrote:
charko825
There is no shortage of oil, simply high prices. If oil was truly scarce the profits would not be so great.
4/27/2008 9:01:21 AM

Beacon2 wrote:
charko825
There is no shortage of oil, simply high prices. If oil was truly scarce the profits would not be so great.
4/27/2008 9:01:21 AM
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squatty418 wrote:
As someone who works in the sustainable energy field, I was disturbed when my company hired a biofuels guy to head up our new clean energy market research team. There may be a place for some biofuels, but corn-based ethanol is BAD, and we really need to rethink our biofuels target.
4/27/2008 9:00:33 AM
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DwightHCollins wrote:
each nation should produce food for their perspective citizens. certain foods such as rice, corn and potatoes should be available to all the poorest of people. there is no reason for people to starve.
4/27/2008 8:59:39 AM
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tmcproductions2004 wrote:
Most Americans think that if an issue is important, and they should be listening,then they will hear it on the news over and over and over again--like 911, and Shock and Awe.
But our country is being fed distraction after distraction while this important news and analysis goes unheeded. Instead the news is dominated by rev. wright, sniper fire lies, and bitter barack. Every important issue is reduced to hack politics--read the comments here, for instance. Everyone thinks he's an expert. The real experts are minimalized by these same hacks as "elitist". Where does it end??
4/27/2008 8:59:30 AM
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magellan1 wrote:
5 and 20, 5 and 20. Five percent of the world's population and 20% of the world's arable land - heh, heh, heh!
4/27/2008 8:58:37 AM
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karenmarieromero wrote:
Furthermore, bullying me and throwing me out of apartment complexes and doing the crap in which you have continued to do ain't going to help one of you.
IF YOU DON'T STOP IT, YOU WILL NOT HAVE A PLANET, AND MOST WILL GO TO THE ABYSS TO BE CHAINED TO THE DARK SIDE FOR ONE THOUSAND EARTH YEARS UNTIL YOU FINALLY LEARN YOU CAN'T DO THE THINGS YOU HAVE DONE TO ME. GET YOUR EARTHQUAKE KITS TOGETHER, AND KNOW THIS...THEY WON'T DO YOU ONE BIT OF GOOD!
4/27/2008 8:58:11 AM
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Skyline1 wrote:
WashingtonDame
Oh, I don't think it would hurt to try to curtail the use of those gas-guzzling SUV's guzzling fuel and spewing out fumes at every stop sign in the U.S. I love my Prius; it simply shuts off completely when I stop and it regularly gets 50 MPG.
You wrote, "We SHOULD do is forget completely about ethanol -- no grains should be diverted to fuel use. Corn should only be used for food."
Only for food? Does that include stopping all production of alcoholic beverages from corn and other grains? Or might I be allowed to make a bit of ethanol for my car instead of drinking my alcohol, just in case President Bush isn't able to get the Arabs to "turn on the spigot?"
4/27/2008 8:57:32 AM
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charko825 wrote:
The only solution is to drill for oil...It's time to call the Global Warming crisis for what it really is BULLSH*T!!!..There is no sound science for GW whatsoever...yet we still have politicians that have been neutered by the left and march on over the cliff of stupidity....

Look at all the resources America has!!?? President Bush needs to declare a national emergency suspend all environmental laws--screw the owl!--and lets start drilling!

America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.

It was not until 2007, when EOG Resources of Texas started a frenzy when they drilled a single well in Parshal N.D. that is expected to yield 700,000 barrels of oil that real excitement and money started to flow in North Dakota. Marathon Oil is investing $1.5 billion and drilling 300 new wells in what is expected to be one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

The US imported about 14 million barrels of Oil per day in 2007 , which means US consumers sent about $340 Billion Dollars over seas building palaces in Dubai and propping up unfriendly regimes around the World, if 200 billion barrels of oil at $90 a barrel are recovered in the high plains the added wealth to the US economy would be $18 Trillion Dollars which would go a long way in stabilizing the US trade deficit and could cut the cost of oil in half in the long run
4/27/2008 8:55:35 AM
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karenmarieromero wrote:
I have warned all of you about this. I sometimes feel like the guy felt in the book NIGHT, written by Elie Weisel.

The one in which Elie and all the others thought were crazy when he said "they are coming, they are coming" He meant the Nazi's, and he knew they were going to throw Jewish people in the gas chamber, and nobody listened to him until it was too late.

The FBI needs to apologize to me, pay me money for expenses, never use anybody like a pawn again, or else there will be a gigantic earthquake before the end of this year, that will enialate this planet.

I don't care if any of you believe me or don't believe me. I have told you what needs to be done. If you don't like it, talk to the fibbers. For they are filthy liars. And also murderers!
4/27/2008 8:53:06 AM
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asecularcom wrote:
What I don't understand is why people care about the poor in other countries. These people ARE NOT AMERICANS! And turning corn into ethanol is very important for the environment. Studies have shown that if all American corn were made into fuel, it would provide only 10% of our gasoline needs. This means the poor will have to stop looking to America for their food needs. Might I recommend they fund their own damn space program and find another planet on which to starve.
4/27/2008 8:51:22 AM
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charko825 wrote:
You've got to love this brilliant quote from the article...severalstudies conducted years ago predicted our current crisis... DUH.....

"If you didn't have ethanol, you would not have the prices we have today," said Bruce Babcock, a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University.

The false prophet Al Gore and his willing mind-numbed zombie followers have propagated a world wide crisis because of the Bullsh*t that they spew on a daily basis....why people still listen to this jerk is beyond me...
4/27/2008 8:47:33 AM
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johnkwhite1 wrote:
Forty-fifty years ago, high school students in many schools learned about something called the Green Revolution. And they learned something else: there would be a tripling of the 2.5 billion population by the year 2000--2010 because of the Green Revolution. The discussion points of the results of the Revolution, however, were odd to many of the students: proxy wars over resources and decreases in standards of living for those living in nations seeking to exploit expanding third world workforces without adequate trade protections in place, and something called unregulated globalization of commercial interests decreasing standards of living of many first world nations in order to bring up the standards in many third world nations.
4/27/2008 8:44:48 AM
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Utahreb wrote:
Not noted in this article is the fact that our own middle class working people are having to pay for this mess, too. With the high price of gas and diesel, trucking the food to stores becomes more expensive, thus driving up the cost of the food.

Look at the truckers who are in danger of losing their rigs - look at the family of four who pay 3 and 4 times the price of food now - look at the elderly who cannot afford the fresh fruit and vegetables, much less their medications - look at the number of children now needing the reduced price lunches and breakfasts at school - look at the food banks whose shelves are almost empty.

Not only do we have sticker shock at the gas pumps, we also have sticker shock at the grocery stores. We have become too dependent on imports and need to bolster our own companies and farmers - but not the agro-businesses that are now making huge profits. We have the resources to become independent again and now is the time to do it.
4/27/2008 8:39:25 AM
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Beacon2 wrote:
Before we go overboard with self-righteousness.
It's the gallons you use, not the miles per gallon you get. Important concept.
I have cut back on my driving 75% but I want my Suburban. It is the universal vehicle for country living.
4/27/2008 8:38:29 AM
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lionblack42 wrote:
man this is unbileveble in century 21,a world manamgements goes fail in basic principal:fedd for life,they think a lot in market,warning global,war,and forget put food im people mouth;a shame!
4/27/2008 8:38:22 AM
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rusadvise wrote:
Wow! Not only do we feed the worlds hunger, we now feed the worlds investors. Where are OUR returns? Only the spoils?
4/27/2008 8:38:11 AM
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tropicalfolk wrote:
Great article. A litte "too late", though.

For several years, major publications such as the british newspaper The Economist have been reporting the increase in global demand for food, and its effect on prices. Also, for several year there have been warnings about the potencial effects of the rush to biofuels. One year ago, it was clear that the biofuels were having a major effect in reduced cropland and higher food prices worldwide.

But the proble became a crisis during the last year, when the subprime crisis in the U.S. triggered a series of interest rate cuts by the Fed. These curs sent the U.S. dollar down the toilete, causing global investors to flee the dollar. What was the alternative? Buy commodities: oil, gold, copper, and FOOD.

We are experiencing a major disruption of global markets, largely caused by U.S. economic policies.

Last week, Paul Krugman wrote a column about the food crisis, minimizing the role of global speculation on the rising prices of food. He should have read this article first, so he may understand what is really going on.

The question is: Now what?

The crisis can only get worse. Agencies specilized on agricultre and food aid believe the problem can be solved through traditional food aid initiatives. Governments all over the world are trying protectionist measures, blocking food exports in order to secure enough domestic supply... which only causes global supply to get even lower... which pushes prices even higher.

The only answer goes back to the real cause: the falling dollar. The most urgent goal should be to STABILIZE AND RESTORE THE DOLLAR'S VALUE. Otherwise...
4/27/2008 8:35:39 AM
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birvin9999 wrote:
Of course a lot of the pricing increases are due to the mandated insistence upon "alternate" fuel sources. Case in point, ethanol, which has become an abject catastrophe. I can't wait for the next brilliant idea from our "green" friends.
4/27/2008 8:34:40 AM
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tryreason wrote:
Isn't wall street great, making a profit trumps feeding starving people every day of the week. What Laissez faire economists failed to tell the public was that the wealth would only trickle down to the poor when their was an overabundance and everyone at the top was satisfied with their share and that rarely remains the status quo as present circumstance demonstrate.
4/27/2008 8:34:05 AM
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WashingtonDame wrote:
jack824 wrote:

With ethanol cutting into the food supply, it may be time to ban large SUV sales except to documented farmers and ranchers. These three ton obscenities not only pollute the environment and put other drivers at risk, but now needlessly take food out of the mouths of the hungry with every mile driven.

_____________________________________

Wow, what an ignorant post. We SHOULD do is forget completely about ethanol -- no grains should be diverted to fuel use. Corn should only be used for food. And people need to get over their irrational fears of nuclear energy. Nuclear power must be added to the mix of fuel, including renewables such as wind and tidal power. The NIMBYism of the rich would don't want to see turbines where they yacht -- yes, Ted Kennedy, I'm talking about you -- has to be overcome. People are going to starve unless we get realistic about using ALL the resources we have, and that includes wind, tides, nuclear, coal, and oil.
4/27/2008 8:27:08 AM
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Beacon2 wrote:
Another housing bubble. The need for food doesn't change overnight. Predict grain will be rotting in the fields come Fall. Farmers will be losing their farms. The storage and transportation process will be wreaked. Speculators will be getting 100 million dollar paychecks.
4/27/2008 8:21:12 AM
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DagLfromSweden wrote:
nothoney1 has right, animals eat vegetables, which could be used for human consumption. So is that not an almost immediate solution to the food crises, reduce food production via animals now and eat it directly instead.
4/27/2008 8:17:53 AM
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hartman_john wrote:
Perhaps the United States ought to invest more of its treasure in agricultural science and less on military weaponry. It strikes one that we'd have better luck against terrorism by feeding those who need it rather than dropping smart bombs on them.

On a second note; the United States taxpayer should immediately halt all farm subsidies. The corporate behemoths running U.S. agriculture are making a handsome profit. That's all well and good, but the don't need my tax dollars as well.
4/27/2008 8:17:37 AM
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Skyline1 wrote:
Any people or any nation concerned about the shortage of food would stop all distilling of corn and grain into beer and other alcoholic beverages and begin growing food instead of tobacco on tobacco farms.

Also, let's insist President Bush keep his promise about telling the Middle-East oil producing nations to "turn on the spigot" and bring down the cost of raising food and transporting it to the consumer.
4/27/2008 8:17:17 AM
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jamil1 wrote:
what a coincidence that all this is happening during the reign of "KIng George" the Decider!!
4/27/2008 8:10:41 AM
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rcubedkc wrote:
This is one of the major problems with so-called free trade, in this case regarding food. The people of the country that actually produces the food may be unable to have enough of it to eat.
“Foreign buyers, who typically seek to purchase one or two months' supply of wheat at a time, suddenly began to stockpile. They put in orders on U.S. grain exchanges two to three times larger than normal as food riots began to erupt worldwide. This led major domestic U.S. mills to jump into the fray with their own massive orders, fearing that there would soon be no wheat left at any price.
And here is part of the solution although it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“Last week, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier warned E.U. officials against "too much trust in the free market."
"We must not leave the vital issue of feeding people," he said, "to the mercy of market laws and international speculation."
4/27/2008 7:57:35 AM
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kl305 wrote:
Brought to you by Al Gore and the idiots of the US Congress who's motto is - I would rather drive clean than let the worlds poor eat.
We could drill for oil in Anwar, or we could drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and we could build new refineries, but no, we would rather starve the poor of the world so that we can save the world from global warming.
Brilliant, simply brilliant.
4/27/2008 7:54:12 AM
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lt1z28 wrote:
robinhood2 wrote:
Question..Did the Bush administration policies cause this?

***That would be "no". Cheney/Bush had a solid plan (remember the Cheney "Energy Task Force you Libs ATTACKED and sued) to drill for NEW OIL RESERVES 8 fricking years ago. If we had listened to Dick Chenney and Bush, we would be awash in Alaskan oil by now. THE TRUTH HURTS, DON'T IT LIBS?

BTW, I can still remember Libs claiming (justa few years back) that 5 dollar a gollon gas was a GOOD THING to wean us off fossil fuels. YOU DON'T HEAR THAT POINT MADE MUCH ANYMORE, NOTICE? 8-)
4/27/2008 7:54:03 AM
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nothoney1 wrote:
I'm not surprised that the Post, and lots of other newspapers carrying this story, have left out a major cause of the grain shortage worldwide - factory farming. According to "the U.N.'s 2006 report 'Livestock's long shadow - environmental issues and options,' global production of meat is projected to more than double from 229x109 kg/year in 1999/2000 to 465x109 kg/year in 2050 (Steinfeld et al. 2006, FAO document). The bulk of growth will occur in developing countries through intensive production systems where economies of scale will cause a steady increase of the size of operations. It is expected that the future growth of livestock output will be based on similar growth rates for feed concentrate use.

"The total area occupied by livestock grazing is around 34x106 km2, which is equivalent to 26 % of the land surface area of the planet (Steinfeld et al. 2006). The total area used for feedcrop production is about 4.7x106 km2, equivalent to 33 % of all cropland. Most of this cropland is located in OECD countries, but some developing countries are rapidly expanding their feedcrop production, notably maize and soybean in South America, in particular Brazil. The total remaining area suitable for rain-fed production is estimated to be about 28x106 km2, of which 45 % is forest area (12.6x106 km2) (Steinfeld et al. 2006). Livestock contribute about 9 % of total carbon dioxide emissions, 37 % of methane and 65 % of nitrous oxide. In terms of CO2 equivalents the gaseous emissions from livestock production amounts to about 18 % of the global warming effects. This is more than the contribution from the total transportation sector. Concerning polluting gaseous emissions not linked to climate change, livestock waste contributes 68 % of total emissions of ammonia (30x109 kg/year) (Steinfeld et al. 2006). About 0.13x106 km2 of forest is lost per year and the majority is converted to agricultural land (Steinfeld et al. 2006)."

The Tuesday, April 15 Guardian (London) has a commentary piece, by George Monbiot, headed “Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat." Monbiot writes: "“But there is a bigger reason for global hunger, which is attracting less attention only because it has been there for longer. While 100m tonnes of food will be diverted this year to feed cars, 760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals - which could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat.” And, " “The Food and Agriculture Organisation calculates that animal keeping is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental impacts are especially grave in places where livestock graze freely. The only reasonable answer to the question of how much meat we should eat is as little as possible. Let’s reserve it - as most societies have done until recently - for special occasions.”

You’ll find the full article on Monbiot’s Web site at http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/04/15/the-pleasures-of-the-flesh/."

Biofuels are the smaller part of the global grain shortage. Your eating habits are the greater part.
4/27/2008 7:53:12 AM
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lt1z28 wrote:
THE ARTICLE: Brutal and unforeseen convergence of events has sent grain prices soaring, sparking the worst food crisis in a generation in which poorest suffer most.

***Unforseen you say? Hardly. Any economist (which Gore most certainly is NOT) could have seen this coming. As a matter of fact, two of them wrote a paper about it: "“How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.”"

http://www.nysun.com/news/food-crisis-eclipsing-climate-change

“We were criticized for being alarmist at the time,” Mr. Runge said. “I think our views, looking back a year, were probably too conservative.”

GEE, TOO BAD AL GORE WAS BUSY READING "CHICKEN LITTLE: THE SKY IS FALLING". Hey liberal eco-morons, wake up, you are thge ones messinbg up our planet, not Exxon Mobil. Face it greenies.
4/27/2008 7:46:35 AM
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magellan1 wrote:
"If you didn't have ethanol, you would not have the prices we have today,"

True, along with many other "if you didn't have (fill in the blank depending on your political persuasion)". This finger pointing gives you mopes, who see everything in terms of an inconsequential presidential race, an opportunity to vent your spleens.

Underlying all this, though, is a fact which brings a smile to my face - the U.S. has 5% of the world's population and 20% of the world's arable land.
4/27/2008 7:43:09 AM
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kuseldavid wrote:
The rest of the world would like to thank the USA for......
1 Invading Iraq an pushing oil up to 100 dollars a barrel.
2 Helping to push food prices sky high.
3 Sabotaging the world financial system with the sub prime disaster.

And as if launching a global recession wasn't enough.... if the Wa Post has its way the Neocons will launch their looney attack against Iran before the end of Bush's mandate and probably start World War III
4/27/2008 7:26:16 AM
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shawnp220 wrote:
The speculating money that bought us stock and housing bubbles, skyrocketing oil price are now pouring into commodity market. There is no shortage of food, it is commodity speculators buying the future and pushing up the price, just like them add $50 per barrel of oil.
4/27/2008 7:22:06 AM
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coloradodog wrote:
The most brutal convergence of events has been the greed of oil pimp Cheney, his Saudi petro-pushermen and greedy futures traders who have manipulated prices and benefited from Iraq war-profiteering. A fallout of this avarice is government subsidization of ethanol causing a corn price crisis and more starvation as well

Beside Cheney, his US big-oil cronies. and Middle Eastern kingdoms who spawned the 911 terrorists, are the mildly unfortunate Americans who now pay $3 for a loaf of bread and will soon pay $5 a gallon for gasoline. The most unfortunate, as usual, are the poor of the world who can no longer afford to feed their families or heat their homes.

In the grand scheme of things, "what goes around, comes around" and the neocon and Saudi fat cats who are destroying the world for their own George Will praised greed will get theirs - maybe in the form of street riots and revolution or maybe some other way. They or their descendants will eventually pay and pay-back is the proverbial "bit*h"
4/27/2008 7:20:58 AM
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EuroAm wrote:
"Brutal and unforeseen convergence of events..."
What an overflowing basket of night-soil!
Anybody with a lick of sense saw this coming the day Bush announced the corn-alcohol as a substitute/extender for gasoline idea, enforced and verified by the ongoing reports of rising grain and food prices as acres of farm land were switched from food production to fuel production.
"Unforeseen" my A$$.
Heck of a job, Georgie.
4/27/2008 7:16:02 AM
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jvandeswaluw1 wrote:
Almost overnight we're faced with this food problem. An unforeseen problem is a lot of hogwash. At the hand of statistics we can predict the increase of the world population and how much they need to eat to survive. You may call me an idiot,etc, but I believe that this is part of a conspiricy. We need to get rid off at least a few billion people to save our planet. Why not start with the people living on $1.00 a day? Then start increasing the prices for food for the very low income earners? It's part of the end game as they call it when playing chess.
4/27/2008 7:04:34 AM
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PatrickInBeijing wrote:
It is amazing how many people are indifferent to the hunger being caused. Farmers should look out when they defend bio-fuels. Most Americans have come to regard farmers as our friends who feed us. So, it is easy to justify subsidies and price supports when times are tough. If things change, farmers (who are not large in number) may find that there is residual anger coming their way. Are they sure that this is worth the short term gains?

Bio-fuels are an insane policy, they are the enemy of the human race, and will, over time come to be regarded this way.

Speculators face the same problem, they will end up with a much tighter controlled industry, and may become criminals at some point. Very few countries will be able to advocate for "free" commodity markets that starve people.

If things get bad, two things will happen. The first is that people won't sit and die in silence. First, there will be revolutions. Be ready for them.

The second thing is that there will be migration. Hunger has always been one of the causes of migration. Be prepared when millions begin to move. All the walls in the world won't stop them.
4/27/2008 6:20:26 AM
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dbax wrote:
Hang the greedy hedge fund speculators by their thumbs.
Get rich at any cost to humanity...
4/27/2008 5:47:11 AM
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jack824 wrote:
With ethanol cutting into the food supply, it may be time to ban large SUV sales except to documented farmers and ranchers. These three ton obscenities not only pollute the environment and put other drivers at risk, but now needlessly take food out of the mouths of the hungry with every mile driven.
4/27/2008 5:23:28 AM
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wardropper wrote:
"Brutal and unforeseen", huh?
Well, "Brutal" is just typical management style for our current world leaders.
"Unforseen" is their word for not bothering to ensure that people whose job it is to forsee actually do that job.
4/27/2008 5:05:42 AM
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thc1138 wrote:
Pursue the Bush administration beyond January 20 until they are brought to justice.
Direct Democracy
4/27/2008 4:52:08 AM
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sgpquek wrote:
It a true blessing in disguise. Now there is no reason to be obesed.
4/27/2008 4:47:17 AM
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egrib wrote:
martiniano wrote: "Just wait and see what other surprises Bush has in store.... Would you be happy with $3 gas? What was the price of gas in Jan, 2000?"

What a stupid, idiotic thing to say!! I suppose you're going to blame Bush for Chinese domestic demand? For declining production in Mexico? For declining Saudi fields? Got news for you, the President can't control everything in the world... And then when we push an alternative like bio fuel you guys whine and moan about world hunger! You're NEVER NEVER happy. But that's the way socialists always are.
4/27/2008 4:41:02 AM
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bobbyvalenz wrote:
A real solution is needed fast. If Bush cannot do something about it we need a new leader whose tested. I hope the damage will not be too much then.
4/27/2008 4:14:11 AM
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egrib wrote:
Way to go Al Gore!!!
4/27/2008 3:56:49 AM
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martiniano wrote:
Just wait and see what other surprises Bush has in store for the world before he leaves office. He's a master at raising prices way, way high and then let them drop back just a little. Suddenly everyone is happy with the new high price because it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Would you be happy with $3 gas? What was the price of gas in Jan, 2000?
4/27/2008 2:14:10 AM
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kenmoyes wrote:
This is an eye opening report. It points out the global nature of the oil price shock and the ethanol debacle. These two items are not only causing a recession in the U.S., they are also creating financial upheaval in Europe, Asia, and South America. Remember, when food is in short supply or too expensive, nations get uptight about feeding their citizens. Wars break out! And yet, our leaders continue along like all is well with the world and the U.S. The Democratic candidates make no mention of a worldwide problem, preferring to blame our current administration and the oil companies for all the ills of the U.S.
brokengovernment.wordpress.com
4/27/2008 1:46:52 AM
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robinhood2 wrote:
Question..Did the Bush administration policies cause this?
4/27/2008 1:26:43 AM
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sandylong5274 wrote:
And so,Michelle Obama turned to her husband Barack Hussein Obama and says,
"Let them eat cake!" ...So don't count on
Obama doing a damn thing about this problem or any other prolem,based on Obama
miserable track record so far folks.
4/27/2008 1:25:23 AM
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sandylong5274 wrote:
And so,Michelle Obama turned to her husband Barack Hussein Obama and says,
"Let them eat cake!" ...So don't count on
Obama doing a damn thing about this problem or any other prolem,based on Obama
miserable track record so far folks.
4/27/2008 1:25:23 AM
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akw123 wrote:
I wonder how many people catch the irony if the title: The New Economics of Hunger. "Economics" - truly what a dismal science. So concerned with modeling monetary flows and financial markets, the economics profession failed to provide us warning of the one essential of economics the economics profession either forgot about or don't care about - the ability to feed people. Yes, I'm speaking, very bitterly, of people like Greg Mankiw, the dolt who can come up with all types of rationals for income and wealth inequality, while 50,000 children a day perish.
4/27/2008 1:24:43 AM
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hismajesty wrote:
This is a result of Wall Street transforming into "Wu Street," as China's economy wakes up. People in emerging markets have just as much right to commodities as we do. Now, they're claiming that right, and the production has yet to catch up with the demand. It will sort itself out, and when it does, Wu Street may well be the world's financial capital.
4/27/2008 1:17:33 AM
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AVirginiaPlanter wrote:
OPEC is to blame. When the price of oil and gasoline shot up from their greed, the World's largest producer of grain turned to ethanol and other grain based fuels. The price of shipping these other grains to market also went up. Simple economics.
4/27/2008 1:03:08 AM
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TheodoreRoosevelt wrote:
Perhaps we'd better tag on a fat export tax to our Agricultural products.

I kind of like eating, sorry about the rest of the world, but no sense going down the tubes with them.

That doesn't mean I am against helping build desal plants and investing in piping the water to those area's that need it to grow food in other countries.

It would be an excellent idea to do in this country also.

Nor would I be opposed in investing in alternative to OIL for transpotation and other energy needs.

Those sound a hell of a lot better as far as investing then pumping money down the hole of Iraq, that doesn't feed anyone just kills them and you can't drink blood, and it's against the law to be cannabals.

But as always our Politicians wise in the ways of making money for a select few won't do any of the above, and keep fiddling while the world burns.

Bring back our tech jobs, bring back our factories, bring it ALL back and we as a NAtion with those resources can not only rebuild and make America a better and greener country, the tech we discover, and the new ways for power and transportation can be GIVEN to other countries.

We of course would not be able to finance them in their endevours as we're kind of Bankrupt right now, and owe a trillion+ to China.

But I am sure with the tech and the blueprints these other countries can find backers.

FEED AMERICA FIRST.

Sorry world if i am a rat basterd America first kind of guy.

Well actually I am not sorry
4/27/2008 12:59:37 AM




Washington Post    April 27, 2008

A Full Plate Today, Uncertainty Tomorrow

By Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel

Our translator Sami al-Sayani took us through the crowded, narrow streets of old Sanaa this month, to the Bab al-Yemen market area, leading the way among stalls piled high with apples, bananas and stacks of egg crates. He was unflappable until we asked about the prices of flour and other foods. "The prices are too, too high for flour," he said, demonstrably upset. The retail price of bulk, milled flour in Yemen has skyrocketed 120 percent in less than a year.

It may surprise you that a 26-year-old guy knows the price of flour at all -- let alone that he can quote its rise from memory. But Sayani has a stake in the prices that his family pays for food. He and his brothers and sisters regularly pay into the family coffers to keep the extended family unit afloat. This sort of pooled purchasing power may be all that's keeping bread on the plate these days in many corners of the world. People in the developing world are rioting over food prices, leaving dozens dead in some cities, because there's simply little or no cushion in a poor family's finances to afford even a minor increase in the cost of its food.

The world is used to hearing about hunger in the context of Darfurian refugees or crop failures and famine in sub-Saharan Africa. But now we're facing something different. Large swaths of humanity can no longer be assured that the foods they're eating today will be available tomorrow at prices they can afford -- or available at all. This is not, in fact, as silent a tsunami as a World Food Program official suggested last week.

Sit down, as we do, with just about any family in the developing world, for whom eating traditional foods is still the norm, and get ready for a surprise: The family's shopper (usually a woman) can tell you within an ounce or two exactly how much of each foodstuff she needs to buy to feed her family. And she could, at least until recently, tell you within a few cents what each item should cost and the expected total bill. We've experienced this in dozens of places -- the third floor of a five-floor walkup in Cairo, a subdivided shack in the Philippines, rural China and Guatemala, a Papuan jungle, the Ecuadorian Andes and sub-Saharan Africa. Susana Mendoza, of Todos Santos de Cuchamaton in Guatemala, tallied up her large family's week's worth of food in a matter of minutes.

While meeting 30 families in 24 countries for our 2005 book "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats," we saw these calculations happen daily. How much red rice does Nalim and Namgay's family of 13 eat in the course of a week at their home in Shingkhey, Bhutan? The number is quick to come -- 66 pounds, with very little waste.

Now, as we travel, we expect a more urgent calculation as prices climb skyward: How much will it cost for my children not to starve?

In Yemen, where food riots broke out in recent months, the answer to nearly every question we asked about food elicited emotions ranging from fear of malnutrition to anger over the exorbitant rise in prices. The cost of one round of traditional flat bread, roughly two slices of bread in the United States, has risen sharply, from about 10 Yemeni rials (about 2.5 cents) to 20 rials in the local bakeries. This may not sound like much to an American who's used to paying $3.50 or more for a loaf of bread, but it is to a Yemeni -- and to many others in the developing world for whom food expenditures can represent 60 to 80 percent of a family's spending.

Few of the Yemenis we met, if any, understand the reasons why food prices have risen so sharply. Even Americans awash in information are as confused and confounded as Yemenis. More than one person made a connection between higher food prices and the ongoing construction of what they call the "President's Mosque" -- a mosque named after the country's leader and reported to cost $65 million. (They had no proof, which, of course, seems an unnecessary component in any discussion about supposed government excess.)

In Yemen, when the price of bread rises, so does anger and resentment of the government. Elsewhere, because of government subsidies, the price of bread is stable, contributing to different kinds of headaches. In Iran, inflation is now up to an annual rate of 18 percent; earlier this month, that cost the economic minister his job. The bakers get government flour and are allowed to charge only a certain low rate for the bread they sell. Would Akbar Zareh, the baker we met in Yazd, like to charge more? Yes. Can he? No -- it's illegal. Would the government like to charge more for the flour? Yes. Can they? With the price of flour rising rapidly, they may have no choice.

oão Cardoso is a fisherman in northern Brazil who lives in a floating house on the Amazon River. The world market does not drive his food security, at least in the short term. He and his wife eat fish that they catch, grow vegetables on their dock and spend only a relative pittance on other things they need, using a small government pension paid to rural retirees. They're fairly self-sufficient. If he moved to Manaus, the capital of his state, Amazonas, or some other urban area, both his diet and his financial circumstances would change greatly, and he'd suffer along with other poor urban Brazilians. Solang da Silva Correia, a cattle rancher's wife who lives two hours upriver from Cardoso, has very little expendable income, but because she and her husband raise cattle, fish and vegetables, their food security is pretty high.

Do they consider themselves poor? Yes. Do they have enough to eat? Yes. Both of these people are rural dwellers, and these days, they seem to be the lucky ones. Hundreds of millions of people have moved into cities around the world in the past 20 years. It is they, the new urban dwellers, who are increasingly being held hostage to international market forces.

The grocery lists of the two families we covered in China for "Hungry Planet" couldn't be more different. The Cuis, who live in the countryside about two hours outside Beijing, eat largely unbranded traditional foods cooked at home, much as we had seen before in our years of covering China. The Dongs, who live in Beijing proper, eat food from the global marketplace -- shopping at supersized international markets such as Ito-Yokado (Japanese) and Carrefour (French), which are quickly replacing the city's traditional mom-and-pop market stalls.

The Dongs' one-stop shopping cart overflows with traditional basics -- rice, eggs and fresh vegetables -- but it also holds the new essentials: three flavors of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, fresh whole milk, beef flank, prepared sushi, baguettes and Great Wall red wine. Though both families, urban and rural, have added a lot more meat to their diets in recent years, only the Dongs' includes American fast food. Dong Yan, 13, eats with friends at McDonald's or KFC two or three times a week, one hungry teenager in a country where appetites are shifting toward an increasingly complex -- and energy intensive -- palate.

The menu that people hit by this immediate crisis are using is fairly simple: flour and rice, even as these staples double or quadruple in price; cakes in Haiti made largely of mud, choked down in a desperate attempt to fill one's belly; bread baked by the military in Egypt. But from our travels, it seems that the menu items that helped create the current crisis are more complex, processed and partially hydrogenated than these modest items.

Food corporations have learned how to enter the developing world. Few of the families we met could afford a week's worth of a processed food item at one time, so the global food companies make their wares more affordable by offering them in single-serving packets. In Manila, individual portions of "foods" such as imitation-cheese spreads, chips and spiced rice dishes are much like the convenience packs sold in the United States. Highly processed foods are making inroads into the diets of the developing world, and with that comes dependence.

Consider Alma Casales, who lives with her family outside Cuernavaca, Mexico. She was surprised to learn that the six gallons of Coca-Cola that she was buying for her family consist mostly of sugar water. Over time, the Casales family came to drink Coke at every meal, and in between. Casales's grocery list included a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a lot of branded, packaged convenience foods. She could still quickly calculate the number of tortillas her family eats in a week (22 pounds' worth), but when it came time to tally up the snack foods and peripheral purchases, the numbers got fuzzier.

We have visited hundreds of families in their kitchens and homes around the world over the last 15 years, and both here and abroad, we have seen a grand march toward unsustainability as some of us play catch up and the rest of us play keep up. Nearly everyone would love to have the wealth and choices that we enjoy in the United States. But that aspiration toward overflowing grocery aisles, with gas-guzzling trucks feeding a new appetite for imitation cheese spread, seems impossible to sustain. And it could lead to flour sacks full of nothing.

talktous@menzelphoto.com

Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel are the authors of "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" and a forthcoming book on nutrition around the world.


life discussion
Washington Post    April 30, 2008    12.00 pm

Wheat, Corn and Ethanol Fight for Acres
Bruce Babcock
Director, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Iowa State University

Economics professor Bruce Babcock, director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development at Iowa State University, will be online Wednesday, April 30 at noon ET to explain how high ethanol prices are impacting farmers individually and the world as a whole as less and less of the nation's farmland is used for growing food crops.


Editorial

May 6, 2008

Food Emergency

As soaring food prices threaten to unleash widespread hunger across Africa and other poor countries, President Bush is right to press Congress for more food assistance. He is also right to insist that some of that aid be given in cash to purchase food from local farmers. Unfortunately, the American farm lobby, which supports food aid as long as it gets the profit, is fighting any change to the system.

The situation has become increasingly desperate as rising energy prices, growing world demand and government-subsidized ethanol production — in the United States and Europe — have driven corn prices up by 25 percent over the last year. The prices of wheat and soybeans have doubled. There have already been food riots in several countries, including Haiti, Egypt and Somalia, with fears of more to come.

Beyond the emergency aid, wealthy donors also need to do a lot more to help Africa and other developing countries increase food production. That will require assistance to develop agricultural markets and aid and credit for new technologies and seeds to boost yields. Providing cash to buy food locally would help stimulate farming in the countries that need it most.

Other rich nations are already working to untangle their international food aid from their domestic farm supports. Western Europe has provided all of its food aid in cash since the 1990s. The United States, however, still buys all of its aid from American farmers and then pays to ship the food overseas. This wastes millions on overhead and shipping costs, and farmers in the developing world are discouraged from investing by the competition with subsidized American food.

President Bush is asking Congress for an additional $770 million, which would boost American food aid to roughly $5 billion over the next two years. Congress should approve that assistance. Mr. Bush has said that up to a quarter of that aid should be given in cash. That is a start, but the percentages will need to grow.

The developing world needs to develop its own ability to feed itself. For that to happen, American farmers will have to be weaned from American food aid. There is more that Washington must do. Especially with corn and oil prices as high as they are, the time has come to put an end to subsidies to transform corn into ethanol.


Editorial

May 11, 2008

Rethinking Ethanol

The time has come for Congress to rethink ethanol, an alternative fuel that has lately fallen from favor. Specifically, it is time to end an outdated tax break for corn ethanol and to call a timeout in the fivefold increase in ethanol production mandated in the 2007 energy bill.

This does not mean that Congress should give up on biofuels as an important part of the effort to reduce the country’s dependency on imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What it does mean is that some biofuels are (or are likely to be) better than others, and that Congress should realign its tax and subsidy programs to encourage the good ones. Unlike corn ethanol, those biofuels will not compete for the world’s food supply and will deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gases.

Last year’s energy bill required that 36 billion gallons of biofuels be produced annually by 2022. Of that, 21 billion gallons would be “advanced” biofuels that are still mostly in the experimental stage; the rest would be the corn-based variety beloved by farmers, Midwestern politicians and presidential candidates. This mandate comes on top of a 51-cents-a-gallon subsidy to ethanol blenders enacted when the industry was small and oil prices low.

The industry is no longer small — seven billion gallons and climbing rapidly — and oil is over $120 a barrel, making ethanol not only competitive but a bargain.

Ending the tax subsidy should be easy. Ending the mandate will be tougher, though some members of Congress are showing buyer’s remorse. One reason is the worldwide spike in food prices. That has been driven largely by a huge increase in demand and rising energy costs. The diversion of American corn from food to fuel — about one-fourth of the crop — has not helped.

The other reason is a spate of studies suggesting that some biofuels — corn ethanol in particular — could accelerate global warming. Environmentalists had long regarded corn ethanol as at least carbon-neutral, emitting greenhouse gases when burned but absorbing those gases while growing. But rising demand for corn, for fuel and food, can have a profoundly negative effect if it causes farmers to clear previously untouched land, in turn releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.

Congress’s guiding principle should be to tie federal help to environmental performance. The goal is not just to stop the headlong rush to corn ethanol but to use the system to bring to commercial scale promising second-generation biofuels — cellulosic ethanol derived from crop wastes, wood wastes, perennial grasses. These could provide environmental benefits and reduce dependence on oil without displacing food production.

Though Congress is unlikely to undo the mandate, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency can. Unfortunately, President Bush is an ardent corn ethanol supporter, and Stephen Johnson, the E.P.A. administrator, is nothing if not a Bush loyalist.

Without reform, rising food prices and increasing damage to the climate could provoke a reaction that could be the undoing of the entire biofuels industry. That would not be helpful to the industry or the planet.




The New Yorker    November 24, 2008

Bill Clinton: "achieve maximum agricultural self-sufficiency.”
The Perils of Efficiency
by James Surowiecki

This spring, disaster loomed in the global food market. Precipitous increases in the prices of staples like rice (up more than a hundred and fifty per cent in a few months) and maize provoked food riots, toppled governments, and threatened the lives of tens of millions. But the bursting of the commodity bubble eased those pressures, and food prices, while still high, have come well off the astronomical levels they hit in April. For Americans, the drop in commodity prices has put a few more bucks in people’s pockets; in much of the developing world, it may have saved many from actually starving. So did the global financial crisis solve the global food crisis?

Temporarily, perhaps. But the recent price drop doesn’t provide any long-term respite from the threat of food shortages or future price spikes. Nor has it reassured anyone about the health of the global agricultural system, which the crisis revealed as dangerously unstable. Four decades after the Green Revolution, and after waves of market reforms intended to transform agricultural production, we’re still having a hard time insuring that people simply get enough to eat, and we seem to be more vulnerable to supply shocks than ever.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Over the past two decades, countries around the world have moved away from their focus on “food security” and handed market forces a greater role in shaping agricultural policy. Before the nineteen-eighties, developing countries had so-called “agricultural marketing boards,” which would buy commodities from farmers at fixed prices (prices high enough to keep farmers farming), and then store them in strategic reserves that could be used in the event of bad harvests or soaring import prices. But in the eighties and nineties, often as part of structural-adjustment programs imposed by the I.M.F. or the World Bank, many marketing boards were eliminated or cut back, and grain reserves, deemed inefficient and unnecessary, were sold off. In the same way, structural-adjustment programs often did away with government investment in and subsidies to agriculture—most notably, subsidies for things like fertilizers and high-yield seeds.

The logic behind these reforms was simple: the market would allocate resources more efficiently than government, leading to greater productivity. Farmers, instead of growing subsidized maize and wheat at high cost, could concentrate on cash crops, like cashews and chocolate, and use the money they made to buy staple foods. If a country couldn’t compete in the global economy, production would migrate to countries that could. It was also assumed that, once governments stepped out of the way, private investment would flood into agriculture, boosting performance. And international aid seemed a more efficient way of relieving food crises than relying on countries to maintain surpluses and food-security programs, which are wasteful and costly.

This “marketization” of agriculture has not, to be sure, been fully carried through. Subsidies are still endemic in rich countries and poor, while developing countries often place tariffs on imported food, which benefit their farmers but drive up prices for consumers. And in extreme circumstances countries restrict exports, hoarding food for their own citizens. Nonetheless, we clearly have a leaner, more market-friendly agricultural system than before. It looks, in fact, a bit like global manufacturing, with low inventories (wheat stocks are at their lowest since 1977), concentrated production (three countries provide ninety per cent of corn exports, and five countries provide eighty per cent of rice exports), and fewer redundancies. Governments have a much smaller role, and public spending on agriculture has been cut sharply.

The problem is that, while this system is undeniably more efficient, it’s also much more fragile. Bad weather in just a few countries can wreak havoc across the entire system. When prices spike as they did this spring (for reasons that now seem not entirely obvious), the result is food shortages and malnutrition in poorer countries, since they are far more dependent on imports and have few food reserves to draw on. And, while higher prices and market reforms were supposed to bring a boom in agricultural productivity, global crop yields actually rose less between 1990 and 2007 than they did in the previous twenty years, in part because in many developing countries private-sector agricultural investment never materialized, while the cutbacks in government spending left them with feeble infrastructures.

These changes did not cause the rising prices of the past couple of years, but they have made them more damaging. The old emphasis on food security was undoubtedly costly, and often wasteful. But the redundancies it created also had tremendous value when things went wrong. And one sure thing about a system as complex as agriculture is that things will go wrong, often with devastating consequences. If the just-in-time system for producing cars runs into a hitch and the supply of cars shrinks for a while, people can easily adapt. When the same happens with food, people go hungry or even starve. That doesn’t mean that we need to embrace price controls or collective farms, and there are sensible market reforms, like doing away with import tariffs, that would make developing-country consumers better off. But a few weeks ago Bill Clinton, no enemy of market reform, got it right when he said that we should help countries achieve “maximum agricultural self-sufficiency.” Instead of a more efficient system, we should be trying to build a more reliable one.





January 3, 2010

World’s Healthiest Food
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras

So what’s the most scrumptious, wholesome, exquisite, healthful, gratifying food in the world?

It’s not ambrosia, and it’s not even pepperoni pizza. Hint: It’s far cheaper. A year’s supply costs less than the cheapest hamburger.

Give up? Here’s another hint: It’s lifesaving for children and for women who may become pregnant. If you know of a woman who may become pregnant, make sure she gets this miracle substance.

A final hint: It was a lack of this substance that led to a tragedy that I encountered the other day at a hospital here in the Honduran capital. Three babies lay in cots next to one another with birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

In the first cot was Rosa Álvarez, 18 days old and recovering from surgery to repair a hole in her spine. She also suffers from a brain deformity.

In the next cot was Ángel Flores, soft tissue protruding from his back.

Closest to the door was José Tercera. His mother unwrapped a bandage on his head, and I saw a golf-ball-size chunk of his brain spilling out a hole in his forehead.

The doctors believe the reason for these deformities, called neural tube defects, was that their mothers did not have enough micronutrients, particularly folic acid, while pregnant. These micronutrients are the miracle substance I’m talking about, and there’s scarcely a form of foreign aid more cost-effective than getting them into the food supply.

“It’s unnecessary to have these kinds of problems,” Dr. Ali Flores, a pediatrician and expert on these defects, said as he looked over the three babies.

If a pregnant woman does not have enough folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) in her body at the very beginning of her pregnancy, then her fetus may suffer these neural tube defects. That’s why doctors give folic acid to women who plan to become pregnant.

Equally important is another micronutrient, iodine. The worst consequence of iodine deficiency isn’t goiters, but malformation of fetuses’ brains, so they have 10 to 15 points permanently shaved off their I.Q.’s.

Then there’s zinc, which reduces child deaths from diarrhea and infections. There’s iron, lack of which causes widespread anemia. And there’s vitamin A: some 670,000 children die each year because they don’t get enough vitamin A, and lack of the vitamin remains the world’s leading cause of childhood blindness.

“In the early stages of life, the die is cast,” said David Dodson, the founder of Project Healthy Children, an aid group that fights micronutrient deficiencies in Honduras and other poor countries. “If a child is not getting the right micronutrients, the effect is permanent.”

Nine years ago, Mr. Dodson was simply an American businessman running a 300-employee waste company that he had founded. Then he happened to visit Honduras and, in a hospital, encountered a mother whose newborn baby had a hole in the skull. He learned that negligible amounts of folic acid would prevent such heartbreaking defects — and his life was transformed.

“I had never seen anything in my life that could have so much impact for so little money and be sustainable,” Mr. Dodson said. He and his wife, Stephanie, sold their company and used some of the proceeds to start Project Healthy Children.

The most cost-effective way to distribute micronutrients isn’t to hand them out. Mary Flores, a former Honduran first lady who is active in nutrition, notes that impoverished women can be hard to reach, and even if they are given folic acid pills they sometimes won’t take them for fear that they actually are birth control pills. So micronutrients instead are often added to such common foods as salt, sugar, flour or cooking oil.

Adding iodine, iron, vitamin A, zinc and various B-complex vitamins including folic acid to a range of foods costs about 30 cents per person reached per year. Groups focusing on micronutrients also include Helen Keller International and Vitamin Angels.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has required that flour be fortified with folic acid since 1998. Even in America, with better diets, medical care and widespread fortification, not all women get enough micronutrients, but the problem is far worse in poor countries.

Mr. Dodson notes that it is much cheaper to prevent birth defects than to treat them.

“It’s not a sexy world health issue, but it’s about the nuts and bolts of putting together a healthy population,” Mr. Dodson said. “Putting small amounts of iron, iodine and folic acid in the food supply hasn’t drawn attention the way it does when you treat someone who is sick or in a refugee camp. Until recently, this has been off everybody’s radar screen.”

As the United States reorganizes its chaotic aid program, it might try promoting what just may be the world’s most luscious food: micronutrients.

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