Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Global Food Stocks and Hunger

A report from the UN on how high prices are hurting the poor, and how global food stocks are lower than at any time since the 1980s.

Quite alarmist. We all know, if we shop for food, that prices are up quite a bit this year. The government has been diverting large amounts of corn to the bio-fuels market. This drives up the price of corn, which encourages farmers to plant more corn. So, they plant less wheat and soybeans and everything else, so the stocks of these fall and prices rise.

The UN can't discuss any current trouble without bringing in global warming, of course. Global warming will kill us all, from one thing or another. Either the sea will rise in fury and drown us, or on little cats feet and flood us out. Then, insects will swarm, stifling us and eating all our crops. Plagues will abound, killing our cattle and ourselves. The rivers will turn to blood and frogs will cover the land.

Wait, forget the frogs part. Amphibians are going extinct, so something else will swarm. I am sure they will be figuring out what and telling us soon.

One thing we can be sure the UN will forget is the power of capitalism to respond to price incentives. Farmers have been paid all across the developed world to set aside productive land. Why? Because farmers have gotten too good at growing stuff, so we had so much food that piles of it were rotting in the silos. No one to buy it.

Back in the 1950s, when overproduction became a problem, the government via the land grant universities taught farmers to dispose of excess grain by feeding it to cows. Prior to that cows were not fed much grain. Too expensive. But with the government paying farmers to grow more and more grain, and also paying farmers to grow less grain at the same time, something else had to be done.

So we started dumping grain on poor countries, destroying their native agriculture, feeding grain to cows, and in general constantly searching for ways to get rid of all that damned corn.

As recently as two years ago the fad around here was to burn grain in special furnaces for home heating. Corn was cheaper than natural gas!

So now, after just two years of rising prices the UN in panic is telling us we are all doomed. Somehow I just can't buy into it. Consider the source, after all. The UN! The wannabe global government. Can you give me a recent UN accomplishment? Rapes by UN officials in New York or other third world locales not included.

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