Notices
Results 1 to 34 of 34

Thread: World food prices hit an all time high (January 2011)

  1. #1 World food prices hit an all time high (January 2011) 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe...ss_igoogle_cnn


    It's like I've always been saying. Food production is the one area of the economy you can't always expand to met the needs of a growing population. There's only so much arable land, and there's never going to be any more. There are only so many ways to make it more efficient, and only so much genetic engineering that's possible.

    What are we going to do when the prices get so high that a substantial portion of the world population can't afford to eat? Maybe we're already there. So a better question is: how bad can it get before the whole system breaks and people start nuking each other?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2 Re: World food prices hit an all time high (January 2011) 
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What are we going to do when the prices get so high that a substantial portion of the world population can't afford to eat? Maybe we're already there. So a better question is: how bad can it get before the whole system breaks and people start nuking each other?
    You think that's the better question? Why not, "how bad must it get before we take seriously implementing a better alternative?"


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    You think that's the better question? Why not, "how bad must it get before we take seriously implementing a better alternative?"
    inow, they tried that in the Colonial Days ( pilgrims) in the Americas. Each person was granted an equal portion of land and received an equal amount of the harvest. When those willing to produced fell short of those that would/could not produce, there wasn't enough, today it's called socialism or if you prefer communal or communism economics.

    It has been free market capitalism, that allowed world populations to grow from a couple billion around the end of the 19th century to near 7 billion today. Unfortunately well over half the worlds population today lives on 2.00 US$, is subsidized by others or has no understanding of how to grow and keep the essentials for life.

    The world basically lives off wheat/corn/rice/soybean or other grains, cloths themselves in cotton products and EVERY one of these products are at all time high prices and grown by people with the incentive to produce. For instance cotton is hitting 2.00/POUND in some markets today (1.76 on the exchanges), was less than half this 10 months ago and Corn hit 6.70 A BUSSLE and was around 1.75 per, before this Country started to produce ethanol, from corn.

    What are we going to do when the prices get so high that a substantial portion of the world population can't afford to eat? Maybe we're already there. So a better question is: how bad can it get before the whole system breaks and people start nuking each other?
    Tough question kojax, but one that should be discussed. I really don't fear Governments will start nuking themselves, which would be the result of one trying to, but on an international level we better start getting a handle on the situation.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4 Re: World food prices hit an all time high (January 2011) 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What are we going to do when the prices get so high that a substantial portion of the world population can't afford to eat? Maybe we're already there. So a better question is: how bad can it get before the whole system breaks and people start nuking each other?
    You think that's the better question? Why not, "how bad must it get before we take seriously implementing a better alternative?"
    You have be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that there is a difference between a high price and a shortage. If there are 100 people who all want a morsel of food, and only 95 morsels exist, the price per morsel will be set at whatever guy #96 cannot afford. Guy #95 will borrow, beg, do whatever he has to do to scrape together just enough to buy his morsel. If guy #96 had a million dollars, the price would be a million and one. If he had a million and one, the price would be a million and two. So you see: trying to solve starvation by making guy #96 richer is a classic "carrot on a stick" situation.


    It doesn't matter what system you adopt. Any time you have 100 people who need something, and only 95 of that item, 5 guys are still going to walk away empty handed. If you choose a different basis of selection, you might end up with a different five, but you still end up with five.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    You think that's the better question? Why not, "how bad must it get before we take seriously implementing a better alternative?"
    inow, they tried that in the Colonial Days ( pilgrims) in the Americas. Each person was granted an equal portion of land and received an equal amount of the harvest. When those willing to produced fell short of those that would/could not produce, there wasn't enough, today it's called socialism or if you prefer communal or communism economics.
    Jackson - You've misunderstood me. I was not referring to forced agriculture or even anything remotely similar.

    Think bigger, my good man.

    High tech greenhouses, or vertical vegetation towers.
    Genetically modified crops with higher nutrition value, shorter growing times, and ability to grow anywhere.
    Food replacement products like something astronauts would use.

    Seriously... There are so many fantastic technologies we could implement to address the root issue of the OP.

    You think my comment meant I wanted communism? Good lord, man. I guess when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, eh? You've been watching Glenn Beck for far too long.



    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    You have be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that there is a difference between a high price and a shortage. If there are 100 people who all want a morsel of food, and only 95 morsels exist, the price per morsel will be set at whatever guy #96 cannot afford. Guy #95 will borrow, beg, do whatever he has to do to scrape together just enough to buy his morsel. If guy #96 had a million dollars, the price would be a million and one. If he had a million and one, the price would be a million and two. So you see: trying to solve starvation by making guy #96 richer is a classic "carrot on a stick" situation.
    You've apparently misunderstood me, too. Clearly, my fault since more than one person missed my point.

    I'm not trying to make anyone richer. I'm trying to make the food cheaper and easier to obtain. Make cost irrelevant... Something like the replicator on STNG, where access to the replicator is not limited to those with funds.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    I think where we really disagree then is that I don't think stretching existing agricultural potential is going to be the answer. There simply need to be fewer mouths.

    If there were fewer mouths, then we could feed everyone off of just the "low hanging fruit" production. We would only bother to farm the very most fertile lands, which would require very little labor to feed everyone, leaving all the rest of our labor available for "higher" pursuits, like intellectual and artistic accomplishments. The larger the percentage of available labor that must be devoted to mere subsistence, the more miserable all of our lives are.

    Why should we want that to be the human condition rather than just trim the population?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Honestly? I don't even think that warrants a response.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,150
    "It has been free market capitalism, that allowed world populations to grow from a couple billion around the end of the 19th century to near 7 billion today."
    replace all tractors and machinery with dunkeys and a plow and you might find that technology, mechanization and industrial processes deserve a wee bit of credit.



    "Food production is the one area of the economy you can't always expand to met the needs of a growing population."
    Thats true, technically its probably not possible to feed 20 Trillion humans, while insisting to not colonize space. With thousands of giant underwater cities with hydroponics, fish farms, and sea weed culture in every oceans, automated organic farming in the vast wilderness of the north and solar powered hydroponic farms in in every deserts, scycraper farms in every urban areas, and underground facilities every 30 m for a kilometer deep across the entire planet's crust, you'd probably could feed no more than what, about 200 billion half a trillion? (given proper recycling, etc). If and when we get to that point, we'll be able to say officially that one person's starvation is justified because there was no technical way to prevent it (while deciding to not colonize space), until then starvation is due to our political decisions and our economic system. :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    Jackson - You've misunderstood me. I was not referring to forced agriculture or even anything remotely similar....

    Seriously... There are so many fantastic technologies we could implement to address the root issue of the OP.

    You think my comment meant I wanted communism? Good lord, man. I guess when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, eh? You've been watching Glenn Beck for far too long.
    inow; When you step outside of character, it's easy to be misunderstood. My apologies. For you to say that modern and/or future agricultural technology, under free market principles, can handle any future food requirements (with certain limitations, I'd agree) is most certainly NOT the inow I've followed for years.

    The problem today and has evolved over past three/four years or so, is that we (the US) are now becoming just as those we have tried to help out and for reason, at least temporarily, can't continue to support the worlds food needs.

    Obviously you are hearing only short comments, probably out of context, on Glen Beck. His "concerns", are no different than many of my own expressed many times over more years than he has been around.

    I think where we really disagree then is that I don't think stretching existing agricultural potential is going to be the answer. There simply need to be fewer mouths.
    kojax; Since we have no means or right to induce our will on any Nations Population or in fact more recently the cost to produce in the US (regulation/labor cost/taxes/permits/irrigation etc) our major Agricultural Producers are going outside the US, building infrastructure. This takes time and inside a few years, I believe will bring down the cost of food supplies. Additionally, China, India and especially in South America, they are producing more and more of their own, even exporting many product worldwide. Some of the problem is the US dollar, which has been greatly reduced over the past 3-10 years and all commodities are based on that dollar.

    replace all tractors and machinery with dunkeys and a plow and you might find that technology, mechanization and industrial processes deserve a wee bit of credit.
    ice; Chicken or the egg??? It was the need for more at cheaper cost, that incentivised ingenuity to created modern equipment and will do so in the future. I've used this analogy many times, but if our telephone systems alone were still using 1940 technology, there would not be enough people to man the switchboards....
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Honestly? I don't even think that warrants a response.
    My concern is that all the undertakings you and others are suggesting represent huge amounts of skilled labor. That isn't just going to come out of thin air. The more things we need skilled people to do, the further our supply of it is going to be stretched.

    Percentage wise (which is the only thing that matters), the amount of skilled labor required for humanity to subsist would be much smaller if the population were smaller. As the population grows, the (percentage wise) amount of that labor required for us all just to barely survive will increase, and probably by leaps and bounds. When it reaches 100%, and then exceeds it, then what?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    I think where we really disagree then is that I don't think stretching existing agricultural potential is going to be the answer. There simply need to be fewer mouths.
    kojax; Since we have no means or right to induce our will on any Nations Population or in fact more recently the cost to produce in the US (regulation/labor cost/taxes/permits/irrigation etc) our major Agricultural Producers are going outside the US, building infrastructure. This takes time and inside a few years, I believe will bring down the cost of food supplies. Additionally, China, India and especially in South America, they are producing more and more of their own, even exporting many product worldwide. Some of the problem is the US dollar, which has been greatly reduced over the past 3-10 years and all commodities are based on that dollar.


    It's all well and good to talk about "rights" but if granting those rights precludes our ability to grant other, more essential rights, then sooner or later we really need to admit our folly. And sooner would be much better than later.

    Maybe we should start trying to create the political consensus now. If the UN and USA start early getting the mechanations in place to shift our collective direction, then the starry eyed optimists with their dreams of infinite agricultural advancement can do their thing for a while, and we'll be ready for it when they (inevitably) fail.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    inow; When you step outside of character, it's easy to be misunderstood. My apologies. For you to say that modern and/or future agricultural technology, under free market principles, can handle any future food requirements (with certain limitations, I'd agree) is most certainly NOT the inow I've followed for years.
    That's not what I said, though. I never touched on market principles of any kind. Again, I propose that you're mind has been fogged by your news sources and that you continue to read into comments content which was never there.




    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Honestly? I don't even think that warrants a response.
    My concern is that all the undertakings you and others are suggesting represent huge amounts of skilled labor. That isn't just going to come out of thin air. The more things we need skilled people to do, the further our supply of it is going to be stretched.
    You're still thinking WAY too small. How about robots? Clever computer systems? This is pretty basic stuff nowadays.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    inow; Well then I'll place you back into Alan Colmes camp, where all things good come from BIG Government!!! But then you beg the question where do you think all this comes from, if not that free market capitalist system?

    High tech greenhouses, or vertical vegetation towers.

    Genetically modified crops with higher nutrition value, shorter growing times, and ability to grow anywhere.

    Food replacement products like something astronauts would use.
    The next obvious question is cost, which these suggestions cannot compete advanced traditional methods. Remember most people already spend half to all their income on some very basic grains or cheap cotton clothing. I would agree that someday humans might take a couple pills and get 95% of the mineral/nutrition required for life, but those pills might also be out of range. The AID's medication is very cheap, but the US, others or charitable entities provide most that medication. What about water, someone suggested we require that and I can't imagine another means than the actual resource.


    It's all well and good to talk about "rights" but if granting those rights precludes our ability to grant other, more essential rights, then sooner or later we really need to admit our folly. And sooner would be much better than later.
    kojax; A large percentage of the people on this planet would riot, if told they could no longer have children. Frankly most countries including the US, still reward having kids (tax breaks and free everything for them) and WOULD vote out any person trying to take that away.

    Maybe we should start trying to create the political consensus now. If the UN and USA start early getting the mechanations in place to shift our collective direction, then the starry eyed optimists with their dreams of infinite agricultural advancement can do their thing for a while, and we'll be ready for it when they (inevitably) fail.
    I don't know about the UN, at least in the near future, but I do think the US and what's left of our major industrial complex, could get itself back into some semblance of fiscal order and do some great things. We covered some of this a couple years ago on more than one thread over Africa.

    For starters, simply stop producing corn ethanol and subsidizing sugar made ethanol in South America. Corn would drop back to 2-3.00 per bushel overnight (7.00/ now) and sugar would drop back to .20 per pound (today .37/). In turn by THIS year farmers/rangers would grow many of the other products, causing them to drop. Cut regulation on all animal farms (fish/chicken-poultry, hog) or at least allow those involved a way to make a profit. I have no idea how many have already gone out of business, especially Cat Fish Farms in Louisiana.

    On Transportation cost, which is sometimes more than a product cost; Just allow our natural resources to be explored, developed and retrieved. The mention alone would drive down worldwide oil prices to probably 30/40.00, cutting transportation cost in half. I'm sure you know where I'm headed here, but the end result would be the reverse of what has happened over the past 20 years in the US, stabilizing the economy.

    From the business end, just drop the Corporate Tax altogether, zero percent and including the various State CP, some near an additional 10%, yet many have none. This alone would generate a return of Corporate Assets, including cash, back into this country, which in turn could be used in places like Africa, India, the Middle East or anyplace a market exist for food.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    inow; Well then I'll place you back into Alan Colmes camp, where all things good come from BIG Government!!! But then you beg the question where do you think all this comes from, if not that free market capitalist system?
    Let me say this clearly, since you seem to have missed it. I will repeat myself, in the hopes that this sinks in...

    I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT GOVERNMENT OR IDEOLOGY OR ECONOMICS!!

    I'm not talking about changing our system of government.
    I'm not talking about socialism or communism or any other ism.

    Jebus frakin christopher... Jackson.



    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    High tech greenhouses, or vertical vegetation towers.

    Genetically modified crops with higher nutrition value, shorter growing times, and ability to grow anywhere.

    Food replacement products like something astronauts would use.
    The next obvious question is cost, which these suggestions cannot compete advanced traditional methods. Remember most people already spend half to all their income on some very basic grains or cheap cotton clothing.
    Yes, those are good questions to answer. However, the ideas themselves must be in place before you work through the logistics. I was merely offering ideas. I also referenced replicator technology from Star Trek, with the caveat it not be cost prohibitive. It was an idea. I hope you're not asking me now to put together a 3-year roadmap and which venture capitalists I have on board.


    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    I would agree that someday humans might take a couple pills and get 95% of the mineral/nutrition required for life, but those pills might also be out of range. The AID's medication is very cheap, but the US, others or charitable entities provide most that medication. What about water, someone suggested we require that and I can't imagine another means than the actual resource.
    Your failure of imagination does not make the idea any less interesting or relevant.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    inow; In replying to kojax's thread, which is one issue we have discussed many times before and interest me, it was not, nor is my intention to frustrate you. Frankly you have made many threads/post, which if was my intent, would have serviced much better, "Tea Party Rhetoric" the best example. I do have some friends on this Forum, which I occasionally come back to read and my only remaining place to see if "New Science" returns (now 93). Also I've acquired High Speed Internet and it's no longer as time consuming to navigate these forums. To top this off, you are living in Austin, Texas which I know very well, where both my parents died, a sister and her entire family that still lives there.


    A good deal of what your talking about comes from "Nanotechnology", which from the investment angle I've been following for years. Several years ago the reasonably inexpensive and plentiful white fish was altered to taste as crab meat, selling for one tenth the cost. Illustrating what's currently opinion, something like dressing (bread/corn) could be altered to taste like many things, your Star Trek Replicator. Anyway here is one link showing some of the later developments.

    http://www.understandingnano.com/food.html

    Back to the thread, it's my sincere belief that the US set the standards for much of the worlds progress over the past 200 years, economically as well as socially. We had maintained fiscally sound policy, which kept us in the position to influence those standards and though it's been going down hill for 45 years, arguable longer, but that from about 1996 the destructive nature of our politics has increased stress on most the Worlds Nations. FOOD PRICES being the most important to many of these Nations, where we as a Country are no longer capable of helping to the degree we have and I believe the cause of the problem. Basically I laid out a plan to reverse this in my post to kojax, which I would appreciate your viewpoint or counter argument if applicable.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    FOOD PRICES being the most important to many of these Nations, where we as a Country are no longer capable of helping to the degree we have and I believe the cause of the problem. Basically I laid out a plan to reverse this in my post to kojax, which I would appreciate your viewpoint or counter argument if applicable.
    Do you think that perhaps our climate has any impact on food prices, or maybe the growing wealth of people in China and India who are now selecting foods they previously unobtainable to them, or maybe how the change in lifestyle over there and in countries elsewhere is impacting the movement of grains to feed the cattle so many more of them can now afford? I do.

    More mouths AND more available wealth to purchase things previously not purchasable AND people making different choices (impacting supply/demand) AND changing climate impacting crop yields. When I consider all of these valid impactors on the cost of food, I can't help but laugh at those who blame folks like Ben Bernanke or "liberal" politics, and assert that I'm some sort of Commie for acknowledging these rational and reasonable issues... and I laugh because the sadness it causes inside of me is a bit too consuming.



    More data below.


    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...g-food-prices/

    [According to] the USDA World supply and demand estimates, and what stands out from the data is mainly that we’ve had a huge global harvest failure.

    <...>



    Overall grain production is down — and it’s down substantially more when you take account of a growing world population. Wheat production (this time not per capita) is way down.

    You might ask why a production shortfall of 5 percent leads to a doubling of prices. Part of the answer is that some kinds of demand are growing faster than population — in particular, China is becoming a growing importer of feed to meet the demand for meat. But the main point is that the demand for grain is highly price-inelastic: it takes big price rises to induce people to consume less, yet collectively that’s what they must do given the shortfall in production.

    Why is production down? Most of the decline in world wheat production, and about half of the total decline in grain production, has taken place in the former Soviet Union — mainly Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. And we know what that’s about: an incredible, unprecedented heat wave.

    Obligatory disclaimer: no one event can be definitively assigned to climate change, just as you can’t necessarily claim that any one of the fender-benders taking place right now in central New Jersey was caused by the sheet of black ice currently coating our roads. But it sure looks like climate change is a major culprit. And it’s not just the FSU: extreme weather elsewhere, which again is the sort of thing you should expect from climate change, has played a role in bad harvest around the world.

    Back to the economics: if you want to know why we’re having a spike in food prices, the data suggest that the key cause is terrible weather leading to bad harvests, especially in the former Soviet Union.

    In support:

    http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/
    http://www.agrimoney.com/news/china-...cks--2788.html
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/0...lobal-warming/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    Do you think that perhaps our climate has any impact on food prices, or maybe the growing wealth of people in China and India who are now selecting foods they previously unobtainable to them, or maybe how the change in lifestyle over there and in countries elsewhere is impacting the movement of grains to feed the cattle so many more of them can now afford? I do.
    inow, of course when supply is interrupted because of weather or where demand increases, local prices will go up, but today prices are set on a worldwide basis and this effect is minimal. The increases we're talking about are neither minimal or based on a couple items. As explained in reverse to kojax, there is an obvious correlation between what's grown, profits and those market prices.

    year 107m tonnes of grain, mostly corn, was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. This was nearly twice as much as in 2007 when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500% by 2017 to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...iofuel-ethanol

    In 1980 .03% of grains (mostly corn) were grown to produce ethanol, and this had grown to 26% by 2009. Not including increased yields, corn production alone has grown from 169 million tons to 312 million tons, nearly doubled and for the most part instead of other grains.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...iofuel-ethanol



    More mouths AND more available wealth to purchase things previously not purchasable AND people making different choices (impacting supply/demand) AND changing climate impacting crop yields.
    We're not talking about the well off, but the 2/3rds of people whom already spend 60% or more of there income on food. Cattle prices have gone up 5-10% over the past couple years, but only because animal feed (grains) has gone up, dairy cows, milk/cheese/creams, somewhat more...

    Crop yields, generally had been going up with the recent whether warming trend, but here again people will plant what's most profitable and adaptable to their weather climate and soil content. In South Texas, when I was there planting soygrum/cotton began in early January, but I understand they are themselves growing more corn and I know California has.


    [/Quote]When I consider all of these valid impactors on the cost of food, I can't help but laugh at those who blame folks like Ben Bernanke or "liberal" politics, and assert that I'm some sort of Commie for acknowledging these rational and reasonable issues... and I laugh because the sadness it causes inside of me is a bit too consuming. [/Quote]

    You lost me here, Bernanke has made some foolish statements lately, "has the tools to stop inflation" and I believe partly responsible for the debt crisis and prolong recession with 0-.10% interest, overnight lending rates, but he has absolutely nothing to do with "supply/demand".

    I wish it were one US party that had/has created the problems around the world, but unfortunately it's both parties and an IMO ignorant electorate. This however would go well off topic and I already know your viewpoints, as do you mine.


    Kind of on topic and a side note but about 80% of rice is grown in China/Asia, think about 10% in the US. There's not much change in the past couple years, depicting a higher winter price only.


    Rough Rice (See Also Rough Rice Futures Analysis)

    Rice is a plant of the grass family which feeds more than half of the world's human population. Rice cultivation is well suited to poor countries because — though it is very labor-intensive to cultivate — with plenty of water for irrigation it can be grown practically anywhere, even on steep hillsides. Rice is the world's third largest crop, behind maize and wheat.
    http://chinese-school.netfirms.com/a...es-grains.html

    http://tfc-charts.w2d.com/hist_RI.html


    Oh!
    More data below.
    For the most part that's simple because corn production replaced others.....When Russia cut off exports, last fall, I recall about a 1.00/B jump, but it declined the next day.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    inow, of course when supply is interrupted because of weather or where demand increases, local prices will go up, but today prices are set on a worldwide basis and this effect is minimal.
    Not according to the data I shared in the post immediately preceding yours.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    It has been free market capitalism, that allowed world populations to grow from a couple billion around the end of the 19th century to near 7 billion today.
    I'd say it has a lot more to do with cheap fossil fuel based energy intensive farming practices than anything else. And as we pass peak oil, that too is going to change.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by inow

    More mouths AND more available wealth to purchase things previously not purchasable AND people making different choices (impacting supply/demand) AND changing climate impacting crop yields. When I consider all of these valid impactors on the cost of food, I can't help but laugh at those who blame folks like Ben Bernanke or "liberal" politics, and assert that I'm some sort of Commie for acknowledging these rational and reasonable issues... and I laugh because the sadness it causes inside of me is a bit too consuming.

    The crops yields are the main issue. The market is merely reflecting that.

    The trick is thinking of wealth as a bunch of separate items that are being traded around instead of a lump sum. If food becomes scarce, but other items become more plentiful, then the laws of supply and demand will naturally force a diminishing of the relative value of the other items. Essentially, the exchange rate between say.... bread and cars.... just gets worse if you produce more cars but not more bread.

    Which leads back to the "carrot on a stick" issue. If you imagine an economy that has only cars and bread, and normally produces 50 cars/month, and 500 loaves of bread/month. Suppose the car makers decide they're hungry, and they'd like to have more bread, so they decide to increase production up to 100 cars/month. Well....unless the bread makers also decide to increase their bread production to 1000 loaves of bread/month, the car makers are going to be in for a disappointment.

    Yet, this happens all the time in the real economy. It's called "local inflation".

    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33

    It's all well and good to talk about "rights" but if granting those rights precludes our ability to grant other, more essential rights, then sooner or later we really need to admit our folly. And sooner would be much better than later.
    kojax; A large percentage of the people on this planet would riot, if told they could no longer have children. Frankly most countries including the US, still reward having kids (tax breaks and free everything for them) and WOULD vote out any person trying to take that away.
    That's the problem with democracy sometimes. Just because everyone votes for something doesn't mean it's possible to give it to them. France often has problems with people voting to work too few hours for too large a pay and too much vacation time (since they're socialists). It's no different wanting a godzillion kids and food for them too.

    You're right that it can't just be a government imposed thing, though. Peoples' attitudes are going to have to change first.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Number of kids is complex but seems connected to woman's access (and education) to birth control and an economy that has the private and public means to support the aged. If not for immigration the US would already have neutral to slightly decreasing population growth, Europe is already negative, as is Japan.

    Not sure the rules of supply and demand work well for food. Asians aren't going to rapidly shift from rice to wheat or corn product regardless of the price. If it does happen it will be over the course of a generation or longer since it's bound to cultural changes which shift much slower than the seasonal weather-based changes in supply.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    Not according to the data I shared in the post immediately preceding yours.
    inow, I'm kind of looking for something new to this discussion on food prices, not articles trying to prove one point by using another.

    For instance your chart and accompanying article indicated Russia was a leading producer, but actually produced only 7% ( #4) of the Worlds wheat in 2006, less than a forth of China, half of India and less than even in the US. All they did, "massive heat drought" and all was to shut off exports, which on the world market represents less than 5%. In fact China as an exporter was less than 1% (the year before) and the combination of US/Canada alone near half of what was exported. Since farmers in both Canada and the US can contract out their field yields in advance (based on futures markets), they effectually control what's grown.

    Now one point you might not know, is that in the production of ethanol, what's left over is used in the production of Animal feed called silage, since it's harvested while still green, just as what sweet corn farmers have always used.

    China … 96.2 million tonnes (15.4% of global wheat production)
    India … 72 million (11.5%)
    United States … 57.1 million (9.1%)
    Russia … 45.5 million (7.3%)
    France … 36.9 million (5.9%)
    Canada … 25.5 million (4.1%)
    Australia … 24.1 million (3.8%)
    Germany … 23.6 million (3.8%)
    Pakistan … 21.6 million (3.4%)
    Turkey … 21 million (3.4%)


    Top Wheat Exporters
    Below are the leading wheat exporters for 2004-5.
    United States … 31.6 million tonnes (29.9% of wheat exports from top 10 exporting countries)
    Australia … 18.5 million (17.5%)
    Canada … 15.1 million (14.3%)
    France … 14.9 million (14.1%)
    Argentina … 10 million (9.5%)
    Russia … 4.7 million (4.5%)
    Germany … 3.9 million (3.7%)
    United Kingdom … 2.5 million (2.4%)
    Kazakhstan … 2.4 million (2.3%)
    India … 2 million (1.9%)

    Read more at Suite101: Top Ten Wheat Countries: Prices for Grain Exports & Imports Surge as 2007 Crop Outlook Dims http://www.suite101.com/content/top-...#ixzz1DDN79hVR

    I'd say it has a lot more to do with cheap fossil fuel based energy intensive farming practices than anything else. And as we pass peak oil, that too is going to change.
    LF, not in total; Before the 20th Century or the advent of that fossil fuels, manpower, wind, steam or a combination was used in transporting goods between many Nations, all I believe cheaper. Then it was the free market that produced the equipment that helped increase productivity, which is still going on today.

    As for the future, I'd think larger nuclear powered cargo ships will someday replace fossil fuels, however there's no telling what future fuels might be developed, possibly even with the use of fossil fuels.

    We're no where near peak oil today and I'm not sure we will ever be. Free Market Capitalism if allowed to educate, promote and develop ideas, there is no telling what could be in 20 years, much less 100 years. It's done pretty well so far...

    Not sure the rules of supply and demand work well for food. Asians aren't going to rapidly shift from rice to wheat or corn product regardless of the price. If it does happen it will be over the course of a generation or longer since it's bound to cultural changes which shift much slower than the seasonal weather-based changes in supply.
    Since food cost are the issue, this thread, I'll suggest supply/demand principles are the driving factor in the worlds food supply and I'll re-assert it's our actions in the US and maybe indirectly via Canada that are the problem.

    As people get involved in their economy, their taste will change. Wheat is simply bread to most that half that live on less as are rice or corn products are staples. If they could I assure you every last one of these people would prefer a little meat in their tortilla bread or at least some refried beans which we haven't addressed and prices are also well up. Remember even the wealthiest of the wealthy, eat a good deal of wheat, corn or other grain products, it's what it goes with and none of us are any different.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,499
    Jackson - Since we've all agreed that climate played a critical role this year in supply (and hence cost), it doesn't seem to make sense for you to continue citing data from 2006 (5 years ago) and 2007 (4 years ago).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    It has been free market capitalism, that allowed world populations to grow from a couple billion around the end of the 19th century to near 7 billion today.
    I'd say it has a lot more to do with cheap fossil fuel based energy intensive farming practices than anything else. And as we pass peak oil, that too is going to change.
    I'm almost more worried about how the energy crisis will affect fresh water supplies. If we're to the point of needin more drinkable water than the environment can naturally create, there's going to be a tremendous energy cost associated with the processes we employ to fix that.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    What I was trying to say with that last comment is the food vs. resources problem is one with multiple dimensions. First is, of course, arable land, which is a commodity that is difficult or maybe impossible to create more of. Second we've got fresh water, which is necessary in order to make use of that arable land. Third, we've got additives and fertilizers, which also may exist in limited supplies. If we go to expand them, then probably we're going to be burning a lot of energy, depending on how we do it, and that exists in limited supply. The more complicated the process becomes, the more skillful the workers involved will have to be, and we've already got other areas like health care that are going to be eating up our best workers.

    When do we just admit defeat? Is it after humanity's population becomes totally impossible to feed, or before? Is proof really that valuable, that we've got to risk killing ourselves off in some kind of nuclear war, rather than take the chance we might end up missing out on having some kids we could have had? Which is the smarter bet?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    I'm almost more worried about how the energy crisis will affect fresh water supplies. If we're to the point of needin more drinkable water than the environment can naturally create, there's going to be a tremendous energy cost associated with the processes we employ to fix that.
    kojax; Any perceived energy crisis is either 200+ years down the road or mankind's refusal to utilize it's current resources. Alternatives to our current and available energy, are plentiful and if required could take over or increase energy supplies in a matter of years.

    Drinkable water generally comes from rain water, which Internationally over half that fall on that 30% land surface, runs off into the world oceans, which complies 70% of the earths surface. Guessing wildly, I'd suggest rainfall alone, if it could be distributed where needed, would supply far more people, than food supplies could be.

    What I was trying to say with that last comment is the food vs. resources problem is one with multiple dimensions.
    Yes and I only replied to your first post, to reinforce your comments, I think. You left out distribution and technically the economical spread of the Worlds 200+ Nations. Today American spend around 7% of income on food, while many societies spend 50% or much more.

    When do we just admit defeat? Is it after humanity's population becomes totally impossible to feed, or before? Is proof really that valuable, that we've got to risk killing ourselves off in some kind of nuclear war, rather than take the chance we might end up missing out on having some kids we could have had? Which is the smarter bet?
    There's no question, that a reduction in populations would greatly reduce the need to increase food production, along with any technology to sufficiently care for the total. Unfortunately the bulk of people, have no desire or understanding as to why they should, the various religions generally promote reproduction and Governments depend more and more on younger generations to care for their elderly. What's that called, a "catch 22" scenario.

    I'm not grasping your meaning about a nuclear war versus parental pride, but if your saying it could all be in vain, there are multiple other reasons that could equally be true. An Ice age, meteor impact or the most probable an international virus attack.

    For the record and as I understood to be what your thread was about, today commodity prices are up 10% from the time you began; Corn 7.22/B, Sugar 31.19/100 pounds (both ALL TIME HIGHS and both used to produce ethanol), Cotton hit over 2$/P yesterday, now 1.95 and an all time high, cocoa 3500$/Ton, all time high.

    http://money.cnn.com/data/commodities/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,150
    "When do we just admit defeat? Is it after humanity's population becomes totally impossible to feed"

    imo Starvation is an artificial self-inflicted problem. Its exacly like having a banquet with a cornucopia of food on an elevated shelf and sitting on a chair until you die, staying on the chair because you are used to it and thats what you have been doing so far and cant understand that the chair could be used in an entrely different way, instead of moving off your ass and using the chair to get the food. Humanity is collectivley deciding to sit its ass on the chair and let people starve and live in unnessasary deprivation. Every ressources required are there, we are just too habituated to the economic system of sitting on the chair and dont want to imagine things could be quite different and think outside the box. Its a question of organizing in a different way.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    "When do we just admit defeat? Is it after humanity's population becomes totally impossible to feed" imo Starvation is an artificial self-inflicted problem. Its exacly like having a banquet with a cornucopia of food on an elevated shelf and sitting on a chair until you die, staying on the chair because you are used to it and thats what you have been doing so far and cant understand that the chair could be used in an entrely different way, instead of moving off your ass and using the chair to get the food. Humanity is collectivley deciding to sit its ass on the chair and let people starve and live in unnessasary deprivation. Every ressources required are there, we are just too habituated to the economic system of sitting on the chair and dont want to imagine things could be quite different and think outside the box. Its a question of organizing in a different way.
    ice; Sometimes I wonder just how many people in the world actually die from starvation or even malnutrition due to lack of variety, nutritional value, but I really don't think the figures are as high as we're being lead to believe. I have no doubt most that do prematurely die in most the third world are from bad water and/or the lack of treatment for waste or good shelter but not necessarily food.

    You indirectly have mentioned ignorance, in that the means to grow food or farm animal food do and have always existed in most these places, but for some reason it's just not being done. I do have some opinions that go directly to formed dependency, but this would be extremely hard to prove. With that in mind, I do think a great number of organizations, both business oriented, benevolent and individuals donations, some very large (Gates Charitable Trust) are involved, have been for generations and appear to have accomplished little. At some point the "feel sorry" attitudes have to change to the realization that some societies simple afford their people opportunities others don't or frankly want to...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    You indirectly have mentioned ignorance, in that the means to grow food or farm animal food do and have always existed in most these places, but for some reason it's just not being done.
    Not true in the least. Overpopulation, lack of water and lack of infrastructure make sufficient food growing in most of the places with severe nourishment all but impossible. You can't have a culture of dependence in places where virtually nothing is given to them. The huge trust are mostly stop gaps because you can't change the population or the weather.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    The total population of the Continent Africa is one quarter, that of China. Rainfall and rivers capacities in Africa are equal to that of most any area, including the Western US where irrigated water, transformed deserts in both California and Arizona, into quality farming areas. The Amazon River alone supplies about a fifth of all fresh water draining into the worlds oceans and the Nile is badly managed. What your trying to argue is distribution...



    Map of rainfall in Africa;

    http://maps.howstuffworks.com/africa...tation-map.htm

    Populations by continent;

    http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_continent.aspx

    Facts about the Amazon River and the Nile;

    http://geography.about.com/od/specif...azonriver8.htm
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    You are the one who said food could be grow in those placing and didn't caveat in the least they you only wanted to look at entire continents. You also adding an additional limitation, distribution.

    In the developing world food is much more local. In the areas of starvation they don't have the capability to grow their own for a variety of reasons. They usually can't transport it or pay for it from other regions either. They aren't all under the same government, even if there's was somewhat efficient.

    China isn't a really good example in any case because it's a long way from sustainable agriculture. The US has the same problem but has made great progress in the last two decades.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    The total population of the Continent Africa is one quarter, that of China.
    Nope.

    China: 1.33 billion
    Africa: 1.00 billion
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,150
    Rainwater is essentially sea water evaporated by sunlight. Our planet has aboundant supplies of both seawater and sunlight.

    If humans on the earth seen from outer space can build tanks, F35, ships, bombs, missiles, bombers, guns, by the thousands, we have the technical capacity to build water filtration plants, solar panels, and automated hydroponic farms in many developping countries.


    We dont because our economic system and neocolonial policies prevent the rational use of ressources, if there more money to be made killing people with bombs thats what well do, if theres more money to be made by keeping people dependant we will undermine attempts for people to become significantly autonomous, if people are dependant on oil then petroleum companies will buy alternatives to put them on the back burner if they can, if a country is very rich in ressources but its more profitable to pay a dictator so that corporations can exploit the people and pillage the ressources that what will be done. Many of the countries where people are poor are just pillaged out of their ressources by multinational corporations.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,595
    Rainwater is essentially sea water evaporated by sunlight. Our planet has aboundant supplies of both seawater and sunlight.

    If humans on the earth seen from outer space can build tanks, F35, ships, bombs, missiles, bombers, guns, by the thousands, we have the technical capacity to build water filtration plants, solar panels, and automated hydroponic farms in many developping countries.
    ice, a rare opportunity to 100% agree with you, on the above....

    We dont because our economic system and neocolonial policies prevent the rational use of ressources, if there more money to be made killing people with bombs thats what well do, if theres more money to be made by keeping people dependant we will undermine attempts for people to become significantly autonomous, if people are dependant on oil then petroleum companies will buy alternatives to put them on the back burner if they can, if a country is very rich in ressources but its more profitable to pay a dictator so that corporations can exploit the people and pillage the resources that what will be done. Many of the countries where people are poor are just pillaged out of their resources by multinational corporations.
    I don't feel it's the business of Government, especially the US Federal to be involved with rebuilding other countries, be it business or political. I do believe in Capitalism and every developing Country today is being looked at, by all major concerns, including investors and it's important some sense of stability in that Government exist. I think you'll find American business in most today, to some degree, advising, producing and manufacturing for not only the people of that country, but exporting into neighboring countries, including some food products. Cereals or grain food products are common enterprises in Africa. It's certainly not enough, but it's generating some economy and as it continues, a few locals that become wealthier will eventually start up other business, leading to sound Governments that can build an infrastructure leading to controlled water supplies.


    Bunbury; I'm pretty sure you understood "Asia" was meant and was referenced in my links. Africa is NOT overpopulated and certainly has more rainfall than needed to produce food, than they currently can contain in lakes, as is done on all other Continents, especially NA.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    The problem is multinationals are entirely running the show without any rules what-so-ever.

    Many of the countries where people are poor are just pillaged out of their resources by multinational corporations.
    I've seen this in person many times.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •