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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Food prices: governmental morons and the eco-cult causing food price and supply problems.

Feed mouths, not rhetoric and big agri-business.

by StFerdIII

There is now a 'food' crisis. No doubt the UN and the hysterical media will demand a 'global' response and governmental intrusion to solve this 'disaster'. Governments and their eco-fascist friends have caused the problems of high food prices; lack of foodstuff supply; and trade in food distortions. Now they will tax, spend, regulate, and bureaucratise to 'solve' the problem. This pattern of behavior is of course deeply psychotic. Yes there is a food issue, but goverment is the problem, not the answer.

In 28 countries food riots have broken out. Rice the main staple in many Asian countries, is now under severe supply constraint and in places like the Philippines, the shortage is so severe that rice is being stockpiled and hid. In the developed states, eco-fascist mania has resulted in a massive curtailment of food stuff usage for dumb ideas like filling up motors, or paying farmers not to grow crops. Trade barriers totalling trillions of dollars exist in every country preventing a fair and free trade in agricultural produce.

Yet the 'food' crisis is portrayed as a breakdown in market dynamics and caused by globaloney warming. A very typical and quite stupid piece in the Sunday Herald newspaper makes this point; 'The rise in global temperatures caused by pollution is also beginning to disrupt food production in many countries. According to the UN, an area of fertile soil the size of Ukraine is lost every year because of drought, deforestation and climate instability.....The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that, over the next 100 years, a one-metre rise in sea levels would flood almost a third of the world's crop-growing land.'

The ignorance behind the concept that globaloney warming causes food shortages is breathtaking. For the record the non-urban world has cooled in the past 10 years by 0.7 C and some of the coldest winters on record, including the most ice ever recorded in Antartica have occurred recently. Yet the UN and its mainstream media friends want you to believe that warming temps are causing drought and the imminent end of mankind. Newsflash – droughts have existed throughout history and occur for reasons quite unrelated to human activity. Little items like rainfall are largely to blame for drought. Tying in industrial output to the current foodstuffs problem is the work of the insane.

Food prices are higher thanks to government meddling, incompetence and criminality. Agricultural production is the most highly regulated indusry in the world. Farmers and large agri-businesses dominate state budgets and state politics. In the modern world where technology alone accounts for 15% of US GDP and where agriculture accounts for 2% of US GDP, we still have a pre-modern form of submission to 'landed' interests. It is most remarkable.

In 1847 the English corn laws were abolished. These laws were put in place after the Napoleonic wars to protect the landed aristocracies agricultural interests by excluding foreign imports and ensuring a high domestic price for all produce and farm foodstuffs. The estate aristocracy controlled parliament and British politics. Their desire to profit at the expense of consumers generated predictable results. Famines, food shortages, reduced innovation and higher consumer prices all followed.

After millions of Irish and English starved to death in the 1830s and 1840s, the case for free trade finally won over first public opinion and then the leader of the government, Sir Robert Peel. But it was a close run thing. Thanks to governmental incompetence and the subsidisation of powerful estate owners and agro producers, millions of people died, and millions more were made far poorer through higher prices. Yet today we are repeating the same mistakes.

The US farm subsidy bill per annum is now over $70 billion. This does not include the $30 odd billion given to the globaloney warming-eco fascist fanatics to develop 'alternative' crop based fuels like ethanol. In Europe $100 billion is given to farmers each year through the EU's CAP [common agricultural program] – which consumes almost ½ of the EU's centralised budget. It can be remarked that one of the main purposes of the EU is to ensure the richness and high living standards of French and Spanish farmers.

These subsidies of course distort local production methods. Instead of growing wheat for export a US farmer might now move over to corn to get his hands on that 'free' government money. European farmers are paid not to produce certain crops above certain volumes – in order to keep prices and profits high. Thanks to price control boards and supply side management, governments in the EU, Canada and Japan have kept prices of dairy, chicken, rice, beef and other staples 30% or more above a free market rate. Asian states have government supply, price and import controls on rice – the result? A predictable shortage in a key staple.

Other government distortions include the trillions of dollars in trade protectionism which occurs each year. Europeans have high barriers against imported African produce – but yearly hold monumental jaw boning conferences where their 'African commitment' is enhanced and billions more in loan write offs or foreign investment for African development are tearfully announced. Yet the most important method to develop Africa, through a free trade in agro-produce and textiles is rejected. Third world countries are the kings of agro-trade tariffs, ensuring that their own people will starve to death if domestic harvests or US food supply is curtailed or deranged. Yet the third world's first collective impulse is to blame the rich West for their government created patterns of food and trade misery.

In the US similar trade distortions exist preventing poorer central american states from competing fairly with US agricultural producers. Sugar, rice, soy, beef, and other staples are subjected to punishingly high tariff rates which preclude cheaper imports and reward inefficient domestic concerns. This says nothing of the billions handed out, as in done in France, to massive agri-businesses who earn literally billions of dollars in profits.

With agricultural prices at record highs, why does any agro-business need government help?

In the US for example the price of corn has risen by about 44% over the past 15 months. This not only impacts the price of food products made using grains, but also the price of meat, with feed prices for livestock also increasing. Yet the little minds of the eco-cult and government want you to pour corn oil into your car instead of using corn to [gasp!] feed people. With 54% of the world's corn supply grown in America's mid-west, the U.S. is one of the main food staple exporters in the world. Restrict that supply and you ensure that people will literally die as corn, cereal, and beef prices escalate.

And that is the issue with governmental interference and incompetence. The unintended consequences of distorting a market in food staples and grains will literally mean that people will die. But they don't care. Ideas, profits and ultimately in many states, power, are more important than people – at least in the eyes of government, the eco-fascists and the agribusinesses.

Sure they will wail and moan, along with the UN about the crisis and a need to do something now. But it is all hollow rhetoric. They created the problem and they have little intention to fix its underlying systemic issues. Governments have caused rising food prices and agricultural trade disruption and they will be the last ones to fix the problems. Note to self; government is not your friend as millions of starving people attest to yet again.