March 11, 2008

Are you hungry?

Apparently, so is the rest of the world.

Farmers the world over are producing flat-out. American agricultural exports are expected to increase 23 percent this year to $101 billion, a record. The world’s grain stockpiles have fallen to the lowest levels in decades.

“Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe,” said Daniel W. Basse of the AgResource Company, a Chicago consultancy. “But if they do, we’re going to need another two or three globes to grow it all.”

In contrast to a run-up in the 1990s, investors this time are betting — as they buy and sell contracts for future delivery of food commodities — that scarcity and high prices will last for years.

If that comes to pass, it is likely to present big problems in managing the American economy. Rising food prices in the United States are already helping to fuel inflation reminiscent of the 1970s.

UGH. Why is it that an article about tight commodities markets always has the doom and gloom quote from some guy who thinks the future is going to look a lot like Soylent Green? There's never the quote from the fella who points out that, historically, times of limited supply and relative scarcity have always been of relatively short duration and are always followed by long periods of overabundance?

As for needing two or three earths? Not at all. What we need is for the rest of the planet to start farming like us. Well, maybe not with all the pollutions and problems of the past but instead with the best practices of today. Let's see some modern farming in Africa instead of the poor ass subsistence farmer plowing a field with technology from the 1860's.

When you read the article, please note how much Nigerians love them some toast.

Posted by mcblogger at March 11, 2008 10:35 AM

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