November 19, 2012

Ethanol Update

It's official. 
The government in full knowledge that world supplies of corn are critically low, that there is also a poor crop forecast for South American producers which is negatively impacting world grain supplies, has sided again with the big business of American agriculture.
When supplies are low, prices are high and now going higher. Our farmer continues to benefit at the expense of the less fortunate the world over. So much for brotherhood of mankind.

Posted here previously:
"In these days of rising concern of stewardship for the air, the land and the water, do we suppose that we have relinquished all that to the approximately two percent of the population who (feeds more than 98 percent of Americans and a vast percentage world-wide,) are indeed the oligarchs? Are we okay with that, or should we react? How we react depends a lot on us and our current lifestyle.

Some while never thinking about it, work like vassals to a "state of consumption" in which they participate. Yes, we are called consumers, but aren't we more than that? And what if the farmers rebelled, went on strike and demanded their homage? Could we starve? And how easily, like the recent hurricane Sandy has demonstrated! It won't take much. Will others world-wide starve too? In the face of a serious threat like that, then what are we? While in a civil society something in just that form may not occur, many other potentially damaging disruptions may well be affecting our daily lives in myriad, subtle ways.

Take for example, the price of sugar, oil, wheat and corn. These commodities have been greatly on the rise the past few years. Why? Agricultural economists explain it in several ways: weather, market "forces," export demands, domestic consumption and yes, things like ethanol driving up prices. Farmers as a group are notorious for growing crops which bring the highest return. Who can blame them?

And when they all do, an over abundance may result, actually depressing prices. Then they are on to the next "big thing," and lately that has been corn. Remember there is only so much land for all crops produced. A balance of supply and need produces price stability; overproduction in one crop results in shortages in others. You pay the difference.

Corn may be used to produce many, many foodstuffs and meats. Most recently it is used to produce not just grain alcohols such as whiskey but also a product they call "ethanol," a less efficient, grain alcohol used to fuel gasoline powered engines. The result is that millions more acres are now being taken to produce this product and not grain to feed you or produce meats or oils for your table. Did you ask for that? Did you clearly know that certain demands for a better environment would be answered by big business in this way? Did they ask any of us? Well, yes and no. Regardless, we all now pay ever increasing prices to those who grow for us. This topic is ongoing. It's another chapter in the politics of food"

No comments: