[ExI] Food Production (was Re: Really? and EP)

painlord2k at libero.it painlord2k at libero.it
Wed Apr 22 12:17:45 UTC 2009

Il 20/04/2009 10.07, Keith Henson ha scritto:
> 2009/4/19 Lee Corbin<lcorbin at rawbw.com>:
>> spike wrote:

>> A friend who's recently returned from a month on an Indiana or
>> Ohio farm tells me that they're *still* making large improvements,
>> and actually look forward to another factor of 2.

> And how big a hit would corn production take if the cost of energy
> when up to the point farmers had to make do with 10% of the energy
> they now use?

I think talking about "10% of the energy they now use" is wrong (it is 
engineering thinking not economics thinking. And the problem is 
inherently economics.
Energy is energy and, in some way, go tot he people able to pay for it, 
if it is not rationed. And, if it is rationed, it will go for the 
agriculture before it will go for anything other.

My question, that I suppose is more useful, is about level of prices: 
50% - 100% - 900% greater than now for energy.

In any way, in the price of food go up (due a scarcity of energy 
available) people will be forced to pay more for the food and will have 
less for their own consumption of energy (car, home, etc.). Then the 
farmers will be able to buy more energy.

Given that energy and food are linked together in a very short loop due 
the ability to use ethanol and vegetable oil as fuel, any serious and 
lasting reduction of the energy production worldwide will cause the 
richer nations to use their riches to buy food and oil at higher prices. 
This is like syphoning the resources of others nations and shape the 
production to something we need , not something they need. We already 
cause something like this with the War on Drugs. This would be similar: 
nations like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria use much of their oil to buy stuff 
abroad and feed their people (directly or indirectly). Higher prices of 
oil imply higher prices of food (we sell the food, the drugs, the 
technology, etc.). So anything they gain selling less oil for more 
money, they lose for buying food at higher prices.

Given that the majority of the Earth population is, now, living in 
cities, there is no way people could grow their own food if the prices 
are too high. So, the major effect of raising prices of food will be a 
mass starvation of the undeveloped nations (Africa, parts of Asia and 
South America). This would lead to lower birthrates and greater number 
of dead in these nations. It is not like they can continue to have 6-8 
children per woman, anyway.


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