[ExI] Food Production

painlord2k at libero.it painlord2k at libero.it
Thu Apr 23 13:17:05 UTC 2009

Il 23/04/2009 6.01, Lee Corbin ha scritto:
> Mirco wrote:
>> Keith Henson ha scritto:
>  >>
>  >> [Lee 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.
>  >>>
> [http://www.agry.purdue.edu/Ext/corn/news/articles.03/CornYldTrend2003.html]
>>> 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?
> Ninety percent loss of energy available to farmers!?
> What do you have in mind? That seems awfully high.

For a reduction of 90% of the energy available for farmers, I would look 
in something like an all-out nuclear war, but worse.

>> ...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.
> Hmm. I don't know about the "short loop". When
> oil prices jumped way up, did food prices? If
> so, it doesn't seem that food prices have come
> down now!

The ethanol production plants use corn to produce ethanol, and the US 
Congress subside the production. This lowered the threshold where it is 
profitable to turn corn in ethanol. Before the bust, when oil was 150$, 
it was very profitable to turn corn in ethanol (for a few months). Then 
the price of corn spiked, farmers started planting more corn and less of 
other and all prices of food started to grow. States around the world 
started to scramble with the prices of food spiking and stopped 
(partially) the exportations (India stopped the exports of rices apart 
the Basmati).

The problem with food prices in developed contries is that we usually 
see only the final products costs. The cost of bread, in Italy, is only 
10% dependent to the cost of flour, the rest is transportation, labour, 
capital goods, etc.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list