[ExI] bees again

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon May 20 01:00:44 UTC 2013

On 2013-05-20 01:25, spike wrote:
> BillK, your post gave me a thought which has me worried.  Fruit and nut
> crops are bee-dependent, but corn and grains are not.  So if there is a
> general failure of all insect-dependent crops, the price of grain goes up.
> The people who produce those crops produce it in astonishing quantities,
> such as the Oregon friend with the solar panels.  The profit margin on grain
> tends to be small.  If the price of grain goes up just a little, those guys
> make a ton of money.  So potato growers and cereal producers could benefit
> from bee destruction, because it would raise the price of grain.

Substitutes and complements, Spike. Cereals are not a replacement for 
fruit: they are quite different niches. If all fruits and nuts 
disappeared it would not mean much higher cereal sales (perhaps even 
lower, as people now did not make pop-tarts or pies).

Now, if neonicotinoids are really good for cereal farmers they might not 
want them banned, but that is because they do not care much about the 
fruit people, not because they make more if they fail. From a business 
perspective things that affect fuel prices are likely a far bigger 
influence on the profitability of their crops.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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