Saturday, December 13, 2008

More on Food

Quote of the day:

"If you like foreign oil, you're going to love foreign food." Shawn Coburn, Farmer in California's San Joaquin Valley.

California is on the verge of a political crisis, and at the risk of sounding shrill, maybe even revolution. The state simply cannot continue to fund its liabilities with the tax proceeds of its economy, irrespective of how many emergency sessions the legislature is called into. Central planning didn't work in the former Soviet Union, and it won't work in the People's Republic of Berkley, either.  MASSIVE cuts in services are in the cards for California.   Add to this the unintended consequence of an unevenly distributed population on our political framework - resulting in California (population nearly 40 MILLION) receiving the same representation in the U.S. Senate as Wyoming (population nearly 500 THOUSAND).  Does anybody think that this will remain acceptable with Californians when the population reaches 50, 60, or 100 MILLION? Or even that it is acceptable now?  I love and value the freedoms and protections granted me by our Constitution, but I cannot envision that our founder's contemplated this issue.

California supplies the vast majority of the rest of the country's vegetables (not speaking of Corn & Wheat). Unfortunately, California has a water crisis that would be nearly impossible to solve even if level headed, rational folks were setting policy, but this is the Left Coast. Level headed pragmatists are in short supply.

Water policy is just one of a number of insurmountable issues facing the political stability of the region.  DNA wins all wars.  The area of the world now known as China has been invaded and conquered dozens of times over the last 5 or 6 millennia, and each time the conquerers were BRED out of existence by the Chinese.  In the long run, China ALWAYS won.  The conquerers took local wives and in a generation or 2, it was all over.  In the end, it is who and what the population identifies with that carries the day, as any student of Apartheid South Africa will attest to (Israel has far more to fear from being "demographiced" out of existence, rather than over run in a conventional war.  Some cultures have successfully maintained their identities over the centuries by developing cultural methods of controlling their women's reproductive options - i.e., head scarves and burkas for Muslims, matrilineal descent and dietary restrictions for Jews.  It is hard to meet other people if you are precluded from eating with them).  In the absence of assimilation, or in the presence of groups that resist assimilation at all costs, the potential for conflict must be recognized. 

It would be hard to argue that the boarder regions of states such as California or Texas populations identify more with U.S. than Mexico and Latin America.  I am not arguing for or against this phenomenon, merely pointing out the historical and social significance this reality holds.  

Now add an economy or currency or food system in collapse and you have certainly a match within reach of the tinder.

But at least we saved the endangered Delta smelt.  So we got that going for us.

Sorry. That got away from me.  The point is that NONE of our SPECIAL INTERESTS willingly engage in any sort of Cost/Benefit analysis.  That would include environmentalists and polluting corporations alike.  When it comes to how we manage our food supply, be VERY careful what you ask for - you may get it.

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com


Dan said...

Thanks for the excellent analysis on food; I had been wondering how bad the food situation would be and all the data seems to be pointing the wrong way.

As for the historical analysis, population differences between large states and small states why we have a bicameral legislature with states having equal representation in the senate. N.b. the state legislatures’ chose the states senators until 1912 in an effort retain cooler heads and to prevent a decent into democracy.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

I thank you for the links.

One of the reasons we have so many states was slavery and the Missouri compromise. Neither the connecticut nor the missouri compromises considered the kind of lop sided population trends caused by advancing technologies.

Yet here we are.

I am going to to connect the dots on this issue over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

A side note on fertilizer. I use a lot of fertilizer in my business, and Sept. 07 a 50lb. bag of 24-5-11 cost me $13.75 each. This past Sept.08 that cost rose to over $35 each. That nearly put me out of business. Not only did nitrogen skyrocket, potash went through the roof as well. Interestingly, the article mentioned Canada as the supplier of potash, however, we were being told that the Chinese had bought many of those mines for there own use at home. This news came from the fert. vendor.

This occurence is actual what got me looking into energy, and finding The American Energy Crisis. Thanks Greg.

Any idea on what to expcet in 09? I am currently looking into diversifing my business.


Greg T. Jeffers said...


Stay tuned. I have much to say about Oil in 09. Also, see that is the Mad scientist's blog.