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Thread: Biofuels Not Responsible for Food Price Crisis?

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    Member Brunswijk's Avatar
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    Biofuels Not Responsible for Food Price Crisis?

    CommodityOnline: 2008-04-26

    Speculative buying rather than diversion of food crops and oil seeds for biofuels has resulted in skyrocketing commodity prices, according to an analytical firm. F O Licht opined that reports blaming increased biofuels production for the present food grain crisis are exaggerated and the share of oil seeds and grains in the total global usage for biofuels is limited.

    In 2007, 4.5% of global grain usage was to make fuel alcohol and 3.3% in 2006. However, once animal feed biofuel co-products are factored in, those figures fall to 3% for 2007 and 2.2% for 2006, F.O. Licht said.

    The price increases in wheat, corn and oil seeds over the past year could be due to speculative buying and higher energy costs for agricultural production. Increases in prices were also due to “the often-repeated assumption that the expanding biofuels sector was boosting these markets,” F.O. Licht said. However, the report added the influence of biodiesel on the global vegetable oil market was more significant, with some 5.9% of total supplies used to make biodiesel, up from 3.7% in 2006.

    Source: http://www.commodityonline.com/news/...ls.php?id=7671

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    No kidding. Speculative buying on futures is the heart of soaring prices. Not only grains but also oil prices. In the USA, the government allows middle men to control the supply of almost everything. In a decent form of government, the government would take bids on imported commodities and only accept the lowest bids from suppliers. This would work for food or oil. The issue is that my system has the interests of the people at heart while our present system has the interests of investors and finance at heart.

    Likewise, with a government which had the interests of its people at heart, grain exports would be taxed by the government (probably the only tax we would need) and tied to the price of oil per barrel. That way other countries would not be complaining about not getting enough free food, instead they would be forced to limit their useless feeder population.

    So, instead of the left wingers idea of taxing gasoline to limit its use and save the environment, a right wingers approach would be to tax grain exports and so save the environment with a 3rd World population decrease.

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    Senior Member Cuchulain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff View Post
    So, instead of the left wingers idea of taxing gasoline to limit its use and save the environment, a right wingers approach would be to tax grain exports and so save the environment with a 3rd World population decrease.
    This seems like flawed logic given that one first worlder has the carbon footprint of about 75 third worlders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    This seems like flawed logic given that one first worlder has the carbon footprint of about 75 third worlders.
    Quite the contrary. 1st worlders are a small percentage of the human population. They are the most able to support themselves in terms of energy and food. They are so successful that they export food to 3rd worlders who use this "energy" to breed a larger unsustainable population which then relies on the 1st world to support it. 3rd worlders are in no position to change their already polluting ways. China is a great example, and for 3rd worlders, they are technologically sophisticated.

    Cuchulain, I heard exactly this argument in college on the first Earth Day in 1970. We went along blaming ourselves and feeding 3rd worlders. Believe me, if we had simply raised the price of a bushel of wheat to match the price per barrel of oil, we would not be talking now about humans being eradicated as a result of the pollution of their own excrements. We would not be talking about "carbon footprints", global warming, deforestation, greenhouse gasses and so on.

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    I am surprised people were gullible enough to believe that to begin with. Keep in mind the "free world's" entire economy rests on speculation. With that in mind, remember that all price fluxes are man made. So if you are not using ethanol and I am not. Then why would the price of corn skyrocket?

    When has any country paid off their debt to the world bank? Then why would the American dollar plummit over a debt that is impossible to enforce? Once again, more speculation.

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    There was a recent law passed which mandated higher levels of ethanol, some of my farmer friends have said they have switched to corn ethanol production from the stuff they were growing before.

    Speculation comes more from guessing that retail prices will be higher down the road, and is a lesser element to higher prices.

    As to the 1st worlder vs 3rd worlder argument: how many environment-saving technologies have come from the 1st world (in particular, Germanic countries) as opposed to the 3rd world?

    The US debt is not to the world bank, but to many private investors, also countries like China and Japan. I think the best move would be to simply not pay this debt and let them scream, they would never loan us money again, but if we just cut government spending and switched to actual printing of money instead of this federal reserve crap we would be better off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff View Post
    Quite the contrary. 1st worlders are a small percentage of the human population. They are the most able to support themselves in terms of energy and food. They are so successful that they export food to 3rd worlders who use this "energy" to breed a larger unsustainable population which then relies on the 1st world to support it. 3rd worlders are in no position to change their already polluting ways. China is a great example, and for 3rd worlders, they are technologically sophisticated.

    Cuchulain, I heard exactly this argument in college on the first Earth Day in 1970. We went along blaming ourselves and feeding 3rd worlders. Believe me, if we had simply raised the price of a bushel of wheat to match the price per barrel of oil, we would not be talking now about humans being eradicated as a result of the pollution of their own excrements. We would not be talking about "carbon footprints", global warming, deforestation, greenhouse gasses and so on.
    I'm not advocating helping them, I agree with you that it will only make the problem worse (not the warming problem the third world patronage problem).

    When you mention China, I think it is intersting that China is becoming more of a threat to the environment as they progress towards more of a first world economy. (Indutrialization and tech rather than ag).

    Would you advocate raising the price of wheat altogether or just putting a huge tariff on exports/wheat to be used in aid programs? Doing it domestically would cause enormous problems.

    I don't get how 3rd worlders could pollute more. Pollute with what? They don't have cars or factories at least not nearly in the concentration we do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    I'm not advocating helping them, I agree with you that it will only make the problem worse (not the warming problem the third world patronage problem).

    When you mention China, I think it is intersting that China is becoming more of a threat to the environment as they progress towards more of a first world economy. (Indutrialization and tech rather than ag).

    Would you advocate raising the price of wheat altogether or just putting a huge tariff on exports/wheat to be used in aid programs? Doing it domestically would cause enormous problems.

    I don't get how 3rd worlders could pollute more. Pollute with what? They don't have cars or factories at least not nearly in the concentration we do.
    I would put a tariff on it so that other taxes could be lessened. 3rd worlders really can put out quite a bit of pollution. The worst example I have personally seen is Mexico City. Whatever you may have heard about Los Angeles, it is nothing like the smog in Mexico City. It is 100 times worse. The whole city is impregnated with the smell of diesel fumes. The sky is brown. When you fly in, it looks like you are cutting through a cloud bank when it is actually just their inversion layer. They have almost no pollution regulations at all. Industrial dumping is so universal that US manufacturing firms flock to Mexico to avoid pollution control laws. It is a mess. A close second is Bangkok for the same reasons but it is not quite as bad as Mexico. On the other hand Hong Kong and Singapore are not nearly as polluted as Bangkok. But Hong Kong is far wealthier than Bangkok and Singapore is probably closer to a 1st World country in every respect but race and culture.

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    I don't get how 3rd worlders could pollute more. Pollute with what?
    Burning down rain forests for cropland or to graze animals
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leof View Post
    When has any country paid off their debt to the world bank? Then why would the American dollar plummit over a debt that is impossible to enforce? Once again, more speculation.
    Whether some random state paid off its debt to the World Bank is not quite relevant. The value of the dollar on the international capital markets is based on faith in the stability of the US economy and the reliability of its government. Needless to say, soaring government debt and slowing economing growth undermine that faith. This in turn leads to a drop in the international value of the dollar, with potential buyers on the global capital markets moving towards other valuta, such as the euro. Even if the US government debt is unenforcable, that would do little to prevent a drop in the value of the dollar. Quite the contrary: if the USA were to stop paying its debts and then hide behind its military and political power to prevent any enforcement of its debt, it would lose whatever reliability it still had in the world economy, causing even greater economic problems and dollar devaluation.

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