20 Signs That A Horrific Global Food Crisis Is Coming

ilene's picture

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Bodda Boom's picture

In the 1980s, underrated economist Julian Simon debated a neo-Malthusian anti-free market opponent whom- like so many here- predicted nothing good ahead for the world or humanity. While the pundit claimed extinction would be our lot prior to our current year, Simon had faith in the ability of people to find new and innovative ways to overcome shortages, market roadblocks, and over-regulation. Since all has been "doom and gloom" here and in virtually all other outlets lately, it compels me to interject that sage wisdom of the late Mr. Simon. HIS vision of the future came to fruition while his opponent became so moot that his name is no longer even memorable.

Zero Govt's picture

We're doomed, doomed, doomed !!!

We have energy, food, water and resources coming out of our ears worldwide. The only problem are the dickheads that think we have a problem (ie. they are the problem). Wake me up when these shills, trolls and loonies shut up (yawn)

mtomato2's picture

Yeah.  You're right.  It's the "dickheads" who THINK we have the problem...  They're the ones pushing oil to 120, depleting the Ogallala aquifer, and setting the Mid-East on fire.  /Sarcasm the fuck OFF!/

It couldn't possibly be the saviors who are engineering problems left and right, could it?

I used to be one of you until I woke up to the fact that you can turn a massive ship with a tiny rudder.  Whether these specific issues are problems or not, the world is being steered in a collision course with something never before seen.  At least not on a scale of this magnitude.  This is being done by exploiting either the perception or the reality of these potentially problematic issues by the powers that be.  Your simplistic analysis is pathetic.  What's  going to wake you up will be a literal or figurative banging on your door by a system that has systematically removed your right to be human.  At least in the way we have defined it for the past two-hundred or so years.

panika2008's picture

"engineering problems", uhm, like the bad, bad people who invented railroads, airplanes, computers, permanent shelter, water purification, food preservation or antibiotics... Damn, should they have been burned, we'd be sooo much happier without those "problems", living the merry life of neolithic hunters-gatherers, praying every day not to die of hunger or the some mundane illness.

mtomato2's picture



Too bad this thread is dead.  It's lunchtime here, and I need something to devour.

Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Five Reasons Why Canada's Four Western Provinces is the Safest Quadrant on this Planet...


Cone of Uncertainty's picture

Meanwhile, don't worry about food prices, because Bernanke is going to start holding press conferences.

He'll explain everything.


Cone of Uncertainty's picture

One word for you bitches:


Bubba Schwartz's picture

Bubba sez: You betcha, this has been going on for decades.  We were supposed to be out of oil and food long ago.  What the academics can't quantify is human ingenuity.  If the fiat currency collapses, something must emerge to replace it.  That's because economies exist for humans to TRADE, and trading will continue.


PMs, food and water are good insurance policies -- my estimate is keep 6 months worth around....keep bartering goods on hand, too.  Don't forget the distilled medicines ;-). 


Now, if I could just ditch this darned job that puts me in some of the wrong places of the planet...I hope this doesn't tank when I'm in Kinshasha...

jkruffin's picture

So, why don't we sell water to the Saudi's for $140 a barrel or even exchange for oil?  Sounds good to me.

monopoly's picture

Well done. Few will talk about this until  it is too late. We are taking steps Now.

Thunder Dome's picture

The poor will be culled.  That's all.

johnrandi's picture

There's going to be plenty of water in a few years.  Ever heard of expanding earth theory?  Even Finn and Jake mention it on Adventure Time.  Doesn't T Boone own a big part of this aquifier?

John Law Lives's picture

This article touches on data that affects real people.  Wall Street only cares about corporate profits and easy money from the Fed.  They don't care if you starve to death.

I am Jobe's picture

Eat your IPADS bitchez.

Popo's picture

Does this mean Americans and Europeans will be less fat?

Sneeve's picture

Sorry Bubba, we Europeans are way behind in the race to Fatness.

Zero Govt's picture

ever been to Scotland?

DOT's picture

Don't panic until the Acres Planted Info comes out in July.  Then you can panic. 



Got Food ?

Sullie1967's picture

Why do you think the federal gov't has been centralizing power for years?  They have seen this problem coming and already have a plan, Soylent Green.

They_Live's picture

Yeah, but you can't eat...oh, sorry, wrong thread.

panika2008's picture

No numbers, just hearsay. Hearsay that's been constantly present in certain circles since at least 1970s.


And no, skyrocketing oil prices won't normally cause global famine. Oil price is just a small part of the cost of food (tell me, how much oil does a tractor burn to sow, fertilize and harvest an acre of land that produces over a ton of wheat? Hint: normally no more than 7-10 gallons; how much does it cost to transport food with trucks over several hundred miles? Normally not more than 5% of that food's cost; how much natgas - notoriously plentiful resource, unlike oil - is needed to produce nitrogen fertilizer for an acre of crop land? Hint: no more than 500 m3 per ton of dry ammonia in modern plants; with the decade low natgas price of ~4.2$/m3 and mostly falling it does not look that catastrophic now, does it?).


Well, at least until your government starts pushing biofuels with subsidies. The single most dangerous and homicidal practice.

hardcleareye's picture

Pan, perhaps you should go back and do a bit more investigation on the total calories required (energy) to produce food versus the end calories produced.  Producing grain, corn and wheat are one consideration, but what really slams the nails in the coffin in your argument is the production of animal protein and process foods. 

I haven't finished my coffee yet so I am not going to start citing sources online to confirm this, just google it.

Regarding Bio fuels, the US can feed it self with ease, why shouldn't we take some of our excess production to produce biofuel?  More so if your argument that a potential global food crisis is "just hearsay"?

But I will grant you that the energy rate of return on energy invested is low....

panika2008's picture

Uhm, and if oil price is maybe (pessimistically) 10-15% vegetable food/fodder cost, how can it be a LARGER part of meat cost? Like - do animals eat oil or natgas apart from the fodder we feed them? It's ABSOLUTELY true that producing meat is a stupid waste of energy, but still, in the energy wasted, the percentage coming from fossil fuels is at most the same as inputed in vegetables. In other words, the sensitivity of meat prices to oil/coal/natgas price fluctuations is no larger than corn/wheat/whatever vegetables.


" why shouldn't we take some of our excess production to produce biofuel" - absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as the decision to use the land for food or fuel crops is market based and not influenced by gigantic government subsidies.

TheRagingTory's picture

If a ton of wheat uses 10 gallons of oil, and a ton of beef uses 10 tons of wheat, a ton of beef uses 100 gallons of oil.

panika2008's picture

And still the 100 gallons that the beef uses is approximately the same percentage of input cost as the 10 gallons the wheat uses.


In fact, probably the sensitivity of higher-order food (e.g. beef) to fossil fuel prices will be lower because of higher transport efficiency (a ton of beef requires 1/10 the fuel to transport that 10 tons of wheat - that the beef "is made of" - require).


Seriously guys, this is elementary math, not some kind of rocket science.

TheRagingTory's picture

Except you need to tranport ten tons of wheat, and then another ton of beef on top of that.

Unless your cows live on a grain farm, and in the real world, they usualy dont.

TheRagingTory's picture

Has food gone up or has the dollar gone down?

No food crisis, dollar crisis.



c-rev with a twist's picture

Precisely.  You never heard these arguments in 2008.  I guess the aquifers, honey bees, oil, and depleting top soil remarkably made a come back that year.  For as right as Sinclair is on his monetary outlook and its bearing on gold/silver, he doesn't seem to vet these other issues that support his outlook, like the honeybee issue. 


Maybe we could all do some homework before spreading the hype, because at the end of the day, many here are just talking their book, whether it be PMs, mad max survival, or lack of food.  It's all speculative and highly cyclical, whether you like it or not.

emsolý's picture

Add to that the collapsing honey bee population, which is detrimental to agriculture.

johny2's picture

Hven't you read about the Indian man who has lived last 70 years without any food or water??? 

BigJim's picture

You call that living?

johny2's picture

I see what you mean, but if more people would be like this guy, the food prices for those who do need to eat would not rise so much...

Mercury's picture

Sounds like a future First Lady campaign.

Yen Cross's picture

Take the doom and gloom shit some where else! This has been going on for eons! Drill baby drill And gets grow our own (US) food supplies. Brazil can export Orange Juice to the US cheaper than they can grow and process it in Florida. The Fed is drilling the Dollar into the dirt. Know why? China can't sustain exports with a Yuan valued in US dollars. Commodites are still priced in US dollars! That is why the Yuan is setting daily new highs against the USD. China is an export economy, and relies heavily on natural resources. (INPUT COSTS. Pegging your currency to the dollar works great when inflation is in check. Same with the rinse wash Korea,Vietnam, Indonesia,Tiawon,Singapore...Ect. How long can Europe sustain a Eur/Usd 146.000. I called 146 weeks ago. Pathetic!

Urban Redneck's picture

The US gets the double whammy- as the luxury associated with its over-valued currency evaporates, the competition for scarce resources increases. 

shortus cynicus's picture

Thanks for great article.

But US citizens has first eat the plague of Asian Carp:


... then we may think about food crisis in USA.

FrankDrakman's picture

Paging Reverend Malthus!

Seriously, about half of the "twenty" points were the same data points restated - #'s 11-17, all the "water" points, etc. And the biggest real one is the US subsidy for ethanol from corn. If they're serious about ethanol, buy it from Brazil, cut the deficit (Brazilian ethanol is cheaper than the subsidy), and let the price of corn drop, immediately taking the pressure off food prices in the US, Mexico, and many other places, as the US was the world's largest exporter of corn. Substitution effects are raising the cost of wheat, soybeans, etc., as US farmers pull acreage out of those grains for the corn bonanza. Not one of these effects is "natural"; every single one is political.

Water doesn't get "used" up; it just gets recycled. It might not always be where it's most convenient (look at the flooding in MN/ND/SK/MB right now, and tell me there's a shortage of water) but if we can build pipelines to ship oil, we might look at doing that for water as well.

AldousHuxley's picture

Let them eat iPads

no2foreclosures's picture

The useful idiots who parrot the Big Oil Myths on Ethanol always bring this food vs. fuel argument which is not even an argument if you have any understanding of corn and cows.

It takes 10 lbs of GMO corn to grow 1 lb of cow, because cows are not designed to digest starch, they were designed to eat grass and scrubs. Forcing cows to eat corn is animal cruelty and it causes them to have all sorts of gastronomical problems including bloating and diseases.

By distilling the corn first, you get three things: (1) alcohol, of course, (2) CO2, and (3) mash which is all the proteins, nutrients, minerals, vitamins (because fermentation and distillation of corn consumes only the sugar and starch content).  You get about 3.3 lbs of mash from the 10 lbs of corn.

By feeding the 3.3 lbs of mash to the cow, it actually gains 17% more weight and doesn't have the bloating and other gastronomical problems, is happier.

During Prohibition, the IRS revenuers would go to the county fairs to spy out the moonshiners by seeing who had the fattest cows and fattest pigs, because those farmers where feeding their cows and pigs with the mash from the moonshine stills.

And if you do small scale alcohol production using permaculture techniques, you can pipe the CO2 into greenhouses to supercharge the veggies in terms of their growth rates and in some cases sizes of the vegetable.


mccoyspace's picture

that is an amazing document you link to. well done!

Antarctico's picture

By feeding the 3.3 lbs of mash to the cow, it actually gains 17% more weight and doesn't have the bloating and other gastronomical problems, is happier.

Interesting info about using corn mash as feed.  I personally would rather eat a happy cow.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

If you are eating the Cow I doubt it is very happy.

Antarctico's picture

If you are eating the Cow I doubt it is very happy.

Usually, unless I am just utterly famished, I will not eat the cow until after it is dead. I think a cow should be allowed to be a cow, get to hang out with the other cows outside munching on grass and cud and all that, because this increases the odds of the cow being happy (simple creatures that they are), and a happy cow, all broader animal welfare concerns aside, is a tastier, more nutritious cow. 

UnBearorBull's picture

Just to be clear... so they now do feed this mash to livestock after they have extracted the alcohol for ethanol?


no2foreclosures's picture

Yes, in many cases they feed the mash, technically called "dried distiller grains" or DDG to the cows, after fermentation and distillation of the corn into ethanol or alcohol.  In fact, DDG is a commodity that is traded in Chicago.

SimplePrinciple's picture

Boy, this is great.  So ethanol production spits out waste that is processed so efficiently by animals that they grow bigger, fatter, faster.  Sounds like meat prices should be plummeting!  Except that in reality it seems to be the opposite.

sodbuster's picture

Wow! I can't believe it! Somebody that actually knows what they are talking about!

DDG's are also used in hog rations(up to 15%of the ration) poultry, and dairy feed. Every one always screams about the billions of bushels of corn that are used in ethanol production, but never tell people that 25-30% of those bushels come back to the livestock in the form of DDG's. Also- the bulk of the ethanol plants were first constructed in the areas of the Midwest farthest from the "River". Why? Because basis was killing us. In other words, we were getting 50 cents to a dollar less for our corn- because of transportation costs to get the corn to the Mississippi River. And when corn was in abundance, our corn was the last to be used. Most of the first ethanol plants were started by farmers that grouped together and sold shares to get the first plants put up. Now, those ethanol plants that are out here, are bringing the livestock industry back to where the corn is. Why haul the DDGs across the country, when you can feed the livestock here, and put the manure right back onto the field for fertilizer. ( Manure is the best fertilizer- much preferred over commercial fertilizer.) Ethanol and the livestock industry has brought us many, good paying jobs. I know- my son is a chemical engineer and works for Poet Bio. And let me assure you, ethanol production is a lot more efficient and getting better, than the naysayers on these forums would have you believe. Most articles written about ethanol keep regurgitating the same 10 year old data. One last point- ethanol was never intended as a complete fuel. It was only intended to be used as a substitute for MTBE. MTBE is an oxygenate used in gasoline to help it burn more complete. It is also a carcinogen that is showing up in water and soil samples all over the US. MTBE is made by the oil industry, so it's not hard to understand what they are so pissed about. Not that the oil industry ever gave a damn about poisoning the environment. 

 Nice to finally see someone that knows what they are talking about.