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The Global Food Economy: Peak Food, Social Unrest, And Bailed-Out Credit-Junkies

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Beginning with Malthus' warning to the world and the Great Irish famine, David McWilliams (of Punk Economics) provides his typically succinct, profoundly fascinating, and graphically pleasing insights on the state of the global food economy. "What happens when hungry people panic?" is the question McWilliams poses; "they move to other parts of the world," he rhetorically answers, adding that this could well be the story of the next 50 years on Earth as the rock of the insatiable demand of seven billion (soon-to-be-ten-billion) people smashes into the hard place of the planet's limited resources to produce that one thing that keeps us all alive - food. The food dilemma is more complex though as it is really an energy dilemma - one that is not going away (on the downside). On the bright side, Malthus' nightmare has yet to occur thanks to the ingenuity of humans. However, if all the world's seven billion people consumer as much as the average American, it would require the resources of over five planet Earths to sustainably support all of us. So either the rest-of-the-world eats less to allow Americans to eat more or we are stuck! But it's not just how much we eat, but what we eat...

 

In fact the change in diet of the Chinese and Indian and Brazilian populations is one of the biggest undocumented stories of globalization - driving up food prices dramatically and punishing the poorer nations (not to mention the inexorable currency devaluations that Central Bankers are slooshing unintendedly to these nations capital markets)

Furthermore, McWilliams rightly ties social unrest to these dramatic food price rises... must watch!

Food is politics and Politics is food...

As the world's diet changes, with a preference for meat and dairy - so energy requirements surge...

MMcWilliams ties a beautiful bow on the presentation bringing the need for the water and therefore the need for oil (energy to grow, clean, and transport).

In short the single-biggest driver of the price of food is the price of oil, so as we hit Peak Oil, are we also hitting Peak Food - and if so, what is next?

 

and then at around 8:15 McWilliams ties in the 'frothy response' of the world's central banks to the global financial crisis plays its part...

 

The process of bailing out credit junkies in the rich world is driving up the price of survival in the poor world.

 

In the west, the poor are getting fatter and the rich are getting thinner (as food is becoming a class issue)...and that is leading to dramatic shifts in health costs...

 

This is where the Food challenge of the next 30 years is taking us... A roller-coaster where Finance and Ecology meets Economics, Demography, and Politics and the outcome is the 'very survival - and progression - of humanity'...

 

in a world where billions of people want what you have and might be prepared to do anything politically, militarily, or financially to achieve this...


 

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Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:08 | 3131588 ball-and-chain
ball-and-chain's picture

We've got enough resources to feed all the people.

Greed is the main problem.

What?

Is it time to start killing people off in order to save food?

Get real.

http://www.angrysinner.blogspot.kr/2013/01/saturday_7.html

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:25 | 3131629 Dooud
Dooud's picture

Soylent Green is people,,,,,,man!

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:15 | 3131683 Michaelwiseguy
Michaelwiseguy's picture

I don't think the mainstream media sheeple have ever seen or heard anything like this;

Peirs Morgan Vs Alex Jones - The Gun Debate Round 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEbBM4DG9V0&feature=youtu.be

Peirs Morgan Vs Alex Jones - The Great Gun Debate Round 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAnKOMex_eQ&feature=youtu.be

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:41 | 3131823 Manthong
Manthong's picture

“they move to other parts of the world”

We asked for it..

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

And they did.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:47 | 3131978 fourchan
fourchan's picture

many points missed in this.

the cost of food is the devaluation of the fiat money.

the over population is because of the fiat money boom and bust "system" aka the federal reserve.

the demand on energy is because of the over population^

and the main point is that the fundimental "system" of money will fail because it is designed to, as every fiat system is.

the "system" is to enslave the population to debt, and capture all assets through boom and bust cycles it creates.

 

the "system" is working perfectly as it has for 98 years now.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:18 | 3132302 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

the "system" is working perfectly as it has for 98 years now.

 

May the ponzi live.......forever.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:44 | 3132489 Doubleguns
Doubleguns's picture

Not many places would be taking in refugees in a food shortage situation. Good luck with running somewhere else without getting shot at the border.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:51 | 3132742 Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Another must-watch video, "There's No Tomorrow": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOMWzjrRiBg

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:15 | 3131903 TheProphet
TheProphet's picture

Congratulations Piers. You found the one guy on the planet that makes you look reasonable.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:33 | 3132303 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Is this an admission that you're willing to take him?

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:44 | 3131663 N. B. Forrest
N. B. Forrest's picture

The world has plenty of food.  It's politics that keeps people starving. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:45 | 3132424 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Someone posted these links yesterday.

They do a very good job explaining how primarily Goldman Sachs was responsible for the recent food crisis in 2008 and will be maniipulating every food crisis to come to their advantage.

The creation of GSCI AND the fall of Glass Steagall have left the US agricultural system open to bankster manipulation.  It was the one-two punch that that took the options trading system out of the hands of ag producers and manufacturers and put it in the hands of people who could care less if you starved.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis

http://narrative.ly/2012/11/the-futures-of-farming/

 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 12:42 | 3133104 tsx500
tsx500's picture

actually , it's  " people who couldn't care less ... "   but i greened u anyway

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:06 | 3131876 SelfGov
SelfGov's picture

"We've got enough resources to feed all the people."

Said no hungry man, ever.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 07:58 | 3132281 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

We have millions of acres of fallow land where it rains enough to dry farm.  No need to panic yet. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:55 | 3132766 toady
toady's picture

'No need to panic yet'

YET being the operative word...

You assume a worldwide organization will be able bring together diverse groups, technology, and most importantly, water.

It's far more likely that poorer area's will become new Somalias and try to migrate where there is water.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:06 | 3131877 GAAP is crap
GAAP is crap's picture

But you have to love the end game and wonderful logic of the argument:  because we are low on food and don't want death and starvation in the future, we'll just kill you now.

 

If every American spent the same resources growing food at home as they did on their front and back lawns, stopped using food for fuel, etc, these Malthusians would lose quite a bit of their audience.

the problem is waste and greed, not so much the limited resources.

http://www.permaculturenews.org/author/Geoff%20Lawton

 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 07:34 | 3132256 Shevva
Shevva's picture

Want to wind up a Malthusian, ask them to name one natural resource that has ever run out in the 100+ years they have been going on and on and on about this.

They use to say the same about london being under 20ft of horse crap now it's just full of rich middle eastern play boys.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:26 | 3132426 N. B. Forrest
N. B. Forrest's picture

Whale oil...

 

However, beyond that...

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:18 | 3132849 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

We still have whales.  So you missed it on that one.  We also turn corn into alcohol and burn it so we aren't running out of food.  My guess is that death and destruction will begin to limit the population of earth.  We do have a large military don't we?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:43 | 3132937 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Gawd. You are an idiot.

>>>We still have whales.  So you missed it on that one.<<<

We only have the Right Whale which was nearly hunted to extinction due to a ban in the 1960s.

They got a brake from the slaughter when Kerosene replace whale oil for lamplighting purposes.

Without international pressure they'd be entirely gone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_whale

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_Oil

We don't have whales now because they are infinite.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:02 | 3132789 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

"you can solve all the world's problems in a garden." - geoff lawton

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 13:11 | 3133204 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

lawton is a genius

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 07:22 | 3132245 Manolo
Manolo's picture

Nay, actually, our plantet provides, ..um..., Solutions. In the works right now, as we speak,

Earth gives you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrate_gun_hypothesis 

witness this and sleep well:

http://arctic-news.blogspot.ch/2012/08/charting-mankinds-expressway-to-extinction.html

 

Cheers !

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:55 | 3132511 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Yes. There is an enormous amount of methane tied up in the tundra which is melting.

An acquaintance spent his working career in Alaska studying tundra and the latter part of his career watching it melt before his eyes.

The implications are devastating.  He was happy to retire and move back to the 48 because going to work every day was making him so depressed he could hardly do it anymore.

Now, he won't even discuss it at any length.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:20 | 3132855 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Pretending that weather cycles continue forever will get you depressed.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:45 | 3132953 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Ignoring the obvious change in the weather and the long term nature of the cycle that causes tundra to melt will get you dead.

Good luck with that.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:45 | 3132954 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Ignoring the obvious change in the weather and the long term nature of the cycle that causes tundra to melt will get you dead.

Good luck with that.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 07:43 | 3132266 Seer
Seer's picture

"We've got enough resources to feed all the people."

And with that simple sentence ALL was made better...

Sorry, but that's a pretty incomplete statement.  I fails to include two key things:

1) How MANY?

2) [And] For HOW LONG?

Keep in mind GROWTH.  Since all living things multiply (until they cannot), we will be continuing to increase our numbers (and while we do so we place ever-increasing strains on our environment).

This is a finite planet.  There IS a limit.  Your statement, however, is open, it seems to imply that there is no limit.

I won't bother to address your "solution," as we haven't properly accepted what the problem is (that is, YOU haven't).

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:25 | 3131628 Osmium
Osmium's picture

Soylent Green Bitchez!

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:27 | 3131631 Dooud
Dooud's picture

Synchronicity, man. Hey, get out of my head.

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:32 | 3131639 Osmium
Osmium's picture

Is your avatar the Big Labowski?  Love that movie.

"No, you're the dude"

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:26 | 3131630 SgtSchultz
SgtSchultz's picture

It seems that if the energy demand assumptions are not correct (say perhaps due to new technologies/discoveries), the entire analysis may be suspect.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 07:52 | 3132275 Seer
Seer's picture

Seems you're sidestepping the FACT that this is a finite planet.  EVENTUALLY there is a limit on how many people could possibly fit on the surface of the earth, and any spot occupied by a human means space that isn't available for food production (either cultivated or wild) or energy production.

Yeah, it's possible that pigs could fly, but I'm not basing my future on it, let alone the future of the human race...

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:24 | 3132868 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

You may be basing your future on a finite planet.  You will be wrong.  The resources will outlast man's ability to cooperate and use the resources peacefully.  War is the biggest waste of all and it is coming.

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 03:08 | 3135489 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Population density of India = 954/mi^2

land mass of earth 57.58 million mi^2

P*l = 54,931,320,000

That's 54 billion on the back of an envelope.  It will come to war or pandemic before  that though.  And that's assuming no space colonization, or energy storage breakthroughs.

It's also assuming that we don't build up or down very much.

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:27 | 3131632 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

This food shortage is getting more serious than most people understand.

I was watching "Moonshiners" last night, and some of them have had to

resort to distilling scotch whiskey because of the corn shortage.

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:28 | 3131634 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

.,..

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:29 | 3131635 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

food is the ultimate "currency." And like most modern currencies, modern food is sad, poisonous, "modified" and controlled by a smaller and smaller number of ever growing and ever evil bastards. Once again, we have to thank our government and the FDA for looking the other way and of course our courts for overturning two hundred years of legal principle and allowing Monsanto and their murderous ilk to poison and patent what we eat. Before then food could never be a patent. ANd now, Nafta and other frauds are spreading this crap all over the world. Just like a poisoned and imprisoned economy, the only solution is not to play.  Take up, perfect and share vital growing skills that have been with mankind and most houses for all time except the last seventy.     

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 04:51 | 3132169 groundedkiwi
groundedkiwi's picture

Monsanto's wet dream is to have their patented food to be bought only with the worlds reserve currency.

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:34 | 3131642 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

How do you get 4 tons of greenhouse gas from 30 litres of oli?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 03:48 | 3132127 Ox
Ox's picture

Cows are a huge source of methane! He's not talking about the oil chaps, he's talking about those fart machines producing methane over their lifespan.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:23 | 3132312 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

Right, because that 1/3 of a kilogram of methane a cow produces per kilogram of meat takes you right up to 4 tonnes.  (Sources and math for methane produced are in my post below.)

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:31 | 3132331 awakening
awakening's picture

An Australian films solution to the problem: Master -"Not shit, energy!" (Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome)

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:41 | 3131659 Ookspay
Ookspay's picture

It might be a good time to get a "Gentlemans Farm"; 5 acres, good soil, maybe a pond, some woods, a small orchard... I did.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:04 | 3131720 batz
batz's picture

 

Why else do you think we still ride horses, shoot and sail? Or play polo for that matter?

Survival, bitches.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:10 | 3131738 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

So did we. And while we do our weekly duty -- http://readynutrition.com/resources/52-weeks-to-preparedness-an-introduc... -- the question is whether we have enough time to fully prepare, how bad it will be when the inevitable happens, how hard the unprepared with come at us when it does, whether we will survive it, and whether life will be worth living if we do.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 04:40 | 3132166 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

and whether life will be worth living if we do.

Well life will certainly be very different, and the nature of civility and civilisation will also be quite different to now.

You'll also notice the absence, or degradation of, of many of the otherwise "invisible" resources that we all use without a moment's thought - things along the lines of efficient healthcare at the point of use, safe (clean) water "on tap" irrespective of the time of the year or outside temperature; reliable electrical power for a relatively low cost per kWh - again with effectively unlimited, 24/7 availability.

We believe life would be worth living, but it would be a very, very different World to today's - a World where ability and directly applicable survivalist knowledge will be superior skills to todays "Financial Engineering and Applied Skimming the Market" in-demand skill set.

Might be quite a fun environment for those who are prepared . . . . . .

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:01 | 3132285 Seer
Seer's picture

Hardscrabble...

But, much of the world has been living that way; heck, most of humanity throughout the ages has been living that way.

Survival, the ultimate definition of what it means to be "sustainable."

People have no idea how different it's going to be.  As much as I'm not looking forward to it (getting too old), I need to go buy some axes: I'm going to miss being able to use my chainsaws.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 06:31 | 3132223 saveandsound
saveandsound's picture

Where did you get the 5 acres?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:52 | 3132361 Ookspay
Ookspay's picture

Northwest Ohio, just far enough from an urban area to be safe yet not too isolated. A really nice home with all the amenities including backup generator and security gate can be had for around $300k. Just the acreage expect to pay around 8-10k per acre then build...

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 23:55 | 3131686 Theos
Theos's picture

2050?

We'll have fusion by then. fuck it.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:35 | 3131808 El Tuco
El Tuco's picture

Africa can feed the whole world yet millions die of starvation there every year. It's like that by design.

If food is so scarce , why does most of it go in the garbage (even in places like India where they let it rot before giving it to the hungry)?

The only food shortages will be engineered....

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:05 | 3132289 Seer
Seer's picture

Don't bother your pretty little head.  You'll be just fine.  Please go back to what you were doing- the food wagon will be by shortly (or maybe not).

Cornucopians need to visit some farms to get an idea of how things work.  Might also learn about the FACT that not all soils are capable (and, of course, there's the little issue of water).

Thanks for playing!

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:33 | 3132448 The Butchers Dog
The Butchers Dog's picture

Not a single famine on this planet was due to a lack of available food (on the planet).  They key being transportation of the food to where it is needed.

All famines are about energy & transportation.

As far as food being an issue for societal collapse, Jared Diamond covers this in great detail and with a plethora of historical examples.

There is also the Oldouvi Theory (i.e. without Oil & Nat Gas - Tractor fuel & fertilizers, etc. an acre of ground could not possibly yield the same food output).  The argument is basically about how cheap & abundant energy definately corresponds to food production which directly drives population levels.  It is all historically proven, so I am inclined to give it credible consideration.

Even if you can not believe the oil/energy based arguments then what about water:

Large corporations have been buying water rights for years.  Look into it, Coke & Pepi are the only sorces of water in many African cities.  Water rights are being accumulated at a surprisingly high rate across the USA as well.

Be aware, be prepared.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:08 | 3132809 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

There are tens of thousands of edible plants, trees, vines and groundcovers on this planet. Each color, shape and size gives you different and necessary nutrition. Who would have thought? This place is a much better, much more democratic, much more organic growing lab than the corporate killers will ever be. Like capitalism, the key is diversity, checks and balance, permaculture. Vertical layers and organic mulch is exponentially more productive and exponetially more efficient with water than 10,000 acres of open fields with one crop sprayed repeatedly with poison. Notice none of that exists in nature. And it is fundamentally exposed to pests for the same reasons. Oh, and it doesn't take oil, just intuitive wisdom and a little observation. Every "primitive" culture figured this out. I think Assimov got it backwards, somehow, in our troubled evolution, mankind became an ignorant suicidal species.   

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 00:26 | 3135149 TyrannoSoros Wrecks
TyrannoSoros Wrecks's picture

Africa isn't starving by design. Its starving because its full of Africans.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 00:43 | 3131820 Hubbs
Hubbs's picture

World food production, distribution and supply takes me back to "The Omen" 1976 trilogy where Mr Thorn (The antichrist) of Thorn industries was intent on controling  the world food supply. Sat in the front seat of the movie theater with my date from OP in WNY who was a St Lawrence grad. I had an unbelievable crush on her.

She freaked over the movie, and that was the end of that.  Sigh.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:25 | 3131930 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

Ahh, you dated a Baptist. My condolences.

There is evidence the peak oil theory is bullshit. Even if it isnt Abiotic, even if the oil cos don't drill and plug(for higher prices), even if natural gas or many other forms of energy don't come into the picture; as soon as we draw & quarter the bankers, we'll have plenty of food.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:43 | 3132695 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

     There is evidence the peak oil theory is bullshit.

What do you think the peak oil theory says?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:20 | 3131919 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

@7:10 in the video the numbers seem highly suspect.  How do you produce 4 tonnes of CO2 from only 10 kilograms of fertilizer and 30 liters of oil?  Even if you start from the (erroneous) assumption that the fertilizer and oil is pure carbon (atomic weight 12), you can only get a mass multiplier (from taking on oxygen from the atmosphere which is atomic weight 16) of (12+16+16)/12 = 11/3.  One liter of oil is a bit less than a kilogram, so the fertilizer and oil together weigh less than 40 kilograms.  Assuming that's pure carbon and is broken down and combined with O2, that nets 40*11/3 or about 147 kilograms of CO2.  That's pretty far short of 4 tonnes (4,000 kilograms) the video states.

@9:10 in the video it makes the invalid assumption that "betting on commodities" necessarily means driving up the price of food.  Such market actions can drive current prices up or down.  (Futhermore, if fraud/theft is taken out of the picture, such actions actually help smooth prices and increase supply when they are correct, and cost the entity making the bet money when they are wrong, giving them motivation to not be wrong.)

@9:20 the video confuses printing money with taking on debt.  (They would be effectively the same thing if all of the printed money were used to enable increasing debt and that debt was actually going to be repaid in the future -- it is not.)  The real cost of printing money is not exactly that it directly steals resources from the future, but that it causes malinvestment now (which will reduce resources available in the future, but by much more indirect means than the video suggets).

@9:45 it states "The rich are getting thinner."  Really?  I'd like to see the data supporting that.

@10:20 it blames those making fatty/sugary foods for people getting fat, rather than the people who choose to eat them.  (Eating reasonably healthy is cheaper than eating at fast food places, so this is not a money issue.  It's more likely some combination of carelessness, laziness, convenience, stupidity, and knowing that when your fat ass lands you in the hospital the government will take care of you by stealing money from other people.)

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 03:51 | 3132130 Ox
Ox's picture

@7:10 - It's the methane producing beef cattle, not the product of oil. They eat grass all day and fart hurricanes over their life... not to harp on or anything.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 04:29 | 3132160 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

Just an FYI, the chemical formula for methane is not "CO2".

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 05:21 | 3132189 Ox
Ox's picture

Just FYI, he mentions "greenhouse gasses", not CO2. Try again.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:13 | 3132291 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

Right, so 4 tonnes of "greenhouse gases" minus (a very generous) 147 kilograms of CO2 means you only need 3,853 kilograms of methane to make up the difference.  Now let's try some math:

methane per day per cow: 250 to 500 L
(source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8567486)

Density of methane:  0.6556 g/L
(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane)

time from birth to slaughter: fourteen to sixteen months
weight at time of slaughter: 1,100 pounds.
(source: http://www.factory-farming.com/beef_production.html)

kilograms of methane produced per kilogram of meat (worst case):
500 L/day * 16 months * 30 days/month * 0.0006556 kg/L / (1,100 pounds/cow / 2.2 pounds/kg)
~0.315 kilogram of methane per kilogram of meat

So, 1/3 of a kilogram actually produced vs the 3,853 kilograms needed to get to 4 tonnes.

Like I said before, the video numbers are highly suspect.  I'm not sure you could get to 4 tonnes even if you counted the water vapor from the evaporation of the cow's piss.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 23:09 | 3134984 Ox
Ox's picture

Touche, I concede defeat.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 06:32 | 3132224 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

I'm a national resource for methane and all my farts are lighter than air.  How can they equate to tons?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:38 | 3132340 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Love your comment, but printing money is creating debt. Treasury must issue a bond for every dollar printed. A bond is a debt instrument. This is why dollars are actually "notes" or debt instruments. However, I agree with the rest of your comment regarding malinvestment. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 20:54 | 3134630 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

.

Treasury must issue a bond for every dollar printed.

That's (mosty) true.  (It leaves out MBS purchases, BoJ buying stocks, the possibililty of governments going "greenbacker" as has happened in the past, and many other things, but we can ignore that for now.)  But in my book it doesn't matter that bonds are issued.  As stated in my previous post, that is only really debt if "that debt was actually going to be repaid in the future -- it is not."  Yes, everyone calls it "debt".  I'm not even sure how one would conveniently reference what everyone calls US government debt without using the word "debt".  But it's not real debt, not when everyone involved knows it will never be repaid (in aggregate that is, individual bonds of course do get paid -- though only in nominal terms, and that's just a "pay as you go" transfer from new arrivals to those cashing out, aka a ponzi scheme).  Whether it's a few "trillion dollar" platinum coins, massive inflation, switching to issuing bills of credit, or some other mechanism, the US debt will be defaulted on (once again).

Whether you want to call such pretend debt "debt" or not, it's the "paying it off" part that is relevant with respect my critique of the video.  The video said: "And the more money we print, the higher the price of food.  Because ultimately printing money is nothing more than robbing for consumption today from the resources of tomorrow."

At the time I thought that second sentence was meant to mean that debts would have to be repaid, and that somehow the video's author thought that resulted in some sort of transfer of resources from the future to the present.  Upon reexamination, it's not clear at all what that sentence is really trying to say.  If "robbing for consumption today" means we actually have more resources today and somehow we transferred those from the future, that would appear to make the statement self-contradictory.  I.e., if we are robbing resources from the future, that should make those resources more abundant (and therefore cheaper) today and more rare (and expensive) in the future.  But his first sentence says food is currently getting more expensive, not cheaper.  And even worse, he asserts that those two seemingly contradictory statements are causally linked.

Printing money is redistribution of wealth (and income streams) in the present.  Printing money today may very well result in more raw resources still being available in the future because its economic distortions tend to supress total economic growth.  (On the other hand, for specific raw resources it can also result in less being available in the future if the distortions were targeted at consumption of that resource [like oil-hungry wars], or if the economic supression prevented technological advances that would have provided for more efficient resource usage or opened up the use of alternate resources.  In general, the impact on any given resource is not humanly predictable.)

This is why dollars are actually "notes" or debt instruments.

Historically dollars were called "notes" because they used to be redeemable for real money (gold).  So they were debt instruments, but of the "IOU gold" variety, not "non-IOUs backed by pieces of paper called US bonds which are IOUs for pieces of paper called Federal Reserve notes which...".  (It was the Treasury that handled redeeming Federal Reserve notes, but for private banks who also issued bank notes they handled their own redemption yet still used the same "note" terminology.)

A bit of trivia -- apparently the difference between a "Federal Reserve bank note" and a "Federal Reserve note" is that the first is backed by one specific Federal Reserve bank and the latter is backed by them all collectively:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Bank_Note

Anyways, I guess the point you are trying to make is that bank notes are always IOUs of some sort or another.  But my counterpoint would be that the current meaning of bank notes is "I don't owe you jack, and don't have to give you anything for your current bank notes except more bank notes of the same total face value".

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 23:48 | 3135068 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Treasury doesn't buy MBS, the FED does- completely different animal. No one is suggesting a return to greenbacks, though they only retired them in 1996. If treasury wants dollars they have to issue bonds or debt- otherwise, the FED doesn't ok the BOE to print them. 

As for it isn't debt if we are going to default, well, that is a very big assumption. Until someone proclaims a debt jubilee, it remains debt. 

As for the video statement about robbing future value: this refers to every dollar that is produced without production or resource values to fund it will create inflation as the amount of goods is not keeping up with the amount of dollars. This cause prices to rise. However, not all the dollars will be spent and those that are saved will be used for future production. Each new dollar starts chasing fewer and fewer goods. A dollar is means of exchange, its' value is dependent on production of goods and services. We agree to accept it to facilitate exchange. However, if I can no longer depend on it to retain a semblance of its' value, I will demand more or not accept them at all. It is a claim on future goods and services, because each person with a dollar hasn't bought anything yet. 

Historically, dollars were called many things: script, coins (454gn of silver) and certificates. Certificates have value because they are warehouse receipts. You deposit and get a receipt. 

A FED reserve note is not a receipt. It is a debt instrument. If I deposit dollars, I can only get dollars in return or debt instruments. As long as people accept these dollars, yes, I can buy things, but if they won't or don't- the bank or FED will not give me something of value in exchange. I am stuck with them. They can depreciate them, call them in or let them become worthless and I have nothing to say about it. 

The bondholder has a little more power, but really just a place ahead of me in the line, which is worthless if the bank closes the door in our faces. 

You know your math, but you might want to study up on your political economy. Your last sentence shows you understand the problem, but not the mechanics.

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 05:35 | 3135653 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

.

Treasury doesn't buy MBS, the FED does- completely different animal.

I was talking about the Fed.  You can't talk about the economic effects of money printing and ignore the Fed.  The Fed doesn't do the paper and ink thing (which is the Treasury's domain), but they "print" many times more dollars than the Treasury (something like 98% of all dollars) and therefore has a much greater impact on everything.  (If you think physical dollars printed by the Treasury have any significant causal relationship with the inflation of global wheat prices the video was talking about, I'm pretty sure even the author of the video would disagree with that.  The path from Fed to bankers to speculation is a mostly electronic one.)

No one is suggesting a return to greenbacks

Umm, lots of people are.  I run into greenbackers in forums all the damn time.  And it's in DC too.  Have you ever listened to Rep. Dennis Kucinich talk about monetary policy?  He believes the ability to print money from thin air should be transferred from the Fed to Congress.

If treasury wants dollars they have to issue bonds or debt- otherwise, the FED doesn't ok the BOE to print them.

This appears to be incorrect.  (See huffpo link and quote below.)

As for it isn't debt if we are going to default, well, that is a very big assumption.

No, the very big assumption would be assuming we are going to pay back the debt.  Debt has been monotonically increasing since 1957, and it is growing at an accelerating rate.  Eventual default on the vast majority of the debt is basically a given at this point.  (We are in continuous incremental default right now -- aka "inflation".)  The only economically feasible alternative to defaulting on the debt, which is defaulting on a very large fraction of the promises politicians have made, appears to be entirely politically impossible, at least until after either the debt is defaulted on or the currency collapses.

Until someone proclaims a debt jubilee

No one is going to proclaim a debt jubilee.  They will likely default in some way they do not call default, or debt forgiveness, or anything of the sort.  Whatever it turns out to be, they may even call it "temporary" as Nixon did when he closed the gold window (aka defaulted), or maybe a "one-time measure", or some other such nonsense.

Oh, look (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/trillion-dollar-coin-solution_n_2426333.html):

"But Beowulf figured out that the Treasury can legally use these laws to print whatever coins it wants -- including trillion-dollar coins -- and then deposit them into its bank account at the Federal Reserve, in exchange for a bunch of cash it can use to pay off its debts. [...] We don't need trillions of dollars' worth of platinum, because the mid-1990s laws give the Treasury Department the right to print up a coin made out of just a little bit of platinum and stamp whatever denomination it wants on it. One trillion, two trillion, whatever. [...] But Obama could promise to use the coin just this once, to avoid this debt-ceiling default."

As for the video statement about robbing future value: this refers to every dollar that is produced without production or resource values to fund it will create inflation as the amount of goods is not keeping up with the amount of dollars.

You are misquoting the video, and thereby changing the meaning entirely.  It didn't say "robbing future value".  It said "robbing [...] from the resources of tomorrow".

Price inflation from increased money supply/circulation is understood.  (I didn't fault the first sentence I quoted which was about inflation -- I faulted the second one which was about robbing future resources.)  What is not clear is exactly what is meant by the video when it talks about robbing resources from the future.  (And it's OK if you can't explain/justify the statement -- it's entirely possible that the statement is simply nonsense.)

However, not all the dollars will be spent and those that are saved will be used for future production.

So there will be additional/deferred price inflation in the future when such savings are finally put to use.  That is still not robbing resources from the future.  It's just playing with the value of the dollar.

The video said we are robbing "from the resources of tomorrow".  It doesn't say we are tweaking the prices of resources tomorrow, it says we are robbing the actual resources somehow (which it does not explain).

[I'm not sure why you are bringing up future production, especially since more money printing means more inflation means less motivation to save as savings is eroded quicker which means less savings available for future production.]

A FED reserve note is not a receipt. It is a debt instrument.

At this point (ever since 1971) a Federal Reserve note is nothing more than a token.  The US government effectively uses the Fed to get around the fact that the Constitution does not grant it the power to emit bills of credit.  So it uses the Fed to emit notes (and somehow that is supposed to be Constitutionally koshur -- of course the legal tender status of Federal Reserve notes is completely unconstitutional but that is just ignored).

Also, referencing the huffpo quote again, it appears that as of the mid-1990s the federal government has given itself yet another loophole around directly printing bills of credit.  And if the treasury creates coins (trillion dollar ones if it deems fit to do so) and deposits them at the Fed in exchange for dollars, that means dollars (even physical printed ones) may be backed by both government debt and government credit.

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 13:37 | 3135940 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

If you were talking about the FED, then you shouldn't refer to Treasury. They are not the same thing. It is this type of inaccuracy that marrs your arguments on the dollar.

Discussing greenbacks on blogs and introducing legislation are two very different things. They discuss alien invasion on blogs- this doesn't make it germane.

There is no difference between dollars and credit creation. Both are debt and they are supposed to be repaid. This is a false distinction- common, but false.

Huffpo is not a reliable source for anything. Try standard economic texts on banking. (Try "The Mystery of Banking" by Rothbard)

Yes it would be a big assumption, but that doesn't make your assumption any better and mine has been legislated and built into the Bill of Rights.

Future resources are future value. This is not a misquote. This is standard economic definition.

My full explanation is quite clear on the future resource claims, even if you refuse to understand it. You could consult Chapter 6 of Rothbard's text "Man, Economy and the State" which deals with time preference and future values. Still here it is in a nutshell: New debt that can't be paid must be paid in the FUTURE with earning made in the FUTURE which would have been used to purchase goods and services in the FUTURE, but can't because they must be used to pay debt created in the past. I hope this helps.

Finally, " a FED note is nothing but a token" and what is a token? A representation, in this case of debt. There is a clear ddifference between a note and a receipt. Notes are BOPRROWED into existence, receipts are deposits of capital. Why they print them is not part of the argument. The Federal government could do the same with a lead coin or nobium coin. They could print a 17 T dollar coin. It is still debt- debt held by a private banking cartel. The same one that runs the government.  This is not a loophole- to create such a coin would be preposterous in the extreme. Just because you can do something doesn't mean the capital system will accept it. 

This is why markets are important- they have powers the government can only dream of. 

 

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 06:09 | 3140070 S.N.A.F.U.
S.N.A.F.U.'s picture

.

If you were talking about the FED, then you shouldn't refer to Treasury. They are not the same thing. It is this type of inaccuracy that marrs your arguments on the dollar.

WTF?  I'm not the one that brought the Treasury into this, you did.  And you did so while making a false statement.  You stated: "Treasury must issue a bond for every dollar printed."  That is false because the Fed can print dollars without the Treasury issuing a bond.  The inaccuracy is not in my argument, but in yours.

Discussing greenbacks on blogs and introducing legislation are two very different things. They discuss alien invasion on blogs- this doesn't make it germane.

Yes, let's pretend the civil war funding never happened.  (I mean, there was no legislation for these [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Note] things, right?)  And if it did, well, it could never happen again.  And let's also pretend that we aren't effectively pretty much there already because the so-called debt that's getting created now is never going to get paid off.  And the laws that let the US mint coins (debt free), let's pretend they don't exist too (and thereby ignore the fact that no new legislation is actually required).  And the traction the "trillion dollar coin" idea is getting, that doesn't matter either because, you know, politicians never pay any attention to what may or may not buy them their next election (no matter how stupid the voters and the ideas they support are).  And the fact that we have a political show-down where a president known for being the latest/"greatest" in a long line of presidents exceeding their authority might be able to win political points by "trumping" the republicans on the debt ceiling issue, I'm 100% positive that will come to absolutely nothing.  No one should talk about any of this, because it's simply all inconceivable [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-b7RmmMJeo].

Oh, and the fact that I did not just mention people on blogs but specifically called out a pro-greenback legistlator (you know, those people who write legislation)?  Also entirely "non-germane" to the issue, I'm sure.  And I'm sure that's why you conveniently just left that out when talking about legislation and bloggers, it wasn't a lame-ass deceptive attempt to make my argument look weak at all.

There is no difference between dollars and credit creation. Both are debt and they are supposed to be repaid. This is a false distinction- common, but false.

"Supposed to be repaid" just like unicorns are supposed to have magical properties.  Neither one means shit here in the real world where that "debt" will never be paid off.

The idea that the Federal Reserve is going to actually extinguish all of the notes it has issued (thereby "repaying" the "debt"/liabilities on *its* balance sheet) is orders of magnitude more ridiculous than a trillion dollar coin, at least until the system breaks down and/or is replaced.  (Though maybe you don't see the Fed's liabilities as debt.)

Furthermore, you are ignoring the ability the US government has to obtain Federal Reserve notes without issuing debt (therefore without credit creation beyond the Fed's asset/liability bookkeeping).  See, for example, the "large denominations" wikipedia link below.  Or see the platinum coin law quoted below.  And, of course, the government can bypass the Fed entirely by putting dollar denominated coins directly into circulation, and such coins would be debt free (and would not even have an entry in the Fed's books).

Huffpo is not a reliable source for anything. Try standard economic texts on banking. (Try "The Mystery of Banking" by Rothbard)

Pick whatever current source you like.  The story's all over the place.  You aren't likely to find this scheme in an economic text, though, because the idea (at least for the specific application) is too new.  (The underlying idea, though, is very old.)

The law that allows it is Section (k) of 31 USC 5112:  "The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to time."

And check those text books of yours about US coins.  Things like silver/gold coins the mint produces are not debt, there is no issue of bonds for those -- they are money.  Other coins called out by existing law (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5112) also appear to be debt free.

And the Treasury is free to exchange such money (or corresponding certificates) for Federal Reserve notes, as it has done in the past with gold certificates:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_denominations_of_United_States_currency#.24100.2C000_bill

Maybe you should look up "seigniorage" to see how it works:  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/seigniorage.asp

Or maybe you'd prefer a former head of the US Mint (Philip Diehl) to explain it to you (search down the page for his name to get to the quote): http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-mint-the-coin-debate-could-be-the-most-important-fiscal-policy-debate-youll-ever-see-in-your-life-2013-1

Yes it would be a big assumption, but that doesn't make your assumption any better and mine has been legislated and built into the Bill of Rights.

So, politicians lied to you, and you (apparently) believe the lies, and that makes you "more right"?  Nice argument.

If you're talking about "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" then you should realize that will not protect people against dollar debasement or collapse.  The goverment may stick to some technical letter of the law where dollars get printed and handed out, but if the dollar hasn't already collapsed by then they'll just be helping it along by making as many as they need, whether by coining platinum or some other means.

And how the hell can you ignore the fact that neither that bit nor any other bit of the Constitution did anything to stop FDR from confiscating people's gold?  Do you think our government has grown more respectful of our rights since FDR's time?  And how the hell do you think that phrase of the Consitution has any real power anymore when the government can lock you up and throw away the key without a trial?  (Yes some court found the previous NDAA unconstitional, but Congress just put it once again in the new NDAA.  And if you ever get disappeared like that, you won't get a trial so the court won't be of much help to you.)  And how does it have any bearing when the government claims the right to assassinate americans without a trial, and has publicly exercised that "right"?  Wake up.  Neither your life, nor your liberty nor your property is constitutionally protected any more.  You only get to keep them until DC says you don't.

I'm not really interested in discussing someone's personal fantasy.  Go visit a shrink for that, or maybe write some children's fiction.  I'm interested in reality.  The reality is multiple generations (56 straight years) of debt increases, increasing deficits, significant dollar debasement for the past 100 years (which has only accelerated as time progresses), and a voting public unwilling to accept cuts to the very programs that are driving that debt.  The math says there is no way that debt and those promises will be honored.  Math trumps the lies of politicians by a long shot.  And from there it doesn't take a political genius to figure out that the politicians will likely keep the lies/promises alive as long as they can, which will only lead to systemic failure.

Besides, my assumption (debt not paid off) does not need to be 100% certain for my conclusion to be correct.  If it is known up front that there is only a 10%, or 1%, or 0.1% chance that money will be repaid, that is not debt, that is something else (charity, fraud, stupidity, theft, coercion, whatever).

You seem too wed to your academic definition of debt to see that the definition has loopholes.  Just because someone says something is debt doesn't make it so.  And just because laws say it must be repaid doesn't mean jack when the entity who owes the debt also writes/modifies the laws at will (or at least what it can get away with -- which is quite a bit given the ignorance of the voting public), and doesn't even follow the existing laws on the books.  And to not see that is the case when that very same entity has already defaulted multiple times in the past by changing the rules "mid game"?  If you can't overcome that hurdle of yours, you are beyond the reach of reason.

Future resources are future value. This is not a misquote. This is standard economic definition.

No, you were conflating the future value (purchasing power) of the dollar with the existence of resources.  They are not the same thing at all.  The value of the dollar can go to zero (and may very well do so) -- that doesn't mean the resources all disappear too.  The video sentence in question talked about robbing "from the resources of tomorrow", which is not even remotely the same thing as talking about robbing "from the purchasing power of the dollar of tomorrow".

Finally, "a FED note is nothing but a token" and what is a token? A representation, in this case of debt.

No, as stated in my previous post, it may be "backed" (the Fed's asset and liability columns paired up) by US debt or money (postive, has-own-value, pure-asset-type money), or various other things that are assets from the Fed's perspective (gold, SDRs, foreign currencies, MBS).  And furthermore you don't need to even believe the trillion dollar coin thing will happen in any form to believe this, as the Treasury trading debt-free money for Federal Reserve notes has already been done in the past (see the wikipedia reference above).

The Federal government could do the same with a lead coin or nobium coin. They could print a 17 T dollar coin.

No, at least not without changing the law.  The existing loophole is only for platinum.  The law (see above) specifically calls out platinum.  That law lets them mint platinum coins with any "specifications, [...], quantities, denominations" they want.  And when they do that, they are minting money, not debt.  (They technically wouldn't even have to trade such coins to the Fed for dollars, they could simply use the coins -- assuming somewhat smaller denominations than $1T are minted -- to directly pay off debt and in doing so place the coins into circulation.)

Ritholtz suggests that while trillion dollar coins may not fly, smaller denominations -- just enough to avoid hitting the debt ceiling, and possibly sanitized by the Federal Reserve selling off some of its assets might happen:  http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/01/can-treasury-issue-coinage-to-meet-congress-spemding-yes/

to create such a coin would be preposterous in the extreme. Just because you can do something doesn't mean the capital system will accept it.

And exactly which part of what our government does today isn't extremely preposterous?  Government-backed fractional reserve banking?  Responding to 9/11 by invading Iraq?  Government bailing-out failed businesses?  The current treatment of the US Constitution?  There are hundreds of other things the government does that are off-my-scale preposterous.  That hasn't stopped those things from happening.

This is why markets are important- they have powers the government can only dream of.

You think the markets are (in the short term) going to prevent the US government from continuing to create money and use it to buy stuff?  The only question is how that will be achieved.  It can use the Fed to print dollars by issuing treasuries, or it can mint coins, or maybe it can find some other means (and/or just take more stuff, though that is politically tougher).  The only thing temporarily preventing it from issuing more treasuries is not the market, but the debt ceiling -- and getting around the debt ceiling is the point of the "minting platinum coins" idea.  If they do something like what Ritholtz suggests, there is unlikley to be any significant reaction by the markets (besides perhaps a bit of "relief" over getting "past" the debt ceiling issue) because it will just be more of the same kind of book-keeping gimmicks that the government already plays every day.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:40 | 3132476 forwardho
forwardho's picture

SNAFU,

This is why I feed at ZH.

It puts me in touch with other critical thinking people. People who have seen behind the curtain and will call BS,,, BS

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 01:58 | 3131992 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Geez you really think someone wants what I have. I know sometimes I get asked for spare change and lot of people want me to work, especially ex-wives, but since I been accustomed to reveling in passive patterns of mental health reading and writing and the like and also jogging, freedom provided by the banksters and the DC monsters of central planning, I can't think what it is that might cause a person to want what I have. I didn't think there was anyone left that appreciated contentedness these days. Maybe there is hope. Maybe I will finish writing that book.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:17 | 3132029 Lord Of Finance
Lord Of Finance's picture

QUESTION:

 

Can I buy food insurance with my food stamps?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:59 | 3132089 Lord Of Finance
Lord Of Finance's picture

Darn!

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:36 | 3132049 derryb
derryb's picture

history shows us that a problem of overpopulation is perodically resolved

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:10 | 3132294 Seer
Seer's picture

And history is rolling out ever-bigger war machines... and Dr. Strangelove now lurks.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:38 | 3132052 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

This one is better:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0

 

BTW: peak oil occurred in 1998, what matters is price, nothing else. The reason the world is imploding is cheap fuel is long gone, the fuel use infrastructure is stranded by higher prices.

 

I just think you should know ... since the shit did indeed hit the fan years ago ... and still is ...

 

 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:42 | 3132056 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Great first two hours on Coast to Coast am tonight about HSBC drug laundering by Robert Mazur

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:24 | 3132315 Seer
Seer's picture

First they helped launder subprime mortgages (purchase of Countrywide), then drugs...

Funny, it was the underground economy that kept the "above ground?" economy from outright collapse.

If one looks at this it becomes apparent that we're only chasing our tails: the the "end" that is in sight isn't exactly what we had in mind...

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:44 | 3132063 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Soylent green bitchez!

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 02:58 | 3132086 Lord Of Finance
Lord Of Finance's picture

. . . "is people" Bitchez

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 03:06 | 3132101 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Logically the world would feed Americans, fatten them up, and then eat them to save a planet or two. There are so many people waddling around that could meet a bacon-slicer and feed whole communities......maybe it is not just the livestock that is being force-fed, hormone-treated, and genetically-modified ?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 04:31 | 3132161 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Fatten them up?

Come to Melbourne - seems the majority of the population is already well "fattened up"!

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:26 | 3132321 Seer
Seer's picture

We're nothing more than one big CAFO in the universe, here for the drive-through for the (soon to come space) aliens.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:46 | 3132351 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

And the rapture will be the harvest. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:01 | 3132373 Seer
Seer's picture

You know, I'd never thought about that!

Have to wonder if it'll be like a big boiling pot that we'll all start trying to jump out of, and those that jump highest get picked off...

Our purpose is either to unleash the locked carbon on the planet, OR, to be in-flight snacks for "supreme" intelligence... or maybe the former facilitates the later?

I'm starting to feel a bit nervous...

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:35 | 3132457 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Why else would you seed a planet with all these species? What if the periodic disappearance of major species has a more sinister explanation? Genetic manipulation makes way more sense than evolution. Gods, Aliens? Would there be a difference? 

Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed: extrordinary powers or plants? Religious doctrine or bringing the lamb to slaughter? 

The Earth is a protein extravaganza. What I really wonder about is the constant barrage of alien invasion movies and stories- someone sending a warning? 

Life is all about food. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:40 | 3132475 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Damn.  Brilliant.  Along the lines of "To Serve Man."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_%28The_Twilight_Zone%29

I can't wait to suggest this scenario to some of my "rapture oriented" Christian acquaintances.  If nothing else, they will STFU about the "Rapture" when I'm in the room.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 04:05 | 3132140 AgLand
AgLand's picture

Big Ag is all about energy.  When energy prices go up, it will be transferred thru to end users.  When energy gets rationed, food producers will be high on the ration list because people gots to eat, and food is a highly tradeable commodity, unlike your tenth ipod or third ipad.

 

Before you buy that next million dollar mansion, think about buying a million in farmland with a nice small house on it.  The returns will be better.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:48 | 3132356 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Keeping in mind the Presidential Order from FDR  that has been renewed by every president since that allows the government to tell you what you will grow and for what price. ( I have a farm).

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:46 | 3132349 Super Broccoli
Super Broccoli's picture

i wish i could escape from europe !!!!! but frontiers are closed now, NO country would let me in anywhere ! I'm doomed

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 08:49 | 3132359 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

If we eliminate central banking, no one will need to escape. 

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:49 | 3132738 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

No one's guarding the coasts of Antarctica...

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:52 | 3132506 mrktwtch2
mrktwtch2's picture

we currently have the ablitiy to provide for 22 billion using current technology..the only reason people are stariving is beciase its a way for the 3rd world dictators to maintain control..people cant riot if they are starving..

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:16 | 3132590 lindaamick
lindaamick's picture

Food shortages are primarily the result of Distribution Issues. 

Distribution issues are caused by corruption in many forms, but all tied to lack of concern for our human brotherhood.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 10:28 | 3132600 Metal Minded
Metal Minded's picture

Malnutrition is the problem, and it takes the form of emaciation(used to control potential foreign adversaries) equally as it takes the form of obesity(used to control our own population). Over the last decade, the development of the combination of permaculture and nutrient dense (beyond organic) growing offers us easy answers to what is a non-crisis and a non-problem. The only problem with this twin approach to food production is that it cannot compete financially with current methods. The financial tail once again wags the dog of the economy, and the real issue is power, not money.

The great reset is what is needed. Fear mongering reports like this one(nothing punk about it), mirroring the MSM, are not what is needed. Shall we begin working to make the reset what we want it to be, or will we continue sitting with our thumbs up our arses, waiting for the inevitable financial collapse, a collapse after which the same people in power now will be the same people in power then?

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:08 | 3132811 Drachma
Drachma's picture

"Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate [strongly condemn] specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders." 

Thomas R. Malthus, An Essay on the principle of population as it affects the future improvement of society, Reprint, London: Reeves and Turner, (1798) 1878, p. 412. (emphasis added)

 

Psychotic is as psychotic thinks. Ah, the pseudosciences of the self-annointed godly class. Perfect for turning 'progressive' thinkers into mass murderers with good intentions.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:26 | 3132873 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

There were no cheap, easy forms of contraception in Malthus' time, only abortion and infanticide, the latter was frowned upon (for religious reasons).

 

Midwives could perform abortions but some midwives were better at it than others.

 

There was total war during Malthus' time this emerged as a swift killer of large populations starting in the 15th century.

 

The high death rates in Malthus' time had to do with infant mortality and infections to the mothers that resulted from childbirth, pestilences were common but localized ... not large-scale pandemics such as during the 14th century in Europe and Asia and in the Western hemisphere in the 15th and 16th centuries.

 

Industrial business men believed that expanding populations meant expanding markets- plus wage pressure (refusing to consider that pressure on wages constrained purchasing power).

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:27 | 3132879 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

It's always valuable to examine the different interpretations of modern Malthusianism, but the outlooks expressed almost always seem to include a severe lack of imagination.

1) OBVIOUSLY 10 billion people can't eat beef every day unless something changes dramatically about beef production.  Could there be a more efficient way to produce beef than the modern American factory farm?  Perhaps.  Even if there is never a better way to produce beef in large quantities, the beauty of any global commodity is that price will eventually become the factor that limits consumption.  We don't consider it "problematic" that Ethiopians don't get enough caviar to eat, so we should consider whether beef is any different on a fundamental level.

2) The current dominance of fossil-fuels in large-scale agricultural operations is a very recent development, and is *not* an inescapable requirement of farming.  Labor-intensive farming has the potential to dramatically improve food-yield per acre while simultaneously reducing the fossil-fuel consumption currently thought of as "necessary" to produce current production levels.

3) As the clip showed, human *migration* is a common response to short-term food shocks.  In the modern world, the most obvious issue is distribution of food from low population density areas to the big cities.  As costs begin to interfere with that process, individuals will be strongly motivated to disperse over greater areas, and this may be beneficial in more ways than one presuming our communications infrastructure continues to make physical distances less relevant to other forms of work or industry.

4) As is demonstrated here on a daily basis, there are many unrelated financial problems which result from treating currency as a proxy for every real-world resource which is important to survival.  If the most obvious solution to the issue of, say, burgeoning food-stamp usage in the USA is ever considered, it is evident that RATHER than shuffling money from person to person, public efforts to harness currently underutilized labor in the actual process of food production could be helpful.  Feudal serfs never lost their jobs and needed unemployment checks, NOR were they "victims" of a massive State-imposed heirarchy of slave-labor.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 12:16 | 3133018 Laddie
Laddie's picture

in a world where billions of people want what you have and might be prepared to do anything politically, militarily, or financially to achieve this...

And in a nation where the political parties WANT the Third world to fill up the USA then...

Rudyard Kipling put it best:

The Stranger

The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk --
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.


The men of my own stock
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to.
They are used to the lies I tell,
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy and sell.


The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.


The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.


This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf --
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 12:24 | 3133053 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

50 million children under the age of two die every year of simple Protein Energy Malnutrition. 50 Million.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 13:13 | 3133220 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Maybe if those kids had made better life choices, that wouldn't be happening to them.

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 23:47 | 3135069 TyrannoSoros Wrecks
TyrannoSoros Wrecks's picture

"In the west the poor are getting fatter."

I've noticed a strong corelation between poverty, laziness, and obesity with welfare as the main component.

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 01:09 | 3135288 mwarden
mwarden's picture

This guy lost me halfway through. Maybe I am not understanding the thesis. If his whole point is that richer people want more expensive foods, and a whole many more people are becoming richer, and that increase in demand drives up the price of those foods since they aren't in great supply, doesn't that mean the system self-regulates? Isn't the whole point of prices to regulate the distribution of limited resources to those who most desire it? And per Hayek won't the increasing prices cause a maximization of supply?

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 08:47 | 3135806 dadoody
dadoody's picture

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure. 

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