Corn and Ethanol - unintended consequences in the USA

Kim Du Toit read the excellent Rolling Stone article on the scam that is Ethanol and had a few things to say about it himself...

Pure Corn
Howard points me to this artice in, of all places, Rolling Stone magazine, which eviscerates the "ethanol is good" line once and for all.

Because RS is mostly a magazine written by Manhattan pinkos, the main thrust of the article is not one I'd have chosen:
Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World.

Frankly, I'm not concerned about feeding the Third World, because well-fed Third-World children grow up and go on to have even more Third World children requiring feeding.

I am more concerned about this foolishness causing ripple effects in other markets, as I've noted before on these pages. To whit:

1.) Expensive corn means expensive food products right here in the U.S. of A. (Never mind the Starving Third World, because they're not paying for it anyway.) Expensive food means serious inflation -- the kind which bites people more than inflation of, oh, T-shirt prices. This should be a major concern to anyone not named John Edwards (who can afford to eat cake to escape high bread prices).

2. Expensive corn also means expensive cattle feed -- necessary during our snowy and frigid winters -- which means, of course, more expensive meat and dairy products later. (Meat is less expensive now, of course, because canny farmers are slaughtering cattle to escape high feed prices later in the year, which is also why dairy prices are high right now and will go higher still later in the year.)

He talks about some of the consequences and then closes with this observation:

I've never been a worry-wart about the economy. But I see some extremely troubling signs on the horizon, and they're being caused by these frigging eco-loons. The "credit crunch" is small potatoes�it�s likely to be of short duration and can be addressed by fiscal policy, at least somewhat.

But if all our corn is going to be forced into cars' gas tanks, we are facing a shit-storm of monumental precautions. Because as much as I say "let the Third-World Pore & Starvin Chilluns starve", the plain fact of the matter is: we won't -- which means that corn prices here will be forced even higher.

I know that all this has a Chicken Little sound to it, and it's not my style, generally. The fact that I am so worried about this should make people at least think about the coming situation.

Indeed!

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 10, 2007 8:06 PM.

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