Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Food shortages rant

Lots to rant about here, so be prepared.

First, the panic people. Those are the sheeple buying up six months supplies of everything which could conceivably keep for six months, because, you know, there are food shortages and soon there won't be enough to eat. Get a grip: there's no shortages of general food in the US yet. Prices will rise with increased demand and reduced supply, but that's pretty much it. The US is one of the few countries that actually can produce enough food to feed itself (once idiots like the politicians who subsidize growing corn for ethanol are taken out back and shot); we're pretty unlikely to actually run out of food, as long as we allow the free market to work. There might be price gouging and commodities speculation, but there's unlikely to be widespread starvation.

However, I'm just as pissed off at the "this is America, we can't have food shortages" crowd. Those people are just as dumb as the panic hoarders. If you think that because you're in the US, and we're on some pedestal immune from global economic effects because of our birthright as the "good" country, you deserve to be the first one under the bus. Food shortages have happened in the US, and they are likely to happen again, and idiots who ignore reality because they think it doesn't apply to them should jump off a tall building and tell gravity you're an American.

But wait, you say... I said we're unlikely to run out of food, but then I said food shortages are likely to happen... which is it? Well, read carefully; I said if the free market is allowed to work, we'd be fine. Unfortunately, I have about as much faith in that happening as I do in the government not redistributing the savings of people who didn't buy during the housing bubble into the pockets of the people who caused the housing bubble: none.

What is our government, in their infinite wisdom, likely to do when inflation is spiraling out of control, food prices are up on lack of supply, and the poor people can't afford Starbucks any more? The same thing they have done in the past (and incidentally, Russia is doing right now): price controls. Aka, the bane of the free market, destroyer of supplies, perverted measures designed to make people starve. With price controls comes lack of passing costs to consumers, which means losing money, which means not producing those products any more, which means less food. At that point, we really will have food shortages, and our own government will have caused them (grats?).

If/when that happens, people will be justified in hoarding, because it's really a downward spiral from there. It'll be kinda like a swimmer trying to tread water while holding a hundred pound weight, cause he thinks the weight will somehow make floating easier. At that point, I guess we'll test the theory that it's impossible to ever have our government operate in the people's interest, because it really will be sink or swim time.

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