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Use the Fucking Corn for Food, Assholes!


Really? Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, I mean fucking really? Has the tide of rational thought in the U.S. been forever constipated? Here’s a couple of facts:

In 2007-8 there was a global food shortage that lead to riots in many poorer parts of the world. Using food plants for fuels was partly blamed for the shortage. This shows us our 21st-century technoindustrial relationships between food, population, economics, politics, and ecology are already extremely tenuous. (*DUH*)

The U.S. now dedicates more corn to ethanol production than it does to food.

Drought and the hot summer of 2012 have lead to a corn shortage in the U.S., reigniting the debate about whether to use food for food or whether to use it for fuel.

Corn-based ethanol seems like a good idea, curbing our dependence on foreign oil and releasing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than regular gasoline and whatnot, but for every 1.1 gallons of ethanol produced, 1.0 gallons of traditional petrol has to be used to fertilize, spray with pesticides, process, and ship the corn to make it into the ethanol. Then when the ethanol is burned in an internal combustion engine, the car gets lower gas mileage, because ethanol has less energy in it than regular gas. At best, the corn ethanol industry is a wash when it comes to making us energy independent and stemming the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Oh, shit. Corn-based ethanol is yet another death-by-one-thousand-cuts example of big businesses controlling government in the U.S. to further their own interests at the expense of the American people. And now the corn ethanol lobby is poised to take it out on the poor, since food prices are going to soar next fall and winter. (And considering that the poor in the U.S. rely more on cheap calorie-per-dollar processed food that has the highest content of corn and corn [by]products, they’re about to get an extra long shaft.)

But do we really have to debate whether to use corn for a food or to use it as a fuel that appears to help the environment but really does nothing and can’t sustain itself without massive taxpayer subsidies? Is there really a discussion when people are starving to death in the wealthiest nation on Earth? Should we even deign to entertain arguments about what to make food into when 1/3 of the American middle class lost enough wealth over this enduring recession to put them into poverty? On a global scale, when we have the technology to feed everyone on the planet and yet politics necessitate that millions starve, who are the whoremasters in this equation?

So I’ve been predicting since at least 2005 that a global food shortage is looming, and that if you have money and sense (cents?), you should invest in corn, wheat, rice, barley, and rye on the futures trading markets. I’ve told hundreds of people to do this because I have no money of my own to invest and I thought someone ought to get rich off why I know the demand for cereal crops is about to be taxed beyond belief. Here’s the confluence of factors: 1) global warming is making it harder to grow crops because of increased soil evaporation rates, regardless of whether you think it is “real”; 2) there have been no recent major advances in the genetics of any cereal crops, besides a California strain of rice with deeper roots that needs less nitrogen and fertilizer than average rice; 3) rust is now attacking formerly rust-resistant varieties of wheat in 1/4th of the world, the very same wheat varieties that were part of the agricultural revolution in the 1970’s that lead to 7 billion people being able to live on the planet; 4) there are 7 billion fucking people on this planet sharing a finite amount of agricultural land and production.

Even if global economics is not a zero sum game food definitely is (and this is ultimately why anyone who tells you that global economics is not a zero sum game is an idiot). Yes, we constantly devise new ways of growing and making it, but you cannot make food without the right amount of space to do it in and the right amount of resources to do it with, agricultural skyscrapers or not. With the exponential population growth rates made capable by the numerical inertia of 7 billion people (despite being tempered by disease, war, and famine), we can run out of space and resources pretty fast.

So here’s the future of food that I foresee. Prices will continue to climb, and you will be priced out of many of the things you grew up eating, even staples. As we have fished down the food chain in the oceans and are now more regularly eating species considered either as “bait” or “trash fish” in the 1950’s (sharks and rays, sardines and anchovies, squid, mackerel), even at “fancy” restaurants, the less “choice” morsels will become more and more common. Ever wonder why they sell so much pork guts at Wal-Mart in China? It’s because the average Chinese person can’t afford any pork but guts. We’ll be them in a couple of decades, and they’ll be spending half their earnings on rice alone. Insects will increasingly be exploited for food, and shitburgers will start to look tasty.

The rich, of course, will continue to eat what they’ve always eaten, but we will have to eat guts and shit unless we eat their dressage horses. (Horses are good food in the U.S. now, anyway.) Many people will use this as an excuse to become vegetarian, but they will be priced out of tofu and TVP by the vegetarian 1% in short order and have no access to protein of any kind, finally wilting away like the omnivores always said they would. The poor will not take it to the streets because they will be worried about being fired from their minimum-wage jobs and being arrested, preventing them from getting another minimum-wage job. The rich will say “Let them eat cake…or shitburgers,” Marx will sigh in his grave, and if it gets so bleak that it never looks like things will improve…people will stop clocking in so they can hunt and gather and the rich will no longer be rich because their companies will no longer run, something Americans seem to have forgotten.

Yet all they had to do, all along, was say “Let them eat (the goddamned) corn.”

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