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Oh no! A cartel on bicycle fuel!

Old 05-03-08, 02:49 AM
  #1  
mike
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Oh no! A cartel on bicycle fuel!

A couple of months ago, we discussed this possibility in our Global Business class. Now, the unthinkable is on the threshold of becoming reality. What if the world's biggest producers of mankinds most basic food (rice) formed a cartel like OPEC?!

See this article: https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24434592

Thailand is suggesting that the major rice producers get together to form a cartel so they could control prices and yield power similar to OPEC.

The concept is frightening beyond words - the major food producing nations grabbing the world by the throat!

If this happens you won't be able to escape fuel cartels by bicycling - you will be watching rice prices posted on the marque of the grocery stores. Suddenly people could be counting calories like they check mileage in their cars.

High petro prices have always been a rich-man's lament, but THIS could be a real problem for even the poorest SOB in every corner of the globe.

Am I hearing the drums of WWIII?

As for me, I shall eat cake...
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Old 05-03-08, 05:26 AM
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I don't eat rice.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:13 AM
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We have a ton of unused farm land here. We can feed ourselves. Can China, can Europe? How does it go? Let them eat cake!
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Old 05-03-08, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
We have a ton of unused farm land here. We can feed ourselves. Can China, can Europe? How does it go? Let them eat cake!
Yes- we may not grow rice, but we can grow all the wheat we would ever need.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
We have a ton of unused farm land here. We can feed ourselves. Can China, can Europe? How does it go? Let them eat cake!
That's not how it works. Just because you grow food in your country does not mean you will be able to afford the food grown in your country.

It is like oil. We produce oil in the USA too, but the oil cartel (OPEC) is so strong that they set the market prices. I don't see the USA saying "Screw OPEC, we'll use our own oil and offer our citizens gasoline for 35 cents a gallon".

If countries start to form cartels to empower their local food production, you won't be able to escape juar because your local UsA farmer grows food. That local USA farmer is going to sell his production to China or Germany or whoever else is willing to pay the price - a price jacked up by powerful cartels.

If you think you are going to be able to go to local farmer John and say, "hey, Brother, how about selling me food at prices lower than the world-market price", then expect to hear him laugh in your face.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:49 AM
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Even if yo do not use gas or oil you are feeling it. Food has jumped 15-20% in price in the last two years. As the cost of shipping it and growing it climbs, so will the price.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
A couple of months ago, we discussed this possibility in our Global Business class. Now, the unthinkable is on the threshold of becoming reality. What if the world's biggest producers of mankinds most basic food (rice) formed a cartel like OPEC?!
I think there's a difference.

They stopped making oil. What we have now is all there will ever be. The folks that have it are going to meter out it's production because that both keeps short term prices high and it preserves their pool so the income stream will last longer. The only thing that keeps them from raising prices even more is that would make it more economical to open up new competing energy sources like extracting oil from shale.

Food is a more free market commodity. There are a gazillion small producers because it doesn't take billions of dollars to start growing a small plot of food. Substitutes are also readily available. You can substitute potatoes or wheat for rice so it'd be a lot harder to get all of the suppliers on the same page.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:55 AM
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Sorry to say this, but the worlds food is ALREADY controlled by
food cartel of just a few companies. That control goes right
down to the seeds which is the whole point behind GM food.
GM seed will produce seeds that are baren and will NOT
grow the next season. That means all seeds will need to
be 'fresh' at each years planting bought from Monsanto.
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Old 05-03-08, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
Sorry to say this, but the worlds food is ALREADY controlled by
food cartel of just a few companies. That control goes right
down to the seeds which is the whole point behind GM food.
GM seed will produce seeds that are baren and will NOT
grow the next season. That means all seeds will need to
be 'fresh' at each years planting bought from Monsanto.
And take a look at just how much of the corn production that ADM "controls" and for soybeans look no further than Cargil.

FWIW we buy heirloom seeds, and save some from the previous year to replant. Hedging my bets! Ditto on my chickens, we currently have two heritage breeds on the property and are set up to breed them as necessary.

FWIW a lot of our seeds come from Baker Creek...

Edit:Correct AGM to ADM...typo

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 05-03-08, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
And take a look at just how much of the corn production that AGM "controls" and for soybeans look no further than Cargil.

FWIW we buy heirloom seeds, and save some from the previous year to replant. Hedging my bets! Ditto on my chickens, we currently have two heritage breeds on the property and are set up to breed them as necessary.

FWIW a lot of our seeds come from Baker Creek...

Aaron
Yes, this story adds to the depth of corportate contol of food.......


The Worst Food Crisis in 45 Years
By Amy Goodman, King Features Syndicate
Posted on May 1, 2008, Printed on May 3, 2008
https://www.alternet.org/story/84130/

Food riots are erupting around the world. Protests have occurred in Egypt, Cameroon, the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. Sarata Guisse, a Senegalese demonstrator, told Reuters: "We are holding this demonstration because we are hungry. We need to eat, we need to work, we are hungry. That's all. We are hungry." United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened a task force to confront the problem, which threatens, he said, "the specter of widespread hunger, malnutrition and social unrest on an unprecedented scale." The World Food Program has called the food crisis the worst in 45 years, dubbing it a "silent tsunami" that will plunge 100 million more people into hunger.

Behind the hunger, behind the riots, are so-called free-trade agreements, and the brutal emergency-loan agreements imposed on poor countries by financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Food riots in Haiti have killed six, injured hundreds and led to the ousting of Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis. The Rev. Jesse Jackson just returned from Haiti and writes that "hunger is on the march here. Garbage is carefully sifted for whatever food might be left. Young babies wail in frustration, seeking milk from a mother too anemic to produce it." Jackson is calling for debt relief so that Haiti can direct the $70 million per year it spends on interest to the World Bank and other loans into schools, infrastructure and agriculture.

The rise in food prices is generally attributed to a perfect storm caused by increased food demand from India and China, diminished food supplies caused by drought and other climate-change-related problems, increased fuel costs to grow and transport the food, and the increased demand for biofuels, which has diverted food supplies like corn into ethanol production.

This week, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, called for the suspension of biofuels production: "Burning food today so as to serve the mobility of the rich countries is a crime against humanity." He's asked the U.N. to impose a five-year ban on food-based biofuels production. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a group of 8,000 scientists globally, is also speaking out against biofuels. The scientists are pushing for a plant called switchgrass to be used as the source for biofuels, reserving corn and other food plants to be used solely as food.

In a news conference this week, President Bush defended food-based ethanol production: "The truth of the matter is it's in our national interests that our farmers grow energy, as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us." One part of the world that does like Bush and his policies are the multinational food corporations. International nonprofit group GRAIN has just published a report called "Making a killing from hunger." In it, GRAIN points out that major multinational corporations are realizing vast, increasing profits amid the rising misery of world hunger. Profits are up for agribusiness giants Cargill (86 percent) and Bunge (77 percent), and Archer Daniels Midland (which dubs itself "the supermarket to the world") enjoyed a 67 percent increase in profits.

GRAIN writes: "Is this a price blip? No. A food shortage? Not that either. We are in a structural meltdown, the direct result of three decades of neoliberal globalization. ... We have allowed food to be transformed from something that nourishes people and provides them with secure livelihoods into a commodity for speculation and bargaining." The report states: "The amount of speculative money in commodities futures ... was less than $5 billion in 2000. Last year, it ballooned to roughly $175 billion."

There was a global food crisis in 1946. Then, as now, the U.N. convened a working group to deal with it. At its meeting, the head of the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, said, "Ticker tape ain't spaghetti." In other words, the stock market doesn't feed the hungry. His words remain true today. We in the U.S. aren't immune to the crisis. Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Costco have placed limits on bulk rice purchases. Record numbers of people are on food stamps, and food pantries are seeing an increase in needy people.

Current technology exists to feed the planet in an organic, locally based, sustainable manner. The large corporate food and energy interests, and the U.S. government, need to recognize this and change direction, or the food riots in distant lands will soon be coming to their doors.

Dennis Moynihan contributed research for this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!

2008 King Features Syndicate All rights reserved.
View this story online at: https://www.alternet.org/story/84130/
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 05-03-08, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
That's not how it works. Just because you grow food in your country does not mean you will be able to afford the food grown in your country.

It is like oil. We produce oil in the USA too, but the oil cartel (OPEC) is so strong that they set the market prices. I don't see the USA saying "Screw OPEC, we'll use our own oil and offer our citizens gasoline for 35 cents a gallon".

If countries start to form cartels to empower their local food production, you won't be able to escape juar because your local UsA farmer grows food. That local USA farmer is going to sell his production to China or Germany or whoever else is willing to pay the price - a price jacked up by powerful cartels.

If you think you are going to be able to go to local farmer John and say, "hey, Brother, how about selling me food at prices lower than the world-market price", then expect to hear him laugh in your face.
I didn't say I expected it to be cheap. I just said we could grow it. Also, I own 145 acres of unused , decent land now. SO if food becomes scare, I WILL be your local farmer.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:53 PM
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If those countries try to form a cartel, I think they are commiting a major mistake. The US grows rice and produce enough to even send to other countries. It's all relative to the cost of commodities such af fuel, fertilizers and farm equipment affecting food production.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
I didn't say I expected it to be cheap. I just said we could grow it. Also, I own 145 acres of unused , decent land now. SO if food becomes scare, I WILL be your local farmer.
OK, maddyfish. Keep a sack of taters for me, if you don't mind. I sure wish I had some farmable land right now. You are lucky indeed.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck View Post
Even if yo do not use gas or oil you are feeling it. Food has jumped 15-20% in price in the last two years. As the cost of shipping it and growing it climbs, so will the price.
And it will get worse still as the world converts to biofuels, and the land that was once used to produce food will be turned over to growing fuel. As usual, the real problem is that there are just too many people in the world for the resources that the world has at it's disposal, but people will ignore that and instead whine about oil companies, governments or whatever scapegoat they can find.
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Old 05-04-08, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
As usual, the real problem is that there are just too many people in the world for the resources that the world has at it's disposal, but people will ignore that and instead whine about oil companies, governments or whatever scapegoat they can find.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:34 AM
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I don't get the hub-bub over biofuels of late.

Last I knew of, we were paying farmers to not grow crops, through subsidies, I guess to help keep food prices high. That way farmers could make more on what they did grow. With food prices going up, will we keep paying those?

It's not as if we dictating the rest of the world to do slash and burn to make us biofuels. Ok, sure: we're making demand, so they will try to make a buck. Fine. But are those peoples intending to ship their fuel to us, or is it for their local markets? If anything, our biofuel attempts should be tempering one of the largest demands for oil, meaning it should be helping to stabilize oil prices for everyone else. I guess I'm thinking, why would we be importing biofuel?

So, we're now responsible for feeding the rest of the world? Our crops go up in price, and it's our fault for making moves towards renewable fuels? Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world should figure out how to play in the free markets? Instead of playing tribal warfare or being on the take?

Why is it that Congress is the opposite of progress? Who was the dummy(es) who thought that corn made for great biofuel? I can understand the need to get the ball going, but corn is right up there as being more harm than good--fertilizer runoff, water depletion, higher VOC's from pumping E85, and a different emissions profile from the engine out emissions, plus a decent drop in MPG's. All for about a 30% return on energy input.

Everyone groans about the price increase of food. Yet farmers are enjoying a good year, as compared to in the past. Maybe the rest of should stop supersizing our meals? The same about the price of gas. Don't like the price? Do something--like drive less.

Sorry for the rant--but I think we live in a nation of whiners.
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Old 05-04-08, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
And it will get worse still as the world converts to biofuels, and the land that was once used to produce food will be turned over to growing fuel. As usual, the real problem is that there are just too many people in the world for the resources that the world has at it's disposal, but people will ignore that and instead whine about oil companies, governments or whatever scapegoat they can find.
I am not sure about the too many people vs resources...yes we are close to the tipping point. But the current allocation of resources and how they are used plays a major part in the problem.

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Old 05-05-08, 08:43 AM
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Profiteers Squeeze Billions Out of Growing Global Food Crisis
By Geoffrey Lean, Independent UK
Posted on May 5, 2008, Printed on May 5, 2008
https://www.alternet.org/story/84382/

Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry.

The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world's poor -- who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food -- into hunger and destitution.

The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world's richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (275m) to $1.12 billion. Its profits increased from $1.44 billion to $2.22 billion.

Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030 billion over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m.

Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world's largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. As a result, plans to increase harvests in developing countries have been hit hard.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. And food riots are breaking out across the globe from Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, from China to Cameroon, and from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates.

Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement, called the escalating earnings and profits "immoral" late last week. He said that the benefits of the food price increases were being kept by the big companies, and were not finding their way down to farmers in the developing world.

The soaring prices of food and fertilisers mainly come from increased demand. This has partly been caused by the boom in biofuels, which require vast amounts of grain, but even more by increasing appetites for meat, especially in India and China; producing 1 pound of beef in a feedlot, for example, takes 7 pounds of grain.

World food stocks at record lows, export bans and a drought in Australia have contributed to the crisis, but experts are also fingering food speculation. Professor Bob Watson -- chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who led the giant International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development -- last week identified it as a factor.

Index-fund investment in grain and meat has increased almost fivefold to over $47 billion in the past year, concludes AgResource Co, a Chicago-based research firm. And the official US Commodity Futures Trading Commission held special hearings in Washington two weeks ago to examine how much speculators were helping to push up food prices.

Cargill says that its results "reflect the cumulative effect of having invested more than $18 billion in fixed and working capital over the past seven years to expand our physical facilities, service capabilities, and knowledge around the world".

The revelations are bound to increase outrage over multinational companies following last week's disclosure that Shell and BP between them recorded profits of $28 billion in the first three months of the year -- or $6 million an hour -- on the back of rising oil prices. Shell promptly attracted even greater condemnation by announcing that it was pulling out of plans to build the world's biggest wind farm off the Kent coast.

World leaders are to meet next month at a special summit on the food crisis, and it will be high on the agenda of the G8 summit of the world's richest countries in Hokkaido, Japan, in July.

Additional research by Vandna Synghal.


2008 Independent UK All rights reserved.
View this story online at: https://www.alternet.org/story/84382/
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 05-05-08, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
Yes- we may not grow rice, but we can grow all the wheat we would ever need.
The United State does grow rice. According to Wikipedia, although only 5-6% of world rice production is exported, the United States is the third largest exporter after Thailand and Viet Nam, with 11% of the export trade.
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Old 05-05-08, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by supcom View Post
The United State does grow rice. According to Wikipedia, although only 5-6% of world rice production is exported, the United States is the third largest exporter after Thailand and Viet Nam, with 11% of the export trade.
Ok- Ive done my homework now.

In the year 2000, the US harvested 3mil acres of rice, but it also harvested 53mil acres of wheat.*
We can certainly feed ourselves without domestic rice if necessary.

*https://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html
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Old 05-05-08, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
Ok- Ive done my homework now.

In the year 2000, the US harvested 3mil acres of rice, but it also harvested 53mil acres of wheat.*
We can certainly feed ourselves without domestic rice if necessary.

*https://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html
It isn't OUR wheat or our OUR rice. It is the PRODUCERS rice and wheat and corn, etc. Free Nations do not own production, their citizens and businesses do. Who is the WE in the "WE can certainly feed OURSELVES"?

So if the world price for wheat is $5.00 per pound, then the price to YOU is also $5.00 per pound even if your neighbor is a wheat producer.

Welcome to capitalism and the global market.
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