Rising Food Prices Threaten Obama’s Political Base and your grocery bill

November 15, 2010 17:19

Thomas Jefferson said, “Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”

By Dr. Tim Ball at Canada Free Press

When you concentrate on agriculture and industry and are frugal in expenditures, Heaven cannot impoverish your state. Xun Zi (312-230 B.C)

The Obama administration incurred the wrath of US voters in a mid-term election designed by the Founding Fathers to prevent demagoguery or changes unwelcome by the majority. It worked because Republicans were elected in enough numbers to challenge and at least slow down the policies. Obama claims his policies, such as health care, taxation, and financial stimulus are designed to help middle and lower income people. He will undoubtedly continue them. However, as Time magazine cutely explained, “Yes, we can” has collided with “Oh no you don’t.” And the future — including the 2012 presidential election — starts right now.”

This diverted from a growing problem that will hurt Obama’s political base more than any other segment of society.

Politicians battled over social issues and allowed the economy to spiral out of control while a series of events were pushing food prices higher and higher. It affects everyone, but hurts the middle and lower income the most. Historically it’s the issue that brought governments to their knees. Communist governments failed to feed the people. Lenin’s New Economic policy that allowed peasants to own small plots of land was introduced within 7 years of the Revolution as collectivization failed. It was a major reason for Gorbachev abandoning communism. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”

Graffiti on the walls of Pompeii reportedly says about politicians, if we get rid of this bunch of scoundrels we just get another bunch of scoundrels. People have always tolerated incredibly bad leaders and governments. They grumble, but rarely revolt. So what causes uprisings? The usual catalyst is a failure of the food supply. Ceremonies in all societies, from rain dances among North American aborigines to Inca bloodletting by the leaders, were designed to ensure the harvest. Catholic fasting during Lent was a brilliant use of the fact food was in short supply as winter supplies exhausted and the new harvest was not in. Religious reward for what was inevitable is a political masterpiece.

You can summarize human history in one word, hunger

You can summarize human history in one word, hunger. Most people were malnourished or starving. A Pompeii epitaph says the owner is finally free from hunger. British rioters carried flags that said Bread or Blood in the famines caused by the year with no summer in 1816.  Corn Laws introduced in Britain and other European countries were a government control to counteract excessive gouging because of short supply. Some say Scrooge was a ”meal man” or grain dealer. Life history’s of Pharaohs that line the walls of their tombs invariably glorify their ability to feed the people. The tomb of Ankhtifl reports the earliest known great famine between 2180 and 2130 BC; “All Upper Egypt was dying of hunger, to such a degree that everyone had come to eating his children, but I managed that no one died of hunger in this district. I made a loan of grain to Upper Egypt… I kept alive the house of Elephantine during those years.” (Source: H.H. Lamb, “Climate, Present, Past and Future.” 1977.)

Harvest failures triggered the French Revolution in 1789

There’s always the conflict between rich and poor, such as between the peasants and aristocrats in 18th century France. Consecutive years of bad weather in 1787 and 1788 caused harvest failures that triggered the French Revolution in 1789. Growing unrest began with the devastating effects on agriculture of the eruption of Laki in Iceland in 1783. Benjamin Franklin predicted the impact because he witnessed the eruption while crossing the Atlantic.  A combination of poor harvests and bad government policies pushed supplies dangerously low and prices unbearably high. After the harsh winter of 1788 the Revolution began with storming of the Bastille in July 1789 before the new harvest came in.

Agricultural Revolution, Industrial Revolution

Everyone knows about the Industrial Revolution but few know an Agricultural Revolution preceded it. The ability to produce surplus food allowed people to move to the cities and work in the burgeoning industrial economy.

It’s the foundation of civilizations; surplus food creates surplus time to develop a civilization. One definition holds that it is, an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached. Europe and North America saw a shift of the population until now approximately 82 percent are urban, 18 percent rural with only 2 percent farmers. A similar transition is occurring very rapidly in China and putting a great strain on the economy.

The evolving food situation is a combination of factors with poor weather a part.

In less than a year the foolish policies to encourage biofuels quickly drove corn prices through the roof and caused starvation in developing nations

Food prices are easily affected because global supplies barely lurch from year to year. In less than a year the foolish policies to encourage biofuels quickly drove corn prices through the roof and caused starvation in developing nations. Last winter, I spoke to farmers across western Canada and learned that in areas of Alberta up to 50 percent of beef farmers had eliminated their herds. They couldn’t afford the cost of production. The Canadian government has already paid $30 per acre for farmers suffering from cold wet crop failures. Early in the summer we learned of Russian crop failures and decreased yields in many parts of Asia, for example Pakistan due to flooding.

However, the biggest problems are political failures, misdirection and ignorance. Increasing urbanization results in a growing detachment of urbanites from agriculture. Even 30 years ago many urbanites came from or still knew people on the farm. Major newspapers had sections devoted to agriculture, but not anymore. Urban politics divert the mainstream media and the people, while farm troubles go unreported.

The Obama Administration is riddled with people who were either members of the Club of Rome or accept their doctrine. They’ll argue that overpopulation is the problem.  Parts of the current price increases are due to increasing population, but also wealthier populations, especially in Asia.  However, they ignore the biggest failures of leadership and the negative impacts of environmentalism. The problems are inadequate storage and poor distribution.

It’s estimated the world grows enough food to feed 26 billion people so volume is not the problem. In developed nations 30 percent of the crop never gets to the table and in developing nations it’s 60 percent. Where‘s the research and effort to improve storage? This was at the heart of the ozone/CFC issue, another false scientific claim and a forerunner to the global warming fiasco. As China and India pointed out in the ozone debate, you have reduced loss through refrigeration, now you are denying us the same opportunity. It was a classic case of what Driessen writes about in Eco-Imperialism.

The left rails against globalization, but it provides the mechanisms for distribution of goods and services without losing political control. Instead they want a one-world government with loss of all political control. So the middle and lower income people become vulnerable while Obama has focused on the wrong issues with ideological tunnel vision. As a result the people he claims to care about will suffer most as food prices soar and they will throw him out of power in 2012.

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