Limits to Rice

Posted: April 21st, 2008 by: h2

The title is somewhat tongue-in-cheek… but the stories are getting increasingly surreal, and I didn’t want to leave these rice stories alone.

As the chart makes clear, the ascent of the cost of rice to $24 from $10 per hundredweight over the past year tracks the declining value of the American dollar. The link between the declining parity of the US unit and the rising price of commodities, including oil as well as rice and other wares, is indisputable. China has bid aggressively for rice all year, and last week banned rice exports, along with Vietnam and several other producers.
Never before in history has hunger become a global threat in a period of plentiful harvests. Global rice production will hit a record of 423 million tons in the 2007-2008 crop year, enough to satisfy global demand. The trouble is that only 7% of the world’s rice supply is exported, because local demand is met by local production. Any significant increase in rice stockpiles cuts deeply into available supply for export, leading to a spike in prices. Because such a small proportion of the global rice supply trades, the monetary shock from the weak dollar was sufficient to more than double its price.
The George W Bush administration might as well have used the State Department as a set for the Jackass reality show. American arrogance has eroded the ground under many of the governments on which its foreign policy depends. It is hard to characterize what will come next, except, like the stunts on Jackass, that it is going to hurt.
Asia Times

I mean, this is where the USA is headed, Bush and his cohorts openly derided in a relatively mainstream Asian media source. It’s absolulely incredible to see just how much damage a small group of very ignorant, but very greedy and determined, people, can do in a relatively short period of time. I’d say it’s safe to say that Bush policies are directly the cause of a massive drop in global respect for the United States of America.

And don’t think McCain is going to do any better, by the way, unless he’s willing to show the world, now, that he’s fundamentally different from the Bush group, and by show, I don’t mean talk, I mean concrete real actions, like withdrawing from Iraq, cutting biofuel subsidies, committing fully to CO2 eduction while immediately stopping the ridiculous non-stop obstructionism that has characterized the charade that is the Bush ‘environmental policy’, and so on, expect the rapid global status of the United States to plummet right along with the dollar.

You can quite safely say now: if you vote Republican in the next election, you are sending the planet a strong signal to begin to permanently write off, and down, the US dollar. And that’s the first step to our country becoming the latest 2nd world nation. So think very carefully before you cast such a mistaken vote. The world is watching.

And on the local front, Costco rice worries.

Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

Speaking of this, I’m going to go head out and buy myself a bag or two, you don’t have to go to Costco, you can buy rice all over, it’s weird how people flock to corporate chain stores as if there were no other possible place to buy. Hint: Chinatown.

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