Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sometimes it isn't helpful to be a critical thinker when listening to the news.

This story on NPR ruined my breakfast:

Of course it is news that Russian fires and droughts are driving up wheat prices, but the story left me with far too many questions. Here are some of them.

Why, if we have record wheat crops in the U.S. this year, are the prices of goods containing wheat going up?

Why are we subsidizing a crop so that agribusiness speculators can profit from it?

And what about making half a million in a good year on a subsidized commodity?

How is urbanization, which increases the demand for wheat (people in cities all over the world are no longer close to supplies of local staples and traditional cultural foods, and tend to eat more bread) contributing to escalating wheat prices?

How is global warming affecting wheat production? to what extent might it have contributed to the poor year for Russian wheat? (or for that matter, the good year in Colorado?)

And what is driving up those fertilizer prices? Might it just be the upward trend in petroleum prices as the quantity and quality of oil decline (peak oil)?

Is it moral to speculate on a crop while more than one billion people on the planet go hungry?
What did Jesus say about bigger barns?

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