Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Imperial Prosperity Update

An article on BBC News reports Mexican protests over rising tortilla prices. At least some people fear that growing U.S. demand for ethanol is behind the price increase, which could lead to serious malnutrition among Mexico's poor.

6 comments:

Lutheran Zephyr said...

Not sure, of course, if the ethanol craze is the source of the tortilla price escalation, but . . . it seems to me that the ethanol fuel additive is a way to keep midwest farmers and voters happy. If we really wanted to reduce dependence on foreign oil or fossil fuels in general, we'd simply raise the gas tax. With gas much more expensive, you can bet that silicon valley, detroit, or tokyo would come up with a car that runs on water or household garbage in about two weeks . . .

Andy said...

I saw a program on the History Channel recently. There's a compary in California converting deisel engines to run on vegetable oil. They also showed a place that was researching a bio-feul made from switch grass that was more than twice as efficient as corn-based feul. Interesting stuff.

But I think you could be right. Selling more corn for ethanol makes U.S. farmers happy but causes starvation in Mexico. Makes you proud to be an American doesn't it?

Heather Jamison said...

uThis might be off the topic a bit but based on the "makes you proud to be an American" comment in Andy's comment . . . another brain-twirler about Hispanics is (yes, I lived in TX for 6 years): why do we get so bent out of shape when Hispanics move in by the cartloads to places like TX and California? Helllooo? This was THEIR country before we took it by sneakery as well as force.
l live in Africa. I work with the "real" poor. I'm thankful for my nation's benefits but I'm no longer "proud" of its heritage.

Scooper said...

My take on ethanol is here. As for pride in my country (the USA) - I'm proud of my country's stated values, and of its ever improving approximation to living up to them. It's been a meandering journey, sullied by massive hypocrisy, especially at its founding. But the enlargement of freedom in the world is more because of the US than in spite of it.

And I think in a decade or so we could improve the climate, energy, and current geopolitical mess by converting to a hydrogen fuel economy.

Andy said...

Scooper,

While I am constantly frustrated by the ham-fisted politics of our country, I do see that it is likely mcuh better than the alternatives. Thanks for the words of encouragement in that regard.

LutheranChik said...

Here in the depressed hinterlands of rural Michigan, people are getting their hopes up that this is going to be the lifeline that pulls our state out of the economic doldrums -- that the ethanol industry will be the new auto industry. As you note, they're not really doing the math, so to speak, in terms of both social and energy costs. No one, least of all any politician running for office, wants to approach the subject of Americans having to alter our habits or moderate our standard of living.