25 July 2012

Drought scarcity and shortage

The US is "in drought" according to one definition or another, but damages will result from (1) massive losses in corn and soybeans that are the result of farmers trying to make as much as possible from ridiculous subsidies and (2) too many people living in hot places with "cheap" water.*

Those are US impacts, but I worry about the drought's impact on food supplies and world food prices and the suffering and social instability that will result.

Bottom Line: The end of abundance means we cannot count on cheap water everywhere.
* This article compares the current drought to worse conditions in the 1930s; Env-Econ discusses the drought, Krugman, etc.

H/Ts to SJ and DL

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One should consider, of course, that this is be design. According to the US census, without the post-1970 changes in US immigration policy, the population of the US would have stabilized at about 240 million. This deliberate policy change in favor of cheap labor has already increased the population by over 70 million, it will likely pass a billion by 2040 - unless the new cheap-labor immigration bill passes, in which case population growth will accelerate even more.

When you jam ever more people in you start to run out of stuff, like water. Duh.

Of course, in much of the rest of the world this is caused by government policies aimed at increasing the primary fertility rate - again, all in the interest of cheap labor.

We need to acknowledge the elephant in the room. We have as much fresh water as we ever have. This is due to massive populations increases, which are mostly by design. The rich don't want us to mention this because they like cheap labor and don't want anything to get in the way. It is important that we acknowledge the obvious even though the rich will scream that we are 'racist'.