How Was the Harvest?
If modern American life often seems a grind or a bore (or a trip to the gulag taking a flight) at least the above question, such an urgent and all-consuming worrying one for all the epochs of our existence, has been lifted from our burdened American shoulders. Many of us have a lot of trouble buying food in our busted model, but at least we never have to worry about it never being there.
The California 2010 harvest was lousy but sustaining, for strangely enough global warming has brought us many more rain cycles than was normal late 20th century. Heavy spring rains battered cherries and strawberries badly and seriously dented the nut crop, while a cool summer with a burst of heat and rain crushed the wine grapes. We still have stunning pasture acreage, we grew a lot of rice, corn and wheat, along with massive dairy, meat and egg processing, no basic food worries for 2011.
20-24 months—two harvests—is our country and planet’s backup food supply, by the way. Two bad harvests in a row will very quickly smash our modern existence to complete smithereens.
Very good news for 2011 in the first sustenance cycle of delivering food to our tables in this land of milk and honey, but I’m afraid there’s very bad news for the second capitalist cycle, the commodities market is busted in many elements, much to the detriment and peril of us all. It’s not a matter of citizens being able to afford food, our Randian overlords have launched another huge turd into the American punchbowl with their stupid greedy fantasies, our food market system could totally careen our control at any time, easily doing as much damage as two bad harvests.
Foodstuffs—and other commodities like oil and orange juice—were set up with a precisely ruled market (regulated) after we learned so horribly in the Depression how unregulated commodities markets roiled the country to hell. Far too many politicians from both Democratic and Republican parties bought the deregulation lure all the way in our times, and until we get our commodities market back how the actual harvest was and is doesn’t mean anything, we’re in urgent worry and peril mode about food all the time!
Precise, documented evidence can be found in Matt Taibbi’s new book Griftopia, an excellent chronicling of how some of America’s most rapacious finance houses were given carte blanch to rig the oil commodities market in 2008, remember that mysterious period of $4.00 gas?
More stark demonstration comes from Harper’s magazine, the wheat commodities market is out of control. Ancient traditional markers foretelling what famers should do (grow more or less) have become totally useless, the market is rigged, easily cornered and completely unpredictable.
Unpredictable in pricing and function, that is. The little people always get horribly screwed in commodities “bubbles.”
This is not a Democratic/Republican Party problem, much of the genesis for this insanity came in the Clinton/Rubin years. Even if one Party owned it, neither of them is doing a damn thing about it now. Of course this is a massive political opportunity and precisely aligned with what I think our people should be doing morally and ethically, so my tiny voice will be pushing market regulation as much as possible moving forward.
If our leadership continues to enjoy losing by not differentiating themselves from Republican free market philosophy, perhaps they will continue to ignore the issue.
Such a light and benign word for busted market cycles, bubbles. Gasoline at $4.00 certainly was not a light or benign experience for our little people, and the horror of electricity deregulation—just so filthy crooks like Ken Lay could become unimaginably rich—is still a searing memory for Californians.
What happens if the wheat market becomes so out of control farmers won’t plant it, why drive off a market cliff with your tractor? That could cripple America’s wheat harvest as surely as a bad weather harvest.
American market bubbles—so far—have in fact been like bad harvests, they cause an enormous amount of damage and pain, only to mercifully fade away to normalcy again. Our problem is that we’re not leaving it up to chance or fate (why looky there, isn’t that a totally busted housing market I see?), we’re inflicting it upon ourselves with horrifying predictability, deregulation can’t work.
President Obama and Democratic Party politicians, see the pain and easy politics in saving our people from this market insanity? Act on it, it is your duty to country and the little people. Such is forever your only path forward, even if you seem to have lost sight of it now.