Food troubles are here to stay

Another dimension of Israel. It’s hard to grasp the extent to which oil is a part of our lives until the reality starts to hit us in the face and pocketbooks. And even then, some of us still don’t grasp it, or don’t care because they’re fine now.

Christians, let’s use our greatest resource – the church – to start addressing some of the problems people – whether the average American, or those in Haiti or Indonesia or Israel – are running into and try our best to raise awareness and develop plans of action, because they’re going to get worse.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/980076.html

The government sends calming signals and says no dramatic shortages are expected. The Economist says do nothing, market forces will sort it all out. But as the global food-price crisis hit Israel this week, something told us we are not being told the whole story.

Around the world food prices are soaring. Since January 2006, the price of rice has risen by 217 percent. Wheat, corn and soybean prices have more than doubled, and in several countries, milk and meat prices have also doubled.

Food prices and falling wages have sparked riots in more than 30 countries from Bangladesh to Egypt to Haiti – where the prices of rice, beans, fruit and condensed milk have gone up 50 percent over a few months, while the price of fuel has tripled.

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Rich nations seek stable global path

The problem with economics educations these days is that the most important points – such as market failure (e.g., failure to account for the cost of polluting mutually beneficial community space) – become so marginalized they eventually become tossed by the roadside of free-marketeerism. [google: environmental economists]

And so we fall into the sheeple mentality where “our leaders” will do something about it. “Our leaders” will stand for us. “Our leaders” will protect us, etc.

Leaders can include all types of people, and they’re not necessarily evil. But when people such as the President or pastors are looked at as “lifelong” or even just “life” leaders, we’ve got a big problem.

That is why I write this blog. I want to challenge you to think independently, think logically (e.g., why trust the government vs. “just don’t trust the government”), and to seek God’s guidance and Jesus’ example in thinking correctly (or alternatively, with moral responsibility).

99.9% of our “leaders” lack this attitude, and that is why the continued exploitation of the poor, among many other injustices, will continue to the very end of the Age.

New York Times via International Herald Tribune.

By Steven R. Weisman The New York Times
SEPTEMBER 17, 2006

SINGAPORE Even before the conclusion of the annual gathering of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, a striking swing in the global order has been obvious. China and other fast-growing developing countries are demanding a bigger say in the aging institutions that superintend the world economy.

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Scarcity, the mother of invention

Yet another argument for human innovation and ingenuity. Ladies and gentlemen, look no further than Japan for a realistic perspective on human innovation for the last 30 years.
Moreover, if there have been wars over salt, why be so quick to rule one out over oil? Granted, there are far more NWO/secret-society complications with the onset of the current nation-state arrangement, but the pattern of the rape and pillaging of defenseless countries and their peoples continues, doesn’t it?

found at Energybulletin: http://energybulletin.net/19220.html

by Stephen L. Sass, NY Times
via International Herald Tribune

In the wake of the closure of a BP oil field in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, oil prices shot up to $77 a barrel on Wednesday, and the chorus of doomsayers concerned about the dire consequences of our fossil fuel dependency has reached a crescendo. If oil hits $100 a barrel, the impact on the economy could be catastrophic, the handwringers warn. But while such a specter seems novel and terrifying, it is in fact familiar and useful.

Throughout history, shortages of vital resources have driven innovation, and energy has often starred in these technological dramas. The search for new sources of energy and new materials has frequently produced remarkable advances that no one could have imagined when the shortage first became evident.

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Coping with high oil prices

An excellent article talking about the economics of Peak Oil via EnergyBulletin. Among some questions that were approached were: with energy prices so high, why isn’t the “world” suffering from a massive economic downturn? Have firms been taking a hit at all?

Unfortunately, due to its West-centrism, it fails to acknowledge that the high prices have effectively destroyed semi-developed countries such as Zimbabwe, and is working against some countries exporting oil such as Indonesia and Qatar due to outdated domestic policies regarding subsidies. But even more importantly is the talk of “transition”.

Looking at Japan’s post-70s example of transition, while maintaining some of the highest efficiency standards, it remains number three in oil consumption, behind only the US and China.

By Nikos Tsafos

The most surprising feature of the current oil crisis is that it does not
really feel like a crisis. Oil and gas prices may be high and many
people are struggling to cope with rising energy bills, but at a macro
level, the world’s largest economies have grown consistently in the
past two years. Hardly is our fear realized—that high energy costs will
force an economic downturn, much less a recession. What explains this
disconnect between expectation and reality?

To examine this question, take three mechanisms through which oil
prices affect economic performance (there are more, but let’s focus on
three): a reduction in income caused by the need to spend more money on
energy leads to reduced demand for goods and services and this, in
turn, forces an economic slowdown; an increase in inflation generated
by higher prices that firms charge to cover energy costs leads to a
reduction in real income; and worsening performance by firms,
reflecting mainly higher costs and/or reduced overall demand by
shrinking real income.

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Israel destroys home of Hezbollah leader

For those wondering why crude prices are so high, here’s a partial reason.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060714/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon_israel

By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Israel destroyed the home and office of Hezbollah’s leader Friday and tightened its seal on Lebanon, blasting its air and road links to the outside world to punish the guerrilla group — and with it, the country — for the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah’s Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and his family were safe after the Israeli missiles demolished the two buildings in Beirut’s crowded southern neighborhoods,

“You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war,” Nasrallah said, addressing Israelis in an audiotape played on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television. The speech apparently was prerecorded and did not refer to the missile attack.

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Crude Oil Rises to Record as Middle East Conflict Escalates

Please note that these posts aren’t meant to create anxiety or arouse a sense of apocalypticism (i.e., the world is ending very soon). Rather, peak oil is virtually guaranteed to create massive problems (and already has) with much of the third and developing world, which in turn means greater exploitation, greater nationalism and protectionist policies, an increasingly larger wealth distribution gap.

So, the same old story of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer – or even starving.

What are you doing about it?

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aBEjDi4er6jI&refer=home

July 14 (Bloomberg) — Crude oil rose above $78 a barrel for the first time as concern mounted that escalating violence in the Middle East, supplier of 30 percent of the world’s oil, may cut supply.

Israeli forces attacked Lebanon for a third day. Iran, embroiled in a dispute with the United Nations over its nuclear research, warned Israel against expanding the conflict. Chevron Corp. today said 40 workers in Nigeria were released after being held by kidnappers.

“I’m not going to say we’re going to $100 a barrel right away, but neither am I going to rule it out,” said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover Inc., a New Canaan, Connecticut, energy consultant. “If events drag Iran into the situation and it deteriorates to the point that they want to block the Strait of Hormuz, and we get a hurricane, yes, we will see $100.”

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Oil falls back from record [note, originally: Oil hits fresh record high]

Pulled off The Oil Drum. I recommend reading the additional links in the post.For those without a context, allow me to give you an inflation-adjusted graph which explains where the prices of crude have been throughout history. Unfortunately, the graph hasn’t been updated to today’s figures. But it’s 4/5 of the way there.

Oil prices from 1861-2006 in dollars of the day and 2006 dollars.

[source]

Relevant link: 1973 oil crises Continue reading