Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Addendum to Kelly on food prices

Interestingly, Paul Krugman wrote yesterday about much the same topic that Jack Kelly had on Sunday. Krugman mentioned the same basic ideas, that high food prices are putting the world's very poor at considerable risk. Krugman also mentioned, as Kelly did, that some people blame the Fed's "easy money" policy, although Krugman dismissed the notion. But Krugman also looked at a cause for the current spike in food prices that Kelly did not consider: climate change. Krugman suggested that droughts (in Russia) and floods (in Australia) are the sorts of weather we might expect to see becuase of climate change.

I notice that the PG did not reprint Krugman's column on Monday, as I believe they often, if not usually do.

Als0 in the Sunday NYTimes was a review of a book "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth". Now, I haven't read this book, but I was struck by how (as communicated through the review) the book emphasized that we are handing off a lot of misery to our children. Our blinders (as indicated by the House of Representatives) towards climate change is increasing the depth and length of the problems that will be caused by climate change. We can't wish away the problem, neither religion or capitalism will save us. The price of oil will inevitably go up, whether we try to mange the increase or not (it is looking like we will not try).

Perhaps there is a similarity between our head in the sand behavior about climate change and the behavior of businesses in not hiring workers, in demanding to be able to avoid paying workers healthcare benefits, and in keeping executive compensation so far above average employees. There is that sense in both climate change and the business world that we have ours, and see no benefit in sharing or helping others. That worked well for the French monarchy and aristocracy in 1789.

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