Sunday, August 23, 2015

Food Shortages in Africa and the Middle East

We are seeing mass migrations of people from the Middle East and northern Africa into Europe. Normally we are use to immigrants working in a country and sending money home for the family. The news reports show thousands of families with men, women and children in the boats. The driving force is the idea that any place is better than where they are coming from.

Most areas of the world support a maxed out number of people in good times. The amount of food and water is limited. Start a war, and you pretty much eliminate farming as an occupation. At that point people with guns are eagerly waiting for your harvest.

Oil used to be the great generator of income for many parts of the world. At $110 dollars a barrel, populations increased to balance the extra dollars. The drop in oil prices is like what the potato blight did to the Irish from 1845 to 1852. Populations increased because of the abundance of food and then collapsed. Starvation ensued—a million people died; plus the population of Ireland dropped 25% from emigration.

Oil has dropped 2/3’s in price. The old economic question of guns and/or butter is playing a major part in the wars around the Mediterranean. These areas in turmoil, could run out of money, food and farmers, before they run out of guns.

The Middle East oil has some logistic problems. A 500 gallon truck can only haul 12 barrels of oil. And it is very unlikely that the driver would be able to sell the oil at $40 per barrel after delivering it to a refinery or an oil tanker. Most of the oil will have to go by pipeline. How this can be coordinated in a war zone is rather mind boggling to say the least.

The one thing that we know, is that this year’s budget in most countries is probably close in size to last year’s budget. The trouble is, if oil revenues drop by 2/3’s, production has to increase to make up for the shortfall. Since guns are not a food item, look for armament purchases to drop drastically. Look for oil production to triple to cover government expenses. Net effect, more oil will be pumped out of the ground than anyone could ever need. Oil could drop to $28 a barrel.

The indirect effect of the drop in oil prices and war in the Middle East could lead to starvation on a large scale. Escape or die in place.

14 comments:

Sackerson said...

Grim.

Unknown said...

I am afraid this is on top of overpopulation good article

aim said...

With the knowledge and technologies that we have available today, food shortages should never occur... anywhere.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi AIM

When you see 50 pound bags of rice for sale in a store and they have "Red Cross" printed on them and "not for resale" stamped all over them, it gives you a new sense of reality.

We are not talking about a food shortage, but rather people who cannot pay for food. Its a fine line, but it is real.

AIM said...

Jim,
I guess I should amend my statement to:

With the knowledge and technologies that we have available today, AND A METHOD TO STOP GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE CORRUPTION, food shortages should never occur... anywhere.

AIM said...

Actually, what I really meant was that food doesn't even need to be subject to capital requirements, creation and supply lines. Today, anyone anywhere (and in any environment) can be independent and self-sufficient by producing their own food via these technologies: solar, green houses, algae pools, vertical farming, hydro-ponics, perma-culture, sprouting, chicken and rabbit breeding, etc.

A small and inexpensive amount of equipment and a little education and training could set up a village to be able to feed itself; a country to be able to feed itself; a continent to be able to feed itself.

No one any longer need be dependent. Only vested and special interests block the way. The evil on this planet needs to be targeted and expunged.

Anonymous said...

Restricting the food supply is an effective way of controlling population growth. If you completely eliminate food shortages across the world, another way will be devised to limit the growth. War comes to mind.

Rabbit breeding can get out of hand if they have an unlimited food supply and you are not able to kill them off.

Sackerson said...

There is no shortage of food in Western Europe, where without immigration the population numbers would be declining. When people have food security and the prospect of an old age supported by the wider community, they seem to have less incentive to breed.

Anonymous said...

Western society has devised it's own population control. Look at Japan for an example. Not all countries can control their populations through social norms, but some can. Look at how we have setup the young people in America: low wages, large student debt, insane housing prices in California. How many young people will want to raise a family in their parent's garage? Contrast this with post WW2, where the government wanted people to have children.

AIMs food plan is great if you are living in a western country. But if everyone on earth implements that plan...

Joseph Oppenheim said...

The world is the most peaceful (% dying from war), prosperous (% above poverty), healthy, literate/educated, etc.

Sorry for facts.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

FYI, the last time oil dropped to our recent low, ended the Great Recession. This time, a real economic bonanza. Oil, part of the story, but nat gas the real story. Henry Ford's original cars could also run on alcohol (methanol, etc), a perfect fuel, but big oil was the real culprit for Prohibition. So, LNG (methanol), where the US is king, is the next engine of our greatness.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Joseph

You may be overlooking the fact that everyone rushed out to drill for oil in the Midwest. It didn't cost much to borrow great sums of money from the banks with the promise of profit at Oil above $80 a barrel. Very few of the drillers have deep pockets, they are pretty much all ruined. 30 dollar a barrel profit on oil seemed like a cakewalk for everyone investing. Oil dropping to $40 was a real surprise.

We have some serious unemployment in the oilfields now.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Sackerson

Maybe they are taking your blog byline too literally over there "Drink Gamble and Fornicate Responsibly."

England and Northern Europe make the news almost everyday with all the immigrants trying to sneak in. The 70 that died in that truck the other day was pretty nasty. Feeding them all could be a real problem. It's a little like the relative that visits you for a weekend and stays for years.

Sackerson said...

JIM: glad you like the byline, it's aimed at the hypocrisy of the political-industrial complex who make money out of our weakness and yet pretend to care. Much the same as with immigration, really. The 30,000 asylum-seekers we let in last year are no problem, we can handle that; the other 288,000 are.