Saturday, March 15, 2008


Full, unfettered pity ...

A lot of things in this big ol' world bring me great pleasure: April baseball games, antique books, hot dogs, hop-heavy beer, matzo crackers, Clive Barker-penned books ... hell, this could go on for days.

As much as all that crap tickles me, stories like this -- in which the laws of supply and demand are on full, unfettered display -- make me have belly-wracked, laughing pity for folks who see such and still don't know basic economics from a basic hole in the ground:

"The price of wheat has more than tripled during the past 10 months, making Americans' daily bread - and bagels and pizza and pasta - feel a little like luxury items. And baked goods aren't the only ones getting more expensive: Experts expect some 80 percent of grocery prices will spike, too, and could remain steep for years because wheat and other grains are used to feed cattle, poultry and dairy cows. ...

"The wheat market has been pushed higher by a combination of agricultural, financial and energy issues.

"Poor wheat harvests in Australia and parts of Europe and the U.S. have caused China and other Asian countries to buy up more American crops, which are especially attractive because of the weak U.S. dollar. ...

"At the same time, the American crop is shrinking because of federal incentives to grow corn for ethanol. And skyrocketing gas prices make it costlier to get any wheat to market. Those same pressures have also made it more expensive to supply feed grains for livestock."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

Adam Smith was right. Pass it on.

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