Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You can’t eat money (or Gold)

Why is George Soros selling gold and buying farmland? Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033319_food_prices_farmland.html#ixzz1VAhRxq1x

That's because demand for food is accelerating even as radical climate changes, a loss of fossil water supplies, and the failure of genetically engineered crops is actually reducing food yields around the globe. Ceres Partners, which invests in farmland, has produced astonishing 16 percent annual returns since its launch in 2008. And this is during a depressed economy when most other industries are showing losses. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033319_food_prices_farmland.html#ixzz1VAhtJaR2

Posted by happy mondays @ 07:43 AM (2190 views)
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29 thoughts on “You can’t eat money (or Gold)

  • Well done happy mondays – you have made a right mess of posting that…..

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  • happy mondays says:

    How come ?

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  • Whenever anyone mentions Manbearpig I stop reading/listening from that point on.

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  • You have included raw url’s which don’t wrap on a lot of browsers, so the whole of the home page is screwed up.

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  • happy mondays says:

    How do i not include url’s hpw, this is all white mans magic to me. 😉

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  • Oh, that’s easy – when you are cutting and pasting, try not to include the whole URL in the ”Source Title – (Original News Article Title)” field.

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  • While I agree with the sentiment of food being the number 1 priority if the worst-case scenario should happen and that it’s good to have a food store or capacity to grow some ourselves, to say everything else including gold is worthless is just wrong. After all, what are food-growers going to trade for with their surplus food? Food would be incredibly valuable yes, but if there’s not enough to buy with a little gold or other tradeable item then we’d pretty much all be doomed anyway.

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  • Unfortunately much famland is being taken out of the hands of indigenous farmers in Africa and Latin America, for this reason. So no food security for them. See the NGO GRAIN on this. E.g. http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4227-it-s-time-to-outlaw-land-grabbing-not-to-make-it-responsible
    Nick

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  • nickb,

    Before you get too enthused on that subject, look at what happened to food security in Zimbabwe when big farmers were replaced with little ones..

    ..the horrid truth is that big farms produce much more food per acre than small ones, especially in poorer countries..

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  • UT
    Really? What do you know about it? This is not about economies of scale it is about land rights, people being dispossessed, people who were previously growing food (sustainably) for their families and who now have nothing. You would justify this in terms of productivity, when the food (or worse biofuel) will be produced for export?
    N

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  • nickb,

    Yes really – check it out for yourself.

    The only exception to the rule is when communist governments attempted state collective farms and no-one took the trouble to work the land efficiently; but in private hands, big is beautiful..

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  • UT
    Sorry but what you have just said is irrelevant..
    When you take peasant’s farmers away they starve or are driven to crime etc. I’m not talking about Zimbabwe – different situation, there the white farmers got dispossessed. This is what is happening across many areas of developing countries: peasants dispossessed. It’s about theft, not economies of scale. If you could bring yourself to read the GRAIN report, you might have some idea what is going on.
    N

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  • nickb @ 8: UT has his facts right wrt Zimbabwe – so drop the insults.

    Land redistribution is an intractable problem and rarely works properly. All too often people (such as family members of cabinet ministers) are given tracts of land that they have neither the practical or financial skills or motivation to operate productively. The people you are are concerned about remain dispossessed and literally starve. To be sure the food doesn’t go for export …. because it is barely produced at all.
    As UT puts it … this is a “horrid truth”.

    The majority of us want to equitable systems of land ownership and food production in these countries but solutions need to be rather more that a waving of the socialist ideological wand.

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  • their farms / land, that is…

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  • @SS
    See the reply! It’s not a zimbabwe situation. Peasant farmers are being dispossessed. Land rights are independent of the economies of scale issue. If I have a more productive use for your land (assuming for the sake of argument this is true), this does not give me the right to take it off you, does it?
    N

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  • UT – There’s much more to the Zim situation than the replacement of large farmers by small ones. You could also cite the example of Cuba, which, when forced to reduce its dependence on oil, replaced large farms and plantations (heavily dependent on fossil fuels) with small-scale agriculture, organic farms and urban gardens (Havana produces half the food it consumes). Anyway, sooner or later we’ll have to deal with big agriculture’s over-dependence on oil and the problems of declining soil fertility, chemically poisoned soil, chemicals-resistant weeds and pests, the tainting and depletion of water supplies, out-of-balance insect populations,loss of nitrogen-fixing and other essential bacteria, the declining nutritional value of fruits, vegetables and grains etc. etc.

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  • How did this turn into a thread about Zimbabwe? It’s a different problem!! Corporations and speculators are buying up land across the developing world which results in peasants’ land rights and livelihoods being violated and destroyed.
    N

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  • The “corporate” argument is flawed when you consider that the world’s land can produce far more than is needed for the world’s population. Zimbabwe, Scimabwe, that’s a totally different argument. I’m with our socialist friend on this one, if someone is quite happily living a subsistence existence then to rip their land off them for profit is not right. More logical steps to efficiency would be to invest in smaller farmers in terms of training, machinery, tools etc.
    Fair Trade is a step in the right direction but has some unfortunate side effects.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    As ever, the big farms/small farms argument can be resolved quite easily – using our old chum LVT, which sets a hurdle – whichever farming method is more efficient outbids the other and they get the farmland.

    If small farming is indeed more efficient, then they win the bid. Assuming it’s the Big Evil Western corporation who wins the bidding, so what? The LVT gets collected up and dished out to the citizens of that country, so what they lose in farm wages they gain in the effort-free Citizens Income. Plus, Big Evil Western Corp still needs farmworkers, so most of them get ordinary wages on top. And if the little guy is prepared to spend the whole of his Citizens Income on renting a bit of land, by definition, he gets a small share for free, which I suspect would be quite enough for subsistence farming – so at least he has a choice of not paying tax and being self-sufficient or getting the farm wages and the CI on top.

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  • Mark,
    Not clear to me what LVT achieves in a context of traditional peasant farming. In this context the fruits of the land are already enjoyed by the populace. In many traditional systems it seems they don’t have the right to sell land or rent it out, it is use rights that are allocated, and managed by group self-governance. LVT, it seems to me, has a role to restitute land rents after they have already been stolen from such groups – as is the case in England, for example, under the enclosures, acts of enclosure etc.
    N

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  • So LVT would include a bidding process? I’ve read a lot of the links you have posted, but not come across that. How is that managed? It sounds somewhat unworkable, and I’m not sure how it applies in this situation.

    Not sure who coined the term Big Evil Western corporation, certainly not me. LVT sounds positiviely utopian, but I do not think it would prevent the situation raised by Nickb.

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  • You’d have to do a lot more than introducing LVT – big farmers can outbid others because they’re the ones with the subsidies.

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  • general congreve says:

    The above discussion shows why agricultural investment, that drives up the price of land and food, and also can lead to the dispossession of peoples land, is tainted with peoples blood.

    More expensive wedding rings and high-end stereo and HMDI cables, that make negligible difference to TV pictures and sound reproduction, don’t really harm anyone – apart from misguided audio-visual-philes and a few unfortunate blokes whose girlfriends are high maintenance gold diggers, so therefore they get rejected for buying a ring below the b1tch’s expectations, in which case they’ve actually been done a favour.

    BE AN ETHICAL INVESTOR AND BUY GOLD!

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    NickB, I’m saying that in a lot of cases, big farmers ARE more efficient. LVT/Citizen’s Income sorts it all out. If the “peasant farmers” are prepared to pay more then they get to keep the land (and by and large they get their LVT refunded via the CI). And if the big farmers are less efficient, then they won’t be prepared to pay as much LVT as the little guys and the problem sorts itself out.

    Bubba, LVT is, by its nature, a bidding process. If the government establishes that people are prepared to pay £10 per unit area, then it can hike the price to £11 and so on, until such a stage as only those who can make best use of the land (i.e. are prepared to pay the highest price) will pay it. And all the less efficient users are no longer inefficiently using the land, they get paid the CI instead, everybody’s happy.

    IC, so what? If Big Evil Western Corp can outbid because of US or EU subsidies, then that is splendid news for our hard-pressed African country because they can increase the LVT, so the subsidies which long suffering US and EU citizens are paying ends up in pockets of all Africans and not in pockets of BEWC. For sure, we’d be better off without the subsidies at all, I’m looking at this from the point of view of yer little African guy.

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  • MW – but we know that subsidised western agriculture undercuts the African subsistence farmer.

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  • Mark,
    Why should the peasant farmer have to pay anything whatsoever to stop a corporation appropriating their land?
    N

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  • What LVT addition would be put on large corpoation for destruction of community, cultural dislocation, resultant crime and assorted human misery were large corporation to (predictably) outbid existing established peasant farmers? Receipt of citizens income may be a degree of financial compensation but what about the other lost intangibles? These may represent at least as much value to those removed from an established and settled way of life. A big company may be more efficient at getting food out of the ground, but that isn’t necessarily a realistic assessment of its value to society.

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  • Skeptical First Time Buyer says:

    @7

    Lets see if that is still true against a landscape of declining oil and spiraling prices, where mechanisation and fertaliser are increasingly expensive.

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