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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Since long before Joni Mitchell lamented how we’d paved over our paradises with parking lots, critics have regretted the degree to which human development comes at the expense of the natural landscape.

But we live in interesting times and one aspect of them is the renewed power that agriculture has in the economic balance of things. It has Allison Arieff in the NY Times joking that “housing developments may need to be razed to clear the way for more farmland.”

It’s an attractive notion. But too bad that the impetus for this change is the ethanol boom. As James J. Cramer points out in the other story referenced above:

Ethanol is an entirely inefficient method of producing energy, by some estimates consuming almost as much as it generates. It’s a fuel no one really wants. It’s difficult to transport because of its corrosive nature. And subsidizing it is causing runaway food costs and a nasty bout of inflation that’s hitting the poor hardest.

And that’s not to mention the environmental downside of running a vast proportion a nation’s farms as intensive, inorganic-chemical-supported mono-cultures.

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