Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

55 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “The planet will need to produce more food in the next four decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8,000 years.” Svante says: JULY 19, 2021 AT 7:03 PM
    Global supply chains buckle as virus variant and disasters strike Jonathan Saul, Muyu Xu, Yilei Sun
    Reuters July 24, 2021

    “A new worldwide wave of COVID-19. Natural disasters in China and Germany. A cyber attack targeting key South African ports.
    Events have conspired to drive global supply chains towards breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to companies, economists and shipping specialists…”
    World’s Food Supplies Get Slammed by Drought, Floods and Frost
    Bloomberg News July 24, 2021 Climate Adaptation

    “Extreme weather is slamming crops across the globe, bringing with it the threat of further food inflation at a time costs are already hovering near the highest in a decade and hunger is on the rise…
    The series of misfortunes underscores what scientists have been warning about for years: Climate change and its associated weather volatility will make it increasingly harder to produce enough food for the world, with the poorest nations typically feeling the hardest blow. In some cases, social and political unrest follows…
    What’s unique right now is that extreme weather seems to be pounding almost every region of the globe.”

  2. Iko: How much plastic pollution could ARM’s plastic microprocessors generate? The demonstration version is 59 mm2 as against the 1 mm2 of the silicon version. Production copies would be less clunky. but let’s go with that. Say thickness of 1 mm and density of 1. By my calculations (feel free to check) the 1 trillion comes out at 59,000 tonnes over the decade. By the crazy standards of today’s plastic abuse – 150 mt a year of single-use plastic packaging – that barely registers.

    Don’t laugh at lettuce logistics. Vast amounts of food are spoiled every year because stocks run out of time. Cutting waste is a laudable and feasible objective. BTW, for this purpose it’s quite unclear to me what the added value
    could be of sticking a pint-sized Turing machine with an IP address on a sack or crate of lettuce, as against a much simpler RFID chip or printed QR code you can read with any smartphone, but doubtless they will think of something.

  3. ATAGI’s usefulness has been diminished by their announcements, which are usually made in hindsight. The govt has now secured sufficient Pfizer to give everyone a booster shot while ATAGI are considering the matter of boosters.

    We now need to get the govt to act on climate change.

  4. James Wimberley,

    Fair points. I too wonder whether there is not a better way to ensure lettuce logistics. Back when Coles and Woolworths (our supermarkets) were phasing out plastic bags (sort of) one of the members of that venerable duopoly introduced plastic toys of their grocery items, of the size that would match dolls and action figures, I guess. Of course, I ranted at the TV advertisement. My wife says I rant a lot.

    When it comes to lettuce I do wonder, “Why do we eat it?’ Okay, it can be crisp and look nice on the plate or burger. It has little real taste and I wonder what food and health value it really contains, including vitamins and roughage, relative to cost. It contains a little value perhaps. But the thing is this, under-payed, immigrant and temporary visa holder labor is so often used to pick lettuce. And then it is transported over long distances in a cold chain. None of this is efficient, nor economically possible without global or regional labor arbitrage. Think of illegal, nod-and-a-wink-lets-them-in, Mexican immigrants picking lettuce in Californian fields. Australia also uses visa labor from the Pacific Islands region in particular; also backpackers and students. Iin my day. I picked (up) onions one holiday break.

    Where people have to be under-payed (compared to a livable minimum wage) how does the activity make equitable economic sense? I tend to think we should grow only vegetables plant-able and harvest-able by machine, at least when they are meant to be part of an industrial system and cold chain. Either that, or we need to partly switch back to farming within a day’s truck or lorry (electric of course)) journey from the town or city.

    Market economics is not market economics when the wage is not equitable nor livable. Immigrant labor works in fields baking under the hot sun so we can have fresh, cool fruit and veges. Something ain’t right. Indeed, something is rotten in the state of economics.

  5. Furthermore, I don’t think that ATAGI are to directly blame, it’s that their language is technical and scientifically correct and needs to be ‘translated’ for the public. This hasn’t happened and the messaging has been confused. .

    The problem is that the politicians haven’t stepped up to the task and have handballed problems to ‘experts’. The govt needs to be directly accountable, they need to be held to account, they need to hold the hose mate

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