November 15, 2012

Australia to reap rich harvest as new bread basket of Asia

Posted in Irish Independent · 135 comments ·

THEY say Australia is the lucky country, and when you arrive here there is a sense that the ball bounces kindly down under. The country is blessed with almost unlimited resources, it is well run, the climate is lovely and more than anything else, as we move through the 21st century, Australia is situated in the right neighbourhood.

For centuries, when the world revolved around Europe and later the USA, Australia was accurately described as “very far away” because, relative to the action, it was at the other end of the world.

However, this morning, as I watch commuters heading to work, right here in York Street in central Sydney I get the feeling that Australia is getting lucky again. Because of its proximity to China and India, Australia looks to be in the right place at the right time.

That is not to say it won’t have its problems over the next few years because of its wildly overheated property market; it will, but the big trends in terms of what delivers a sustainable quality of life suggest that Australia will remain a lucky country.

Australia, having supplied Asia with the raw materials and commodities to fuel the great expansion in Chinese industrialisation in the past few years, is about to reap another harvest — a bountiful food harvest, again from Asia.

The single biggest challenge the world is facing concerns food, because the world’s population is not only growing, its diet is changing. The question is whether we will see the return of Malthus.

In the 19th century, Thomas Malthus declared that if the world’s population grew and grew, it would soon outstrip the ability of agriculture to feed it, leading to terrible famines and great turbulence.

Up to now, Malthus’s prediction that too many people would mean the world would eventually run out of food has not occurred (with a possible exception being the Great Irish Famine).

Could we yet face a Malthusian nightmare situation on a catastrophic scale as the rock of the insatiable demand of 7bn (soon to be 10bn) people smashes into the hard place of the planet’s limited resources to produce the food which keeps us all alive?

When you drill down, the food dilemma is in fact a much bigger one: it is an energy problem, and this one isn’t going away.

In general, humans have been ingenious animals; when faced with existential challenges humanity has come up with the technology to increase yields, increase farming productivity, increase supply and avoid catastrophe.

So successful has this been that the problem for many parts of the rich world is not too little food but too much food, not too many skinny people but too many fat people, and not a medical system working on the problems of malnutrition but one that is struggling with the challenges of obesity.

So there are two challenges. The first is: can we produce more to keep everyone in the world alive? And the second is: can we consume less so that those in the West who have food don’t eat too much of the wrong stuff?

If the world is going to produce more, which countries are going to do the producing and what type of food will they produce?

The rising population is moving from 7bn today to 10bn in 2050.They are consuming differently. The world could sustain more people if we consumed like Africans, but we don’t.

The Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about 2bn people at a European standard of living because Europeans consume far more resources than the poorest 2bn people in the world.

However, Europeans use only about half the resources of Americans, on average.

Consider this. If all of the world’s 7bn people consumed as much as an average American, it would take the resources of more than five Earths to sustainably support all of them.

The big issue is that the diets of the Chinese and Indian populations are changing. As they get richer, they want meat and dairy, and this change in their diet is driving up food prices. The rise in the price of basic foods is punishing the poorest people in the world and is prompting unforeseen political developments, which seem unrelated but are tied together by the umbilical cord of the global food supply.

FOR example, while much is being made of the yearning for democracy behind the Arab Spring, few of us focus on the destabilising impact of a 50pc increase in the price of wheat over the past few years, which prompted food riots in Egypt which in turn fuelled political change. Food is politics and politics is food.

The problem will become more acute, not less. As a result of changing diets in China and India, the UN estimates that the global demand for meat will double over the next 20 years.

Producing a kilo of meat takes 10 kilos of fertiliser and 30 litres of oil, creates four tonnes of greenhouse gas and uses between 15,000 and 70,000 litres of water in a world where, by 2050, one third of the world’s population will face water shortages.

Up to now, there have been enormous changes in technology which have kept yields high, and this will obviously have to continue. But we can’t avoid the resource constraint implicit in China moving from cereals to dairy and meat.

Who will supply this food to them? This is where Australia comes in, and it is set to reap a rich harvest. Australia is the most likely beneficiary of the coming agriculture boom in Asia. It has capacity, it is close to Asia, and over the past 10 years has re-orientated itself away from its old link with Britain and has been forging new connections in Asia.

As I watch these Australians heading to work in downtown Sydney, it’s hard to avoid coming to the conclusion that the “lucky country” has got lucky one more time.

David McWilliams’ new book ‘The Good Room’ is out now.

  1. Dorothy Jones

    Australian Govt [Dept of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestries] publication describing Australia as a ‘food secure nation’ and providing the statistics in relation to production and supply inland and to neighbouring countries:

  2. Joe R

    Talking out of your arse here again McWilliams. You can’t even make your bullshit coherent these days.

    You pointed out above in your article that India and China will want beef or meat any rate – but they need huge volumes of water for this. 15-70,000 litres per kilo of fresh water according to yourself.

    I have news for you Australia doesn’t have water either thats why its a big desert in the middle. It dosen’t have water to supply the kind of quantities that would be required.

    You aren’t bothering with any research clearly before you write your makey-up crap. What is this research lackey with a masters doing to earn his crust, eh?

    Didn’t I see Jared Diamonds Collapse in the book listings for your new economics course? Well go read Chapter 13 – it is all about how Australia is a marginal environment with serious water problems and a build up of environmental problems all from its initial colonisation and inappropriate development by Europeans development over the first 200 years of its history as a ‘western nation’. It is like a massive Iceland according to him. There the vikings arrived and misjudged what they found to be the same as Norway and proceeded to over exploit and damage the delicate volcanic environment there. Australias the giant ized version of that. Oz already has 6 million more people can it can sustain long term, according to Mr Jared D amongst other facts he tosses out there.

    • P Hayes

      Joe you’re clearly passionate about the matter but I’d like to reply to your comment. I’m reading Collapse at the moment and you are correct, Diamond states that Australia’s environment is in a precarious position with regards sustainabliity however, he also states that Australia is a net exporter of agricultural produce at the moment.

      If you follow the above link it shows Australia as a “competitive net agriculatural exporter, with around 2/3 of total production exported. This to me seems like they have quiet a lot of capacity.

      I do however share your concerns for the long term sustainablity of Australian agriculture after reading Diamond’s book.

      I also think David is painting a very rosy picture about the next Australian boom. The agricultural sector cannot provide the same returns as the commodity boom without widespread environmental destruction.

    • Willie C

      I’ll pitch in here to say that Jared Diamond’s chapter on Australia in ‘Collapse’ is very controversial, and

      See David’s recent talk in Sydney – he’s actually talking “limits to growth” from an economist’s perspective now. Fair play to you David for highlighting the looming crisis. Its up to all of us to figure out how “business as usual” is bust. A series of economic and environmental of crises (which have already commenced) will force our hand and there will be no doubt about the need and the will to radically change our mindsets and the way we organise our economies.

    • Joe R

      The fact that Oz is a massive food exporter seems unimportant to you. I quoted Diamond in my speech in Sydney and of course I am aware of his work but, if there is a shift in demand in Asia, of course Oz will benefit. Somebody will supply Asia and it seems logical to suggest that the country supplying Asian partially now will continue to do so.

      If you think I am “talking out of my arse”, then please don’t waste your time here. Your “Endism” is a bit boring and tedious.


      • Joe R

        Very mature DAVID. Put me down instead of dealing with the glaring inconsistency in your piece.

        YOU pointed out the figure of 15-70,000 litres of fresh water required per KILO of meat produced. Australia has no major fresh water supply. No major continent wide reliable rainfall. Therefore, it has no great continental river system ( like the Congo Nile, Rhine, Volga, Danube, Yellow, Indus, Amazon, Plata and Mississippi ). No huge forests no huge jungles no extensive lush plains or grassland. It has bush and desert mainly. Its arable land has already been overworked by the British.

        According to Jared Diamond it concentrates its production on high value exports with require minimal water — like wine and cotton. That isn’t a “bread basket” – it’s a wine and cotton basket.
        And it, like any developed nation can produce from its arable land more food than it needs. Well done but nothing special.

        Other countries with real water resources and intensive developed sustainable agriculture will be able to supply an increasing Asian market. Ireland would do well to identify them and get in on he game and/ or if possible export directly. That could generate wealth and jobs in IRELAND. Please note that that is a POSITIVE and REALISTIC contribution here. So don’t accuse me of “tedious” negativity when you are bleating on, illogically, about Australia. Make it relevant. Are you are paid for relevance or just entertainment?

        My anger here more correctly comes from your recent censoring of my comments here on Google ( + others ) tax dealings in Ireland the EU just after your Zeitgeist appearance with the Boner himself.

        The comments were mild, linked i.e. supported and not in anyway defamatory. No arses mentioned anywhere, or boners. There was no good reason to stop the comments other than they might offend your then recent and maybe still employers. Maybe you were contractually obliged to censor. They paid handsomely, I presume?

        Max Keiser & Der Speigel and the Irish times have seen fit to report on the same matters.

        You invite comments here. You invite debate. You pissed on an honest contribution, for money. You should be ashamed.

        ( I have screen prints I took available of your censoring).

        You hold a privileged platform within a submissive national media at an important moment in the Irish states history. Here is Max’s recent post Kilkenny take on that media BTW -

        It is a pity one has to look outside Ireland for the truth about it.

        • Pat Flannery

          Joe R,

          Don’t be intimidated by David. Don’t go away. I also appreciate your links to Max Keiser. Without people like you and Keiser Ireland is just an echo chamber of paid sycophants.

          • Joe R

            hi Pat.

            Thanks for the support. I know your posts from Dave Malones blog as well as here.

            Truth is for me that commenting here is an time indulgence I really shouldn’t be engaging in.

            Eileen from Dublin posting on Max Keiser’s site looks like good source for information. I will try to keep an eye on her posts in the future.

        • Hi Joe,

          Apols I was a bit ratty that morning. Happens to all of us.


        • joe sod

          i think joe you have made good points about food production in australia it has over exploited the resources it has, I worked on farms there and have heard of the problems. They have pumped water from underground aquifers which has caused the salt content of the soils to increase, im not sure why this is, i think because the underground aquifers have high salt content. The soil itself has no natural fertility so requires large amounts of artificial fertilizers also bad for the long term structure of the soil. It suffered 10 years of a devastating drought that only recently ended. Over irrigation where all the rainfall is caught and stored in on farm reservoirs. This means that little water then goes to rivers which cause them to dry up or cause them to have greatly reduced flows. Another huge problem is rural depopulation where nobody wants to live in the isolated australian interior. But of course its huge size and small population mean that it is still a large exporter. But its biggest problem as an agricultural exporter is its lack of freshwater and the priority for this water is for cities first agriculture second

    • Lol your first sentence was class. I bet even the man himself laughed and farted on some toffee nosed woman next to him somewhere high above the Indian Ocean as the sun was rising. I did because it was funny

      I can imagine Davido after a couple of Bushmills wanting somebody real to have a proper conversation with only to be lumbered with some pampered bitch from Belgium (which is not even a proper country btw). Might be what he needs instead of dreaming of Leeds

      The Irish are extremely articulte with words yet they are limp wristed and low in confidence in public unless pissed to the rafters. The journalists are a conservative bunch but I imagine they tell diffrerent stories in private when they are happy in their alcoholism

      The current state of affairs is not natural for a people who have struggled against authority, treachery and domination for centruries. It is not natural for a people with a rebellious nature and the spirit of Che to be so humble. I think the current maliase has more to do with guilt stemming from our ‘rebeliuous’ past. But maybe we never rebelled at all. Maybe the songs of The Jungle were a figment of our imaginations because when men were dying in the H-Blocks the in-bred gentry in the south were doing very well thank you very much

      As we approach 2016 the lyrics of all our favourite folk and rebel songs only serve to remind us that we have been living a lie. Any rebel or republican will know this deep down and will not bring themselves to sing with pride in 2016

      This country is one big fucking lie and we have a couple of years to get our shit straight.

  3. Scruffy

    I’ve lived in in Sydney since 2001. I’ve read collapse by JD.

    What I can tell you is that for the first 6 years I lived here you couldn’t wash you car with a hose because of the drought.

    NSW has a delsalination plant along with 2 other states. There are 3 others under construction in the country.

  4. bonbon

    Great to see economists addressing the physical economy and population. The sheer evil of Malthus has not gone away – his successors today are even more genocidal. Malthusian economics must be faced directly and ridiculed. Here is how to do that :

    Australia has a great future – see the list of massive projects now on the table :

    Facing the Depression: Australia’s Blueprint for Economic Development

    And water is a major part.

    The real bread basket for Eurasia is Africa –
    totally neglected, subjected to genocide for decades:

    Transaqua: An Idea For The Sahel

    The Potential of the Nile River Basin,
    And The Economic Development of Sudan

    One can see with Egypt, Sudan and Libya all attempts at breaking out of the clutches of Empire are being systematically smashed.

    Here are great maps including Africa and Australia as well as China.
    MAPS of Great Infrastructure Development Projects Around the World

    • bonbon

      I hope that paragraph gets through. It would be great to post some small image files here (the webmaster’s javascript filters maybe for space reasons).

  5. Adam Byrne


  6. transitionman

    I cannot resist putting up a link to Dublin physicist writing in FEASTA who expresses a counter views to this article from 2011
    and on 13th Nov on the natural denial of anything other than technology and innovation as a solution. “Those who think this, this is austerity, rather than the ripple before the storm. Maybe also those who haven’t been paying attention.”
    and almost in anticipation of Davids Malthaus comment
    Up to now, Malthus’s prediction that too many people would mean the world would eventually run out of food has not occurred (with a possible exception being the Great Irish Famine).

    Could we yet face a Malthusian nightmare situation on a catastrophic scale as the rock of the insatiable demand of 7bn (soon to be 10bn) people smashes into the hard place of the planet’s limited resources to produce the food which keeps us all alive?

    Anyway haven’t people been saying such stuff since the time of Malthus, and they’re still wrong! Aren’t the experts in control?! But an economist said…! Quite….quite.

    I read this blog and see a few are getting the message on the road ahead for the 7b on board spaceship earth. The perfect storm of environment energy and economic collapse. I met with D Orlov in Kilkenny and asked him why he spoke on his 5 stages of collapse a different tale to his current writings. The answer is in this link
    As RR6 says take care of your families.

    • bonbon

      A look at feasta with this guiding web page quote :

      Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? Tá deireadh ne gcoillte ar lár

      shows firstly the usual ecological approach to economics, pure Malthusianism, and secondly the usual Tiger lack of homework.

      That quote above, loved by greenies, is actually a very ancient observation. Anyone with even one eye open, strolling on the bogs must note that turf from at least 6000BP is made of ancient forests. Looking around the hills above Spiddal, for example, one finds the petrified stumps of majestic trees exposed by turf harvesting. Those trees are evidence of the post glacial forests that collapsed because of climate change around the time the turf formed. That quote above dates from then (of course we are told by Oxford no Gadelic was spoken so early). I have seen such stumps with evidence of sawing.

      Look at Ceidi Fields in north Mayo – farming walls exposed under ancient turf, when we are told by Oxford, only Mesopotamian agriculture existed.

      Climate change in Ireland was dramatic. Glacial action with huge changes after are evident all over. It is suicidal to base economics on ecology and the usual gaggle of “experts” preying on fears must be ridiculed as in Australia (see link below).

  7. Lord Jimbo

    “Up to now, Malthus’s prediction that too many people would mean the world would eventually run out of food has not occurred (with a possible exception being the Great Irish Famine).”

    This a common misconception. There was food in Ireland during the ‘famine’ period, it was being exported out of ports to different parts of the British Empire, warehouses in Cork for example were packed with foodstuffs, which later saw food riots as the hungry attempted to seize the goods (Iish merchants also spiked prices). The problem with the Irish ‘Famine’ was the manner in which the system was setup: a lot of people eeking out a precarious existence on small plots of land, dependant on a single crop for survial which failed leading to disaster, it was not because of a lack of food in the country, therefore it was less a famine in the traditional sense and more of a structural/systems failure. This was compounded when reports to the British administration of the unfolding disaster in the rural areas were largely dismissed or ignored, when a relief effort was eventually put in place it was too late and insufficient.

    There were also growing numbers of free marketeers and those who bought into market doctrine of equilibriun and natural forces restoring order in other words, people were left to their own devices, not too dissimilar from neoliberals today. Indeed, the situation around the Irish ‘Famine’ is a microcosm of today’s world, the Common Agricultural Policy pays farmers not to produce and yet sub-saharan Africa sees frequent famines, a region which pays $25,000 per minute to Western financial institutions on what could arguably be described as illegitimate debt. In food production terms, the world can easily cater for the 7 billion on the planet it is all about the way the world system is setup while aid has become a veritable industry complete with highly paid executives. We should also mention commodity speculation, especially on the price of grain and other crops, and of course the industry around genetically modified crops, big business. One can also mention the destructive seeds which are designed to provide only one crop so farmers have to go and buy more seeds, then there is the impact of the flight from the land to cities, people in search of work etc, another consequence of neoliberalism, we see it in Ireland where the withdrawal of a range of services such as post offices, banks, closure of Garda stations, abscene of proper health care etc is making life almost impossible for those living in rural areas.

    Australia has many advantages and is at a certain crossroads on the US-Asian nexus, it is also underpopulated but the manner in which the aboriginal people have been treated is beyond disgraceful (no mention of that of course), there are also questions around how it treats foreign workers, reports from several Irish people I know out there are less than flattering.

    • Philip

      Spot on. There never was a food based Malthusian event in Ireland and there still is not one in existance today. It is a supply to the highest bidder game and always was.

      Google to your heart’s content: The amount of non-plant non mammalian oxygen breathing life just in Ireland and England alone outweighs (not outnumbers mind!) mammals (including people) by 12 to 1. India, Brazil etc and you can ramp that up beyond 20:1 Technically food is not a problem.

    • bonbon

      What and who was Malthus indeed. There was plenty of food in Ireland in 1846. That fact alone shows the so-called “famine” was a deliberate act of genocide. Ireland still has not recovered.

      So when we see the same policy carried out we must raise the alarm.

      The USA harvest and fires has caused major outcry against Obama’s biofuel diktat, sorry quota, and well it should. Today biofuels is the exact same Malthusian policy on a global scale.

  8. 20bn

    Even if we have 20bn people in the world in a few years time there will be plenty of food for mankind.

    Its easy . We adapt

    Like animals we have an inbred genetic imprint that knows how to cope . We must learn to find that in our ‘ celestial cranium’ and like the Borneo tribesman prey together.

    • Philip


      But I think we should listen to real a statistician who monitors population trends. As usual, the result is very counter intuitive.

      Assuming all remains stable, we may never ever go beyond 10bn.

      • Tony Brogan

        Good one, confirms everything I have come to expect. Good expectation that world population tops out about 10-12 billion.
        Technology and innovation will supply an ever better standard of living for a higher and higher percentage of the world.

      • Adam Byrne

        Yes, these problems will be solved in the medium to long term, but we are in for a rocky road in the short term.

    • Yes even if we reach 20bn we will adapt. Why not?

      That would certainly be ‘Pro Life’ lol

      The people who are concerned with population control and reduction are fanatics with a dark different agenda. Unfortunately they are getting too much air time

      A population of 500m is their wet dream because it would be easier to dominate 500m that it would 20BN

      I predict moon wobble followed by mass rioting John. Good luck

    • Willie C

      Funded by those objective scientists at the PRI;

      Population Research Institute PRI argues against the notion that human overpopulation is occurring, and refers to itself as a “pro-life” organization.
      PRI has in past years received funding from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.,[1] which is stated by a liberal watch-dog group as being “the country’s largest and most influential right-wing foundation”.[2]

  9. Philip

    Having read the article and seen the Sydney video, I could not help feeling is was a manifesto to promote global culling and global planning by large private organisations.

    The Malthus argument was utterly inappropriate for the Irish famine – Malthus described a physical barrier, but a commercial one. That famine was a deliberate commercial choice.

    We have big food companies lapping this up and making excuses to destroy and mdedicate large areas and deploy GM with great abandon. Insurance and health companies who will define how you shall eat if you are to be covered (hint…keep eating candy or you’ll lose yer meds insurance), banks living off the greatest ponzi scheme of them all – corporate farming and everyone buy a share. Oh…and energy, if you cannot mine it, grow it.

    A most irresponible article that juxtaposes vested interest mis-information with half baked science and half baked stats.

  10. Tony Brogan

    Producing a kilo of meat takes 10 kilos of fertiliser and 30 litres of oil, creates four tonnes of greenhouse gas and uses between 15,000 and 70,000 litres of water in a world where, by 2050, one third of the world’s population will face water shortages.

    I’d like to see how these stats are calculated
    Producing 2.2 lbs of meat uses 15-70,000 litres of water. you are saying that a farmer who hatches an egg, feeds and grows a table chicken that is eaten within 3 4 months consumes up to 15,000 gallons of water. The average household uses 350gals of water per day washing ,cleaning and flushing toilets.
    15,000 galls is 44, days of household use.
    So one chicken uses a fifth to a quarter of the same amount of water as a household.

    And 4 tonnes x 2 for a 4.5 lb chicken=8 tonnes of greenhouse gas per chicken. That is a lot of methane from a huge pile of manure.

    Are you sure you have the correct stats.

  11. Borneo Economics

    Imagine living naked , barefooted , nose pierced , tattoo coloured , carrying a spear , anorexic looking ,sharp senses, ability to read every leaf and branch in the jungle and understanding jungle sounds. His gold currency are human bones ….other bones are relegated to silver ( at least he owns them ) etc

    This man leaves no carbon print .

    He is self sufficient , happy and usually has many wives.

    Do you envy him?

    Now look at …..Modern Slave Man

    He is over dressed , over fed , carries a mobile phone , dull senses , cannot communicate properly in the first official language , and all music is based on rap talk…..and travels burning too much carbon print .He is not self sufficient and his currency is ‘ Credit’ …..which is borrowed anyway ……….and he feels miserable .

    You are what you Eat .

    • Philip

      Barefoot running is starting to come back. They are now finding that long term running on padded hi-tech footwear is smashing up hips and joints.

      I am half expecting a finding in the not too distant future that our houses are over heated/ insulated. We wash too much we eat too much and talk too much :). Generally we just do too much and never live.

      • Tony Brogan

        I love it. Just had a good belly laugh

      • Joe R

        Insulation, weather stripping and higher levels of air tightness increase the level of ground floor cancer causing radon gas trapped in the average house.

        Plus nobody really understands how the mryiad of various chemicals in our built environment – paints, glues, etc act on people and they are now being retained evermore in the air we breathe.

        And asthma is going through the roof!

        • coldblow

          Asthma is an interesting one. I think I heard/ read a doctor a couole of years ago associating it with the use of antibiotics at a very young agge.

          • Joe R

            I know there has been no real study about the range of chemical substances that presently are thrown together in the built environment generally, and in particular their combined symbiotic effects. People would be shocked to find out I think about the range of poisons in any form under their roofs.

        • SMOKEY

          Wow Joe, now yo are talking out of your own hole!
          Very few, less than half of one percent of the total stock of Irish homes are airtight.
          Of these, the passive design has required a heat recovery and fresh air system to compensate.
          If you insulaate your attic, even close to the standards that should be applied and draft strip your doors and windows, you will still have several natural complete air changes in your home every hour.
          Now as for Radon even the most suceptible areas have had Radon barriers installed in recent years and would prevent these gasses from entering the building. Fact is, in these areas of the country most of the doors and windows are not air tight regardless of manufacturer claims and have more air changes per hour than desired even with radon.
          Also, increased insulation and draught proofing will increase thermal comfort, reduce energy bills and cut down C-02 emissions. Not cause more cancer or asthma.
          Warmer home, less mold growth and moisture = less asthma.
          Now you go and do your research and when you know what you are talking about you get back to me.

          • Joe R

            What are you on about? Where did I mention about passive houses or air exchange rates?

            That information about the doubling of radon exposure due to BASIC weather-stripping and BASIC improvements in the general housing stock was available 20 years ago in leaving cert physics books here — no big secret.

            By BASIC I mean semi-decent metal or pvc double glazing window and door systems, cavity walls with 50-65mm insulation, roofs with 100-150mm insulation.

            Your comment about radon barriers shows your level of ignorance on the matter. It’s a gas. You have to mess with the pressure levels to guarantee success. Can’t you tell the difference between building industry sales spiel and scientific fact?

            I don’t do pretend research – I have real QUALIFICATIONS and EXPERIENCE. An honours degree in architecture, two BER qualifications, a rack of other courses completed including PP in architecture and 10 years of REAL working experience. So don’t attempt talk down to me about something a know alot more about.

      • coldblow

        “We wash too much”

        That’s actually one of modern civilization’s core values (and also in Brave New World) and you will get a few funny looks if you say it in public.

        • Tony Brogan

          I’ll drink to that,
          A good water wash a couple of times a week. no deodorants, very little soap. A good sweat twice a week followed by a wash down keeps one healthy and odor free, (can anyone notice their own odor?)
          In the good old days bath night was once a week and shared with a sibling.

    • Tony Brogan

      You are what you eat.
      Many look after the car better than themselves.
      Best fuel, regular service checks, polish and clean.And take the car for a good spin to ensure smooth operation.

      The owner, eats fries , coke, and manufactured oils, and cheap compound carbohydrates

    • bonbon

      Actually not long ago, some believed they were what they ate, their relatives, and captures warriors.

      But that’s all just a matter of taste.

      • Ah sure Tam, tis just the way it is

        • bonbon

          Treasure Island where Orson Wells (the best version I think) he explains where he got the name Long John Silver to Hawkins. It’s French, he said, for cannibalism. Its the only version that shows that. I am not sure if the original book had that.

          Silver was what he ate! I wonder if that’s what happened to Captain Flint?

    • Dorothy Jones

      :) John

      • Dorothy Jones

        My dear John, you definitely can not be compared to a computer programme! Do you see yourself as Borneo Man or White Slave? [Think I know the answer!]

    • Jesus. You were thinking about David when you wrote this.

  12. Stiofan

    David, the Chinese in particular are attracted to Australian farming land. They have a great idea that strangely works against their own interests. They want to FRAC the hell out of it, suck up some gas, and ruin it for agriculture. It does seem bizarre, but is quite true. A great deal of prime agricultural land along the Australian east coast has the attention of the FRACers. You may imagine that, as in Ireland, a large opposition is growing in response.

    For myself, I became vegetarian 35 years ago, in Australia as it turns out. Using your figures I calculate that I’ve saved 7.35 tonnes of fertilizer, 2205 litres of diesel, 2,940,000 litres of water and failed to produce 294 tonnes of greenhouse gas (believing that your figures were cow farts, not tractor exhaust). If 20 million Australians (only one large Chinese city) had all taken the same decision in 1977 the savings would be 147,000,000 tonnes of fertilizer, 44,100,000,000 litres of diesel, 58,800,000,000,000 of water and failed to produce 5,880,000,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas. Impressive figures you might think. And then you thought how many more people there are in China than Australia.

    I have the obvious answer. China must become vegetarian. God, they are Communist, ruled by edict. One word (well a few hieroglyphs) from the Politburo and the planet’s problems are sorted. They have a new lad. He could do the business right away and The West is all clear to have McDonald’s for dinner this evening. Why are they waiting? Is it a plot?

    • cooldude

      One of my main interests is natural health so I know a little about how food is produced. The figures David mentions (and they do sound huge) refer to large , factory type farms, where the animals are reared in confined space and rarely if ever see the light of day. This type of farming is without doubt harmful to the environment and the meat and poultry that is produced is usually got high levels of antibiotics and growth hormones and is not optimal to consume for health. The way forward is sustainable farming where the land is used intensely but without the use of oil based fertilizers. This is a much more sustainable type of farming than rearing animals in confined factory farms or the equally destructive monoculture where the same crop (usually GMO) is simply planted year after year eroding the top soil and it’s nutrients. Here is a video in which Dr Joseph Mercola interviews Joel Salatin about this type of intensive sustainable mixed organic farming. This is the way forward and this farmer is making $5000 per acre from his farm compared to an average of $300 by using this type of advanced sustainable farming

      • Adam Byrne

        Would there be enough land in the world to feed 7bn people using these methods?

        • Tony Brogan

          You can try in Dominica, You should on 10 acres have enough for 6 wives there Adam.(offspring included) Paradise regained!

          • Adam Byrne

            No more wives for me Tony. 2 was enough! I am not worried about feeding myself or my daughter but just wondering if cooldude’s Utopia is achievable? I don’t estimate that there’s enough land for it to be possible to operate like that and feed 7bn.

          • Tony Brogan

            Hi Adam,
            In a past life I was an agriculteral contractoer in the North Peace of BC. It is a very productice wheat belt as well as other things like grass seed, canola oil etc.

            In the 60′s big agribusiness came up from Vancouver and bought miles of territory. Farms had been 160 acres upward and fanily units were expanding to 3-4000 acres. that is 4-5 square miles at 640 acres per sq. mile.

            Big Agro had 30-40000 acres and they knocked out all the hedges, windbreaks etc so they couls use mega big tractore towing several instument for tillage and seeding at a TIME.

            Yields per acre pluneted from 35 -40 bussles of wheat to the acre to 15/ acre. Half. Extensive use of uniculture used pesticides and chemical fertilizers etc.All this grain went to the ago bis feedlots in the lower mainland. Hogs and cattle.

            Returned to sustainable husbandry and smaller units this land will produce 2-3 times its current out put.

            Also even as far north as Fort Nelson if one went into the river valleys there is incredible rich soils rhat bon bon wants to submerge with his mega project. Vegitables of all kinds can be grown between late May and early Sept frost free. Being as far north in the summer ther are 18 hours of daylight and 70-90 deg temperatures giving and incredible boost to the growing season

            Modern transit would have this produce south in 24 hours. Carbon footprint is no problem. There are lots of flights not nearly full so a few tons of produce aboard is not noticed.
            Barge transit to the Arctic is available as a very cheap transit (Unless bon bon uses all the water of puts a dam or two in the way)
            roar transport is 900miles but easy to Vancouver. Raillinks are available too at much closer places for continental transit.

            Point is there are huge untapped resources and inefficient use of resources waiting to be tapped.

          • Adam Byrne

            Good info Tony, but I’m talking about Africans and Asians too, that’s where the population growth is.

          • Tony Brogan

            Yes I realize. Your question is valid and the point I wished to make was that smaller is better in farming as far as productivity per acre is concerned and that there is scope for it anywhere one cares to look.

  13. bonbon

    It is high time Malthus was mentioned by economists. to give just a taste of what this is all about here is an excerpt from his tome :

    “We are bound in justice and honour formally to disdain the Right of the poor to support. “To this end, I should propose a regulation to be made, declaring that no child born from any marriage taking place after the expiration of a year from the date of the law, and no illegitimate child born two years from the same date, should ever be entitled to parish assistance…. “The infant is, comparatively speaking, of little value to society, as others will immediately supply its place.”

    –Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population

    “All children who are born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the death of grown persons…. Therefore … we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlement in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and restrain those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they are doing a service to mankind by protecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders.”

    –Malthus, ibid.

    • bonbon

      The Club of Rome

      “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. But in designating them as the enemy, we fall into the trap of mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

      –Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution, 1991

    • bonbon

      Fritz Leutwiler, Bank for International Settlements

      “It means the reduction of real income in countries where the majority of the population is already living at the minimum existence level or even under it. That is difficult, but one cannot spare the highly indebted countries this difficult path. It is unavoidable.”

      –Fritz Leutwiler, chairman, Bank for International Settlements, 1982

      “Fritz speaks with his guts. If he had his way, he would kill them all, in the Third World, except a few raw materials producers, of course.”

      –One of Leutwiler’s fellow Geneva bankers

    • bonbon

      Thomas Lovejoy, World Wildlife Fund

      “The biggest problems are the damn national sectors of these developing countries. These countries think that they have the right to develop their resources as they see fit. They want to become powers.”

      –Thomas Lovejoy, vice president, World Wildlife Fund U.S.A., 1984

    • Tony Brogan

      A nasty man bon bon, this Malthus

      • bonbon

        Malthus was an amateur compared to Paul Ehrlich or Dr. Schellnhuber.

        But thanks to great Australian humor – see below, easy to deal with!

      • StephenKenny

        I don’t expect so – at least no more than was normal in the 18th century.

        What is unattractive to modern political activists about people such as Malthus, and Adam Smith, is that they were very astute observers of the society that they saw around them, and that these observations were not inherently linked to their proposed solutions, where they had them.

        It might be said that over the past 150 years the idea of objective observation has declined to the point where, today, there is, effectively, none. Data is gathered, interpreted, and increasingly simply invented, merely to support the dogmas of those involved – politicians, public sector staff, corporations, and academics.

        One of the most profound problems we face today stems from the complete disappearance of the idea of the search for truth, in academia as well as in society generally, over the past 30 years.

        Malthus recognised the that most human systems exist in a state of what is now known as dynamic equilibrium. The cycles that make this up are exacerbated by intervention. Malthus’s fundamental point is that, given that almost all human intervention is on the side of the increased survival, that the cycle would be exacerbated, leading, eventually, to famine.

        What he failed to see, probably because technological change in his day was still very slow, was that technological improvement would increase food yields dramatically, and improved transport and preservation technologies would enable food to be transported over tremendous distances. It is worth remembering that in his day, almost everyone worked on the land; even wars were stopped to enable the soldiers to go back for the harvest.

        As with many from these and earlier times, the relevant thing isn’t what his proposed solutions were, but that he had them at all. It is interesting to consider how future generations will view our solutions.

        Most political groups, in spite of their almost endless pseudo-intellectual rantings, are simply groups of indifferent, and generally corrupt, people, who are so breathtakingly arrogant as to believe they should manage and direct everyone’s lives and activities.

        For all of my life, I’ve listened to wave after wave of these people, and it never ceases to astonish me that in spite of the unspeakable horrors inflicted on tens and hundreds of millions, by these people, and those they support, that they carry on with their endless streams of childish, ranting, nonsense.

        Perhaps humans are, in fact, naturally evil, and all that is necessary for a genocidal lunatic like Hitler, Lenin, or Stalin, is to stand for election and promise a gender-neutral solar panel for every worker, and they’ll get 90% of the vote.

        • bonbon

          Please view the Australian point of view on Dr. Schellnhuber, Malthus on steroids, OBE.

          Let’s offer a carbon friendly rope to anyone who stands at a podium “observing” the need to reduce the worlds population to 1 billion.

  14. molly

    Thank god for Australia because Ireland would be lost without it,people in power took Ireland apart and now they don’t no how to put it back together .
    The people who dismantled Ireland made sure that its who and what you know and what ever you do don’t get in there way or they will roll over you.
    How many of the Irish people who went to Australia had to go ,how many are there because they left a pile of debts behind them .
    How does this impact on the current dole figures we see at home.

    • People in power always look after themselves and their clients and Ireland is a state where cleintilism and corruption flourishes

      Ordinary Irish people have the ability to leave the sod and sentiment behind to go where there is work. They always have done, always will do and their energy and brains will help them succeed

      The reason so many of them succeed is that they are Irish but not living in Ireland

      Next time you watch RTE News and Weather check out the presenters. There is no way these people would make it in another country. Half of them don’t don’t look right and they are a mess

      • Adam Byrne

        Yep, the world is your oyster – get out there and WORK YOUR NUTS off, it’s the only way. One day things will be better here. Like Ha-Joon Chang, I am pessimistic in the short term but optimistic over the longer term.

        • molly

          What makes we sick is on the rte news the electricians union looking for a pay rise ,right or wrong and a government minister saying the time is not right for pay rises what a nerve.
          It’s time for this government to take a pay decrease and an expense decrease or even better they should take a hike.
          I want to be payed to travel to work,ifs its good for the big fat government goose its good enough for the foolish people who voted the shower of self serving tossers in.

        • You are right Adam. Study hard at what you are good at and go fetch. I do what I do and am very much looking forward to bumping into hilarious Belgian women on my travels over the Indian Ocean

          There is a life out there.

  15. This is a week when Ireland is under the international microscope for all the usual reasons. The stupidity and ultra conservative extreme right wing tendency of this screwed up nation has become exposed and is the the laughing stock of the civilised world. Most Irish people right now are ashamed and asking deep questions. They don’t really care about Sydney Australia

    A matter of wonder across the civilised world which has screwed the Irish tourist industry at a stroke. Who’d would want to come this brainwashed depressing dark place that obviously still lives under the iron rule of a backward Roman dictatorship that is despised thoughout the modern world and is centuries behind the times?

    Especially when you consider the prices they are charging. I think not.

    • Adam Byrne

      Well said Paul. Disgraceful and barbarian.

    • Tony Brogan

      I have met all manner of people this last 5 weeks from all over the country.I have not found people ashamed, but they are outraged.
      Questions are asked about how their government did what they did.
      People are stirring and in group after group are gathering in protest.
      A new political option is born and growing that offers a form of government proposed uner the original constution but denied to them since. But can be restored without constitional change as it was never legally repealed.
      It offes the chance gor citizen initiated referendum and recall. It requirs only 75000 signitures to force a referendum.
      We know votes have been ignored by the polititions but with recall restored those politicians would be fired one by one and by the people.

      Hope springs eternal and you only have to take a hold of the process and get involved for it to grow.

      This is a socially somehwhat conservative nation but socialistic economically.What in Canada is known as Progressive conservatives. There is an oxymoron.

      Take heart Pauldiv, the country is not yet dead and buried.

      • Tony Brogan

        uner the original constution
        under the original constitution

      • I do take heart actually

        I take heart when I see people marching in Dublin and Galway in protest at this outrage

        I take heart knowing that there are people in Ireland who think for themselves and who stand up in public and express the minds and feelings of the progressive majority. This is not the 1800s Tony

        Progressive is just a limp wristed adjective for conservatives who don’t want change. It is a wash out and an intellectually hollow concept that means nothing. Change yes but not too much of it. They are dominated by Catholic dogma that has become a national disease. Fuck Catholicism

        Enda is Progressive. Enda is uber cool

        At least he will soon be after he has recovered from the toe up the arse he is about to receive

        Enda epitomises what we despise deep down. He is the last of a breed of politicians who came from the same breed as P Flynn

        A fly man from a backwater

        • Adam Byrne

          Enda is a twat as we all know, and a twat who is hopelessly and woefully out of his depth.

          I noticed a good bit of marching on the news today, maybe the worm is finally beginning to turn? If so, it’s a pity that it took the tragic death of an innocent young woman to start if off.

        • coldblow

          Paul, on the contrary my heart sinks and in my view these people are not thinking for themselves. How can you say this country is dominated by Catholic dogma? The current dogma is that we are dominated by Catholic dogma – there’s a big difference.

          • The Bishops are still dictating and some politicians are still controlled by them and the herd. These politicians are therefore flawed and incapable

            It’s time we packed the whole franchise off to Rome free of charge and started to live and think for ourselves. There are still groups of catholic ultras who are a danger and politicians who dare not tackle them lest their own parties are exposed for sins of the past. Skeletons everywhere

            I’ll read the link later coldbow. The Celtic game is about to start

          • I think you might be right. They are like overgrown children turning up for school every day waiting for their orders and looking for teachers approval. They are incapable of even making the most basic of decisions never mind taking the initiative. Then again taking the initiative is seen as a threat to lazy people who are scared of progress. This is ultra conservatism at work. It is backward, dangerous and only serves to make us appear mentally retarded

            We have to keep moving and find our way in the world without crutches like the church and Europe. If people see that we don’t respect ourselves then how can we expect THEM to respect US? We need to grow up here

            Parliamentary democracy is anti-democracy. It is mob rule and in modern Ireland we still have some vile mobs. Imagine being told you can’t exercise your will on a free vote. If someone told me how to vote I’d be happy to tell them to fuck right off. Who do these people (political parties and trade unions) they think they are?

            As for the link. Read the first two sentences again. This guy is a class 1 moron who is no master of the English language. He is one fucking twat and to think he gets paid by a national rag is amazing in the extreme. The crass ambuguity in the first two sentences alone explains why he is not writing for the Guardian and is typical of the half assed efforts of a lot of Irish jounalists

            I could better myself

  16. Adam Byrne

    You can put links to Dropbox images. Georg Baumann did it a few times. That way at least they are not directly on the site as well. I would imagine all you have to do is make the particular Dropbox folder ‘Public’ although I haven’t tried myself.

  17. Casablanca

    David can you report on this recent gathering ?

  18. bonbon

    It is time, to speak of many things…
    Today’s Most Influential Malthusian Prize might be granted to Dr. Hans-Joachim (John to his friends) Schellnhuber. Hardly up to his personally bequeathed honor of OBE by Her Majesty Herself.

    As a physicist of “chaos theory” he moved into Climate research. He advised Tony Blair and the US Congress. He is the “carbon footprint” and total decarbonization specialist who very influentially declares the population must be reduced to 1 billion. If one follows these policies that will happen indeed.

    Upon telling the Obama crew that he thought the U.S. would have to bring itself down to 0 carbon emissions by 2020, Schellnhuber was told that his proposals were “not grounded in political reality.” He concluded that the U.S. was “climate illiterate.

    But when he turned up in Australia recently he was very surprised :

    Ireland needs Australian humor!

  19. bonbon

    A tale of Jackboots in Three-Piece Suits: Austerity Induced Triage for Italy’s Elderly

    Nov. 16, 2012 (EIRNS) — As in Greece, expensive medications are beginning to be denied in Italy for the elderly, as a consequence of the EU-dictated austerity implemented by the Monti government. It has been reported that the Veneto region has cut the distribution of an anti-cancer drug to women over 65, Abraxane, which is indicated for metastatic and/or recurrent breast cancer. A course of treatment with Abraxane costs EU8,733, and it has been replaced with a cheaper drug (EU2,208), which is less effective and more dangerous. The total monetary savings in Veneto will be EU1.5 million — leaving out the cost in human lives.
    The Italian National Health Service provides health insurance for every Italian citizen, but the list of medications provided by the NHS is decided every year by a commission on a regional basis, which decision is then approved by a central authority.

  20. David NZ

    Cotton is a water-thirsty crop, so is rice. Switching out of these crops might be a better use of resources.
    Australia has rich river water basins already in use, saline contamination of the soil is a problem in these areas.
    There are proposals to channel water from the Northern Territory to the Southern states. No doubt there will be unforeseen environmental consequences as a result of doing this.
    Getting wattle (accacia) based feed crops to grow in the semi arid areas of Australia and relying on the natural ability of local plants to survive in these areas might be a better bet than irrigating the ancient soils of this land. Australia is no great prairie or fertile loess steppe.
    Did Ireland not once have 8 million people, and now it has 4? The humble potato supported more people on smaller plots of land, once the blight occurred, no other crop could come close to supporting the same amount of people, not wheat, not barley. Notwithstanding the incompetance and the ignorance of the British, what happened in the 1840′s was a technical challenge that was never really solved.
    Man might be technically able to solve problems in the long run but short term changes to a long term pattern of existence often have irreversible consequences.
    Getting people to eat more potatoes, fewer goats, more chicken is less extreme than making everyone go vegetarian, suitable changes in local diets could go a long way to easing pressure on the total food supply.
    More dams to catch rainfall, less use of groundwater.
    Small changes, big results.

    • Adam Byrne

      Can’t beat a nice goat curry or goat ‘water’ (soup)!

    • Adam Byrne

      Good info David NZ, thanks.

    • bonbon

      On the greatest water and power alliance ever planned have a look at the flyby here which spans from Mexico to the Arctic. Think on a grand scale, do not ever accept the Empire’s Lilliputian decrees :

      NAWAPA XXI Animated Overview

      This was planned originally in the 1960′s, updated now. Based on Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA, which actually was inspired by the Irish Shannon Scheme. The 3-Gorges was built on plans TVA chief Lilianthal brought to China.

      The real bread basket for Eurasia is Africa —
      totally neglected, subjected to genocide for decades:

      Transaqua: An Idea For The Sahel

      The Potential of the Nile River Basin, And The Economic Development of Sudan

      One can see with Egypt, Sudan and Libya all attempts at breaking out of the clutches of Empire are being systematically smashed.

      Here are great maps including Africa and Australia as well as China.

      MAPS of Great Infrastructure Development Projects Around the World

    • bonbon

      Australia has a great future — see the list of massive projects now on the table :

      Facing the Depression: Australia’s Blueprint for Economic Development

      And water is a major part.

      • Adam Byrne

        Where are they getting the water from Mr. bonbon?


        Sorry, don’t have time to read the link right this minute.

        • bonbon

          I wanted to show the maps, very nicely presented, to get across the sheer scale of the problems and the the approach.

          Even better are animated flyovers with (google) maps.

          • Adam Byrne

            Ok fine but just tell me quickly if you would, where is the water from Australia going to come from in basic terms? Thanks.

        • bonbon

          Below I post 2 maps with inserts for each Australian area detailing the kind of problem and the way to deal with them, two 3mb Acrobat files but well worth the images.
          Here is only a brief extract – it is a continent!

          12. Melbourne. Melbourne’s chronic water shortages could easily be solved in the short term by using stormwater and treating and reusing wastewater, or, in the longer term, by nuclear desalination of seawater.

          15. Adelaide. Like those of Melbourne and Perth, Adelaide’s chronic water problems could be easily solved through nuclear desalination.

          17. Esperance to Kalgoorlie. United Utilities Australia has proposed to desalinate seawater off Esperance and pipe it to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, to solve the region’s water shortage, a proposal most effectively done by nuclear desalination.

          18. Perth/Wheat Belt. In the short term, if desalinated seawater were pumped from Esperance to Kalgoorlie, this would enable the water now pumped to Kalgoorlie in the Mundaring-Kalgoorlie pipeline to stay in the Perth area. Ultimately, Perth should expand its supplies through nuclear desalination of seawater.

        • Adam. It is pointless to argue with HAL. HAL is too smart

          Space Odyssey is a great film for it’s time (1968). I don’t know if you’ve seen it but it is very good

          I think of HAL when I see activity from Bonbon and I laugh, mostly. Last time I saw Space Odyssey HAL had quite an effect on me and it made me waken up. Seriously it did. The Governments are HAL now

          Mr Bonbon can be nice and sweet like strabwerry bonbons and at other times he is sour and bitter like lemon bonbons

          Which reminds me. There is a place I know where they sell quarter pounds of sweets in paper bags

          Go on gies one of yer bonbons?

          Aye fine but it’s cost ye

          • Adam Byrne

            One of my favourite all time movies, have watched it dozens of times and have read all of Arthur C. Clarke’s books, not just the 2001 series.

    • bonbon

      The real bread basket for Eurasia is Africa —
      totally neglected, subjected to genocide for decades:

      Transaqua: An Idea For The Sahel

      The Potential of the Nile River Basin, And The Economic Development of Sudan

      One can see with Egypt, Sudan and Libya all attempts at breaking out of the clutches of Empire are being systematically smashed.

      Here are great maps including Africa and Australia as well as China.

      MAPS of Great Infrastructure Development Projects Around the World

    • bonbon

      On the greatest water and power alliance ever planned have a look at the flyby here which spans from Mexico to the Arctic. Think on a grand scale, do not ever accept the Empire’s Lilliputian decrees :

      NAWAPA Animated Overview

      This was planned originally in the 1960′s, updated now. Based on Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA, which actually was inspired by the Irish Shannon Scheme. The 3-Gorges was built on plans TVA chief Lilianthal brought to China.

  21. Tony Brogan

    Going back a theme. Is the US recovering or are we seeing only the monetary effect of QE increasing the statistical GDP while the economy continues to sink.
    Remember Stagflation?

    • I would have thought it was obvious by now that the US is a sham. Everyone is in denial in this regard. Tell me one thing about the US that makes you feel positive. Seriously. Apart from Bruce

      More spent on defence than the next ten countries combined, in twelve wars at the present time and in serious hawk to China. Communities broken by endless war and the return of soldiers who are suicidal or ready for intensive medical care for life (as long as they are privately insured)

      1.4 Million Walmart workers about to strike on Black Friday because they are not earning a living wage and the low wage model is stifling the economy. 50 Million without healthcare and millions living in poverty (because they can’t find a job that pays a decent wage, presumably)

      When some of you guys talk about the US as some sort of Nirvana I wonder what planet you are all living on

      What the fuck is wrong with your brains?

  22. Tony Brogan

    When the host dies, what then?

    Joel Bowman —The Daily Reckoning.

    When a company peddling sugar-infused cream rolls to the most obese population on the planet goes broke, you know market conditions have broken down.

    Yesterday, Hostess Brands Inc., the company responsible for such delightful dietary abominations as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Suzy Q’s and, of course, Drake’s Coffee Cakes, filed a motion for bankruptcy.

    Too bad. It seems Colorado and Washington states just couldn’t legalize marijuana fast enough to bolster demand lines for the financially-addled junk food outfit.

    The Hostess announcement might have caused a wave of relief for clogged arteries and strained, double-wide diner stools around the country, but it also means 18,000 now-former workers added to the nation’s growing un- and under-employed lists. The move will also involve the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.


    In a cruel, though not-unusual, twist of fate, many of those 18,000 workers were involved in the very strikes that ultimately crippled the company.

    Double ouchie!

    The Ho Ho’s purveyors closed up shop after a weeklong standoff with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM). Yes, such a thing actually exists. A statement released by the company read:
    The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities.
    “We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike,” warned Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer, on Wednesday. “Therefore, if sufficient employees do not return to work by 5 p.m., EST, on Thursday to restore normal operations, we will be forced to immediately move to liquidate the entire company, which will result in the loss of nearly 18,000 jobs.”

    Not good enough, retorted the unionists.

    “Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years,” union president, Frank Hurt, said in a statement earlier this week. “Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.”

    When workers didn’t return to man the mixers, Hostess shuttered shop…causing a flurry of #HostessShrugged hashtags to light up the Twittersphere.

    BCTGM, which represents more than 80,000 industry workers, argued that the company’s policies would send its members back to workplace standards of the 1950s…back when people earned a 1950s wage and benefits package for performing a 1950s job…like quality control management on the Zingers and Sno Balls production line.

    So just how hard done by were the browbeaten proletariats manning the Twinkie timers?

    The mean hourly wage for the designation of “bakeries and tortilla manufacturers” was $12.57 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers manning the Hostess picket lines this week were earning roughly 35% more than the national average.

    “The union’s demands had plagued Hostess for years, forcing – through the legalized monopolization of labor supply – wages that the market wouldn’t bear,” writes Bob Confer in a column for The New American. “The striking line workers were paid healthy salaries, $16 to $18 per hour. In a low-profit, low-selling-price business such as baked goods, those wages aren’t sustainable, especially considering that baking and distribution involve a lot of manpower.”

    “Hostess was looking for wage concessions of only eight percent,” continued Confer. “Even after the cuts, Hostess still would have been paying their workers handsomely, 24 percent more than the industry norm. Mind you, this one-year cut would have been followed by guaranteed wage increases of three percent in each of the three years that followed, capped off by one percent in the fourth year. So, the pain would have been only temporary and cancelled out in just three years.”

    Apparently, BCTGM had confused the relationship between employer and employee. It is a privilege to work for a company, not a right. Pension plans, medical coverage and other bells and whistles are not something automatically owing to each and every person capable of holding up a sign demanding such things. To the extent that these modern day luxuries are offered at all, they are offered at the behest of the company’s owners and/or management.

    There will, no doubt, be complaints about the “greedy capitalists” who took advantage of the poor, helpless worker class. And, to be sure, insiders did award themselves some rather hefty raises when it became obvious the company had no viable economic future. (The CEO was gifted a somewhat tasteless 300% raise after the company filed its first bankruptcy suit earlier this year.)

    But if the capitalists are so greedy, so profiteering, why stay and toil for them? If workers are unhappy, if they feel themselves poorly treated, they are free to leave and seek other employment at any time. They are also free to “down spatulas” and to collectively bargain…just as they are free to strike themselves out of a job.

    The truth is that, without “greedy capitalists,” unions of the world wouldn’t ever have a Hostess to kill. So, our congratulations go to the aptly-named, Mr. Hurt. Now you and your comrades-in-arms can feast on 100% of the Cup Cakes that Hostess will never make.

    • Harper66

      What is the point of posting this?

      • Tony Brogan

        In an economy where jobs are hard to retain, never mind getting a new one it is an example of how irrational some can be. These would rather be out of work by breaking the corporation. Is the union acting in its own best interest and that of its members.

        It is a reminder that without savings invested to acquire capital, that is the basis of business, there are no businesses. Without someone taking this risk there are no jobs.

        In this case the business could not survive on the margins imposed by the union. The union was not working in cooperation with but in conflict with the business.

        As the writer said, if the pay and conditions were so bad the workers are not forced to be there . Now it appears the union has decided to take away the choice. Everyone lost a job even if they did not want to move.

        Unions can be as dumb as government. It appears that the union thought it had a right to things it didn’t.

        This in a country with 46 million on food stamps.

        • bonbon

          Strange, so it is now the unions that caused the financial collapse. How Wall Street stringers twist and turn.

          There is a physical economic collapse going on, and Reconstruction is the key. The harmony of interests cannot function as long as this is not addressed. The is deadly serious disharmony because of this financial collapse.

          Address that. No job is safe, no firm either. To impose brutal austerity on workers is self destructive like gov’t's imposing brutal austerity on nations.

          • Tony Brogan

            You are the LaRouche stringer that twists and turns in this case.
            The first sentence of yours is a complete misreprentation of what was said.

          • bonbon

            The last sentence is precise – brutal austerity whether by firms or gov’t's is counterproductive.

        • Harper66


          That article you posted is grubby, sneering and mean spirited and the very antithesis of informed debate.

          You did not mention ” insiders did award themselves some rather hefty raises when it became obvious the company had no viable economic future. (The CEO was gifted a somewhat tasteless 300% raise after the company filed its first bankruptcy suit earlier this year.)”

          The actions of the board and management of this company in awarding themselves huge rises while asking workers to take a cut was also part of the problem with this company. Unreal expectations on both sides.

          I know of an company that went to the wall. The workers were left with nothing and the week before the company was wound down the directors drew down massive payments.

          I can also give the example of a much smaller company that has survived the onslaught of the last five years and is still trading today. Run by two razor sharp business men. The company faced major losses in 2010. Instead of taking the equity out of the company in bonuses the owners put the money back into the company. The workers agreed to take a pay cut and things are improving.

          I ask you which is the better model ? I know my answer.

          • Tony Brogan

            Well I assume you think the latter model is the better one. So the article may have been”grubby, sneering and mean spirited” according to you but you do not know it is not informed opinion.
            In your preferred model it seems that the parties worked together for mutual benefit and that is applauded.
            In the account presented it suggested that the workers were paid well but asking for more. I do not agree with the management skimming off the top but I also do not agree to the tail wagging the dog.

            So the posting of the article has allowed you to present your opinion which is all to the good.

  23. Great link for you Davido. Giles, Grey and Bremner 1970. What a game!

    • 4 days later …

      136,000 bums on seats (officialy that is). Brother was in the Rangers end a there was plenty of room to stand and extra room for the cairy oot bags too. Makes you wonder what the Celtic end was like!

      Check out David Francey, famous Scottish football commentator. 1971 Scottish cup final. Lived up the road from us but he was a pure hun apparently

      Oh my god! And this is a tragedy for Leeds United !!
      Now you see why Celtic decided to play this little chap today. (Macari)

  24. Dorothy

    Borneo Economics includes free medicine , hospitalisation, and social welfare .Profits are socialised and benefits all free too .

    Nobody preaches about Sin that is a foreign thought that plagues only outsiders that might visit them.Why ask ?

    Modern Man has now before their eyes the immediate issues of TODAY ….MOON WOBBLE

    Current Probabilities

    The probability of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza – 90%.

    An invasion of Lebanon – 70%.

    An conventional attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure before the end of January 2013 – 65%.

    Use of tactical nuclear weapons on Iran’s deep under ground nuclear infrastructure – 40%.

    Probability that Iran will do a deal with the US / UN and disarm before being attacked – 20%.

    Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac. – George Orwell

    The question I ask now is :

    How will Bones and Gold find a Price on …The Markets tomorrow ?

    • Dorothy Jones


      Whale Noises

      At the end of the day; a person’s life is defined by a few moments.

      Whales can communicate through deep waters for distances which are vast.

      Water will laways find its own level; whalebone and oil are still traded.

      Notwithstanding; these creatures will survive in the face of diversity.

      David McWilliams is a 1966′er like me. He is a very honest and upstanding person.

      I have never seen any person act in a manner as open and transparent as he does. Whether one agrees or not is another matter, but he sets out his stall, works hard, and is a good person with an incisive vision.

      The world is a better place because of this honesty; and we communicate on this platform at because of our host’s endeavours.


      I also have to work every waking hour to get by, and I am happy and lucky to have my health to be able to do so.

  25. bonbon

    He’s Crazy -“Bloomberg would rather the homeless starve than eat too much salt.”

    17 Nov. (LPAC)–Are you homeless in New York City? Then you’re in luck. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is so concerned about your health, that he has banned private food donations to homeless shelters in order to keep you from consuming too much salt and too much fat and not enough fiber. So, instead of eating a home cooked meal that may cause you to gain a few pounds, you might not eat at all, and therefore gain nothing!
    Bloomberg wants you to eat less salt

    • Tony Brogan

      The pros and cons re the Canadian wheat Board have been back and forth.
      It only applies to interprovincial sales and not intraprovincial sales.
      There have been times where the grain price offerred by the Canadian wheatboard had be substantially below world price.
      Farmers decided to load up trucks and take the wheat over the border into the US to get the higher prices.
      The result was arrest and jail time for a number of farmers.
      It would seem that if the Canadian wheat board was so good for the wheat farmer then there would be no arguement. BUT
      It only applied to western Canada. That is west of Ontatio. Ontario farmers were free to do as they please.
      BC farmers and alberts farmers could also sell within the province without the use of the Wheat board to the extensive feed lots in the south of the Province(s)
      So it is more correctly called the Western Canadian wheat board and is a relic of the days where Central Canada had the economic clout which is steadily moving westward.

  26. bonbon

    Here is a full map of Australia with water problems :

    Australia water problems

    And here is how to deal with these (a beautiful map) :

    New Great Water Projects

  27. tony_murphy


    “Up to now, there have been enormous changes in technology which have kept yields high, and this will obviously have to continue. ”

    do you mean GMO?

    Do you think it’s ok to have GMO in the food chain?

    As for Australia been a lucky country, I don’t agree. They’ve got a ridiculous government who bend to the new world order globalist banking demons at every opportunity. Like paying CARBON DIOXIDE Taxes to Al Gore and the likes.

    And then just wait until China invades them in WWIII. WWIII seems like the current scheme being plotted by the globalist elite to gain even more power, like they did in WW1 and WW2. It’s a locality I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near

    • bonbon

      Maize, that great food crop, is GM from the get go. Nothing you eat does not involve gene modification, which goes on in the “wild” all the time, but at a slower rate.
      Hybrid seeds have revolutionized food.

      Problems begin with patenting genes, then Monsanto’s infamous sterile seed licencing. This part of the Empires cartels threshing the breadbaskets of the world including in Australia.

      Australia has plans for all its water challenges see the links above, on a grand scale. China also, link also above. the only problem is greenie imperial diktats to be Lilliputian.

      • tony_murphy

        GMO is suspected of causing cancers, and screwing up our immune systems – resulting in allergies and neurological problems left right and centre

        there can be nothing good about crops that kill the bugs when the eat them.

        GMO’s can only be seen as progressive if your intent is eugenics and mass culling of population IMO

        • Tony Brogan

          Here are a selection of essays on GM food. It is not the modification per se but the ingestion of the chemicals put on the crops that cause the harm
          Toxic substances are absorbred into the soil and the plant. These toxins are passed into the food chain bot from us eating the meats and the vegitables themselves.
          Evidence is building that sterility is a growing problem. One experiment suggested that after 5 generations fed fed on GM foods there is complete sterility.
          Other problems affect organs and some are carcinogenic.

        • bonbon

          Stopping hybrid seed research is pure eugenics. Luckily China is doing its own developments. Lucky for all south east Asia in fact. Doubling food production is now our critical target.
          Besides the Monsanto criminality against humanity, the entire debate is based on simply non-scientific opinions. Gene exchange has been going on for 500 million years at least. Maize is a human developed seed that cannot developed without our husbandry. The Inca’s who started that were very smart indeed.

          The real Green Revolution has shown what can be done with food development. The criminal greenie counter revolution of burning food potential , biofuels, is eugenic. That Obama diktat quota must be stopped.

        • bonbon

          Lack of food is suspected of causing death by starvation. Food prices caused by biofuel speculation are suspected of causing death by starvation.

          Mayor Bloomberg of NY has stopped all food handouts to the homeless now including Sandy victims, because he suspects salt and fat cause health problems. He might even suspect GM food there. How concerned he is indeed!

  28. bonbon


    Nov. 18 (EIRNS)–”German fascism took six years of war to kill 56 million people–the neo-liberal economic order easily does the same in a little more than a year,” said Jean Ziegler, the Swiss national who formerly served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and is now Vice President of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council, in an interview with the Berlin left-wing newspaper {Junge Welt} Nov. 16.
    Ziegler has just released a book entitled {We Let Them Starve, Mass Destruction in the Third World}, in which he describes exactly how the mass starvation is being carried out by the dominant world financial powers. “For the people of the South, the Third World War has already begun,” he said.
    Children are being murdered by unnecessary starvation, he charges. This is not an objective problem. There are four main mechanisms by which this is carried out:
    1) Speculation in basic foodstuffs, including by the cartels
    2) The increasing use of bio-fuels: “To burn hundreds of millions of tons of food on a planet where every five seconds a child starves, is a crime against humanity.”
    3) The indebtedness of Third World countries
    4) Agricultural dumping in the Third World- also known as free trade.

  29. bonbon


    Nov. 18 (LPAC)–On Nov. 16, the Obama Administration finally gave its response to the request by 8 governors and a large number of livestock, poultry, and dairy organizations to institute a waiver on the Renewable Fuel Standard mandate, thus reducing the amount of increasingly scarce grains that will be diverted in biofuels. It gave them the back of its hand.
    “EPA finds that the evidence and information does not support a determination that implementation of the RFS program during the 2012-2013 time period would severely harm the economy of a State, a region, or the United States,” the EPA press release said.
    The EPA lied. The biofuels mandate is taking up a huge percentage of the shrunken corn crop, with the result of raising the price of feed costs for cattlemen and other livestock producers, to the point of driving increasing numbers out of business. This process has similarly driven up food prices for the consumer, and will lead eventually to food shortages, as well.
    As the recent book by UN Special Rapporteur Jean Ziegler notes, burning food for fuel is indeed a “crime against humanity.”

  30. taipeir

    I’ve spent sometime in Australia and I have worked on farms there. Water scarcity and climate instability are the key issues that Australia faces. There has been a massive debate over there on how to control and actually CUT BACK water usage as it is already unsustainable. The river Murray often dries up before it even reaches it’s estuary.

    I think the Australian environment is very marginal for farming (as Jared Diamond’s books and others note). It is productive only due to it’s vast scale and use of acquifers. If you fly over Australia you will see the pump spots where they pump this to the surface for livestock.

    I don’t see an increase in farming activity and it seems neither does the Australian government who are proposing these irrigation limits.

    I do agree however with the premise that beef in particular will become a hot commodity due to the Chinese getting a taste for a stuff. I should know I live in this area of the world for many years and have seen the changes.

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