Topic: "Sing It Again" (4)
The price of gasoline, on the average, in America, has risen 16 cents in the past two weeks. It is true that on the day that George W. Bush took office (even then Frodo was considering a run for the border), Frodo filled his motorcar and paid 75.9 cents per gallon to do so. Returning last night from the Atlanta Aerodrome and Security Checkpoint, Frodo once again filled his motorcar and paid $4.349 for the honor. On the face of it, the sheer dynamics of inflation and the resultant shift of economic power in the world is a problem. There is however, to Frodo, an immense concern herein, and so in the words that follow dear reader, assume no satire, no humor, and, above all, no agenda.
The words "alternative energy sources," are as much a part of the English lexicon in the twenty-first century as are the words "weapons of mass destruction." Everyone knows that it is imperative that the world must wean itself off its thirst for fossil fuels, if only to preserve a habitat for humankind. The solutions proposed have included the purely ecological to the purely economic, and most fall somewhere in-between. The production of ethanol from agricultural plant-life has been proposed many times, but has never been a rational part of the discussion because of the cost factors. Today however, with the inflated prices commanded by energy demand, ethanol can be produced and sold at a profit in a competitive marketplace. The economy can also be enhanced as greater dependence on ethanol requires both more fuel and vehicle suppliers.
The problem is very basic. With an increasing amount of agricultural plant-life production diverted to a more profitable use, i.e. into ethanol, the availability of basic food products is lessened. At the same time, the growing worldwide population continues to demand food, and the result is both a lesser availability and a higher cost for all food products.
Before moving into the point of this faustian dialogue, Frodo feels it important to share a couple of facts, In the developed world today, approximately 10% of all household income is dedicated to the costs of food. In the "undeveloped world," (perhaps what we once called the "Third World"), approximately 80% of all household income is dedicated to the costs of food. In this statistic alone it is easy to see the potential impact for increasing food costs, and who it truly hurts, as opposed to whom it "inconveniences." Lastly, 37 nations around the world are today classified as "in famine condition," because a majority of the population is not receiving a livable sustenance; 21 of these nations are on the African Continent.
The peons of Mexico overthrew Maximillian and Carlotta in order to re-distribute the wealth. The peasants of France beheaded Louis and Marie because their cries for "bread" were satirically answered by references to "cake." Starving Africans are not going to be swayed by the documented generosity of comparatively wealthy Americans who helped tsunami victims in Indonesia several years ago. It is entirely conceivable that starving people will follow any ideology that provides for their families. The suicide bombers of tomorrow may not even be Muslim, but they will have had their hunger sated by some who may be such.
The risk we run, dear reader, to erase 16 cents from the cost of a gallon of petrol, is the same once faced by Romans who stared into the eyes of Visigoths, and who felt that someone else's son would protect them. Today, our politicians speak to the farmers, but not of food. And they are fools. The votes in Iowa are about life on Earth, they have absolutely nothing to do with purported sniper fire or silly old men who stand behind altars.
Frodo has no more patience. The battle is at hand.