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Tens of thousands of tortillas? Yummy!
Quesadillas for every one!

Posted by Carbon-copy | January 31, 2007 6:39 PM

Just yesterday information came out showing that Bush's biofuel goals will lead to more pollution and a quantifiable added thousand or so deaths every year from lung disease. I also question whether so much ethanol is being produced that it would actually make Mexican corn imports skyrocket like that. If you lift the rug of any NAFTA relationship from crops to cars, you find some corporation under it fucking people over and blaming the damage on some initiative that would help working people, or in this ethanol case, SEEM to help them. I bet there is a lot more to this than the BBC is hearing.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | January 31, 2007 6:40 PM

Under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico used to get cheap corn imports from the US, but Mexico's Economy Minister Eduardo Sojo has said that with more US corn being diverted into ethanol production, supply is dwindling.


Nothing gets you through a food riot like a Hummer!

Posted by rodrigo | January 31, 2007 7:02 PM

Is the market saying that it is more efficient to use corn directly for energy to do useful work than it is to use corn to grow Mexicans to do useful work?

I drive so you don't have to eat!

Posted by rodrigo | January 31, 2007 7:13 PM

Couldn't we use methanol in its place and just destroy the world's forestland instead?

Posted by tsm | January 31, 2007 7:26 PM

Virtually everything that is said in the public sphere about corn is filtered through agribusiness. That's why you continually hear two mutually exclusive ideas: that corn is scarce, and that the price of corn is in danger of falling so low that farmers can't profit.

The vast majority of corn grown in the US is not for human food, either in Mexico or here, but for other uses, particularly animal feed (mixed with beef tallow, mmm) and plastics. Ethanol is a rising use but I don't think it's in that league yet.

The corn grown for these purposes is unfit for humans for the most part; it certainly wouldn't appear on the cob in Whole Foods.

I'm guessing the real reason for the rise in price of Mexican corn is a combination of the removal of price controls and, mostly, the wholesale takeover of Mexican agricultural land by wheat and cows instead of corn.

Posted by Fnarf | January 31, 2007 7:31 PM

We're already destroying the forests for biodiesel from palm oil produced in plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia and Brazil.

Posted by rodrigo | January 31, 2007 7:31 PM

The article leaves out that Mexico produced an adequate supply of corn for its people before NAFTA.
After NAFTA, big American agribusiness forced the Mexican government to eliminate subsidies to farmers and tortilla price supports that kept the people of Mexico fed(the negative side effect was it helped the PRI party retain its grip).
Since NAFTA, the US has flooded Mexico with "cheap" corn for tortillas. Millions of farmers had to leave their land for their families to survive, especially in Southern Mexico where there is no development. (except in some cases growing produce for the US market).
Now those farmers who migrated to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Juarez, etc instead of the US, are victims again when US ag-business decides it has a more profitable market with ethanol. Perhaps its big ag's way of "recruiting" new meat packing workers.

Posted by anne | January 31, 2007 7:59 PM

Those fools!

Dont they know that protesting doesn't do any good?

Everyone will assume they are communists or sympathetic to Palestine.

it's so annoying...

Posted by patrick C | January 31, 2007 8:01 PM

I think Fnarf is basically correct, but there's another issue here.

For about the last 50 years the US and much of the industrial/developed world have lived in this ridiculous bubble where we spend more calories (as a unit of energy) to produce stuff than the stuff itself contains. It takes orders of magnitude more calories to get a loaf of Wonderbread to the table than that loaf contains.

This was sustainable as long as calories were so cheap and plentiful you could afford to spend more than you got.

But now we're actually contemplating spending more energy than we will ever get to produce energy and then use that energy to try and maintain our bubble...and that is a cakewalk off the plank.

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