Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Coming Famine

In the coming year, we run a risk of worldwide food shortages. This will come in two forms. In third world countries there will be widespread starvation, as availability of food simply disappears. In developed countries prices will spike, and the poor in those countries will not have enough to eat, despite attempts by governments and charitable organizations to keep pace with the skyrocketing needs.

There will, of course, be people of wealth (about 2% to 5% of the population) in third world countries that will have sufficient wealth to have plenty. They will even be involved in profiteering off the misery of the masses, and the attempts by charitable organizations to deliver food to those masses.
There will also be some in between situations, where food will be available, though in short supply and at exorbitant prices, and in those places there will be riots and wars.

There have been a couple of close calls in the past, with world food inventories falling to near zero, political and market forces pushing food to the wealthy and well connected and for short
times there was starvation in some regions.

I will admit I could not find good references to the information, but I do remember around 1996, there was an article saying we were down to three weeks food in the US. But of course, the next crops were harvested and things went back to normal. And in reality, we are in perpetually the same shape today as we were in that close call. Only now we call it "Just in Time Supply System."

America once had massive warehouses, and silos dotted the land, full of food, stored up for times of need. Or at least stored until someone ordered it to fill our grocery shelves. But that system was deemed inefficient, as someone had to pay for those warehouses. Now, the "Just in Time" system forecasts needs, and computers know the moment there is a sale of an item from the grocery, so that the next shipment of a product is in route to the store as the sale of the previous one is being sold. The next shipment of the product to the distribution center is in route as the current one is being loaded onto the truck to be taken to the store. The next shipment after that is being harvested somewhere in the world, and already earmarked for delivery to the distribution center. It is all like a big pipeline.

In this system there are no major grain stores or warehouses. What is in the pipeline is what is in the system. And last I checked, that amounts to about seven weeks of supplies, total. This system works, as long as crops somewhere in the world are being harvested on a continued basis, and as long as when one food gets short people can eat something else.

We are coming to a day in the very near future, somewhere in late 2011 or early 2012 (most likely), crop failures all over the world will have a real and lasting impact on our food supply. Right now, no one is talking about this because it is so subtle. (as in epidemics, we seem to have two modes of thinking, complacency and panic) In reality, we are likely to see only 15% - 30% drop in crop availability. But that can translate to doubling or more of the prices here, and complete loss of availability in some regions.

But this isn't going to be a one week or one month event. There are impending crop failures all around the world right now, and these failures will happen over a period of months or maybe even years, and as the world population continues to rise, the shortages generated in 2012 will continue to echo across the world for years. And the political fallout, as the wealthy and well connected attempt to try to enrich themselves on the plight of the masses, will result in massive consolidation of power and control over increasingly scarce and valuable commodities.

It is not like this has not been warned about before. While most of the "news" releases about an impending famine have been self serving panic ads meant to make people buy their products, some of them are from the science community, and some of those were from people who will not directly benefit from the changes they advocate. Most of those have been talking about a famine 20 or more years down the road, but with the sudden rash of crop failures around the globe, it may be at our door step within the next year or two.

The Bible warns us in The Revelation, there will be a famine in the last days. It says the famine will be bad enough that a laborer's wages for a day will be sufficient only to feed him for a day, with nothing left over for housing, a family, or anything else. The only question, now, should be: is this the one the Bible talks about, or is this merely a harbinger of what is to come?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July Economics non-report

32 years ago, President Jimmy Carter made a speech in which he outlined a general malaise that gripped the nation, keeping us in an unending slow to nonexistent economic growth.

Malaise. That word works today, too.

The biggest difference is that just over a year after we elected a new government, bent on breaking out of that malaise, 67% of the people are blaming that new crop of congressmen, just elected, for the problems they are trying to solve.

What this really amounts to is that the public has gotten the first glimpse of the fact that they will have to make some sacrifices to return our nation to a path of prosperity, and they don't want any of it.

Some years ago, I said the American public, having tired of freedom and prosperity, have elected a government that will leave them impoverished and enslaved. Now it looks like they are happy being impoverished and enslaved. At least then they don't have to do the hard work and make the sacrifices that are required for freedom and prosperity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A little catching up

Well, a month of hiatus from this blog
turned into 100 days, so I will have
a bit of catching up to do.

Apostasy, Heresy and Idolatry are rampant in both society and the Church today. In the past few months, I discovered that many of the old mainline churches began going apostate around the turn of the 20th century and were more or less completely apostate after WWII. This did not happen in the past 40 years, as I had assumed. Some had fallen away long before that. A letter to J.Vernon McGee in the early 70's said the apathy in the Church there "makes for a dark day" in Briton. It makes for a dark day everywhere.

A few definitions are in order, for those who don't study religion on a daily basis.
Apostasy is turning away from what one previously professed. A nonbeliever cannot be an apostate, only someone or a group (Church) that previously professed belief in the Bible can be apostate.
Heresy is the espousing of an idea that is clearly at odds with one of the major doctrines of the
Bible. There are only 7 to 10 (depending on who you ask) major docrines of Christianity. Most
of the arguments in Church groups is about minor doctrines.
Idolatry is the affection of some object or idea that one gives a priority above God.

Idolatry, Heresy, and Apostasy:
The "trinity of failure" of the Church.

Our nation, as are most nations, is steeped in idolatry. But our nation is not what is in question. "God's people" are in question. In ancient times, Israel was "put out of the land" more than once. And always for idolatry, not for other sins. Today, the "God's People" in question is "The Church." Not this church or that church or the church over yonder. And most certainly not the Roman Catholic Church. But rather, the Real Church, or some call it "The Church Invisible." Those who believe Jesus died and is Risen, and by whom they believe they are saved. And yet, these same Christians, who recognize they should worship God, often embrace the idols of our current civilization.

Most of us went through the comic superheroes phase as pre-teens. Many, however, still keep up with those same superheroes. For others, tuning in to watch the news when some megamillionaires (like Oprah Winfrey or Donald Trump) are the subject is commonplace in the houses of both the unsaved and the saved. Many Christians can name, and give statistics for dozens of national sports league atheletes, others can give the resume of many hollywood idols.

How many Bible charactors can you name? How many books of the Bible? How much time do you spend in the Bible, as compared to People Magazine, or Sports Illustrated. Is your idol found in pop culture?

Some church buildings are places of worship and comfort for all who go there, but usually the church building is a place where a few believers and a few curious gather with quite a few pretenders, who desire to make people think they believe. We should tolerate this for now, in the hope that the few curious will find Jesus. But maybe not. Are we promoting the defamation of the Gospel? Is it time to rethink where the faithful gather?

For what, do most Christians worship God? Why do they think they are Christians? Why do they go to Church or pray?

Many say they believe the Bible, but do they even know what is in the Bible? How can they believe what they have no knowledge of? Some no longer believe the Bible, but clearly state that they have moved on, and have no need of it.

There are some confusing statistics, to be sure.

According to the recent study by LifeWay Research, 62 percent of American adults own a King James Version Bible. But look more closely at the article I linked to. "Those who read the Bible more than once a month." Once a month? And just over a quarter don't read the KJV, because it is too difficult to read. So why do they have it?
Status symbol?

The Truth? "According to an earlier LifeWay study, only 16 percent of regular church attenders read the Bible daily." So where do they get their theology and doctrine? I would be it is from the heretics on religious TV networks. And some get fed a dose of heresy in their own Church, but cannot see the difference, because they do not know the Scriptures firsthand.

More truth. I have my own Idols, and must fight with them daily. My pride, and my interest in economics and politics are prone to be my idols.

What to do about all this? Well, that may be addressed in some later article. For now, go read some more of the Bible. You will never get enough.