Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don’t use corn for fuel while many are starving

Perhaps I have missed the sensational headlines and bulletins that would accompany the epochal achievement of the banishment of hunger from our planet. Surely the specter of animated skeletons covered in flies in Africa and other Third World regions must have been vanquished? How else may one explain the scheme, supported with tax dollars by politicians eager to curry favor (and votes) of the agricultural regions of the United States, to turn corn into ethanol to feed our insatiable thirst for fuel to run our automobiles?

Surely, in the absence of the demise of hunger, our collective sense of morality would never countenance turning desperately needed food into fuel to prolong a wasteful lifestyle that clearly cannot be long supported by this earth.

Shouldn’t every hungry mouth be fed before we’d ever consider turning grain into gas? Anyone who believes there is no such thing in economics as a market failure should take heed. Morality does count. The developed world can bid up the price of corn so that it makes economic sense to deprive the starving of a meal, and liquify this food into ethanol, but it is definitely the wrong thing to do.