George Bush and the price of corn

About a month ago, Guatemala (and many other Latin American democratic, free nations), was graced with the presence of G.W. Bush. President Bush was here to make deals for purchasing Guatemala's corn to make ethanol.

In the days after Bush flew home, the price of corn increased by 20-25%. "Wonderful!" you may think, "Guatemalan's will be able to make more money."

Problem. This is what Guatemalan's eat, what they fill their stomachs with. From the Washington Post:
The ancient Mayans believed they were created by gods who mixed their blood with ground corn. They called themselves "Children of the Corn,"
Thanks to the US ethanol market, corn will be turned into a cash crop like sugar, coffee, tobacco, leatherleaf, and other non-essential products.

The same thing is happening in Mexico right now.

Slightly different cause in El Salvador. When I was there a year ago, they told me that when the country adopted the US Dollar as its official currency, the price of tortillas basically quadrupled. The equivalent of a dollar, before the currency switch, could buy about 35 tortillas; it now buys 9. In neighbouring Guatemala a year ago, a US Dollar could buy 45 tortillas; now it can buy 34-37 of them.


Sirdar said...

This interesting because being a car guy I read that the E85 gasoline provides worse gas mileage than regular gas. I guess the emissions are a bit less but at what cost to the consumer? And the producers which of course are low cost compared to the American farms.

much-ado said...

its so hard to comment on this because...there are so many issues involved here...the environment, new technology vs. retro fitting old technology, the worth of a human life, is Bush an idiot...(seriously, is he or isn't he?)

I guess really what we have to think about who is most adversly affected and how will they be helped?