Cultural Revolutions

A Perfect Storm Over Iowa

Take one part high fuel prices.  Mix in stagnant wages and high consumer prices generally.  Stir in global uncertainty and an ever-exploding human population.  Add misplaced production and chimera-chasing.  Add to all that the floods of May and June 2008 that inundated much of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, and you have a perfect storm—at least as far as corn is concerned.  When it clears, corporate business will be the richer, but the world will be in chaos—and hungry.

True, the world is always in chaos.  True, much of the world is always hungry.  True, rivers flood: It is in their job description that they do so.  Yet it is only in recent times that it has become customary for them to do huge amounts of damage, monetarily and physically, when they flood, for it is only in recent times that builders, insurers, growers, and consumers have decided to repeal the laws of physics and build on, settle in, and plow lands that are tellingly labeled floodplains on hydrographic maps.  Granted that this happens in California and New York, these days, as much as in the Midwest, but it is suggestive that Iowa, for one, is now clocking hundred-year floods every three or four years.  It is not that the rivers have grown any larger or more likely to flood, but that targets for ruin have come to the rivers in increasing number, with inevitable result.

The habit of overlooking...

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