Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I think the drought is an important story

In these days of infinite psychobabble, I am sure I stand accused of "obsessing" over the corn belt drought.  I probably am.  But the reasons make a lot of sense to this blog.
  • This is a Producer Class story.  Farmers are the archetypical Producers and in a year when they broke all planting records, a whole bunch of them are not getting a crop.  This is the primary story here.
  • This is about climate change.  Global warming is no longer a prediction—it is the new reality.
  • The global response to this loss will test the limits of Producer cooperation.  Their efforts will be assaulted and looted by the banksters.  This catastrophe will test just how far we allow the banksters to intrude upon the real economy.
  • I have primary sources for my material.  I happen to like farmers and have an intense interest is how they do what they do.  I am meeting more of them these days as well.
  • This is historical.  If the corn belt doesn't raise corn, this will mean a HUGE change in how this country is organized.  Historically, civilizations have fallen over less provocation than losing a food source the importance of the USA Midwest.
I could probably think of some more reasons why I should devote a lot of effort to this story.  But this is enough for now.


  1. Thanks for your drought coverage Jonathan. I can understand your concern about revisiting it often, but I believe it is critical to revisit it to embed the idea in reader's minds that THIS IS BIG and not some typical mainstream media infotainment story to be given as much attention and time as the latest bear wandering into town or rocky celebrity relationship story.

    And I do favor your coverage angle, from the business of farming and production side...exposing the shiny object angles foisted on us by bankster market speculation and political ethanol gamesmanship. All three angles are mostly ignored by mainstream coverage in favor of interviewing some stereotypical soccer mom who may or may not realize the price of groceries seems to have gone up, and may or may not wonder why--when of course she is just trying hard enough to raise her family and wants to rely on the institutions of power to do the right thing to provide for her.

    I wish these moms need to tell reporters to ask the right people about economic policy. As long as I'm wishing, I wish news programs actually went back to reporting news instead of infotainment, instead of dumbing stories down to the lowest common element or the cable TV approach of hyping every story into fearmonger mode. Something that does not wrap issues into a artificial 'black' and 'white' sides.

    Something beyond these parts of a problem, those contrived interested parties (special and ordinary), that lifts us readers to understand we must coexist in one society and as a whole society live above the blah-blah us-vs-them 'balanced' punditry, to actually consider societal answers--might they actually discuss practical solutions, actually propose both short-term AND long-term minded solutions, and thoughts deeper than can be summed up in an 140 character tweet.

    And that is how I feel when I read your blog, that you and Tony want the best for society, not just some niche. Thanks for everything you do.

  2. Thanks for this. I called Tony this afternoon and read it to him. He is on the road between Lancaster PA and Edgar WI. Selling books is a tough way to make a living. Catering to the few folks who actively restore and use the artifacts of the USA Industrial Revolution is finding the tiniest of niches. That there is something of a living to be made doing it borders on the miraculous. But it's knowing that history that gives Tony his special insights.

    The real reason we want the whole society to advance is because the fundamental lesson of industrialization is that we are all in this together. And the more difficult the problems, the greater the need for cooperation.

    It's pretty simple for me—I know I would be more prosperous if my friends were doing better. "A rising tide lifts all boats."