Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Fed's Wealth Effect Redux!

The following chart shows the producer price index for intermediate foods and feeds divided by the index of the average hourly earnings of private production and nonsupervisory employees. The low point was achieved in May of 2002 (represented as 1.0 on the chart).

Click to enlarge.

Stick a fork in it. The old trend's over. Welcome to the new trend. Who doesn't like higher asset prices?

Not all of these price increases are making it down to the consumer of course. Value is "added" by heavily processing the food, placing it in cheap boxes and cans, slapping a well known brand name in colorful print on the outside, and then marking up the price. We may not have infinite global food supplies well into the distant future, but at least we have an ample supply of presentation!

September 20, 2013
Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham

Now, however, the outspoken Yorkshireman, who is chief investment strategist at GMO, is making headlines with a new prediction: Dire, Malthusian warnings about environmental catastrophe. To hear him tell it, the world is running out of food. Resources will only keep getting more expensive.

November 13, 2013
Experts: world's soil is at risk

“Recent satellite surveys have shown a one per cent decline in the world’s farmed and grazed area every year over the past quarter of a century, due to a combination of land degradation and urban sprawl,” says soils expert Professor Roger Swift of the ASC and University of Queensland.

What would Carl Spackler say though?

And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Not everything is inflating of course. Take Redux for example. Some miracle drugs are not all they are cracked up to be apparently.

Redux: The Miracle Weight-Loss Drug

Mass Market Paperback from $0.01

I'm not trying to imply that the Fed's miracle drug won't work over the long run. No, sir. ZIRP is all but guaranteed to restore all lost prosperity and then some! Common knowledge! Everyone knows it! Trapped in ZIRP like the Japanese isn't a long-term curse, it's a long-term blessing! Genius!

See Also:
The Fed's Wealth Effect (Musical Tributes)

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Rob Dawg said...

Don't believe the agricultural land losses in the soil article. Total bullshit. They simply do not know what they are talking about.

mab said...

The era of free food?

With nearly 48 million on food stamps, perhaps the "error of free food" would be a more apt title.

Free cell phones, free food, free lunches......the list goes on and on.

Oh well, at least we're taking the free out of freedom! We've got that going for us, which is nice!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

Wouldn't be the first time. Got a link? One would think analysis of satellite data would be fairly conclusive.

We've clearly increased the yield per acre enormously. We better keep doing it if we intend to keep growing the world's population, assuming it is also the goal to keep building new homes on what could be farm land. There's definitely a limit somewhere.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Free Soylent Freedom Fries for the win! Each one has a little patriot right in it! And as they say, you are what you eat! Woohoo!

Gallows humor. Sigh.

Rob Dawg said...


Tiny blog responses don't do justice. Locally my county has tripled in population yet ag acreage is up a bit. Read the site linked for a decent ackgrounder.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

From your link...

Even with the past seed technology, crop yield increases are near 1.0% per year in the U.S while a considerable amount of farmland is being lost to development.

Perhaps we're talking about the difference between farmland that's currently being used vs. farmland that could potentially be used. The former may be increasing but the latter is shrinking.

In any event, this trend clearly cannot go on forever.

Stagflationary Mark said...

From the link in my post...

world’s farmed and grazed area

Perhaps the grazed area is showing the rapid decline. Just a thought.

Rob Dawg said...

Yes, farmland is yielding to development but new farm land is being added at roughly the same pace in developed nations.

Locally strawberry fields and orchards are urbanizing but the proceeds are going to outlying fallow land being used for new growing. One of the interesting things on our way to Davis, CA recently was running through a patch of farmland where all the street names were the family names of the major farmers down in Ventura County 30-40 years ago.

Q. How much farmland is there in Ventura County?
A. There are various ways of calculating that. According to the California Department of Conservation’s Farmland Mapping Program, Ventura County in 2006 contained 124,959 acres of “important farmland” and 199,004 acres of grazing land, for a total of 323,963 acres of agricultural land. According to the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, 96,3140 acres of crops were harvested in the county in 2011.


Stagflationary Mark said...

Fact Sheet on the BLM’s Management of Livestock Grazing

Over time there has been a gradual decrease in the amount of grazing that takes place on BLM-managed land, and that trend continues today. Grazing use on public lands has declined from 18.2 million AUMs in 1954 to 8.9 million AUMs in 2012.


Grazing, which was one of the earliest uses of public lands when the West was settled, continues to be an important use of those same lands today. Livestock grazing now competes with more uses than it did in the past, as other industries and the general public look to the public lands as sources of both conventional and renewable energy and as places for outdoor recreational opportunities, including off-highway vehicle use. Among the key issues that face public land managers today are global climate change, severe wildfires, invasive plant species, and dramatic population increases, including the associated rural residential development that is occurring throughout the West.

Anonymous said...

Land under conservation easement is both counted as farmland and counted as "soil lost". Neat trick, eh?

There is no farmland crisis, there is just a lot of doubletalk and crony protection of large agricultural interests.

Up here in Cascadia, land is lost to development, but what is more of an actual problem is farmland being "conserved" and thus counted as farmland, but which is illegal to farm because rain fell on it while it lay fallow and now it's a protected wetland.

So you can't farm it legally, but it's both counted in the farmland tallies, and minused out when calculating farmland from satellite data, creating an artificial scarcity and surplus at the exact same time.

Stagflationary Mark said...


A Victim of Wetlands Regulations

What this case illustrates is bureaucracy run amok. Congress had an open debate on a law which became the Clean Water Act. Among other things, it added to the jurisdiction that the Army Corps of Engineers had over navigable waterways. Then the Army Corps of Engineers issued regulations which—without any Congressional authorization—extended its jurisdiction far beyond navigable waterways to practically the entire United States on the theory that some rain might ultimately find its way into a navigable waterway.

Fascinating real life horror story. It's well worth a read if one wants a good scare.