U.S. History

Mother Nature Has A Population Plan Too

A scientist friend recently noted that at today’s rate of consumption, the world is environmentally and economically sustainable for roughly 1 billion people. “That means with the world’s population of 8 billion,” he half-joked, “you’re a goner.”

Right, just not right now; let nature take its course, eh?

Recent population trends, however, show that nature might already […]

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When Free Markets Hit the Frying Pan, Consumers Often Get Burned

On Nov. 6, 2018, 12 million Californians voted, by a 63-to-37-percent majority, to establish minimum welfare standards for livestock and poultry products–chiefly eggs, pork, and veal–sold in the nation’s most populous state.

The initiative, called Proposition 12 (Prop 12), was an emphatic endorsement of two previous actions (one by voters in 2008; the other by […]

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Drought, War, Inflation, and Consumer Disconnect

By almost any measure, 2022 has been a tough year for most. Inflation, war, the growing consequences of climate change, and widening political divide are just a few of the compounding woes we continue to deal with as harvest and U.S. midterm elections loom.

In the middle of this chaos, however, U.S. farmers received remarkably good […]

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A No-Ethanol Future Doesn’t Mean a No-Profit Future

It’s rare to find one Midwestern academic publicly questioning the economic and environmental impacts of ethanol.

It’s even rarer to find four academics–one from a corn state land grant university, three from a leading university in the leading corn-producing state–raising objections to the biofuel and its byproducts that will use one out of every three bushels […]

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From Catalonia to California, It’s Been One Long, Hot Summer

Long ago when traveling through Europe, a friend developed what he called the “Alan Rule” since I never remembered the Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion math: 10 degrees Celsius, wear a coat; 20 degrees, a light jacket; 30 degrees, shirtsleeves.

There was no suggestion for 40 degrees because 40 degrees Celsius is a baking 104 degrees Fahrenheit (F), an […]

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‘Funeral by Funeral, Theory Advances’

In 1970, Paul Samuelson became the first American awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.  The honor came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist because he had “simply rewritten considerable parts of economic theory.”

True that. Samuelson had already written what would become the best-selling college textbook on the subject, Economics, (now translated into […]

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Our Money, Their Mouth, Your Choice

If the political polls are to be believed, November’s midterm election will sweep Democrats out of power in the U.S. House of Representatives and put Republicans back in charge.

If accurate, House Republicans will have a splendid opportunity to put your tax money where their collective mouth is by implementing their highly detailed, little-publicized “Blueprint to […]

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Outside the Fence One Time Too Many

Contrary to folklore, three times is rarely a charm. The number three, in fact, often carries woe: “Three strikes and you’re out,” for example or “Bad news usually comes in threes.”

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors rediscovered these portentous axioms July 7 when, for the third time in less than a year, a jury in […]

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Market Forecast for Summer: Cloudy with a Chance of Hardheadedness

A veteran commodity trader once urged me to remember that “People who say the market is wrong are usually on the wrong side of the market.”

That insight, he added, had been learned the hard way, “…as in hardheaded.”

His advice came to mind as the futures market carried its June swoon into the U.S. Department of […]

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Nowhere to Hide at Low Tide

Mega-billionaire Warren Buffett has a well-deserved reputation as a genius “value investor” and pithy commentator. His annual reports to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are highly anticipated for their market insight and expressive language, and often make news because of both.

For example, one of Buffett’s most quoted sayings colorfully explains that “You only find out who’s swimming […]

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