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TheStreet Open House

Glorious Food, Wicked Prices: Imminent Hyperinflation

Put another way, crop prices (and food prices) are not "low." Rather, the debauched paper that our bankers (and governments) call "money" has been plummeting in value so rapidly that even with nominal prices spiraling here, in real dollars agriculture prices, remain extremely depressed -- explaining the relentless, long-term deterioration of inventories.

The dynamics are simple. Heavily subsidized (Western) agricultural products are dumped in markets all over the world. Poorer, less-developed nations cannot compete with those subsidies, and thus subsidized Western agricultural products have bankrupted 10's of millions of small farmers all over the world -- and taken that land out of cultivation, further depressing supplies/inventories.

Massive corn-subsidies in the U.S. has bankrupted millions of Mexican corn-farmers. With no other options for survival, these farmers made their only logical choice: They migrated to the place where they knew that the corn they used to grow was now being grown -- the U.S. Those incensed over Mexican "illegal aliens" can thank the "farm lobby" in the U.S. (i.e., Monsanto (MON)), as it is largely responsible for the flood of Mexican migrants into the U.S.

Of course, there is a huge difference in the new agricultural model for these Mexican "farmers." Before being bankrupted by U.S. subsidies, they owned and farmed their own land; and the profits from that agriculture were their own. Today they are nothing but subsistence-level slaves for U.S. Agri-Corporations like Monsanto.

The numbers are clear. Approximately 95% of U.S. "agricultural workers" are ethnic Mexicans, and more than half of those are "undocumented." This wave of Mexican migrants over the past 20 years has occurred at the same time that U.S. corn-subsidies increased by 300%. Did "slavery" really end in the U.S. with the Civil War?

The only exception to the steady collapse of the world's vital cereal grains (the key component of the global food supply) has been a sudden reversal of the collapse of global rice inventories. However, this rebound in rice production has come almost exclusively from the frantic increase in rice-planting by Asian governments -- fueled by (you guessed it) large, government subsidies .

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