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US Agricultural Economists Say Bacon Shortage Is Hogwash

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the hold-on-tight dept.

Idle 137

PolygamousRanchKid writes "The economics of the current drought are likely to nose up prices for bacon and other pork products next year, by as much as 10 percent. But U.S. agricultural economists are dismissing reports of a global bacon shortage that lent sizzle to headlines and Twitter feeds last week. Simply put, the talk of scarcity is hogwash. 'Use of the word 'shortage' caused visions of (1970s-style) gasoline lines in a lot of people's heads, and that's not the case,' said Steve Meyer, president of Iowa-based Paragon Economics and a consultant to the National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board. 'If the definition of shortage is that you can't find it on the shelves, then no, the concern is not valid. If the concern is higher cost for it, then yes.'"

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137 comments

As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary News (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41512661)

Yea verily, we may have escaped the terrifying "bacon shortage" foretold by our farmer-sages but as a ones-and-zeros smith, I will reveal a much scarier future that is imminent and knocking at our door: a ones and zeros shortage. Yes, that's right, you heard me, Earth has reached its quota of ones and zeros. As our localized reserves of information go up, elsewhere in the universe entropy must be accounted for in order to preserve the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We have all but destroyed Alpha Centuri with viscous randomness as we greedily ate up our own terrestrial order and logic. Physics has heard of our blasphemy and she is vengeful!

What can you do? Well, as a developer who can write in many languages including C, I will be able to squeeze much more usage out of your precious ones and zeros than, say, my Indian counterparts. Oh, sure, now software is cheap but the demand is imminent and workers like myself will be harder to find than a two on your hard drive. Knowing that violent unrest will break out when people can no longer access their Farmvilles and pornography, I offer my services at a meager rate so nigh our hour of darkness. Friends, readers, Romneys, rich and potential employers -- I am not asking for much to protect your software as a ones and zeros guardian ... a hair below the capital gains rate will feed me peanuts and allow me to upgrade my housing from pizza boxes to refrigerator boxes.

Thou hath wrought the wrath of thine swine overlords and thou hath felt its mighty cloven hoof. Now I am simply asking you that, in your cellars where you have squirreled pound upon pound of bacon inside deep freeze upon deep freeze inside freight container upon freight container, you employ me and house me to ensure all your computing needs are safe and secure among thine horded cured brine meats.

I urge you, take this offer now before the coming very real and very well explained (see above) shortage renders my colleagues and I safe inside massive corporations and extremely financially secured without need for employ.

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512783)

You wasted a lot of time and space on a very pathetic joke.

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41512879)

Well, at least his post lived up to his sig this time

So We're Modding Up Hate Posts Now? (0)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41513053)

Well, at least his post lived up to his sig this time

Two hate posts getting modded up? Can't just mod my post down, huh? Duly noted. Guess I'll go somewhere else. Enjoy your site!

Re:So We're Modding Up Hate Posts Now? (2)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41513125)

If you pay attention, mine is more of a backhanded compliment ;)

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41513193)

Its funny for the same reason "quoth the kitten, buy some more" is funny on amazon. Creative writing can turn a lame joke into an excellent read. Well done, eldavojohn.

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41512849)

In other alarming news, due to the observer effect [wikipedia.org] in physics, it has been determined that increasingly powerful earth telescopes are wrecking havok throughout the observable universe. Intelligent aliens from the Horsehead Nebula sent a message this morning, saying "Knock it off."

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41513217)

wreaking*

HAND

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41513365)

both

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41513683)

No, you don't "wreck" havoc. You wreak havoc. Pronounced "reek". Wreck is pronounced "rehck". Oh also, it's havoc. Havok is a Physics engine..

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513729)

No, you don't "wreck" havoc. You wreak havoc. Pronounced "reek". Wreck is pronounced "rehck". Oh also, it's havoc. Havok is a Physics engine..

Oh, now you're just wringing amoc.

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#41514667)

For all intensive purposes, the point is mute.

Re:As a Software Developer I Too Have Very Scary N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513509)

No worries about the ones and zeroes shortage. We'll have plenty from recycling all of the iOS Fart Apps.

Re:iOS Fart Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41515511)

But iOS is based on Mac OS X, which uses a trash can instead of a recycling bin!

Nothing to see here (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41512665)

The concern is increased prices, it has never been that you won't be able to get bacon but that you will have to pay twice as much for it.

Re:Nothing to see here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512765)

Well with the hype about this, politicians are sure to step in and "solve" this problem. Price controls and agricultural policy meddling will bring about shortages.

Re:Nothing to see here (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512823)

speaking as a card-carrying Republican, I would suggest that perhaps not everyone DESERVES bacon. I see no reason we should provide bacon to people that don't work for it. I'm sick and tired of going to the store to buy bacon, and on the way home I see people carrying bacon down the street that they were given for free. It makes my bacon that much less valuable. If the price of bacon doubles tomorrow, that just means the freeloaders are getting a more valuable handout.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513069)

Spewing your cartoonish understanding of conservative economics does not change the FACT that price controls = shortages.

Re:Nothing to see here (3, Insightful)

CommieLib (468883) | about 2 years ago | (#41513205)

It does get tiring explaining basic economics every few months. Look...

Farmer Brown (or, more likely, subsector 12 of Hive 11 of the Archer Daniels Midland Collective) raised x pigs over the past couple of years. The value of x was determined by figuring out how much money they could make versus raising, say, chickens. The price of pork has risen now, so now the value of x has risen. There's a lag, as we have to wait for the piglets to mature, but farmers are in it to make money - the price has spoke, the market wants more pork.

So if we do engage a price control, that is, we limit the amount that Farmer Brown can charge for the pork, he won't trim his sails, he'll just keep raising chickens, despite that what people really want is more pork. A price control is a statement that "yes, people want this more, but you cannot profit from it." And thus people will not take the extra measures to provide it that people would prefer.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41513719)

Whether if people would actually prefer is not that clear. Mike Munger (an economist from Duke), who is very much against price controls for obvious reasons, talks about a event where ice sellers where arrested for "price gouging" (there were shortages in the supply and high temperatures) and the people who were buying the ice actually applauded.

That said, I assume the same won't happen with pork products.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513893)

Was there a shortage of ice, or was the vendor just jacking up prices cause he could. Also how high did the prices go.

If there was no shortage, and he raised prices extremely high (say more then 300% of typical) then there is a logical argument that he was price gouging. How society should react to that I am torn about though.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#41516417)

Was there a shortage of ice, or was the vendor just jacking up prices cause he could. Also how high did the prices go.

If there was no shortage, and he raised prices extremely high (say more then 300% of typical) then there is a logical argument that he was price gouging.

Link to story [econlib.org] . Article implies they were charging at least 4.5x the non-emergency cost of ice. Note that some places have very restrictive definitions of gouging; in Alabama for instance, it's unlawful to charge more than 1.25x the previous 30-day rolling average during a declared emergency.

How society should react to that I am torn about though.

I think we have a natural distaste for explicit gouging (as opposed to the hidden type that teleco's and cable companies and patent trolls get away with). Munger's article makes a good anecdotal case that legislative responses to this emotional reaction aren't necessarily in the best interest of disaster victims. OTOH, there are counterexamples where it seems like businesses really abused public trust (like the hotels that jacked up prices on 9/11 to milk stranded air passengers).

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

stevew (4845) | about 2 years ago | (#41512779)

Yes it was - but it was all a rumor put out by the New York Mayor's office. This is the next thing Bloomberg is planning on banning from entering New York City. So he figured he get ahead of the curve and justify his ban on the fact that there was ALREADY a shortage!

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512835)

Are Americans so obese that they can't live without cutting their bacon intake in half? Jesus fuck, who gives a shit about this except restaurant owners and the people who produce the damn thing?

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41513221)

As an american who doesnt eat bacon, I share your incredulity. Do people seriously have some kind of bacon addiction?

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513499)

Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity by not giving a shit about a bit of bacon being higher priced.

*bow*

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513793)

I'm finding it hard to explain what's funny about bacon, but if you think that Americans will find it difficult to consume less bacon, you're missing the joke. I've got bacon flavored mayonnaise, hot sauce, and lollipops (I've never tried any of them, but I have them). I made bacon and habenero flavored vodka (which I did try, and was amazing). Down the street from me, there's a bar that has a bacon maple syrup whiskey, that comes with a slice of bacon in it, and there's a donut shop with a maple long john with a strip of bacon on top. These aren't things that you go and order every day. They're things you order for the fun of it or to say that you tried it, like the scorpion shot from a bar in Milwaukee that comes with a vodka soaked whole scorpion in it. Maybe trying / doing / eating weird things just to say you did it isn't your thing, but a lot of people enjoy it, if only for the conversation.

And THAT is America's obsession with bacon (except for fat people they really do love bacon).

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41514889)

There are about a hundred things which would be a better use of the fat in bacon in terms of "flavor to fat" ratio. Ice cream, for example, is far more delicious for the amount of fat you take in. A good hamburger is, IMO, much more delicious once you throw tomato and ketchup on it, and has a fraction of the fat of bacon.

Bacon might be one of the most overrated foods in existence.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) | about 2 years ago | (#41513539)

Considering that the past several years there's been some kind of effort to wrap/inject damn near everything with bacon, you can at least try to understand the panic that would ensue over a pork shortage. How on earth can you expect any decent, hard-working American to enjoy their sauce-dripping, triple-decker cheese burger WITHOUT bacon? What do you think Americans are ... savages?

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#41513931)

What do you think Americans are ... savages?

Isn't that exactly what we called the native Americans?

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) | about 2 years ago | (#41514347)

But ... they didn't have triple cheese burgers with bacon. And guns. Let's not forget the guns.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514275)

Bacon has essentially become a popular culinary meme, equal parts actual enjoyment, humor and WTF-ness. I only eat bacon about once a month, although I still see some humor and creativity in some of the over the top bacon creations that end up online. Some friends of mine are even more amused by such things and will read and link plenty of bacon junk from online, yet only actually eat bacon once in a blue moon when inspired to reproduce some crazy thing they see online. I'm not sure how much correlation there is between bacon crazing online and actual bacon consumption.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41515291)

Are Americans so obese that they can't live without cutting their bacon intake in half?

I just came back from the store where I purchased the largest chest freezer that they have. I intend to stockpile a month's worth of bacon for myself until the crisis recedes. My wife indicated that perhaps I should have also purchased a freezer for her.

Re:Nothing to see here (3, Funny)

FreeFire (1957226) | about 2 years ago | (#41515947)

Are Americans so obese that they can't live without cutting their bacon intake in half?

I just came back from the store where I purchased the largest chest freezer that they have. I intend to stockpile a month's worth of bacon for myself until the crisis recedes. My wife indicated that perhaps I should have also purchased a freezer for her.

Is she planning to freeze herself until the crisis is over?

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512965)

The concern is increased prices, it has never been that you won't be able to get bacon but that you will have to pay twice as much for it.

increased prices=shortage (...for those that can not afford it! and vice-versa, shortage=increased prices) - abundance=decreased prices (...and vice-versa!).

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513467)

A shortage means you can't buy it any price. That is decidedly different than an increase in price. Increasing the price prevents a shortage. In the short term, some people decide they would rather spend their money on other things (reducing demand) and in the long term, more farmers will raise pigs since it's more profitable (increasing supply).

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514313)

Except there almost always is a price to get something, even in actual shortages. Unless something is a one of a kind/non-reproducible, or under really heavy government control (as in way beyond consumer goods, e.g. nuclear weapons), there will always be people willing to sell you such things for some price. Even in those few exceptions, there are people who will try to get what you want for a high enough price.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41515339)

Right, but you are talking about once something hits an asymptote on the demand curve. We are talking about the linear-ish region here.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41516345)

That is a rather more concrete and specific claim, different from what that reply was arguing against.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41513029)

The concern is increased prices, it has never been that you won't be able to get bacon but that you will have to pay twice as much for it.

It's good ole supply and demand. Raise prices, reduce demand. It's how we are currently dealing with peak oil. People don't realize but for the first time in decades demand for gasoline in the US is actually down. Five years ago the US was pushing Saudi Arabia to pump more to control prices. When's the last time you heard demands for more pumping? It's the same with demands on pork. As prices go up consumption will simply go down until it reaches a balance. The real problem isn't pork it's all grain fed meats which are most meats we consume. Odds are beef prices will be more affected. Truth be told Pigs can eat almost anything. Cattle are more narrow in the dietary needs. Even chickens can be fed traditional foods like millet. Cattle are mostly fed grass, corn and soy, all of which are affected by the drought.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514369)

I thought it was raise prices to stick it to the 'poor' so the rich can roll in the money?

Re:Nothing to see here (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41515385)

People don't realize but for the first time in decades demand for gasoline in the US is actually down

A lot of this has to do with the price of natural gas. We have also improved fleet efficiency, increased the ethanol percentage in fuel, oh... and we decimated our economy. :)

But seriously, the natural gas phenomenon is so strong that US carbon emissions are even down 20% off of their peak.

Which usually means that... (1)

xded (1046894) | about 2 years ago | (#41513341)

If price didn't increase, you wouldn't be able to get bacon... Either this, or rise in price means there will be (more) taxes on bacon.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Kevin108 (760520) | about 2 years ago | (#41514443)

That's not a shortage - that's just market forces. And the cost of a given product has to rise in order to maintain the profit involved in creating said product. If people can't make money doing it, they won't do it. Then we'd have a shortage.

Bacon bacon bacon! We're making the moves on you! You're bacon!

This is real (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41512669)

This isn't made up at all, there is a pork shortage, as in much less pork available now then at the same time last year.

Re:This is real (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41512769)

This isn't made up at all, there is a pork shortage, as in much less pork available now then at the same time last year.

The point is that in the USA we'll just pay more, but in China I would expect a complete absence of Pork Fried Rice or whatever. Also no Pork Carnitas being served south of the border.

Kind of like a rice shortage means people will starve, its just starvation won't be in the USDA's territory...

Re:This is real (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 years ago | (#41514289)

Less pork available later. There's more pork now as the market is about to be flooded with cheaper pork before corn prices get too high.

Re:This is real (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41515111)

Hell I'm just going to buy some pigs and have fresh pork.

Government Economists (2)

tmosley (996283) | about 2 years ago | (#41512709)

Don't know the difference between shortage and rationing as a result of price controls.

No wonder we are so totally fucked in all things economic.

Re:Government Economists (3)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41513385)

A shortage is a situation where the demand for a product at a particular price is higher than the supply of that product. Basic capitalism responds to that by raising the price of the product until demand matches supply (this goes back to at least Adam Smith, possibly earlier). Hence the price of the product reflects, in part, the scarcity of that product.

And in the case of bacon (or other forms of pig meat), there are plenty of substitute goods, so what will happen is that people who are willing and able to pay the higher price for it will get it, and those that aren't won't get it. It's that simple. And longer term, because the prices are higher some people who would have done other businesses will focus on producing hogs because that's where the money is, which means the problem will solve itself.

Isn't amazing when capitalism does what it's supposed to?

Not only that (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41513781)

The decease in availability they are predicting is about 1%. In the US that means we'll "only" be able to eat about 40 pounds of pork products per person per year.

I really can't see how you'd define that as a "shortage" in any reasonable parlance. We aren't taking about something where the price will have to skyrocket because very little will be available (or that if the price was kept low it would be out of stock everywhere).

Re:Not only that (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41514929)

In the US that means we'll "only" be able to eat about 40 pounds of pork products per person per year.

To use your example: Pork was at $0.80 / lb in May of this year. Now, if we can only eat 40 lbs per person per year, but we want to eat 50 lbs per person per year, then the way that capitalism demands that we handle this product is send the price to $1.00 / lb, which means people who want to eat 50 lbs of pork at $0.80 (for $40) now can only eat 40 lbs at $1.00 for the same price. Those who really really want pork and can afford it will pay that $1.00 / lb, those who don't will switch to cheaper substitute goods. Now, if you're somebody for whom that $10 price difference is a big deal, you're going to do without pork and instead eat something else. It's not a disaster, but it definitely means that you don't get the pork you want.

So the reasons you don't see it as similar to, say, the 1970's gas crisis:
1. The price difference doesn't appear to significantly affect you. If you were poor enough that $10 made the difference between making ends meet and not, then it would be a bigger deal.
2. There are viable substitutes for pork (e.g. poultry, beef, lamb, fish), and there's minimal barriers to switch: Just buy something else for dinner. By comparison, there aren't very many viable substitutes for gasoline, and switching away from it was extremely difficult and expensive.
3. There was a much greater shortage of gasoline in the 1970's than there is a shortage of pork now.

The difference is not of kind, but of degree.

Re:Not only that (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41516193)

I think "shortage" is when supply is exhausted. I work in manufacturing. When we have an order for 1000 machines, and we only have parts on hand to build 900 - that can be a "shortage". There are some parts with long lead times, where no amount of money will buy you another part. In other words, supply is exhausted. There are 100 machines worth of demand outstanding.

In reality, we can get a small trickle of supply by pilfering lab machines, test benches, and raiding the reconditioning department - but this is a small fraction of the normal supply and comes at a high "price" logistically. For the sake of an economic discussion, it is still a shortage.

The gasoline embargoes of the 70s were also a shortage. Price controls were in place, so gasoline demand was still high - but supply was obviously lower. There was a literal shortage, and no amount of money would fill the gap (without violating the price control laws). There were huge lines of cars with empty tanks - a very visual representation of unsatisfied demand.

This pork "shortage" has no gap in supply and demand. If you want pork, you can still buy pork. The price is higher, and obviously this will effect the poor more than the rich - but there is no shortage. Demand will lower to exactly match supply. There will be no lines, no unsatisfied demand.

Re:Government Economists (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#41514847)

Similarly, freeway congestion, another example of a shortage, can be prevented by eliminating the artificial price ceiling on freeway travel. In other words, by converting existing lanes to express toll lanes. And with no traffic congestion, the freeway would never need to be widened, ever again, at least not to eliminate traffic congestion. (Maybe to increase traffic throughput and increase economic activity, but that's not typically the justification given to widen a freeway.)

But for some reason, suggest that the market should determine the price of freeway travel, and everybody goes nuts [greatergre...ington.org] .

Re:Government Economists (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41516281)

But for some reason, suggest that the market should determine the price of freeway travel, and everybody goes nuts [greatergre...ington.org].

In most of the world, and in the US cities of New York and Washington, DC - the poor people live in the surrounding areas and need to commute in to the city center - or they need to commute to another suburb. They are tied very tightly to their car, yet public transit mostly sucks in the suburbs.

So unless you dramatically improve suburban public transit or come up with a way to let the poor live closer to the jobs, imposing a use tax on roads is highly regressive. We could probably figure out a way to mitigate this, but it is a problem.

Re:Government Economists (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41516317)

That would work if and only if there was a viable substitute to driving down the freeways. Right now, the only substitute I'm aware of in a lot of areas is taking the surface streets rather than the freeways, which would just make the problem worse.

Viable substitutes that might actually work include commuter rail systems combined with subway / light rail (Boston has had quite a bit of success with that), and for longer distances a high-speed auto train might work (e.g. you drive onto the train, which stops every 30 miles, drive off the train at the appropriate stop and continue on to where you're going). But most every option I can imagine involves significant infrastructure investments and cultural shifts.

Re:Government Economists (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about 2 years ago | (#41513477)

Neal? Is that you?

Sure you don't want to retire a few months ahead of schedule?

Re:Government Economists (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41513929)

Don't know the difference between shortage and rationing as a result of price controls.

The difference is that under rationing everybody still gets some, whereas under market pricing people with money can keep having all they want because those with less money get none.

And, yes, I know that price controls outside special circumstances lead to a reduction of supply longer-term, and are bad. But it is ignorant to think a price hike won't force some people to go without. Many people in the world cannot simply choose to pay more.

Re:Government Economists (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41516305)

Extremely short-term rationing can be acceptable (e.g. after a natural disaster), but producers need to know that the long term price will be allowed to float.

If it is charity we are after, then direct subsidy or introduction of an alternative is almost always going to be better in the long run.

Re:Government Economists (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41513941)

There will be less pork and prices will be higher. If pork was not a fungible commodity, this would constitute a shortage, since demand tends to rise over time, if for no other reason than the population increases.

The reason a pork shortage is not like a gas shortage is because, as mentioned, pork is fungible commodity and people can adapt quickly if the price goes up. Auto fuel, OTOH is not fungible, and special interests has made a great effort to insure cars are not made to use other fuels, and people cannot overnight adjust their fuel use. Consumers cannot replace cars instantly, so everyone who spent the early 70's, or the late 90's, buying cars with 20 gallon fuel tanks that has a range of less than 300 miles were basically stuck with these vehicles and were forced to stand in line for gas. I have seen gas lines in recent memory, all these SUV waiting to fuel up.

Also in the 70's were a time of great flight to the subarbs, which started after the war. For instance, one suburb in my area double in size every decade between 1970 and 1980. The early residents were there because it was near a major commercial district, but many other later residents were there because of bussing and other issue. Their commute was easily 50 miles a day, which even in the 'fuel efficient' cars of te 70's often meant over 10 gallons a week. When they gas crisis hit, they just couldn't decide not to go to work or buy another car or move. They had to have the fuel, which meant line. It is interesting to note that this suburban area since the 80's only double every 20 years. Since the 90's it has been more efficient to revitalize('gentrify') areas of the city than to use the money for fuel. The question is do you put $300 a month into your car or into your mortgage.

Re:Government Economists (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41515043)

What constitutes a shortage is kind of ambiguous in a market where price adjusts to match supply and demand. If there's still bacon on the shelves and selling, but you can't afford any, is there a shortage or not?

Re:Government Economists (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41516619)

If there's still bacon on the shelves and selling, but you can't afford any, is there a shortage or not?

I think if the price made such a huge jump that your consumption goes from "frequently" to "zero" then you could probably justifiably call it a shortage. When the supply disruption is so large that the demand curve completely changes in character from a simple poly or linear line to something with an asymptote.

I work in manufacturing, so I tend to think of a shortage as when we can't get a part at any price.

Economic impact (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512755)

- Laid-off guys can stop fretting about not being the one to "bring home the bacon", because nobody is

- Wall Street bankers will have to learn to eat low on the hog

- In Washington, we'll start to see more "pork pail" projects

- Schoolkids will grumble about opening their lunchbags and getting "LT sandwiches"

Obligatory reference (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41514167)

Laid-off guys can stop fretting about not being the one to "bring home the bacon", because nobody is

Pharamacists can get dihydrocodeinone enol acetate, which is fairly close.

I'll just eat sausage instead (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41512791)

Guess I'll just just have to forgo bacon in the morning. I'll just have sausage or ham instead.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512917)

I would think Prosciutto would be a viable choice for breakfast.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41513687)

As you know, the "finer" the sausage, the less meat is in it.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41513697)

Or, you know, turkey bacon. There's probably also some imitation bacon made for vegetarians. Purists will look down their nose at such options, but I look down my nose at people who would call themselves bacon purists. That is, I will when I'm not stuffing my face with crispy strips of cooked meat that taste the same to me and don't cost an arm and a belly.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514555)

I eat turkey bacon. It is delicious. It may not "look right" before you cook it.but it looks fine after your done, and it tastes great as well. Cheaper then pork, less fat then pork, its a viable alternative.

My roommates dont even know when I grill out they are eating turkey burgers. Not a complaint yet concerning that either. Again Cheaper and less fat. Not found of how that looks raw either, but it works.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41514971)

I wouldn't call myself a bacon purist, but I would call you devoid of taste. Turkey is a good substitute for sausage, and for ground beef mixed into something else. But nothing really substitutes for the particular mix of crispy and fatty that makes bacon bacon. I even had lamb bacon and was disappointed.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#41513823)

Country ham. No one ever buys it so it's cheap, but it tastes awesome.

True story: 2 years ago we had a bad snow/ice storm here (well, bad for us). Went to the store afterwards, and pretty much every meat product in the store was bought out, except the country ham. The display was completely full. Grabbed a couple packages, and I had plenty of food to eat for the next few days. Of course, this was a downtown yuppie area, so that kind of thing probably scares them.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

vovin (12759) | about 2 years ago | (#41514397)

Simple economics.
'Round here you can find the same grocer in the same city selling pork ribs from 1.59/lb to 3.99/lb depending on the part of the city. Spare ribs are cheap where the posh people are and expensive where poorer people are. The reverse is true for baby back ribs. Basically people prize what they are most familiar with.

A good country ham (salt cured and air dried) is excellent for making razor thin cuts (prosciutto-style) or soaking and roasting ... Often I find good ham is quite pricey when it's available.

Personally I will just some smoke my own pork pick nick or butt .. waaay cheaper than bacon and when done correctly the flavor profile is similar, or more intense, depending on which woods you use in your smoke.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41515005)

Lucky. I can't even find country ham around here. And I'm 5 minutes from the Iowa border. You'd think every pig product possible would be available, but not really. Probably too far north.

Re:I'll just eat sausage instead (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 2 years ago | (#41514947)

Yeah right Lisa.

Dictionary Needed Here (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 2 years ago | (#41512797)

Let's all argue over how to spell "shortage" - fairly sure it's not C-R-I-S-I-S.

Re:Dictionary Needed Here (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#41513981)

Bacon is a very sensitive topic.

Bacon Prices On The Rise (3, Funny)

cfulton (543949) | about 2 years ago | (#41512899)

NOOO. Bacon is the central pillar of my diet. BLTs, Bacon Omelets, Bacon wrapped meat of all kinds, Bacon wrapped bacon. How will I live without my lovely bacon?

Re:Bacon Prices On The Rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513597)

raise & slaughter your own hogs perhapes?

Pigs are infact a magical animal, capable of transforming all manner of otherwise inedible food into bacon......

Re:Bacon Prices On The Rise (1)

cfulton (543949) | about 2 years ago | (#41514337)

A hog farming I will go.

Re:Bacon Prices On The Rise (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#41513737)

Add spam, spam, no bacon, and spam?

Re:Bacon Prices On The Rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514181)

NOOO. Bacon is the central pillar of my diet. BLTs, Bacon Omelets, Bacon wrapped meat of all kinds, Bacon wrapped bacon. How will I live without my lovely bacon?

Eat enough, and you won't have to for long!

Re:Bacon Prices On The Rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41516131)

Stockpile this [thinkgeek.com] while you still can.

This story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512935)

is making me hungry.

Is this "global" like in the "world series"? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41513051)

Yes, there's going to be a global shortage. No, nobody reading this will have to go without. Yes, you may find yourself sighing a little and eating a bit less. No, that's not the end of the world. Yes, it will seem like it.

Re:Is this "global" like in the "world series"? (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41513749)

From an Iranian point of view, there is no bacon shortage. And most likely all other primarily Muslim-countries will agree. Therefore, there is only a 6/7 global shortage in pork. And I guess, that these prices will not rise in China or the EU, which would lead to an African-American-pork shortage (oh yes and Japan and Australia). So in the end there will be a US-pork shortage. And that is a good thing, as US citizens (like their EU counterparts) eat too much meat (which includes pork), which is a bad diet and ruining the planet.

No Worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513393)

Once the election is over, pork production will increase significantly. It already exceeds the money supply though but the presses are working around on that!

Price increase == Shortage. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513513)

The reason for the gas lines in the 1970's is that Jimmy Carter and Co. artificially held prices low and limited / rationed the amount of gas each store could sell (to give everyone an equal opportunity). Once the gas station sold their allotment they closed for the day since there was no point in staying open. People would show up earlier to get their gas in turn causing the gas stations to run out and close earlier. Repeat repeat repeat.

If Jimmy Carter had stayed out of the market, the prices would have gone up with no lines. Now, we have the opposite problem -- an administration who issues oil leases but no permission to actually drill and fights all efforts to build any additional oil refineries all in an effort to drive UP prices to get us to drive our Prius' and Chevy Volts poor people be damned.

Nixon, not Carter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513751)

You're incorrect.

Nixon imposed price controls on November 27, 1973, as part of the response to the Yom Kippur war and the oil-producing states' actions to cut oil exports to the United States.

Carter began deregulation of oil prices in April 1979.

Re:Price increase == Shortage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514685)

Yes, blame Nixon's actions on Carter. Even though Carter was the one who put a stop to the practice.

Thats what you get for getting your "facts" from talk radio. You end up looking silly.

Conver tto Islam you infidels .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513605)

Convert to Islam all you infidels, and then you will never worry about bacon prices ever again ...

Political platform (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#41513705)

I am going to run for government on the platform of creating a Strategic Bacon Reserve. My campaign slogan? "The kind of pork you can get behind!"

Re:Political platform (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#41513753)

I would call it the Federal Bacon Institute.

Re:Political platform (1)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | about 2 years ago | (#41513987)

Federal (Bacon) Reserve. I hereby nominate Nidi62 as Chairperson.

Re:Political platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514643)

My campaign slogan? "The kind of pork you can get behind!"

Not sure I'd want to vote for a politician who boasts of porking behinds.

Look the other way people. (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#41514079)

Next they'll tell us there is no real threat of a zombie apocalypse.

Ethanol (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41514529)

High pork belly prices are caused by limited supplies of corn, partly because of the drought in the US Corn Belt this summer and partly because using corn to make ethanol takes a lot of it out of the mouths of babes (baby pigs that is).

it's PEOPLE! (1)

JigJag (2046772) | about 2 years ago | (#41514637)

seems like we're one step closer to Soylent Green.

Screw 'em all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41514961)

You know what? Fuck them all.

Between the government lying to us all the time for their own dogmatic reasons, the media lying to us for their own stupid reasons, foreign governments lying to us for their trade oriented reason, they can go sit on a pig and be pork fucked.

I'm tired of this endless yammering. It used to be media and government yammering on a topic. Then much like the news, it became all opinon. Then it became commentary on opinion. I mean, I know in the US we don't build or make anything anymore, does that include facts or math? Is all this now just babbling about bacon, bacon commodities, Ouija board analysis going anywhere?

The nice thing is, it doesn't matter. Nobody needs pork. Delicious as it is, who gives a fuck. If not eating it causes these parasites one millisecond of irritation it's worth never eating again.

There is so much random chaotic shit going on that the freemarket exists. Since there's so much control, speculation, outright lies, they all cancel each other out. So the new idea is, if it costs too much, I'll stop eating it. I no longer give a fuck if it's due to drought, corn meal prices, or velociraptors. If it's cheap, I'll buy, if it costs to much, I won't.

Seriously. Other than pig farmers, distributors, and other parasites, why is this news? Who cares if pork is going to be pricey for a year or two. Are there entire communities of the "poor" who need cameras stuck in their face because they can only process pork? Can they be led, pied piper style with a strip of bacon into a raging river?

Dammit (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#41515317)

I shouldn't have gone long on corn bellys!

Not Hogwash (1)

CommieLib (468883) | about 2 years ago | (#41516063)

Actually bacon is taken from the side and rear of the pig. The hogwash is used to make Mountain Dew.
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