The Price of Eggs: A Leading Indicator?

The average U.S. retail price for a dozen large eggs was $1.51 in the first quarter, up 33 cents, or 28%, from the fourth quarter and 43 cents higher than a year ago … Behind the higher prices: Feed. Rising corn and soybean prices have led to increased costs for feed. The increase is in large part because of rising corn demand, and thus prices, to produce ethanol. Ethanol is most commonly made from corn and is combined with gasoline to produce fuel for cars and other vehicles. Ethanol production rose 30% from January 2006 to January 2007, the most recent data, according to the Energy Department.

USA Today, April 4, 2007

Responding to the increase in egg prices, which has been driven by the increase in corn prices, which has been driven by demand for corn-based ethanol, which has been driven by a growing multivariate aversion to the consumption of oil, the newly formed advocacy group Parents Against a New International Climate today announced that no American child shall henceforth be allowed to dye or hunt for more than one Easter egg per year.

A spokesperson for the group, Lirpa Sloof, also urged Americans to abandon the use of real Christmas trees. “The ecological cost of growing, cutting, transporting, and disposing of a single tree,” she said, “is nearly enough to cover a full 24-hour segment of Al Gore’s utility bill.

The group has also called for abandoning the use of mistletoe at Christmas (“pure vegetative slaughter,” according to Sloof), matzo for Passover (“the widespread short-term disuse of yeast causes a disastrous interruption to normal food production”), and the outright elimination of holidays including Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and Memorial Day.

“Don’t even get me started on Halloween,” Sloof added. “Do you have any idea how much the production of candy corn alone damages the environment?”


mgroves

P.A.N.I.C., I love it.

rbleam

You know if that lady stopped talking, there would be a decrease in CO2 in the air...

egretman

A premo spoof! Or is it? The problem with spoofs nowadays is that it's hard to say who's spoofing and who's serious. What with PETA working against using worms for fishing, who is serious anymore?

On that note, will you economists out there PLEASE get to work on the economics of ethanol. 20% of our corn produces only 1% of our gasoline substitute. Isn't this going to have tremendous economic unintended consequences?

egretman

Lirpa Sloof...you got to love that!

furiousball

I'd like to replace that lady with a fern, which consumes CO2

jreighley

I think providing government subsidies to make it economically profitable to burn our food supply in our Hummers and Escalades is going to be a disastrous public policy error.

Fidel Castro called this a genocidal policy yesterday. I don't think he is too far off the mark. When we start subsidizing our luxuries at the expense of our necessities, it is going to cause a humanitarian disaster.

CleverlyStated

It is sort of frustrating that groups like this are even given status by the press reporting on them.

dapo

You would think that people would pay a little attention to the details before leaving comments. Think about Lirpa Sloof for a while, maybe even google it.

deepakln

This whole eggs thing is really something. A couple of days ago I read that the price of eggs was used by Polish economists as an indicator of how the newly-minted capitalist economy was doing. In the days after the command economy was dismantled, central bankers would stroll around farmer's markets to record egg prices. If prices went down, as a result of an increased supply of eggs, it meant that entrepreneur farmers were flocking to the marketplace. I'm sure some "freaky" economist has written on this topic.

nacul

Interestingly enough, the "Marginal Revolution" has a similar discussion today, but focusing on the effect of corn in the price of tortilla.

They say "American corn ethanol policy seems like a bad idea for sure. Let's open up our markets to superior Brazilian sugar-based ethanol. That would lower American and also Mexican corn prices."

I'm all for that :)

chrisbryan

How dare she, how dare she, what is this person an idiot. It is our god-given right as Americans (actually I'm Canadian) to celebrate these holidays.......what's a spoof?

Chewxy

Right. 3 Days after April's Fools Day... and this appears?

Maybe it something like my post-april's fool day joke

^ooh.. the amount of unabashed self promotion

But a fun read nonetheless.

Deepakln: I doubt it'd be some freaky economist. Maybe the same type of economist as the dude who came up with the idea of the Big Mac Index, or the Tall Latte Index

pparkman

Dubner,

What's your point?
That all environmentalists are fools?
That holidays should be sacrosanct, no matter how silly (see this week's South Park, BTW)?
That it's foolish to attempt to regulate energy?
That the government's ethanol policy is somehow not another handout to Archer-Daniels-Midland?

or - that satire is hard and humor is harder?

freetz

I love anagrams, too!

frankenduf

I'm with pparkman- it aint no april fools that the Bush administration is transferring taxpayer $ into ADM coffers- I say stop letting agribusiness dictate food resource policy, and bring back the electric car!

egretman

I say stop letting agribusiness dictate food resource policy, and bring back the electric car!

Fat chance!

... Since the 2000 election cycle, ADM has given more than $3 million in political contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics: $1.2 million to Democrats and $1.85 million to Republicans. These donations may have helped sustain a multitude of government subsidies to ADM, including ethanol tax credits, tariffs against foreign ethanol competitors, and federally mandated ethanol additive standards.

yeshaya

Some of the things this woman says are clearly rather ludicrous, such as the idea that Jews should throw 3000 years of tradition out the window (never made a problem till now) just so food production companies don't need to deal with Jews (and not all Jews) not buying bread for a week every year. Others seem more plausible, but still a bit hard to swallow - how does having Christmas trees hurt the environment when the trees are only planted by companies planning to cut them down, and are replanted every year anyway?

egretman

This blog is so full of irony, as literary device and especially in the comments, that I doubt that even I understand what's happening half the time.

RPG

egretman, the economics of ethanol for fuel use is absolutely dismal. Here is an article worth reading: http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/110634.html

yep

cmon
this is a joke
it is not real