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Old 09-09-2008, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Montrose, CA
3,031 posts, read 7,863,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post

Only problem with relying on this as the sole model of agricultural production is the loss of diversity. In order for those large mega farms to maintain their competitive edge, they tend to be mono-crop oriented. (do one thing and do it really well) There is certainly a place for community and small scale farming as it brings diverse goods to localized populations at a reasonable cost because you are not required to ship your product as far. With the cost of fuel what it is today, this can add up to quite substantial additional cost.
I agree, and I should have clarified that the traditional family farm as we know it needs to evolve in order to be competitive. Niche markets such as "locally grown", organic, gourmet, or specialty foods are good alternatives for smaller farms.

But the model of the family farm that includes a few cows, chickens, pigs, and grows one or two common crops is what isn't viable anymore, and those who continue to hold onto that lifestyle really shouldn't be thrown free money by the government. It's just welfare, packaged up in a different wrapper. Change with the times, or be eliminated.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:34 AM
 
2,180 posts, read 3,187,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
In the case of Middle East oil producers, these are in the hands of small groups and families in most cases, so they would be forced to only make billions per month instead of tens of billions per month, and I suspect they would manage.

I assert that if it were just simple interdependence, the United States would be able to leverage its demand against Middle East producers and there would be an equal or near equal manner of sanction, but this is not the case.
Another key element here is the percentage of our oil that comes from those Middle East producers.

We get 13.3% of our oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait, combined. We get a total of between 1% and 11% of our oil from other Middle Eastern countries.

57% of our oil comes from Canada, Mexico, or ourselves - 41% from the U.S., alone. Another 8% comes from Venezuela.

Yes, we need to be aware of foreign dependence, but the whole "make the United States no longer dependent on the Middle East!" movement misses the point - they are not our primary providers.

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/st...images/map.swf was the primary source for the above comments.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
5,217 posts, read 4,111,845 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
I would like to pose the question of whether or not the United States is caught in such a position that dependence upon foreign sources of energy, goods, food, and monies has led us to become an inadvertent imperial state? If so, do you believe that there is a way to break our dependence upon foreign states, or even if we should?

I certainly do believe that it has left us as you say an imperial state. Even worse,I feel that it has left us extremely vulnerable and we are left to navigate through the whims of less than rational leaders of countries controlled by , in some cases, crazy lunatic monarch who leaves it's people living in the 21st century as if it were the 18th or 19th Century.

Our dependence on them is dangerous for our own well being. I do believe that U. S has the ability and innovation to develop new forms of fuel sources or energy sources that would limit our dependence . I feel that this is where the U.S needs to focus for many reasons,including the health of our planet.
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:03 AM
 
11,128 posts, read 12,373,924 times
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Well in the case of oil, I think it is a misnomer to look at it in terms of this country own this amount, that country owns this amount and this country uses this amount. Global petroleum is a giant pool and should be looked at in this way. If the United States develops 20%,30%, 40% etc... more oil, that doesn't mean that we won't continue to export oil at a greater percentage as well. Yes, American exports oil, hard to believe I know.

If the United States were to say, divest itself from Venezuela, then we would either have to use more of our own or cut down our exports, or get it elsewhere. So Venezuela then sells more oil to Germany, the US then has to buy more oil from Saudi Arabia. The price goes down in one location and up in another having zero net gain of any significance.

In the end, the United States consumes vastly more oil than it produces, so thus a dependency somewhere exist. I believe in time this will change as pointed out by NewToCA, because it simple has to. There is ever greater pressure on the energy sector by emerging nations such as China and India to name just two and what we consume less of, they use more of. However the more we can lessen dependence upon a critical societal sustaining resource, the better off we are, not to mention the security benefits of lessened dependence.

I am just of the opinion that we can be a part of the world and still lead without having to command over client states in order to ensure a supply of cheap but dwindling energy supplies in the long term. It reminds me of a quote by Isaac Asimov, "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome".
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:16 AM
 
4,172 posts, read 5,856,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
I would like to pose the question of whether or not the United States is caught in such a position that dependence upon foreign sources of energy, goods, food, and monies has led us to become an inadvertent imperial state? If so, do you believe that there is a way to break our dependence upon foreign states, or even if we should?
some thoughts:
(a) "inadvertent imperial state": we can be a bit imperialistic but we really do not need to over-do it. I do not think we need to be so militarily stretched - some of this is as a result of needless fights. Oil is still available in the world market. You can justify a presence in a few strategic areas, but we seem to be trying to be everywhere. (Russians used to do this till they ran out of moolah.)
(b) basically, it is an extremely interconnected world. Raw resources, manufacturing, internet etc - all make us very interdependent. I think the idea of self-sufficiency is noble but not practical or achievable. Other than oil, there are not too many resources the US has trouble finding in the open markets, so why worry (too much)?
(c) as the second post in this thread said, even if we wanted to become more self-sufficient, it would require a dramatic overhaul of our consumption pattern. It is not in the interest of most corporations (tied via lobbysits to policiticans we believe we "elect") to do this - this is the "American Way" and it aint gonna change -short of a national financial disaster.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:36 AM
 
11,128 posts, read 12,373,924 times
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Well the key reason I used the term "Inadvertent imperialism" is because I don't believe the United States set out with this goal in any way. I believe we arrived at this due to our level of gross consumption. While I used oil as my prime example, I could dig up the statistics on American having 5% of the worlds population but using or is directly responsible for the use of X% of the worlds copper, steel, coal, corn, plastic or whatever raw resource in order to meet its demand for light and durable products.

I suppose we could go off in the direction of why various factors have caused us to go from manufacturing 52% of all the goods the rest of the world used to less than 12% today. This shift away from being a producing empire to a consuming one has many factors and might be the subject for another thread.

The reason I focused on the two key resources of energy/petroleum and food, as without these resources, our society would cease to exist in the manner that it does. Life as we know it would be vastly different in such a profound way as to almost be unimaginable.

Yet it is with these two key resources in which I believe the United States has the ability to lead the world if a national effort was put in place. Yes the notion of being 100% energy independent is monumental and yes it would require an investment on a decade level, but the returns in wealth gained from possession of such technologies as well as the security of not having to rely upon foreign sources would seem to outweigh this initial investment. However, even at my age, I am still an idealist and an optimist in a very pessimistic way.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,755 posts, read 23,217,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
Yet it is with these two key resources in which I believe the United States has the ability to lead the world if a national effort was put in place. Yes the notion of being 100% energy independent is monumental and yes it would require an investment on a decade level, but the returns in wealth gained from possession of such technologies as well as the security of not having to rely upon foreign sources would seem to outweigh this initial investment. However, even at my age, I am still an idealist and an optimist in a very pessimistic way.
Well, I'm a "seed money" and "effort" kind of guy, and I think we can solve problems of supply, production and jobs if we just apply ourselves a bit.

One example is the hybrid vehicles about to be produced by multiple companies.


Another is increased desalinization efforts.

Desalination plant plans OK'd | The San Diego Union-Tribune


Another is local solar electric applications.

Sacramento's Clean Energy Payoff
Solar Home Developments - Environment California (http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/energy/million-solar-roofs/solar-home-developments - broken link)


Another is better use of water for crops, and alternative farming processes.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Vertical farming in the big Apple
The Vertical Farm Project - Agriculture for the 21st Century and Beyond | www.verticalfarm.com (http://www.verticalfarm.com/Contact.aspx - broken link)
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:44 PM
 
27,903 posts, read 33,419,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmdude View Post
some thoughts:
(a) "inadvertent imperial state": we can be a bit imperialistic but we really do not need to over-do it. I do not think we need to be so militarily stretched - some of this is as a result of needless fights. Oil is still available in the world market. You can justify a presence in a few strategic areas, but we seem to be trying to be everywhere. (Russians used to do this till they ran out of moolah.)
(b) basically, it is an extremely interconnected world. Raw resources, manufacturing, internet etc - all make us very interdependent. I think the idea of self-sufficiency is noble but not practical or achievable. Other than oil, there are not too many resources the US has trouble finding in the open markets, so why worry (too much)?
(c) as the second post in this thread said, even if we wanted to become more self-sufficient, it would require a dramatic overhaul of our consumption pattern. It is not in the interest of most corporations (tied via lobbysits to policiticans we believe we "elect") to do this - this is the "American Way" and it aint gonna change -short of a national financial disaster.

We are less "around the world" than anytime in the past 30-40 years.

CNN.com - Bush announces major troop realignment - Aug 16, 2004

Do you remember a few years ago when they started shutting bases down?

Once the troops start coming home or shifting to Afghanistan we will be even less "everywhere".

When we get done with Afghanistan and they are stable yet even more will come home.

I'm not so sure I like that idea but it does cost a lot of money to keep them abroad.
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,055,514 times
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Anyone else remember when Wal-Mart focused on "made in America" and it was part of their TV advertising? This was before the "Always low price " campaign.
Also, saw CNN-Ted Koppel special on China in July. Profiled a lady in Missouri who lost her job at a Briggs & Stratton factory. Koppel asked "Why do you shop at Wal-Mart with so many imported goods" Answer was part, I didn't know so much of the merchandise was imported and part-because it's cheap. So it reminded me of the dog chasing its tail. The Briggs and Stratton factory in China was originally for Chinese market only, plans were to keep MO plant open. The higher end engines were too expensive for the Chinese market, so they exported to US resulting in cost savings and closing of US plant.
And yet we have more foreign automakers opening facilities here, like VW. And Caterpillar and John Deere keep humming along. I wish I had an answer for bringing lower-mid priced product manufacturing back to the US. I don't see an answer.
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:16 PM
 
4,172 posts, read 5,856,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon3475 View Post
We are less "around the world" than anytime in the past 30-40 years.

CNN.com - Bush announces major troop realignment - Aug 16, 2004

Do you remember a few years ago when they started shutting bases down?

Once the troops start coming home or shifting to Afghanistan we will be even less "everywhere".

When we get done with Afghanistan and they are stable yet even more will come home.

I'm not so sure I like that idea but it does cost a lot of money to keep them abroad.
I said we "overdo" things in terms of number of troops, not number of permanent bases. I had Iraq in mind when I said it was needless (no probs with Afghanistan) - but that is another topic. Keeping them abroad is expensive - I agree, so are wars. Recall, OP's post was referring to inadvertent US imperialism, and I was merely saying we could do less of it.
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