Wednesday, April 16, 2008

unrelated 30's and an unmanageable australian water shortage?

kind of a mix of unconnected things, as per usual:

the top 50 highest paid hedge fund managers collectively got paid just shy of $30 billion last year. if these 50 people ran off and founded a new nation where they were the only citizens, its GDP would be about the same as the median national GDP for all of the countries in the world. generally, hedge fund managers only get paid when they kick ass and take names and it has been a tough year to do that, so maybe they deserve their pay. i don't mean to judge, just to point out the ludicrous.

speaking of ludicrous, it is expected that 30% of the corn produced in the US this year will be used to produce ethanol instead of food, because of this short-sighted (homicidal might be more accurate, as world hunger problems worsen because of this policy) pork-barrel policy that favors the corn states.

completely unrelatedly, Australia is having another water shortage, complete with bans on washing cars, watering lawns, etc and all sorts other ridiculous ineffective political machinations that ignore market forces. when it gets much worse, they'll start telling people how often they can shower. it makes me wonder how much of their water is really consumed for domestic purposes. it would be good to keep in mind that large amounts of water are consumed in the production of beef (approximately 441-1,500 gallons of fresh water per pound of beef in the US(about 4,000-12,000 liters per kilo)) (for reference, i am a pragmatist, not a vegetarian. if i lived in Oz, being the first might force me to embrace the second) if these numbers are remotely accurate for Australia, a simple water-saving measure would be to increase the cost of domestic beef by increasing the price of agricultural water supply or adding a water shortage tax to domestic beef. i imagine most households could much more easily remove one kilo of beef from their monthly consumption than they could reduce their domestic water use by 4,000 liters per month. it sounds like backwards politics are alive and well outside of the US.

1 comment:

richard said...

Hi,
a study done in 2003 in Perth showed that 45% of total water use was outside of the home ( Loh & Coglan, Watercorporation 2003). Although Perths water restrictions arnt as bad as Sydney, they are going to go that way. The figures show that Australia is both the driest country, next to Antartica, and one of the highest water consumers. Yet the English heritage has involved using introduced plants in gardens and having large lawns.Ornamental and non food productive. It is also about using introduced animal species such as Hereford cattle, which consume so much water in growing beef, as opposed to native species, such as Emu, or other introduced species such as Camel.