Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Heavyweight Countries Throwing Their Weight Around

Once upon a time in a city long ago and far away, I was on a city bus. The bus stopped and two very large persons boarded the bus. They had to have weighed close to a ton (29.1667 grams) between them, or possibly more.

They both sat on the same side of the bus and took up about three seats each. The bus leaned precariously in their direction and rocked alarmingly as it drove away from the bus stop.

When I think of China, it sometimes reminds me of the bus incident I just described. 

China is such a heavyweight that when it sits down or moves, it can make the world tilt in its direction, just like a very large person on a bus.

Yes, I know, that is the pot calling the kettle black, since I live in the USA. The USA rocks the bus a lot too. That doesn't mean that the world isn't affected by either heavyweight rocking the bus.

The world is somewhat used to the USA rocking the bus or the planet. China doing this is something different in a lot of areas. 

One way that China has rocked the planet recently was particularly interesting to me because of personal experiences. I used to live and work on a farm that raised pigs in a factory style environment. China recently acted on a desire to have food security for its people in the area of pork. 

Lots of countries have strategic oil reserves. China just set up a strategic pork reserve. Here is the link to the story about it:

Lest you engage in unseemly levity on such a serious subject, this has real and serious international consequences. This is not that different from serious international consequences stemming from American consumption of MacDonalds burgers, but it is easier to see because it is comparatively sudden.

The amount of meat that China has in its strategic pork reserve is 200,000 pounds of frozen pork. Since China's pork consumption has doubled in the last twenty years, this is a reasonable and wise precaution, from a preparedness standpoint.

Since pork prices have skyrocketed recently, the Chinese government is going to try to hold down prices by releasing meat from its strategic pork reserves.

China's great increase in pork consumption has rocked the planet since it takes a lot of feed for all of those pigs. Here is a quote about it:
" In 2010 alone, China imported 50 million tons of soybeans, which makes up over half of soy’s global market while China’s corn imports make up one-third of the growth in world corn trade."

Even if you are a vegetarian, like me, China's pork consumption will affect you because of the above quote. People can eat that soy and corn. A lot more people can eat if they eat the soy and corn than if the soy and corn are fed to pigs and then the pigs are eaten.

The same thing happens when Americans eat burgers, from beef that eat food that people could eat. I don't think everyone has to be vegetarian because I am, but if people eat less meat, fewer people might be hungry. 

Eating a lot of meat can be fattening. Too much meat consumption is not healthy for an individual and neither is it for the planet. Big countries need to quit throwing their weight around and rocking the planet.

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