The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
In these forests the multitude of insects that bite, sting, devour, and prey upon other creatures, often with accompaniments of atrocious suffering, passes belief. The very pathetic myth of “beneficent nature” could not deceive even the least wise being if he once saw for himself the iron cruelty of life in the tropics.
—Theodore Roosevelt, on nature in Brazil, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, 1913
One of the perennial confusions in economics is that between monetary inflation and relative price increases. This was in play again with the early January 2012 announcement that in December 2011, Chinese inflation had jumped by 4.1 percent over its rate a year earlier.
On its face, that seems to represent about a 25 percent improvement over the average Chinese inflation rate of 5.4 percent in 2011. But look more closely. The same report reveals that Chinese food prices jumped 9.1 percent year on year in December. This is quite ominous for China, but very bullish for Brazil.
Here is why. In recent years, China has been the world’s largest agricultural power, producing more food than any other country. The trouble is that China’s farm output is ...