Green, Eggs and Ham

To be green these day practically requires you buy into the need for ethanol as the fuel of choice for your car.  We saw last year how an incredible increase in demand for corn to produce ethanol resulted in a tremendous surge in the price of this grain.  Here is where my favorite law, the Law of Unintended Consequences, takes hold.  Since chicken feed also makes use of large quantities of corn, the competition for a limited supply caused feed prices to rise, which in turn forced up the cost of raising layers and thus of eggs.  Now it is a universal truth that you cannot produce more eggs by killing chickens.  The same can’t be said of ham.  In fact, the opposite applies.  So when corn-based hog feed prices rose and it became too expensive to keep raising those little porkers, all the little piggies went to market.  This sudden influx of supply caused a decline in pork prices.  See what happens when you play with your food?  I’m sure Adam Smith would have enjoyed a hearty breakfast watching this unfold.