Friday, May 16, 2008

'Morality' in print

In today's FLS, Donnie Johnston once again demonstrates poor judgement in a headline. For those that didn't read it, he throws out there that there is a moral decision to be made to stop using corn for ethanol. At best you can say this article isn't researched, at worst he is giving I'll advised opinions and ignoring data. Even more alarming is that his column is syndicated -

In this column, Mr Johnston talks about the cost of corn going from $2 to $6 a buschel due to ethanol use, it is also higher due to increased farm costs, increased labor costs, and more demand. He doesn't even mention that the predecessor to the ethanol additive has been found to pollute out water supplies, nor that researchers are looking for alternatives such as switchgrass for making ethanol.

My bigest issue with this column is how it sets the argument as moral. Right there on the front of the Region section, "AT WHAT point does using corn for fuel become a moral issue?" is the first sentence. Not the opinion section, but the front of the region section. If we are going to make strategic national decisions, I really hope that we don't use morals as the anchor. Check out what is considered moral to this town in India where a family admitted to murdering two people (three for those counting the unborn child).

Morals are much too porus to use them as basis for sound scientific or economic analysis.

1 comment:

COD said...

He does have a point, even if it is by accident. Corn is a very inefficient fuel. Not to mention all the petroleum based fertilizer used to grow it... The only people benefiting from ethanol are Cargill and the other agribusiness corporations getting paid to grow it.

Hemp produces far more energy per bushel than corn, and is much easier on the land. If we are serious about growing our fuel, we should be growing hemp.

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