Climate? Investment? Science? Who knows where to put this one…
While watching CNBC World (a financial news channel) coverage of Asia, I learned there is a looming Kimchi Crisis. Now, being fond of Mongolian Bar-B-Que, Thai Peppers, Sushi, and yes, Kimchi, this caused me some great concern…
Seems that there has been ANOTHER crop failure. Cabbages in Korea are not up to snuff. What can I say? This is: une vraie catastrophe!
OK, I had to do some googling… so the Economist caught my eye. Clearly this is an issue of International Economic Proportions! (given that The Economist is covering it). I mean, North Korea is a Nuclear State! My God Man, they might come after our cabbages!!! (Selling at the local Save Mart for 37 cents / pound on discount… what can I say, we are blessed with tons of cabbages and yet few who know what to do with them.)
Of cabbages and Kims
Forget mad dictators. The price of cabbage is what really worries Koreans
Oct 7th 2010 | seoul
IN SEOUL, the South Korean government is staring nervously across the border, wondering about the succession under way in North Korea. The city is also preparing for a G20 summit in November. But the word on everyone’s lips is cabbage. The price of this humble vegetable, which forms the basis of kimchi, the Korean national dish, is soaring. Everyone from the president to the commonest crook and blogger is getting in on the act.
My God!!! We are on the precipice of W.W. III and all because Californians can grow tons of cabbage but think it’s something best fed to bunnies while the Koreans are suffering a nuclear meltdown.
What could possibly be the cause of this?
A poor harvest brought on by bad weather was the original culprit, but with prices soaring, hoarding may also be responsible. Year-on-year inflation jumped from 2.6% to 3.6% between August and September, pushed up by cabbage’s new status as the Ferrari of vegetables. Annual cabbage-price inflation is now 400% in Seoul, say official statistics.
Oh My GOD! It’s Climate Change!!! We’ve got bad weather, mixed with evil markets exploiting the weakness of the masses in their time of need… Oh, The Humanity!
(Though I must wonder if perhaps they might like some of our cabbages? It seems that Californians just can’t quite bring themselves to eat the things. It’s the, um, er, the … well, the way certain, oh dear, ah, ‘gases’ smell …. and it’s just so, well, it reminds us of a past when our German ancestors ate a lot of sauerkraut and wieners and smelled of cabbages and garlic… Though I must admit to having a plate of sauerkraut and sausages from time to time, when the spouse is gone and noone is around…. and I run the fan afterward so noone smells the hot vinegar smell…)
But could there be more?
That reference to “hording” is just a bit of a worry. Perhaps the Global Cabbage Cartel is at work?
Normally, Koreans serve home-grown kimchi as a matter of honour. But people are now looking abroad for their fix, sparking a debate about the suitability or otherwise of different countries’ cabbages.
Oh No, Mr. Bill! It’s a matter of HONOR! We are all clearly doomed. When North Korean Honor is at stake, we can pretty much assume someone is going to be nuked. South Korean honor? Not so much… They don’t take it all quite so seriously, not having been lead by a frustrated choreographer and all…
Many Koreans think Chinese-grown agricultural produce is unsafe, but they are having to swallow their pride about that. President Lee Myung-bak says he will be getting his personal stash from Western producers, earning him comparisons to Marie-Antoinette from South Korea’s numerous and critical bloggers. His administration has announced the temporary lifting of tariffs on imported cabbages, in advance of the traditional kimjang season, in which kimchi is prepared for the winter.
And it gets worse. We have an “East / West” divide developing, with the elite able to get Western Cabbage, while the poor must make do with cabbages from Communist China. Oh, the humility… Off With Their HEADS!
The country has not yet seen rioting in the streets, as happened in Mexico’s tortilla crisis of 2007.
Riots? Mexican Mafia issues? Look, we got through the Tortilla Crisis, OK? ( I still shudder as I remember going weeks without a burrito. Making do with Carnitas and Huevos Rancheros with no tortilla in sight…) No need to have Koreans crossing the border too. We already have a decent sized Korean community here and I don’t really need to learn another language. It’s already enough that I have to speak Spanish to get anything right at low end restaurants, flea markets, “auto recyclers” – that we used to call “junk yards” in more honest days, and, er, “recreational pursuits”; along with Japanese at Karate class and French at the high end restaurants, now you want me to get good at Korean too? Enough!
Nor are trenchcoat-clad men whispering down dark alleys, “psst, want some cabbage?” However, Korea’s kimchi crisis is a worry, not just for cabbage-munchers but policymakers. Food-price inflation—as in much of the world—is a serious matter.
Ah, cabbage as price inflation driver. Now I see… It’s really about balance of trade issues and the inflation of fiat currencies as the Koreans need to swap their questionable currency for our “long green”… I ought to have known… Yes, a serious matter indeed.
It is quite clear that we are headed into a “Climate Catastrophe” driven economic and political collapse. The extent of the intrigues are hard to fathom. We have East vs West, the old guard Western Cabbages of unquestioned quality V.S. the Cheap Chinese Cabbages with God Only Knows what making them up. Lead Paint on the surfaces? Short weights? Substandard materials? Unhealthful handling? The RICH getting western cabbages while the poor make do with substandard Chinese fare (and suspecting all the time that the Chinese are playing for position, trying to drive the western cabbage makers out of business with shoddy goods and artificially low prices…) Even the heads of Korean Government positioned to join those of Marie Antoinette in the basket…
Clearly, it’s all caused by the present solar funk. The sun takes a bit of a nap, and we all go Ape Shit and plan to nuke each other due to the shortage of Cabbages.
We Are Doomed. There is no other logical conclusion. Simply Doomed. We are at the mercy of a fickle sun that has decided our fate. Nuclear war. The Cabbage War. And it’s hopeless. The only chance is if we all pitch in a few hundred percent more taxes. Yes, that’s the ticket. A few hundred percent more taxes and we’ll set it all right again.
This Time, For Sure…