Beef: Soon to Not Be What's For Dinner

Knowing that there are many scientific-minded people here, my approach to things in the news is not going to get a lot of traction here. I come from the legal world, and there we have things that Courts like to call presumptions, e.g., the presumption of parental custody of a child or the presumption that a law passed by Congress and signed by the President is Constitutional. With that said, one of my operating presumptions is that, if the World Economic Forum says that something is good or beneficial, you can bet your entire year’s salary that it is not.

Klaus Schwab, the ultimate Bond villain that heads the World Economic Forum, has as one of his goals to encourage the nearly 7 billion people on this planet who are not lucky enough to be in that super small, super elite club mentioned by George Carlin all those years ago that eating anything other than natural, wholesome animal based (it is telling that we have to use that phrase) protein is not only healthy but also tastes good. Part of the plan to get people to “choose” to eat this synthetic meat is to artificially increase the price of meat to the point where people–who seemingly would not do so otherwise–decide that alternative proteins (the innocuous euphemism for fake meat and bugs) is worth a try. (As an aside, this is also the exact same strategy to get people to buy electric cars and want to switch to “green” energy options.) This plan was explained in a January 2019 white paper published by the World Economic Forum (which Klaus runs) titled “Meat: the Future Series, Alternate Proteins.”

On page 20 of this white paper, the World Economic Forum (WEF) explicitly states that governments should pursue price hikes on beef to encourage people to start looking more toward fake meat. “[T]he demonstrable environmental and health benefits of some products may persuade some governments to facilitate or accelerate their uptake, through regulatory or fiscal intervention, rather than just leaving it to the market (an analogue might be government interventions in the 1990s and 2000s to
promote solar power uptake, for example).” (Emphasis added.) Read that again: “rather than just leaving it to the market.” Basically, KIaus and his merry band of despot thug government stooges knows damned well that, if left to unadulterated market forces, their “Great Reset” crap would be dead on arrival. So, to make it seem as though the alternatives are real and viable, he is encouraging governments to act to force the price up so you and the rest of the middle class in the United States gives up that delicious, God made steak.

I bring this up because recently Bloomberg had a piece titled " Americans May Have to Say Goodbye to Steak and Burgers as Beef Costs Rise." In this piece, the rapid increase on beef prices is blamed on Ukraine and Russia. “That’s in doubt as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pressures markets. Meat prices are part of what’s behind soaring inflation that’s the worst in four decades, and consumers are getting sticker shock.” That is interesting because inflation has been a topic of consternation among the middle class in the United States since approximately September 2021, if not sooner. Like the gas prices, the increase in price for a product that the Global Cabal has deemed targeted for extinction is being blamed on something that just started two weeks ago. However, much like gas prices, the increased price in beef began almost as soon as Joey Soft-Serve was sworn in as Resident of the White House.

So what is driving the increase in beef prices if it is not Putin? Well, David Frum–yes, that David Frum–has a suggestion. " The theory, expressed most powerfully in a 2019 book by Thomas Philippon, The Great Reversal , is that the U.S. economy is in thrall to a few dominant corporations. In industry after industry, Philippon argued, a few companies have gained the power to keep prices high, wages low, and competitors out. The philosophy of government that follows from this theory is that the government should vigorously police competition, not only by means of traditional antitrust enforcement but also through a broader program of market regulation and intervention." Pay close attention to that last bit: government intervention to “assist” in the price crunch from increased beef prices. Also note that Frum indicates that beef prices have been rising since at least 2019. But Frum explains that the increase in beef prices can be explained by two different theories. First, supply and demand during the COVID shutdowns and other protocols created an inefficiency in the meatpacking industry (the supply side) while demand for beef increased with people eating at home instead of going out to restaurants (the demand side). Second, and you guessed it, government intervention artificially skewing the market prices. Using the analogy of craft brews, Frum states that small meatpacking plants will compete with the big meatpackers in terms of quality as opposed to compete in terms of price, but this approach has its drawbacks. “Smaller meatpackers could likewise compete as alternatives that are more humane to animals—or that deliver organic or grass-fed meat. But that means entering the market at the top, not undercutting from below. And because the main obstacles to this kind of niche competition are regulatory, allowing the niche competitors to grow will demand a deregulatory agenda of a kind very different from what the Biden administration seems to have in mind for meatpacking.”

The increase in the price of beef–and I would posit the increase in the prices of EVERYTHING that the middle class depends on–is a deliberate increase by politicians who are doing the bidding of ol’ Klaus. And it is not a matter of connecting dots. They have told us this is what they are going to do. Part of the Great Reset is to coerce the middle class to give up on the very things that keep us free and healthy. The Great Reset is a forced reset on a large number of people who do not necessarily see the need for such a reset. The rationale given for all of this is “climate change,” but poll after poll shows that “climate change” ranks very near the bottom of issues of concern by the American people. As I stated above, they know that their fake, artificial crap will not be accepted by the people and, therefore, Klaus has to unleash his WEF leaders to implement plans that force the people to make the “right” choice. And in terms of beef, that choice is giving up that New York strip for a nice patty of bug paste. Bon appetite!

6 Likes

Here is a chart of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures contract (synthetic continuous contract based on nearest expiration) in nominal (non-inflation-adjusted) US$, from 1965 to present.

CME_LC_1

Here is the same chart, zoomed in to show just the last decade.

Live cattle are the “raw material” of beef, and reflect producer and bulk consumer factors as opposed to processed products which also incorporate labour, transportation, energy, and other costs.

The recent rise in cattle prices began in April 2020, but this was starting from a precipitous plunge that began in January 2020, just as COVID-19 restrictions began to kick in. The price did not exceed January 2020 levels until August 2021, and has risen in a linear trend to the present. The high of November, 2014 has not yet been taken out by the present rise.

As these are nominal dollar prices, they are not adjusted for depreciation of the dollar, which has accelerated as a result of unprecedented money printing starting in the second quarter of 2020.

As beef cattle in the U.S. are usually “finished” on corn (maize), that is an important component of their price. Here, for comparison, is a chart of corn futures over the last decade.

MAIZE_1

Here, we see a strong up-trend starting in August 2020, consistent with the money printing going into high gear, with a retracement from May through October 2021, and then resumption of the previous trend. This has almost certainly been a major driver of cattle prices.

These charts look to me more like normal behaviour of commodity markets in an inflationary environment (compare the cattle futures chart from the late 1970s to the last few years) and not some secular plan to drive up the cost of beef compared to other agricultural commodities.

I’m not saying there isn’t a globalist elite scheme to make us all eat soy paste and bugs, but that so far it hasn’t shown up in the price charts.

WEF_bugs

2 Likes

Well, those charts are not matching the rhetoric in the media. For the past few months–since the climate conference in Scotland back in November–I have seen story after story about how we are going to love eating bugs instead of ribeye and how beef prices are going to make steak a forbidden meal unless one is in the 1%. Your charts are showing that we haven’t even passed the price from the early 2010s, before there was the WEF push to get us to eat bugs.

Edit: I should add that the chart does not match the rhetoric of the WEF Global Cabal either.

3 Likes

I swing between frustration that our Best & Brightest are messing up in the worst possible way on almost every front, condemning me & you to a life which will be increasingly nasty, brutish, short … and meat-free – and optimism that the human race will go onwards & upwards (which is what the historical record suggests).

Sadly, the onwards & upwards now depends on someone like the Chinese, Indians, or Brazilians to carry civilization forwards. Future human beings reading Shakespeare in the original English will become as rare as people today reading Homer in the original Greek. Sic transit Western gloria.

1 Like

No, I think we are at the “End of History.” In the past, there were spaces to go to when things became too much. There was empty space–meaning there was no established, hegemonic government–in which the proponents of Western Civ could go and start anew. There is no such space left. I think the Great Chess Player in the Sky is about to flip the board and take His pieces home. We are increasingly being led by agents of demons who have no care about humanity.

3 Likes

The article “Scale-up economics for cultured meats” identifies economic limitations on the scalability of lab-grown meat. The article was published June 2021; I am not sure whether these limitations have since been addressed or resolved.

The problems identified, according to the article’s abstract:

[…] Low growth rate, metabolic inefficiency, catabolite inhibition, and shear-induced cell damage will all limit practical bioreactor volume and attainable cell density. Equipment and facilities with adequate microbial contamination safeguards have high capital costs. The projected costs of suitably pure amino acids and protein growth factors are also high. The replacement of amino-acid media with plant protein hydrolysates is discussed and requires further study. Capital- and operating-cost analyses of conceptual cell-mass production facilities indicate economics that would likely preclude the affordability of their products as food. The analysis concludes that metabolic efficiency enhancements and the development of low-cost media from plant hydrolysates are both necessary but insufficient conditions for displacement of conventional meat by cultured meat.

3 Likes

Similar articles appeared in the technical and popular press at regular intervals for all the years between the invention of the transistor in 1947 and when it finally displaced vacuum tubes in all but highly-specialised applications by around 1970. It was said, over the years, that transistors:

  • were too expensive (the first mass-produced transistor, the CK-722, sold for US$7.60 in 1953, or US$ 81 in BidenBucks)
  • were too inconsistent in electrical properties
  • required materials of purity difficult to manufacture and control
  • could not handle high power
  • could not handle high frequencies
  • were overly sensitive to temperature and could be damaged by high temperature
  • required more complex circuitry, with an increased cost for passive components
  • required expensive clean room environments to manufacture

and so on. All of these were true at the outset, and mass market consumer electronics continued to use vacuum tubes well into the 1960s, with transistors creeping in at the edges where size, weight, low power consumption, or other benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

But every year transistors improved, while vacuum tubes were a completely mature technology and had already reached their limits. Eventually the lines crossed, and today vacuum tubes are used only in exotic, niche applications where, for example, their ability to operate at very high temperatures or frequencies still gives them an edge.

I suspect it will be much the same with tissue culture and synthetic meat. Comparing animal products with today’s laboratory experiments is like comparing tubes with transistors in 1951. Given how lucrative the market will be for a much lower cost alternative to animal products and the rapid pace of research in bioengineering, I’d say give it a few years and see how they stack up then.

2 Likes

But transistors have huge advantages other than price. Thus, I assume there were applications that the transistor could compete even at a higher cost. This allows the foundation to make a little and learn. Maybe the equivalent market niche is those that will pay more for lab meat on a moral basis. Or maybe the big guns or government will fund everything betting on the come.

1 Like

Who can say? Back when the Next Big Thing was ostrich meat and a fertile ostrich egg would sell for $1,000 when that was real money, one of my neighbors took the plunge and started an ostrich farm. Economics being what it is, the poor man ended up committing suicide – it is not easy to be a leader in a new industry.

His flock of ostriches scattered over the neighborhood, causing quite a stir – especially because the heirs had little interest in rounding up those birds. One of the ostriches moved in with a neighbors’ horse, and the two animals spent the next several years wandering around the pasture together as if this was the most natural arrangement in the world.

To get back to the topic, plant growth suffers from the same problem as solar power – it is highly dispersed. A cow is a highly efficient way of harvesting a large area of grass. It is going to be tough for mechanical collection of plant growth to compete with a cow. And alternatives like vat growth of algae will be very much more capital intensive. Once the technical issues for synthetic meat have been solved, the economic issues are likely to be just as challenging.

2 Likes

Transistors have huge advantages now. Back in the first half of the 1950s, not so much, because the first two generations of transistors had severe limitations which restricted the applications for which they could be used. Even computers, where size, power consumption, heat dissipation, and reliability would seem to give transistors an edge, had to wait until the late 1950s until transistors had improved sufficiently to be competitive. The first all-transistor commercial computers did not appear until 1958, 11 years after the invention of the transistor.

I think the lesson is to never underestimate the ability of an immature technology to improve when there is money available to develop it and a large market into which it can sell when it becomes competitive.

1 Like

I’m not so sure about this. I expect that cultured meat will be less expensive, and probably much less expensive than competitive animal products, and the major challenges will be in taste, texture, etc. Consequently, replacements for generic ground beef and sausage filling will probably appear well before high-end speciality meats. Meat production is very inefficient in terms of energy consumption and land use, which is why “factory farming” at the expense of the well-being of animals is widespread. An industrial-scale tissue culture operation, working with the exponential speed of cell division, may have the kind of cost of goods advantage that an integrated circuit factory has compared to one making equivalent products from vacuum tubes and discrete components with manual labour.

As it happens, ostrich meat is commonplace here and available in most larger supermarkets. Comparable prices for steak/breast cuts in CHF/kg are:

2 Likes