The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Real-Money Stock Picks / Messed-Up Expectations Portfolio


Subject:  Monocrop -> MUE? Date:  5/15/2011  5:36 PM
Author:  DDHv Number:  347 of 1287

Seeing that wet conditions are making Midwestern corn planting late and may result in less planting started me thinking about monocrop cultures. All skilled farmers know that a monocrop works well - until some condition occurs that it can't handle and there is a collapse.

Corn ethanol plants form an industrial monoculture. This led to the general subject of other "monoculture" events, such as the recent price drop by AMSC due to their having one primary customer. Sinovel is giving them problems at present. There are certainly others.

A "mono" system of any sort is metastable, subject to more bad black swan events than most systems. A discussion of known monostable systems, and possible messed up expectations that might result, could be valuable to us. After checking out AMSC, I bought in.

A general example: in the mid 1800s a solar flare was strong enough that the magnetic effects actually damaged telegraph systems. In the 1920s a weaker major flare hit the earth. Our whole electrical grid has been built later, and many of the parts are not protected against electromagnetic impulses of that magnitude. Also it is possible to make artificial EMP pulses - a properly executed nuclear one would hit most of the continent. Lessor events are of more immediate interest include our energy and food mono patterns which can cause problems.

There are other things not covered in standard investing. As a precaution: R.J. Ruppenthal has a book, "Fresh food from small spaces." Living in an apartment, he still manages to produce a large portion of his own food! We've found "How to grow more vegetables than you ever though possible on less land than you can imagine." by John Jeavons useful. If we keep eating, other problems can be tackled. In addition to the implications if major trouble hits, the reduction in family expenses from the back yard garden has produced much of the cash margin we are using for investing.

Can anyone else suggest better "mono" possible discussions here?
Copyright 1996-2019 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us