A federal energy mandate takes its toll on bystanders:
Now that the United States is using 40 percent of its crop to make biofuel, it is not surprising that tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which imports nearly half of its corn.
In a country where most families must spend about two thirds of their income on food, ‘the average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development.’ … Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world, according to the United Nations.
From Reason.tv, and new to us, at least, if not exactly new, with vignettes on reef reconstruction, ethanol subsidies, and child health insurance (via Hodak Value). And from Mark Perry, “Some Great Examples of Unintended Consequences from Wikipedia’s Listing for ‘Perverse Incentives.’” An example, from an economics text by James Gwartney and Richard Stroup:
In the former Soviet Union, managers and employees of glass plants were at one time rewarded according to the tons of sheet glass produced. Not surprisingly, most plants produced sheet glass so thick that one could hardly see through it. The rules were changed so that the managers were rewarded according to the square meters of glass produced. The results were predictable. Under the new rules, Soviet firms produced glass so thin that it was easily broken.
Don’t miss the rat-farming and dinosaur-bone examples, either.
Not unrelatedly: Can a California prosecutor be held liable for wrongful murder conviction of man freed after 24 years? [Van de Kamp versus Goldstein, L.A. Times via Greenfield]
With all his lawyerchums from Milberg-witness days, you’d think Ben Stein could have saved the makers of his creationist movie from stumbling into textbook IP infringements [Myers, again, WSJ law blog]
Lawless LA: Deputies barred from foot chases now, so criminals know to run away. Lawsuit victim:
“I’m less proactive because I’m worried the next time I do something — who’s going to second-guess that?” [LA Times]
Lawyer tries to sabotage clients’ immigration proceedings over $7000 fee dispute, gets slap on wrist. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
“An Iowa judge has denied unemployment benefits to a man who claimed discrimination after being fired from an ethanol plant for drinking ‘automobile fuel’ produced by the company.” Cory Neddermeyer, 42, was fired after being hospitalized with an almost fatal 0.72 blood-alcohol level after dipping into the 190-proof fuel at his employer, Amaizing Energy in Denison, Iowa. “Neddermeyer argued that his employer shared in the responsibility for the incident because the spill at the plant provided an ‘opportunity’ for him to drink. He also argued that Amaizing Energy was discriminating against him due to his ‘disease of alcoholism.’” (Clark Kauffman, “Man fired for getting gassed on spilled ethanol at work”, Des Moines Register, Jul. 9 (via Romenesko)).
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