Can't fix commodity prices with monetary policy

Paul Krugman has the more detailed version with his traditional lefty spin, but I'll go with Michael Roberts' synthesis...
Commodity price rises have little to do with monetary and currency policies in the US and around the world.
... and concise takeaway:
We'd be wise to think about possible collateral damage of higher commodity prices, since I suspect high prices could be here to stay. But this really should have no bearing on monetary policy.
It's pretty easy to verify with a quick look at oil prices over the past three years - the dollar didn't fall far enough to push crude up to $145/bbl, nor rise enough to push it back down to $40, nor fall again enough to get back to today's range of $90+.

Sure investment advice?

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink thinks agriculture and water will perform even better than energy:
"Go long agriculture and water and go to the beach," said Mr Fink, whose creation was now the biggest funds manager in the world, with $US3.5 trillion ($3.07 trillion) under management -- more than the GDP of Germany.

"Put those investments in the bottom drawer for 10 years. It's unlike anything else we have in the world."

Agriculture and water would even beat energy investments, he said.

"They're finding lots of ways to find new energy -- Israel's going to be an exporter of natural gas and I'm hearing there's more oil under Iraq than Saudi Arabia, for instance, although it's not secure."
This is probably right, although I have two caveats. First, it's hard to find a vehicle to use to go long on water. Second, I don't buy that it is so simple to prove that commodity prices will trend upward from their current level, as Matt Yglesias tries to do by saying that
Over the past ten years, catch-up growth in India, Brazil, and (especially) China has been the majority of world growth. Consequently, the rate of stuff-utilization is going up higher than the rate of stuff-production, meaning we’ll see rising commodity prices rather than falling ones.
There are real discontinuities in the supply and demand curves for commodities, and if it were that easy, none of us would have to work our day jobs.

I do agree with Yglesias, though, that the implications of rising commodity prices are decidedly not good for poor countries with stagnant growth. What's going down in Egypt looks very, very real.

P.S. From Felix Salmon, the good thing about Egypt is that the WEF fixed it.

Robot harvesting strawberries

It's been a while since I posted anything (since 2010, in fact). So, via Ben Casnocha, here's a YouTube video of a robot harvesting strawberries. Here's a short advocacy documentary on migrant workers harvesting strawberries in California (and our robot is nowhere near ready for those conditions). Here's the AP study demonstrating that unemployed Americans don't want this job (notwithstanding, of course, that white people like to pick their own fruit). And here's Parke Wilde on the agricultural economics of strawberries, or why weather matters and yet sob stories should be taken with a grain of salt.