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The global food crisis II

21 April, 2008
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Following on from Nursel’s recent post, I’d like to draw readers to a recent New York Times article about the “global food crisis”. According to the article, rising commodities prices, especially fuel and food prices, are producing unprecedented stress and anger across the globe, resulting in unrest and even riots. The article includes disturbing descriptions of people in Haiti eating concoctions made in part from mud in order to still their hunger pains. It is worth being reminded that what is experienced as a bit of additional pain at the checkout for the world’s wealthy can be an issue of survival for the world’s poor.

The article states:

“It’s the worst crisis of its kind in more than 30 years,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, the economist and special adviser to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. “It’s a big deal and it’s obviously threatening a lot of governments. There are a number of governments on the ropes, and I think there’s more political fallout to come.”

Significantly, the article also acknowledges the interconnectedness of the global economy in that rising prices have “pitted the globe’s poorer south against the relatively wealthy north, adding to demands for reform of rich nations’ farm and environmental policies”. The production of biofuels putting upward pressure in prices is mentioned, though the competition between animals and humans for grains is not.

Given the likely future impact of rising fuel prices, climate change, the expansion of economies such as China and India on food production and prices, the fact that the situation appears already to be so bad is worrying indeed.

See also the NYT’s index of articles on food prices.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 24 April, 2008 3:19 pm

    And in this article, Hugo Chavez is calling the food crisis a “massacre” of the world’s poor and claims it is a sign that “capitalism is in decline”.

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