I’m talking about the food crisis. Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans — but they’re truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family’s spending.
There have already been food riots around the world. Food-supplying countries, from Ukraine to Argentina, have been limiting exports in an attempt to protect domestic consumers, leading to angry protests from farmers — and making things even worse in countries that need to import food.
How did this happen? The answer is a combination of long-term trends, bad luck — and bad policy.
Let’s start with the things that aren’t anyone’s fault.
We also need a pushback against biofuels, which turn out to have been a terrible mistake.
But it’s not clear how much can be done. Cheap food, like cheap oil, may be a thing of the past.
I suppose rising commodity prices is such an important issue that even Paul Krugman talks about it instead of providing welfare or talking about the election this Monday. And some people responded jocularly in my other thread about buffets and insulting think tanks. I wanted to convey a similar message in another thread.
Look, I am seriously concerned with resource depletion. Concepts such as social justice will be deemed pablum if acquiring resources such as oil is considered a zero-sum game because of severe scarcity.