Food prices sparking riots

Just a quick hit for now. We have talked before on this blog about the potential for a global food crisis (e.g., posts “A quart of wheat for a denarius?” and “Food, Prophecy, and Shades of Thomas Malthus“), and things these days do look concerning.

A CNN.com article, April 14, 2008, reported on “[r]iots from Haiti to Bangladesh to Egypt” and the pictures don’t look pretty. Comments from World Bank President Robert Zoellick were highlighted:

“In just two months,” Zoellick said in his speech, “rice prices have skyrocketed to near historical levels, rising by around 75 percent globally and more in some markets, with more likely to come. In Bangladesh, a 2-kilogram bag of rice … now consumes about half of the daily income of a poor family.”

The price of wheat has jumped 120 percent in the past year, he said — meaning that the price of a loaf of bread has more than doubled in places where the poor spend as much as 75 percent of their income on food.

Many will certainly use this situation to publicly hammer their favorite “bad guys” — whether those “bad guys” are significant causes of the problem or not. I will simply say that these times reflect worse times prophesied for the future by the Bible — times in which being in a rich, Western nation will provide no insurance.

A Time.com article — “How Hunger Could Topple Regimes” — presenting their analysis of the situation might be worth a read for those interested in the potential implications of all this.

2 thoughts on “Food prices sparking riots

  1. One of the “bad guys” being blamed — even by some environmentalists and “green” lobbyists — is the biofuels industry and its supporters, including the EU.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/15/business/greencol16.php

    ROME: Last Friday an advisory panel to the European Environment Agency issued an extraordinary scientific opinion: The European Union should suspend its goal of having 10 percent of transportation fuel made from biofuel by 2020.

    The European Union’s biofuel targets were increased and extended from 5.75 percent by 2010 to 10 percent by 2020 just last year. Still, Europe’s well-meaning rush to biofuels, the scientists concluded, had produced a slew of harmful ripple effects – from deforestation in Southeast Asia to higher prices for grains.

    Also see:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/environment/when+good+biofuels+turn+bad/2011647

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080414/eu_food_prices.html?.v=1

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