Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Disappeared News: food riots break out, the US is also affected

by Larry Geller
No doubt President Bush would like to have a different legacy, but it appears that the last months of his presidency will be marked by recession (at least), Americans losing their homes and jobs, and now many Americans facing starvation. Food shortages and rising prices have led to protests and riots around the world.
Perhaps for this reason (mustn't embarrass the administration) the press has kept the growing problem largely under wraps. Mustn't print too much bad news.

Stuffed and Starved: As Food Riots Break Out Across the Globe, Raj Patel Details “The Hidden Battle for the World Food System”

Global food prices have risen dramatically, adding a new level of danger to the crisis of world hunger. In Africa, food riots have swept across the continent, with recent protests in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. In most of West Africa, the price of food has risen by 50 percent—in Sierra Leone, 300 percent. In the United States there has been a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months. [Democracy Now, 4/8/08]

With oil at $110 a barrel, it's not just the cost of transporting food that has skyrocketed. Petroleum is also used in fertilizer and pesticide manufacture.

For some crazy reason the US is determined to use corn, which is needed as a foodstuff, to create fuel to keep its gas-guzzling SUVs moving. Nevermind that the CO2 needed to make ethanol is greater than it saves. Nevermind that the demand for fuel ethanol is resulting in food shortages.

Not only do we use up much of the world's oil, but we eat an amazing amount of food:

...the US is the most obese country on the planet. There are only three in ten Americans are now at a normal body weight. And at the same time last year, about thirty-five million Americans went hungry at some point last year. So this contradiction between hunger and obesity is worldwide.

This can't go on. We in Hawaii are more vulnerable to any break in the food supply than is the rest of the country. We should be very concerned to hear:

AMY GOODMAN: Raj Patel, in the last thirty seconds—and then we will bring our listeners and viewers part two of this conversation—but in our last thirty seconds, how devastating are the hike in food prices for those living on the edge?

RAJ PATEL: I mean, they’re absolutely devastating. It’s important to remember, of course, that living on the edge is also devastating, but what we have now is a situation where the food prices are really just toppling people into straightforward hunger and famine. I mean, in Haiti, people are eating mud cakes in order to keep hunger pangs at bay. Things are pretty dire.

We were totally surprised by Aloha and ATA suddenly going out of business. The next surprises will be even less pleasant. Unless we plan, and begin to take action, to reduce our vulnerability.

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
by Raj Patel

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But you start with a false premise Larry by talking about the last few months of Bush's presidency... what makes you think they're going to actaully allow an election? ;>)

Good point.

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