The G Effect: Rising Food Prices & Riots
Bands of young men carry stick and rocks. The rebels set up burning tires for roadblocks. Mobs loot warehouses, stores and government offices. Gunfire rings out through upscale neighborhoods and slums alike. Helicopters circle in the air as black smoke fills the city from burning tires.
Welcome to a new effect of globalization and panic policy, the food war.
Global food prices are up 40% on average for the last nine months and people aren’t happy. Nationals of Haiti are unhappy about food prices because they earn less than $2 a day. Similar problems with pricing exist worldwide.
U.N peacekeepers are on the scene in Haiti. President Preval has told Haiti citizens to go home. “The solution is not to go around destroying stores. I’m giving you orders to stop.”
Haiti’s U.S.-backed president, Rene Preval, urged the U.S. Congress to cut food taxes in his first public address about high food prices.
High prices are stirring unrest from Vietnam to Egypt. In Ivory Coast last week, women rioted with one person dead. Farmers have been arrested for hoarding surpluses. The UN International Fund for Agriculture predicts food riots will become common on the world scene. Rising food prices are acute in Asia and Africa, where the cost of food takes a chunk out of family income. The problem is more acute because more people live in cities than ever before.
The UN World Food Program feeds nearly 89 million destitute people. As usual, money is in short supply and will run out by May 1.
In Haiti, imports have decimated local production of rice which has compounded the food crisis. The same policies have damaged agricultural production in other countries. Farm subsidies in many nations have destroyed production values.
In the U.S. and Europe, a rush created by governments to devote more farmland to growing bio-fuels has simply fueled higher prices with little benefit otherwise. In the U.S. alone, 18% of grain production is being used to make ethanol, enough food to feed 250 million people. Meanwhile, less money has been invested in agricultural productivity.
The panic over global climate change has created additional pressure on the United Nations. The U.N. Secretary General is suggesting a review of climate policies to quell international anxiety. Freak weather has played into the crisis. The U.N. blames industrialization and urbanizing of nations as well as the need to create better irrigation and better grain seed. Through panic measures designed empower and create change, the U.N. is creating its own kind of “Soylent Green”.
Dramatic changes in the global economy, i.e., globalization include higher oil prices and lower food reserves topped by growing demand in China and India.
A revolution of the hungry is in place with no solution in sight. This is worse than poverty.