Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

More on food prices

Posted by alifinmath on April 14, 2008

In Dawn:

Food crisis may lead to wars, riots: experts

The world is moving towards a food crisis that may lead to wars and riots, warn financial experts meeting at the World Bank headquarters in Washington.

Leading financial experts from around the world warned that food riots and shortages were breaking out in many regions as food shortages threatened millions of people, sparking protests around the globe.

They pointed out that so far there had been deadly riots in a number of countries.

Last week one person was killed in two days of rioting in Egypt, while violence wracked Haiti, where demonstrations over rising food prices led to looting and clashes with police.

And also in Dawn:

Reports distributed at the World Bank’s spring meetings noted that “in Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to avoid seizing of food from the fields and from warehouses”. India, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, Haiti, Burkina Faso and Mauritania are also on the list of countries where food shortage has already led to deadly riots.

And the attitude of the rich and the rich countries? Let them eat cake. I want to digress for a moment and dwell on the phrase, “Let them eat cake.” For most of my adult life, I’ve ascribed this saying to Marie-Antoinette, who had her head lopped off during the French Revolution. But first of all, the saying may have been, “Let them eat brioche” (a form of bread made from flour, butter and eggs, going for the same price as basic bread), and secondly, it was probably not Marie-Antoinette who said this. More here. But to return to the topic of indigence and starvation, the travails of the poor are so utterly tedious to the rich: they really don’t want to be distracted. And their spending habits continue unabated; here in the NYT:

Buyers this year have already closed on 71 Manhattan apartments that each cost more than $10 million, compared with 17 apartments in that price range during all of 2007. Last week, a New York art dealer paid a record $1.6 million for an Edward Weston photograph at Sotheby’s. And the GoldBar, a downtown lounge, reports that bankers continue to order $3,000 bottles of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac.

That’s the life. For some.



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