Friday, April 25, 2008

The importance of food

I have been following the effects of the global grain price spikes with interest. The protests, some of which have turned violent, are occurring all around the world: a good summary is here. The World Bank has called the situation an "emergency."

I've tried to bring the subject up with my coworkers. They don't really seem to care that hundreds of thousands of people may starve to death this year. But several are up in arms that Costco stores in America are rationing rice.

Their response is somewhat distressing to me. It doesn't seem to be just my coworkers, either: the World Bank call for action made of point of explaining that instability in developing countries would affect trade and drag down the economies of developed nations; apparently famine is not a reason by itself to provide aid. But, perhaps I'm more invested in this issue than the average American or even government official: I donate money to charities that have been trying to prevent and mitigate this situation, and send occasional emails on the topic to my Congressmen. Perhaps I should not expect that level of involvement from everyone.

Nevertheless, it was comforting to see that the writers on the Daily Show seem to be equally distressed over these views of the typical American: C'rice'is in the U.S.

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