Friday, March 05, 2010

Food prices and hunger

I want to recommend an article entitled "The True Cost of Cheap Food" over on Common Dreams. Here's how it gets started:

Cheap food causes hunger.

On its face, the statement makes no sense. If food is cheaper it’s more affordable and more people should be able to get an adequate diet. That is true for people who buy food, such as those living in cities. But it is quite obviously not true if you’re the one growing the food. You’re getting less for your crops, less for your work, less for your family to live on. That is as true for Vermont dairy farmers as it is for rice farmers in the Philippines. Dairy farmers today are getting prices for their milk that are well below their costs of production. They are putting less food on their own tables. And they are going out of business at an alarming rate. When the economic dust settles, this will leave us with fewer family farmers producing the dairy products most of us
depend on.

Also, one of the reasons we have so much illegal immigration from Mexico is that the US flooded the market with our government subsidized, very cheap corn and we drove the small Mexican farmer out of business. It's that so-often ignored "law of unintended consequences" again.

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