When the United Nations released a report estimating that food prices have risen eighty-three percent (83%) in the past three (3) years, it was an astounding figure that caught many people by surprise. As with most issues that “only affect third world countries”, Americans are finally awakening to the fact the crisis is also hitting home in the United States as well. Rising food prices and the subsequent starvation that is gripping many third world countries not only affects those who are literally starving to death, but raises serious security concerns as well:
Food crisis threatens security, says UN chief (Excerpts)
Alexandra Topping, The Guardian,
Monday April 21 2008
The UN secretary general issued a gloomy warning yesterday that the deepening global food crisis, in which rapidly rising prices have triggered riots and threatened hunger in dozens of countries, could have grave implications for international security, economic growth and social progress.
“If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others … and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world,” Ban told the conference.
The World Bank estimates food prices have risen by an average of 83% in the past three years (Emphasis added), and warns that at least 100 million people could be tipped into poverty as a result. A range of factors has been blamed, including poor harvests, partly due to climate change, rising oil prices, steep growth in demand from China and India, and the dash to produce biofuels for motoring at the expense of food crops.
“One thing is certain,” Ban said. “The world has consumed more than it has produced” over the last three years. MUCH MORE
Throughout history, food has been used as a weapon, one that is as effective as WMD’s, and even in our own country the effects of rising food prices have resulted in an unprecedented escalation of Americans relying on Food Stamps to supplement our own rising food prices, and millions of Americans are struggling to keep their families fed and gas in their tanks so they can continue working - often for less and less as wages become stagnant and in many cases are actually being lowered as corporate America greedily cashes in on our suffering while increasing their bottom-line:
Record numbers of Americans rely on food stamps
Author: John Wojcik
CHICAGO — Human suffering, more than Wall Street indicators, tells us the world’s richest nation is plunging into its most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, while the Iraq war continues to drain the nation’s Treasury. As Congress heard the Bush administration’s top general and ambassador in Iraq argue for continuing to pour billions into an open-ended occupation there, news reports showed an all-time record of 28 million Americans now survive only because of food stamps.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that as many as 30 million Americans will, by October, be using food stamps to buy their most essential foods. That will be the highest number in U.S. history relying on what has traditionally been considered the symbol of poverty.
“When people have trouble getting food on the table you know there’s a problem,” said Carol Waters, a Chicago social worker at a downtown homeless shelter. “People at the shelter here have needed food stamp assistance for a while,” she said. “But now people around their kitchen tables all over this land are needing those same food stamps. Without that aid there would be nothing on those tables to eat. The children would go hungry.”
The increased reliance on food stamps, up from an already record-breaking 26.5 million last year, results from the squeeze on people by an economy not working for them. Close to 200,000 were tossed onto the jobless pile in the first quarter of this year alone. (Emphasis added) MORE
In the United Nations report, cited above, the underlying cause of the food shortage and it’s effects on the global community were summed-up in one paragraph - and understanding the implications of using essential grains for biofuels and the subsequent disaster it is causing were manufactured in the United States by the Bush administration - whose only concern is that corporate America reap huge profits while the rest of the nation is diving into poverty at a rate that is a tsunami of human suffering:
The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, earlier blamed the crisis on biofuels, speculation on commodities markets, and EU export subsidies. “Hunger has not been down to fate for a long time - just as Marx thought,” he told the Austrian newspaper Kurier am Sonntag. “This is silent mass murder.” (Emphasis added)
President Bush, in his refusal to grasp reality, stated that the US is not is a recession, but a “slowdown”: