Friday, June 03, 2011

Food and the G8

Food for Revolution by Harold James - Project Syndicate

One thing I am beginning to study is global food prices and their effect on the poor. This article makes a great point that food price instability has historically been the greatest source of revolutions in recent history. The revolutions in France in 1789 and Russian in 1917 were triggered by food shortages. The current Arab spring finds its immediate spark in rising food prices. Globalization and changes in monetary policy have a very inelastic relationship with food prices. Therefore, it is the responsibility of policy makers who set financial and monetary policies on a macro level to keep food availability and food prices in different regions of the globe at the forefront of their thinking when they make these policy decisions.

As Christians, it is our responsibility to keep the welfare of the poor at the forefront of our thinking and activities. It is time for us to become more knowledgable of these issues in order to advocate for the poor of the world.

4 comments:

tomcadman said...

According to the World Bank, rising food prices have pushed 44 million more people into severe poverty and hunger since June 2010.
-We are our brothers keeper.

TJ said...

I commend you for your efforts and couldn't agree more. Thank you for your post.

Kepha said...

Yes, I agree that we need to keep the needs of the poor before us, but I have these caveats:

What happens when demand outstrips production?

In the Arab world (especially the Maghreb), we have a very skewed rentier economy, in which all depends on selling oil and natural gas. In Egypt, there is a populous country which has essentially lived on a combination of other countries' largesse and tolls from the Suez Canal for generations. Further, there is perennial pressure on the Coptic minority, one of the few relatively entrepreneurial sections of the population, and a mindset that sees wealth as something taken rather than produced.

A lot of poor countries are poor not from the machinations of the evil, capitalist First World but because they are steeped in an ethos that does not respect production and puts political rhetoric first.

brad said...

Kepha,
I think your additions of cultural aspects which exasperate problems is obviously important. Such anti-productive ideologies certainly place roadblocks before progress. I am speaking main concurring trade, currency, and production policies that are self-centered and disregard the effect on the poor globally.