The world is facing a crisis. Remember my contribution when I wrote about why Icelandic food is so expensive? Well the same goes for the rest of the world. Food prices are skyrocketing.
Foodstuffs have gone up 41 percent in price since October 2007 globally, pushing many people over the line from poverty into privation or even hunger. The Food and Agriculture Organization, a branch of the United Nations, has identified 36 “crisis” countries, 21 of which are in Africa. But as might find a little bit strange, this is not the result of bad harvests. The production was bigger than ever last year, and is projected to break the record again this year. This has to do with things I was talking about before – unnecessary subsidies (aren’t they always unnecessary?), regulations etc. But there is a new bandit on the market – the environmentalists.
Next time you see a car driven by ethanol take a look at it. It has no exhaust pipe. The buses in Uppsala (Sweden) and Reykjavik (Iceland) are most of them driven by ethanol. Thanks to that, buses have been painted green to show people that this is the good environmental option. Yey! But, and here’s the huge but, is it really that easy?
Well, not surprisingly, it’s not. Because of subsidies especially in the US ethanol production now take almost five percent of the total global harvest, which is twice the total reduction of stocks this year. And according to the World Bank, the grain needed to fill up an SUV once could feed a person for a year. Sc. Biofuel is a huge problem.
Of course this lead to that countries that live on grain sales respond to the rise in prices with price controls and export barriers which means less incentives for their farmers to grow and invest more, and result in rising prices for the rest of the world.
And do I need to mention all the subsidies and tariffs that the US and the EU are using to enrich themselves meanwhile they impoverish Africa and South America? The EU and the US NEED to cease this anti-capitalistic behavior! The world need more openness, more globalization, and more capitalism – not less of it. Jean Ziegler, Austrian guy from the UN, called this terrible thing for a silent mass murder. And it is definitely what it is!