Wednesday, April 2, 2008

World-Wide Food Price Issue

According to an article on ( a 200% increase in food prices over the past nine months has lead to rioting in the Ivory Coast. The rioters, mostly women (which I think is interesting), have burned tires and even caused the closing of roads in the economic capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan.

BBC's John James and Ivory Coast President Gbagbo have said that this is a world-wide problem. President Gbagbo has reason to enforce this, so as to possibly calm the citizens of his country who are suffering. He taken measures to help offset the rising costs of food, such as cutting "taxes on basic household products." The article states that "the protests are linked to the high price of oil [and] the growing demand for bio-fuels," enforcing what we heard in a lecture not too long ago which included a wise quote from Dr. Webber's daughter on bio fuels. We are facing a quickly growing problem on whether we should help the (relatively) wealthy of the world fuel their lifestyles and promote "progress" or take care of a growing hungry population. I feel this is not an ethically easy problem as a significant portion of fuel use goes towards the study of disease and for jobs for people, which are needed to help them afford food. I just don't know when we'll be able to find a balance between necessary and beneficial consumption and excess.

The issue of excess is one I have found to come up frequently (directly or indirectly) through out the semester in lecture and in articles I have read. As riots/protests have taken place in Mexico, Cameroon, Ethiopia, etc because people can't afford the basic necessity of food, I think it's a topic we'll be hearing much more of. More on this can be found at the World Food Programme website

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