Apr. 13th, 2008

frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
India introduces rice export ban

Hopefully, no one feels like imitating India any time soon, or we'll see some sudden large grain shortages in some countries.

The media only talk about "the rising cost of food", but they haven't started to talk about its inevitable consequence should this situation continue: more poverty and massive starvation. Already, India is struggling with high inflation and this measure cited above is a way to try to keep that down; however, this is only moving the problem from India to rice-importing countries. Of course, industrialized countries can handle paying more from their food much more easily than India, but I'm sure it was also exporting rice to developing countries as well.

Gwynne Dwyer says:
Before World War II, most families in developed countries spent a third or more of their income on food, as the poor majority in developing countries still do. But after the war, a series of radical changes, from mechanisation to the green revolution, raised agricultural productivity hugely and caused a long, steep fall in the real price of food.

For the global middle class, it was the good old days, with food taking only a tenth of their income.

It will probably be back up to a quarter within a decade. And it may go much higher than that because we are entering a period when three separate factors are converging to drive food prices up.

The higher prices from grain come from two factors: biofuels and higher meat consumption in rapidly developing economies.

In order to solve this, in the short term, we will have to make the use for arable land for biofuel crop production illegal. In the longer term, we will have to take dramatic steps to reduce world poverty by eliminating predatory trade policies. That would be a start!
frandroid: camilo cienfuegos in a broad-rimmed hat (cuba)
Cubans to get titles to state-owned homes, wage limits may be lifted

Other changes made since Raul Castro became president include allowing Cubans to buy cellphones, previously only the domain of government officials and foreign companies.

Also, a ban has been lifted on Cubans buying such goods as computers, DVD players and microwaves.

Are people smelling "Chinese-style communism" as much as I do?


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