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Room for Debate: Is the World Producing Enough Food?

Web note: This is an interesting attempt by the New York Times to foster a discussion on food insecurity, which OCA appreciates. Some of the panelists responses are very interesting. However,  to quote Phil Bereano, Professor of Technology and Public Policy at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, "The 'debate' is, in my view, manufactured by those attempting to gain control over world food.  Even in the severe ethiopian "famines" that country had plenty of food - but those starving could not buy it. And transport and storage systems were inadequate. Markets don't work - they are NOT efficient allocators of goods. The existence of widespread 'food insecurity' in the US is proof that huge amounts of food do not prevent hunger."

 

Global food prices are soaring again, as droughts, freezes and floods have affected various crops in many parts of the world. At the same time, demand is rising with living standards in fast-growing countries.

The price spikes are not as sharp as they were in 2008, but the new volatility reflects more than the sum of recent freakish weather "events," from severe droughts in China and Russia to floods in Australia to a deep freeze in Mexico.

Economists and scientists have identified longer-term changes -- from global warming to China's economic growth to a lack of productive farmland -- as the culprits. Is the world producing enough food -- specifically grain? Is this a continuation of the 2008 crisis, or something quite different?