Monday, April 21, 2008

Food prices - poor us

Earlier, I said this cartoon says it all.

Now I'm not so sure.

Rising food prices across the world have already caused deaths, both from riots and from starvation. Survival of the fittest has kicked in; those who have least are getting even less as prices continue to increase.

Riots have already happened in Haiti, Bangladesh and other places worldwide. A quick google of 'food price riots' brings up 34,000 results, and still, most Irish people will ask what you're talking about.

Because what most of us are currently concerned about is our economy. House prices, job prospects, and, oh yes... the price of goods. Did you know that the price of Irish Pride has risen from €1.66 to €2.15 in the past year or so? Disgraceful. How are we going to feed our children?

Hang on a minute. Where's the context? Many of us will pay much more than that for one cup of coffee at least once a day (guilty). Or €100 for a pair of shoes (guilty). Or €1.80 for the Irish Times in which we read about the food increase (nope, work paid for that one :) ).

The price of staples such as bread is not going to put any of us in danger. There are very, very few people in Ireland who cannot afford basic food. While there are plenty of people in this country living in relative poverty, the level of absolute poverty is extremely low. People on the lower levels of the economic ladder in this country will feel the pinch, there's no doubt about that. But they won't know why, because they don't read the Irish Times.

The ones complaining about the prices are people who will pay for a skinny latte four times a day, will drink €15 cocktails and will go on holidays at least twice a year.

Oh yeah, and the farmers. Because the prices are too low.

I appreciate that they are trying to protect their livelihoods. So would I. But can they not see the hypocrisy of giving the annual calf to Bothar, and then crying for a world trade policy that would see all the world's most vulnerable developing countries excluded from the party?

No comments:

Post a Comment