26 April 2008

Rice price as capitalism's vice

The current problem with high food prices is not just a supply and demand problem, but also a symptom of the ills of global capitalism without sufficient social conscience. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

in usa additional land has been devoted to grow corn and use the harvest to produce a small amount of vehicle fuel, which gets government subsidy, which encourages the reduction in land used to grow food; why? because biofuel is used by people more able to afford them, while the poor suffer the consequence of reduced food production

in a market driven system, minor needs of the rich, who can afford to pay, outweigh important needs of the poor; it is more lucrative for doctors to do cosmetic surgery for the rich than to save life among the poor, women from poor nations are smuggled as sex slaves
to satisfy the needs of men in rich nations... these are just some examples of the negative consequences of market mechanism and globalization


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the US had actually pumped all the oil from Iraq for themselves, oil prices wouldn't be so high now. It turns out that the US didn't actually steal Iraqi oil the way everyone said they would.

Anonymous said...

Prices of commodities including oil are largely fueled by demands from China and to a much lesser extent India, the two emerging industrial powers with half the world's total population. Besides meeting current demands, these two countries are probably stockpiling and building buffer stocks. The problem is compounded by hedge funds and others speculating on bullish demands and hence prices.

Once these two countries stop buying, prices will collapse like a deck of cards. A recession in the US and Europe will have serious repercussions in China. Reduced demand shuts down factories with downstream ripple effects.

Chen said...

This problem is essentially unsolvable. The earth simply cannot support the vast human population living on it. After the global crude oil and natural gas production peaks (and it will, sooner or later), we will see starvation on a scale never been seen before.

Without sufficient natural gas to make artificial fertilizers, without fossil fuels to transport the fertilizers and the food around, the world's food production will collapse and no amount of money can solve the problem.

Ultimately, money cannot create energy.

Charles said...

I agree with Yawning Bread that decreasing the wealth gap between the have and have nots is important though this is certainly not a recent phenomenon.

The history of mankind has always been plagued with such food shortage and hunger problems which plague modern societies especially since the onslaught of industrialization. Globalization also tends to excaerbate this problem. That is not to say globalization is entirely 'bad'.

The 'wealfare' state is probably the solution to alleviating this problem.

Anonymous said...

It should not be a case of capitalism vs socialism, winner takes all kind of thing. Instead we MUST have a balance of both. Capitalism without the restraint put forth by socialism will result in exploitation. A society becomes unstable when the scale tips excessively towards one or the other. In the case of S'pore's longest ruling party, the PAP, its socialistic beginnings has now been totally abandoned, instead rampant capitalism is the order of the day. This spells trouble ahead.