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Food prices are rising because demand is rising because populations and living standards (in some countries/sectors) are rising.  Production isn't keeping up because energy, wage and input costs are rising (for farmers in the developed world) and because of land availability issues in much of the underdeveloped world.  On balance higher prices will help stimulate more production, but this exacerbate existing problems of land availability and income inequality.  Greater counter market government interventions are required to counter-act this growing income inequality but neo-liberalism frames such interventions as market distortions.  Of course they are - just as famine in a world of plenty is a moral and humanitarian distortion.  Which is the more important frame of reference?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 18th, 2008 at 09:34:15 AM EST
The problem in the underdeveloped world is not only land availability - quite literally, agriculture there is stuck in Antiquity. That limits production much more that land availability - the Green Revolution proved that parts of the Third World could raise productivity with better techniques.

Also, from the point of view of income inequality, let's remember that the rioters in Mexico and Egypt tend to be urban dwellers - who are wealthier than land workers. The ones going hungry are the food producers.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2008 at 09:46:48 AM EST
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