April 18, 2008

Soaring Commodity Prices


(Photo from NY Times)

We're in the midst of a global crisis when it comes to food and commodities. I've seen many articles about this epidemic in the past few weeks, but the New York Times article today really brings out the problems with the soaring food and gas prices that is causing starvation around the world. The mention of mud patties on page 2 is especially heartbreaking:
In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

Articles like this really elucidate the fact that most of us are privileged. Most of our lives would be very different if we had to think about getting food all the time.

The crisis is not just about the world's poor either, though they most certainly are having the biggest problems. I also saw this article in the Oregonian yesterday, which profiles some of the less fortunate people in my state. Many of these people have cut off their internet and cell phone usage. It's unfortunate because internet and cell phones are a requirement for advancement in the digital age. Those who can't advance will continue to fall farther behind. I have a feeling that the sagging economy will continue to weigh down on people, both in the U.S. and abroad, for a very long time.

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