Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To Bad About All Those Starving Brown People

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think the global food crisis is only affecting the "brown people" or otherwise "third worlders". If you are one of those who think the "world's food basket" is immune from such things you might want to think again:

Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.

You might also note that we, who are supposed to be at the top of the "chain", are also not immune from such things as refugees. Take a look at this article from the BBC about a tent city springing up in Los Angeles. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

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