The United States is not on the list of global “hot spots” seen as places where a lack of access to food could cause social and political unrest. According to writers and experts, some 40 nations face a serious backlash as people struggle to eat.
Food riots have already struck several countries and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has warned Lesotho, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Moldova, Eritrea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and North Korea are in trouble–some of these countries worse off than others. The agency also foresees potential upheaval in countries where 50 to 60 percent of a family’s income is spent on food.
According to the UN agency, global food costs went up nearly 40 percent; grain prices rose 42 percent and dairy prices were up nearly 80 percent in 2007.
Global price increases in staples like rice, wheat, sorghum, maize and soybeans are cited for a potentially serious ripple effect, especially in developing nations. But the developed world hasn’t been totally spared: Russia and China have also seen an increase in food prices.
A rice shortage has hit and some Asian countries have cut back on or stopped rice exports to ensure that domestic markets are served.
Bio-fuels, which utilize grains to produce cleaner burning energy, aren’t the promised anti-pollution magic bullet. Some critics have called using farmland to grow corn to produce fuel, instead of food to feed people, a crime against humanity.
“Governments and private grain dealers used to hold large inventories in normal times, just in case a bad harvest created a sudden shortage. Over the years, however, these precautionary inventories were allowed to shrink, mainly because everyone came to believe that countries suffering crop failures could always import the food they needed. This left the world food balance highly vulnerable to a crisis affecting many countries at once–in much the same way that the marketing of complex financial securities, which was supposed to diversify risk, left world financial markets highly vulnerable to a systemwide shock,” observed writer Paul Krugman, in a New York Times commentary.
Americans are feeling the financial pressure of putting food on the table. Costs of food on grocery store shelves have gone up more in the first half of this year than all of 2007, according to the Labor Department. The inflation rate for food is expected to hit 7.5 percent this year, not counting increases tacked on because of natural disasters that cut production and increased demand.
A rise in corn prices, which have doubled in commodity markets, means an increase in feed prices and the prices of eggs, poultry and meat.
Wheat prices have tripled because of a bad year for wheat producers. Oil prices are up and that hits consumers directly in the pocket for gas, but also increases transportation costs to get food to markets and some food production costs.
Americans face serious choices about whether to buy a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk.
Since the dollar is worth less on the international market, producers of oil and other commodities want more dollars for their products, another reason for price increases. “This combination of a weak dollar, soaring energy prices, and global demand recalls the 1970s, when retail food prices rose an average of nearly 9 percent a year, said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solution, an Omaha research firm. … ‘Much as we saw in the ’70s,’ he said, ‘these sharp increases are going to be sustained,’ ” the Boston Globe reported.
Financially-hamstrung Americans battling mortgage payments, stagnant wages, increased college costs, tax payments and credit card debt can’t take too much more pressure.
The United States has long been the envy of the world with its amber waves of grain, low cost of food and store shelves stocked with every imaginable product. Good times, however, may be coming to an end: “Cheap food, like cheap oil, may be a thing of the past,” Mr. Krugman observed.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has taught us–and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has reminded us–that the divine judgment against America includes the use of rain, hail, snow and earthquakes and the fall of the dollar. Natural disasters can destroy infrastructure, curb farm production and foster economic woes that cripple the country.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that what was seen on far-off shores would one day visit America, including war, strife and famine.
America has been warned for over 70 years that like the great and rebellious rulers of the past, namely Babylon, Rome and Egypt, she cannot escape God’s judgment–unless she repents and begs God for a healing.
If rulers in the past were judged worthy of God’s judgment for enslaving people, engaging in filthy practices, oppressing nations, warmongering and acting with blind arrogance, can America avoid the same judgment?