Friday, April 18, 2008

When the Bread is Breakin' You

We're sure you've noticed the price of milk, meat, bread, and other staples shooting up over the last several months. For those who think that it begins and ends there, we urge you to think again. Don't take our word for it. Check out one New York Times article on the effects of skyrocketing food prices across the globe (complete with the traditional images of poor, darker skinned people). For a more in-depth assessment, check out Democracy Now! coverage. The bottom line is that while working and middle class people are strugglin' at the grocery store (and the gas pump), as usual, the issue has much dire consequences for the poorer people and countries of the world. Why bring this up? Riots are breaking out over rice, corn, and water. Hunger is driving new levels of violence and crime stemming from desperation and NGO's lessening ability to help those who they could normally feed (which already wasn't enough). Onyx Cranium believes that despite being front page news, the issue is receiving a somewhat muted reaction because the U.S. is so acclimated to seeing images of destitute and starving people, particularly those of color. We are so used to changing the channel when a Feed the Children ad or one of a similar nature flashes close-ups of big eyed babies with swollen bellies. Here's the difference. This ain't no commercial folks and it's bigger than making a single donation. Those who control the price of food (like those who control fuel prices and international trade regulations) are all in this. Global warming and related natural disasters, such as drought in one area and hurricanes in others, is also playing its part. Which means that ultimately, for those of us driving to work, shopping at Wal-Mart, Albertson's or even Trader Joe's, and watching as the price of gasoline shoot past $4.00 a gallon, have put in on this crisis as well. Our names, anonymous though they be, are all over this one.

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