This weeks meeting of the G-8 Industrial nation’s leaders concluded with a statement pledging action on, in part, the issue of rising global food prices; “We agreed on the need to address in particular, issues of elevated oil and food prices and global inflationary pressure, stability of the financial markets and fight against protectionism.”
It is obvious that the food crisis needs to be addressed, and millions of people saved from the brink of starvation, but it seems as though the G-8 leaders are committed more to maintaining the status quo or further cementing the structural problems that lead to the crisis in the first place. The leaders called for more aid to countries particularly stricken from higher food prices but as Robert Weissman points out, this aid is usually administered by the IMF which requires certain neoliberal pro-market measures to be implemented in order for that aid to be delivered. These measures have had a pathetic history of failing in poverty stricken countries around the world and have been blamed for causing all sorts of crises, including the current one with food prices.
While the attention is, and should be, placed primarily on impoverished countries—whose residents literally survive off stable food prices—even here in the United States food prices are having a noticeable effect on everyday life. Aside from simply higher prices in grocery stores, such signs as people flooding food banks and overbudget and undersubsidized school lunch programs indicate the wide reaching negative influence of high food prices.
Be sure to check out the upcoming issue of Dollars & Sense for several insightful articles on the world food crisis and its causes.