Thursday, March 06, 2008

How America is making Africa and the world much poorer.

Food prices continue to rise worldwide.

This is leading to protests.

"Across Central Asia the talk has been of bread, and fear.

"In this region of extreme poverty and fragile political stability, a loaf of bread is becoming too pricey for too many." - Sept 2007, BBC NEWS Special Reports Counting the cost of wheat price hike

In January 2008, over 10,000 marched in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, in protest at soaring soyabean prices. ( Rising food prices provoke angry protests in Indonesia9Feb08 ... )

"The indications are in general pointing to high prices," Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior grains analyst at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, told AFP.

The agency's figures show food prices globally soared nearly 40% in 2007, leading to protests in Myanmar, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. (As Asia food prices bite, analysts warn of worse to come - Yahoo ...)

"Recent pasta protests in Italy, tortilla rallies in Mexico and onion demonstrations in India are just the start of the social instability to come unless there is a fundamental shift to boost production of staple foods, Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute, warned in an interview with the Guardian." (Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs ...)

Some causes of rising food prices:

1. The Iraq war is putting up the cost of oil and damaging the world's economy.

2. The rich Chinese, are eating more meat and dairy products. The Americans have always eaten more than their fair share.

3. The cars of the rich are getting fuel from corn, cane and edible oils

4. Climate change, caused by countries like America, can mean droughts in Australia and elsewhere.

The Iraq war hurts everyone.

The Iraq war has cost America trillions of dollars and has cost the rest of the world additional trillions of dollars.

A Guardian article on the cost of the Iraq War (Aida Edemariam talks to author Joseph Stiglitz about the true cost ...) makes the following points:

Why has the rest of the world lost trillions?

1. The rising price of oil has meant that the cost to oil-importing industrial countries in Europe and the Far East is now about $1.1 trillion.

The rising price of oil is devastating Third World countries.

A study by the International Energy Agency that looked at a sample of 13 African countries found that rising oil prices have "had the effect of lowering the average income by 3% - more than offsetting all of the increase in foreign aid that they had received in recent years, and setting the stage for another crisis in these countries".

3. The weak economic position of the USA, resulting from the Iraq war, is hurting the global economy.

4. The Iraqi economy has been smashed.

5. There are tens of thousands of dead. (Probably over a million dead as a result of US policies in Iraq)

6. There is a high cost, to neighbouring countries, of absorbing thousands of refugees.

7. There is the cost of the coalition military. Before the war, Britain's Gordon Brown set aside £1bn; by late 2007, direct operating costs in Iraq and Afghanistan were £7bn and rising.



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