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Food Economics


As we pointed out in The World Almanac 2008, U.S. ethanol production in 2007 has been at record levels—not surprising, considering the ever-higher demand. An interesting cover story in The Economist last week shed a different light on ethanol production, in the context of food prices, which are rising for the first time in 30 years. (The Economist article is, of course, indexing the cost of food in terms of real dollars.) The article theorizes that the U.S.'s increased diversion of corn to ethanol production—and the 200-odd subsidies that support it—is working in tandem with the growing demand for meat worldwide to push food prices higher.

Definitely an interesting read, but if you're short on time, at least check out a few of The Economist's usual somewhat-dry-but-very-informative charts on the subject.

The End of Cheap Food

Flickr photo by r-z


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