Poverty Time Bomb: Prices are Twice as High as They Were Two Years Ago

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We have set up shop in a café near Auteuil in Paris…copy of the International Herald Tribune in hand…and someone’s wifi connection at our fingertips. It is a delightful spring morning in Paris…the chestnut trees are in flower…birds sing, the sun shines, and beautiful women amble along the sidewalk.

We had a café crème and a croissant…and then, we were enjoying the view so much, we ordered another. The waiter brought a check – the damage was just $15, very reasonable, under the circumstances.

The relevant circumstance is that the price of food is soaring everywhere. The grains are selling near record prices…and so is oil. This is no laughing matter. Food is a relatively minor part of our own family budget; the rising prices are only a nuisance. But a news report from Reuters tells us that 20% of Asians live on less than a dollar a day. Many are farmers with their own local supplies of cheap food. But more and more of them live in cities and pay global prices for their daily bread.

Rising food prices are producing famine-like conditions for many of these poor people. For others, they are wiping out years of financial progress, creating what Reuters calls a “Poverty Time Bomb.”

But who should we thank for these remarkable events – a price induced famine…a poverty ‘time bomb’? How could these things be happening in the 21st century – nearly two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall…more than a century after the invention of the mechanical reaper…and 95 years after the creation of America’s central bank? Ah…there’s the funny part.

Prices are twice as high as they were two years ago. Is the weather twice as bad? Are people suddenly eating twice as much? No? Then what happened? What has happened is that the central bank has created bubble-like conditions in the commodity markets.

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
Bill Bonner

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Comments

  1. That’s terrible what they are doing. I wish there was a way we, the average folk, could help fix it. But what can we do? We should all go to the world vision website, and sponsor a child. That’s a good way to start. I have sponsored a little boy in Mongolia, and I do love him so. He sent me a picture he drew of the outline of his little hand. When I forst got a first photo of him ,he looked malnourised and he had those wrinkles that go from nose to mouth, and wrinkles between his eyebrows, which is very bad for a one year old to have. Now he is happy and healthy. I send extra money as a gift, and his Mum buys rice and sugar, and food, and the staff in Mongolia sent me a photo of him and his Mum in a shop all surrounded by the bags of rice and food my extra gift had bought them. I was so happy, it sure makes you feel much better than a new pair of shoes or a plasma tv. Try it, you’ll love it!

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  2. Christina

    Mongolia is a country that we all should really get behind. They instituted many different reforms a few years ago and at one stage the Government was event trying to use Australian institutions a benchmark. Then bad weather killed it all, including the grazing herds which most of the population live from in a subsistence manner.

    Child sponsorship is a a very effective way to help. I hope the little boy stays healthy and does well at his studies.

    Coffee Addict
    May 7, 2008
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  3. Christina dear – you’ve been hoodwinked hook-line-and-sinker ! Years ago I joined the same site, got a mug shot,and shelled out heaps of money. A current affairs programme exposed the scam, and I still smart at how guillable I was. Turns out World vision pocket’s 95 % of your moolah on administration fees, and the wretched number is one of ten-of-thousands of poverty stricken kids in Calcutta,
    Mongolia, or right on your door step. Feel free to vindicate the varicity of my claim. Whatever, the truth will ultimately emerge. There is no way the free World is going to cleanup poverty, it get’s better by the minute, and the rising food scarcity, petrol,higher living cost’s is escalating like a freight train gone beserk. Good luck sweetie.

    Dalma Smithy
    May 7, 2008
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  4. Er um …. I once had the opportunity review World Vision’s systems and processes and they are OK. I don’t rely on years old (distorted) current affairs programs to get my info.

    Coffee Addict
    May 7, 2008
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  5. Thanks everybody for your comments. I was thinking- those current affairs programs are always getting sued for lying. What makes me beleive in World Vision child sponsorship is that you can actually hop on a plane at any time, and go over and visit your sponsored child and their family, and see and hear off them for yourself first hand that the money gets there and what it has done. I think that if they didnt give them the money, they wouldn’t be brave enough to invite you to go over and visit your child and their community and their family whenever you wanted to. If they didnt give them the money, they would say “no way, you cant visit them ever, and you cant talk to them either” I find it highly improbable that they would round up the poor kids and their families and all their community elders and say to them “Now listen up, some sucker from Australia is coming to visit, so all of you pretend you got money that you didnt get and pretend it helped you okay. Righto” No way would that happen, so I reckon it gets there. Lasi, if you send an extar present of $200 or more, they post you a photo of what your money has built, with your foster kid in the photo, you know, and a full written report of where youru money went. How could they stage that, you know, when they also invite you to come over at any time to visit your foster child, and to check it out for your self what your money has done.

    I once heard a story about thousands of starfish all washed up onto the beach, and they were going to die. Some kid was going along the beach picking up starfish one at a time, and throwing them back into the water, to save them. Somebody came along and said to him “aw, what’s the use, it doesn’t matter, you can’t save them all, there are so many thousands, you can’t save them all, so what’s the use of trying?” The kid then picked up one starfish, held it up and said “see this starfish?” And the person said “Yes” and the kid threw that one starfish back into the ocean so it could live and he turned to the other person and said “It mattered to him”

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  6. I wonder if they were crown-of-thorns starfish (http://www.tellusconsultants.com/Thread/ACANTH.HTM)

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