Thursday, April 10, 2008

If Boats Were on Land...

When the English surrendered at Yorktown to the American insurgents they played a song which begins:

If boats were on land, churches sea.
If ponies rode men and grass ate the cows

And the verses end with the coda:

Then all the world would be upside down!

Well, I just read that farmers in Helmand province in Farawaystan are planting wheat instead of poppies -- that's kind of upside down, don't you think?

The reason is that because of the rise in staple foods prices (and the fall of the price of heroin on the street), wheat has become the more profitable crop!

That would be cool if it wasn't because there is something more serious going on here. Serious in the sense of not only going to bed hungry, but starving to death.

In a sort of bow echo effect, climate change, the price of oil, the production of bio-fuels and other factors, the price of wheat, rice, maize, soya and other staples are rising because of shortage in production.

Compounding the effect is the fact that exporting nations are restricting if not forbidding export. India has forbidden export of all rice export the basmati sort which brings a high price. The Philippines are strapped because they are finding it hard to find the millions of tons they need to import. There have been demonstrations in Italy over the price of pasta and deadly riots in Haiti where the poorest are being reduced to eating mud cookies.

If you think about it a moment though, the world ain't upside down -- it's wobbling along like it always has. The upside, if you can call it, that is that the hunger won't go unreported or denied like it was during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.

Potatoes were exported to England under armed guard during the height of the hunger and I suppose things like that, or worse, will happen in our more modern and humane world.

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