As prices for bread and rice soar, dictators are tottering.
Oddly, one of them is [Hugo] Chávez, who lost a constitutional referendum in December partly because of the combination of soaring food prices and shortages he has inflicted on Venezuela. Another is Robert Mugabe, who to his surprise lost a presidential election in Zimbabwe three weeks ago, though he has yet to admit it. According to the U.N. World Food Program, the government of North Korea faces another food crisis; bread prices explain in part why Pervez Musharraf lost control of Pakistan's government in February.
Then there is Egypt, where the link between food and freedom -- or the lack of it -- has never been clearer.
Whole thing, including intriguing stuff about Egypt's new "Facebook Party," here.
Then there's this:
Soaring food prices and global grain shortages are bringing new pressures on governments, food companies and consumers to relax their longstanding resistance to genetically engineered crops.
In Japan and South Korea, some manufacturers for the first time have begun buying genetically engineered corn for use in soft drinks, snacks and other foods. Until now, to avoid consumer backlash, the companies have paid extra to buy conventionally grown corn. But with prices having tripled in two years, it has become too expensive to be so finicky. [...]
Even in Europe, where opposition to what the Europeans call Frankenfoods has been fiercest, some prominent government officials and business executives are calling for faster approvals of imports of genetically modified crops.
And finally, negotiators on Capitol Hill and in the White House have decided, given this unbelievably strong sellers' market, that the U.S. doesn't need to add to its cajillion-dollar deficit and generalized moral depravity by throwing another $286 billion at American farm companies over the next 10 years. Just kidding!