Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Silver Lining of Global Food Shortages

The UN food agency chief warned of civil wars resulting from the global food shortages. Sub-Saharan African countries are said to be most at risk. Yet, it is those same countries that would benefit most from regime change, as their leaders, corrupt to the core, are primarily responsible for the sad state of their citizens even after 50 years of humanitarian aid from the western world. Starvation? No. Regime change? Yes.

Global rice prices have doubled over the past year, and the finger is pointed at China and India for buying more and more food from abroad. Yet, those two countries are experiencing an explosion in diabetes and obesity.

Wal-Mart in the US and some British stores are rationing supplies of rice to protect dwindling supplies. Ted Turner predicted mass cannibalism by 2040 as a result of food shortages caused by global warming. Meanwhile, some Americans are hoarding food in anticipation of higher prices and shortages.

Yet, millions of Americans are obese, and so are millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization said over 75% of men and/or women over the age of 30 are overweight in countries such as Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Greece, China, India, and South Africa. And the obesity of Americans is already well-known.

A "food shortage" would be a good thing for many people who eat too much. The vast majority of people I see on a daily basis in public places are overweight. Rising prices and scarce supplies would serve to jolt these people into healthier lifestyles.

The results of food shortages would be similar to the results of global warming. People who eat too much would be forced to eat less--a net benefit to their physical health. Unfortunately, those who already get too little to eat would suffer even more. As for global warming, the number of people who die in parts of the world that are too cold would decrease, but sadly the number of people who die in parts of the world that are already too hot would increase. So I see trades and balances in "food shortages" just as there are for global warming.

Of course, if it gets to cannibalism, we're all in trouble.

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