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April 24, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

The Price of Rice (In China)

I’ve used that saying:  “What does that have to do with the price of rice in China?” a lot.  Interesting that the price of rice in China apparently has a lot to do with things.  According to the news, “the global price of rice has ‘skyrocketed’ 75 percent in a couple of months.’  Some major rice producing countries are limiting the rice type and amount that they are exporting.   The news in America has picked up on these important topics and didn’t hesitate for a second to paint the headlines dire:  Food Rationing in America?  Sam’s Club to Limit Rice Purchases…etc.

Remember Y2K kids?  What happens when you tell people that a store is going to limit anything, whether it be rice, the latest Elmo doll, or tickets to the World Series?

You get a huge run on these items when everyone goes out and buys five or ten times as much as they would have normally.  Heck, I eat rice maybe once every two months and I was tempted to go out and buy an 80-lb bag.  It’s the survivalist in me, I suppose.  But I am going to resist this, because common sense tells me to sit tight.  If I can’t afford rice in a couple of months, then I guess I’ll eat bananas.  If the rice crisis drives up the price of bananas, I’ll eat potatoes.  If a potato famine arrives, I’ll go to the store and buy up all the Fritos.  There’s always plenty of Fritos.  And I bet they keep well with all those preservatives.

In all seriousness, countries are experiences major food shortages.  This isn’y anything new, though you would think so from watching the news.  The food shortages in many places are increasing due to the rising prices of the food.  But why are the prices of food going up?  Is it because suddenly these is no food?  Did a major storm wipe out all the rice? 

One major reason is simply that the cost of oil is becoming out of control.  It costs lots of oil to get that food all over the world to where it’s needed.  So when oil goes up, so does everything else.  This is a good reason to buy your food locally to send the message that we don’t need your stinkin’ rice anyway.  I don’t plan to go without coffee anytime soon.  Or bananas.  My son would lose his mind if I took away his bananas. 

I also don’t plan to give up my car.  I can’t.  Although I do get a kick out of reading the uber-greenie blogs about how much better they are than everyone else because they live in a loft apartment that’s illuminated by candles and how they ride their bike to the protests they attend.  Noble, perhaps.   Realistic?  Not for very many people.  I really get a hoot from the celeb-blogs…Leo bought a Prius, some one else remodeled their Aspen manse to use 34% less electricity…super, guys!  Now how about limiting the number of times you fly back and forth across the pond to your villa in France? 

When you have means, it’s pretty easy to tell other people the right way to do things.  People with money can easily purchase expensive, organic, locally grown lettuce and fluorescent light bulbs.  People like Barbara Kingsolver, who wrote the phenomenal Animal, Vegetable, Miracle can afford a 100 acre ranch in West Virginia to live off the land for a year.  Single people with jobs in the city can easily mock the surburbanites and commuters of the world, suggesting that they take their kids and their dog to the crime ridden neighborhoods and cram themselves into an apartment.  It just doesn’t help the problem, all the finger pointing.  Everyone has someone to blame.  I guess that means that everyone is guilty. 

Now what do we do about it?

Incase you aren’t convinced you can find anything on line:  Rice Online

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