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Oh man the Indians are speaking the truth...
Old 05-13-2008, 08:40 PM   #1
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Oh man the Indians are speaking the truth...

Indians bristle at U.S. criticism on food prices - International Herald Tribune

Uh wow.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:36 PM   #2
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Why are the Indians worried about what Bush says? Hurt feelings I suppose. But (and NOT defending Bush here) he didn't blame India for rising food prices. He said growing middle classes in countries such as India are demanding more and higher quality food. And, that's true. So, yes, using corn for ethanol (which I don't agree with) is causing higher food prices but so is growing world demand for food.

In any regard, there is no famine in India and there is no reason for them to be concerned over GWB or USA agricultural policies. They have a huge economy of their own and can do as they please. They need to put Bush on "ignore" and go have a nice life.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:26 PM   #3
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They need to put Bush on "ignore" and go have a nice life.
Works for me!
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:28 AM   #4
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Works for me!
It looks as though the entire country has done that already. Approval rating is something like 20%.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #5
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that's funny - i didn't know bush even said anything about it...guess it's lame duck time for bush...i think the article is hilarious.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:25 AM   #6
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Critics from India seem to be asking one underlying question: "Why do Americans think they deserve to eat more than Indians?"

The food problem has "clearly" been created by Americans, who are eating 50 percent more calories than the average person in India, said Pradeep Mehta, the secretary general of CUTS Center for International Trade, Economics and Environment, a private economic research organization based in India with offices in Kenya, Zambia, Vietnam and Britain.

If Americans were to slim down to even the middle-class weight in India, "many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates," Mehta said. The money Americans spend on liposuction to get rid of their excess fat could be funneled to famine victims instead, he added.

Developing nations like China and India have long been blamed for everything from the rising cost of commodities to global warming, because they are consuming more goods and fuels than ever before. But Indians from the prime minister's office on down never fail to point out that per capita, India uses far fewer commodities and pollutes far less than the West, and particularly the United States.
Valid points.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:13 PM   #7
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I have been to India (and China, too for that matter) and can say unequivocably that there is nothing in their food distribution chain that we want to emulate- unless you consider rats, mice, insects, high spoilage rates due to improper handling and a lack of refrigeration, unsanitary storage and preparation practices, very limited distribution areas, bird flu, and antiquated planting/harvesting technology desirable elements in a food chain. Or maybe we should emulate the French or Argentinians, where the farmers shut down the country for a few weeks every year or so to protest exports, imports, and price controls.

Americans consume more because our food chain is advanced, efficent, and adaptable to changing market conditions -which is why we can consume so much affordable food and still export millions of tons annually.

Developing countries consume less because their food chains are antiquated, innefficent, and are not adaptable to changing market conditions- resulting in smaller yields and higher prices to their consumers.

The world is getting smaller every day and food is just another commodity in the Supply/Demand equation- like oil, steel, cement, and every other commodity with escalating prices.

The problem with food prices in India or Sub-Saharan Africa is not the fact that we are making ethanol or or having liposuction in the US- those countries need to look closer to home to see why so many of their citizens are living on subsistience diets. The answer lies in corrupt socialistic governments, ethnic/tribal/class warfare, unchecked birth rates, and lack of infrastructure- not the price or calorie count of of a Big Mac in Topeka.

I am tired of the notion of every problem in the world being the the fault of the US. The United States is the most generous nation in the history of mankind. We give away food, technology, security and bilions of our hard-earned dollars every year to try to improve the lives of people around the world. We buy massive quantities of food every day so we can give it away to others- what do you think would happen to prices of if we stopped?

Any time one of these countries complaining about our foreign aid policies want to step up and take on a leadership role on the scale that the US has, then I will listen to their criticism. Until then, STFU.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:34 PM   #8
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The world is getting smaller every day and food is just another commodity in the Supply/Demand equation- like oil, steel, cement, and every other commodity with escalating prices.

.
There will be interesting times ahead for the so-called "bread basket" food producing countries. As incoming commodites, including those needed for food production such as petroleum, skyrocket in price, how much will they (we) be criticized for also charging more for exported food? Or for no longer being able to provide free food to impoverished nations? Gouging for oil seems to be morally acceptable. Just charge what the market will pay and it's ok, just part of free trade. But what will feelings be when the USA, Canada and other bread basket countries can charge sky high prices for food? Moral outrage?
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:43 PM   #9
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But what will feelings be when the USA, Canada and other bread basket countries can charge sky high prices for food? Moral outrage?
Starving people don't waste time or energy on moral outrage. So it will depend on how bad the food shortages get.

If your children are starving, and you find the means to take food from anywhere, I think you do just that.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:43 PM   #10
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Maybe we should start COWPEC- the Corn Or Wheat Producing & Exporting Countries- then set the price of a bushel of wheat or corn to a barrel of oil- I bet the price would drop pretty quick...
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:59 PM   #11
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Maybe we should start COWPEC- the Corn Or Wheat Producing & Exporting Countries- then set the price of a bushel of wheat or corn to a barrel of oil- I bet the price would drop pretty quick...
Unfortunaely the demand for food and the source of oil are different places......but otherwise not a bad idea. There is some govt control over food production/output in the USA (subsidies, land set-asides, govt loans, etc.) but compared to OPEC, very minor league. We do need to find a way to influence markets and prices for food in a way that maximizes our ability to pay for the things we need.

The Chinese are working hard to control population growth and to become food self-sufficient. Other countries need to look long and hard at their cultures, religions and political policies and modify accordingly to drive towards self-sufficiency. Just as we need to do with energy!
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:14 PM   #12
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Maybe we should start COWPEC- the Corn Or Wheat Producing & Exporting Countries- then set the price of a bushel of wheat or corn to a barrel of oil- I bet the price would drop pretty quick...
Considering the top three countries we import oil from are:
Canada
Saudia Arabia
Mexico

The food export issue would not really affect any of the countires that export oil.

Here is the link:
Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports Top 15 Countries
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:19 PM   #13
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Next they'll be blaming the British for Bond and the subsequent lack of supple women.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:15 PM   #14
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Americans eat an average of 3,770 calories per capita a day, the highest amount in the world, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, compared to 2,440 calories in India. They are also the largest per capita consumers in any major economy of beef, the most energy-intensive common food source, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A strange comment from a land with so many vegetarians.

I wonder how many Indians could afford $8-$10/lb T-bones and Prime Rib for dinner? Shall we send them the heart disease and high blood pressure that go along with them? And the refrigerators to store them?
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:55 PM   #15
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Americans eat an average of 3,770 calories per capita a day, the highest amount in the world, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization
Small wonder that 2/3 of Americans are overweight (with a BMI in excess of 25), and 1/3 are obese (with a BMI in excess of 30). Lots of work for this company: !
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:20 PM   #16
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Yes, they have a point about Americans eating/consuming "too much." We are wealthy compared to much of the world. That's the reality. But although we could cut back on consumption, I doubt that these flaws could be considered a moral failing or a human rights violation.

In contrast, I think that the Indians should consider getting rid of their caste system, which keeps a large portion of their population poor. It is, I think, a human rights issue and a huge moral failing of their culture and society. (So there!)

I'm sure that every society has its failures and weaknesses.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:36 AM   #17
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Unfortunaely the demand for food and the source of oil are different places......but otherwise not a bad idea. There is some govt control over food production/output in the USA (subsidies, land set-asides, govt loans, etc.) but compared to OPEC, very minor league. We do need to find a way to influence markets and prices for food in a way that maximizes our ability to pay for the things we need.

The Chinese are working hard to control population growth and to become food self-sufficient. Other countries need to look long and hard at their cultures, religions and political policies and modify accordingly to drive towards self-sufficiency. Just as we need to do with energy!
Many of the developing countries are not completely autonomous and have been forced to take economic/government changes that have - in the end - subverted their ability to be self-sustaining and prosper - there is much more consensus these days that the IMF and World Bank policies have contributed to a lot of the instability and problems many countries face - and many of those countries also suffered previously from imperialism.

So the finger pointing has some pretty substantial basis.

Some fo the countries that refused to adopt these policies have done far better and taken control of their economies.
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:06 PM   #18
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Americans eat an average of 3,770 calories per capita a day, the highest amount in the world, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, compared to 2,440 calories in India. They are also the largest per capita consumers in any major economy of beef, the most energy-intensive common food source, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A strange comment from a land with so many vegetarians.

I wonder how many Indians could afford $8-$10/lb T-bones and Prime Rib for dinner? Shall we send them the heart disease and high blood pressure that go along with them? And the refrigerators to store them?
Not exactly a strange comment, actually. It takes many pounds of grain to produce a pound of beef, which we can (wastefully) do here in the US because we are relatively wealthy and grow a lot of grain. If we skipped the wasteful conversion of grain to meat and just ate the grain, we would have a lot left over for export to places like India.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:22 PM   #19
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In contrast, I think that the Indians should consider getting rid of their caste system, which keeps a large portion of their population poor. It is, I think, a human rights issue and a huge moral failing of their culture and society. (So there!)

I'm sure that every society has its failures and weaknesses.
Agreed.

The Indians need to do whatever it takes to have enough food, clothing and shelter per capita to satisfy the population. If they need to drastically change their culture, religious beliefs, birth control philosophies, etc., then they need to do it just as we need to change our culture of high energy consumption to low energy consumption. We can eat fewer calories, give up liposuction or whatever. But those things won't necessarily improve things for Indians if they don't change their society and their population level to be congruent with the resources available.

Not blasting Indians here....... But everyone has to realize that food supplies.....all natural resources really.....have been exploited worldwide to the point that further increases in output are unlikely. Prices will continue to go up. Everyone will be selling at market price. It's going to be tough on importers (for the USA = energy and some commodities) going forward.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:32 PM   #20
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If 3,770 is the average, I wonder what a breakdown by quartile would look like. I shoot for between 1970 and 2100 every day. My wife is around 1600. Someone is making up for that difference... and I think I was stuck behind them in a supermarket aisle yesterday.

A great site to check out when you're trying to put together an intake profile is CalorieKing - Diet and weight loss. Calorie Counter and more.. That's how I found out that my ex-favorite sandwich contains 956 calories and 55g of fat. It tasted good, but not good enough to constitute almost half of my allowance for that day!

That's probably one of our bigger problems as a country, a lot of very convenient food that one wouldn't immediately recognize as high-calorie (in my case, a tuna sandwich with vinagrette instead of mayo on a whole-grain bread).

I wonder what the caloric average per capita would be if we included food waste. Or, maybe that's included in the 3,770 figure?
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