Yesterday we drove upstate to go rock climbing and stopped in the usual awesome little bakery in New Paltz to get our sandwiches. A little sign on the counter warned customers that the price of flour, which was $8 a bag just a couple of years ago, had gone up to $30 a bag, and other foods were also more expensive. They said they were doing their best not to pass along too much of the increased cost and asked customers to understand. Since folks were lined up out the door, it didn't seem like too much of a problem yet (and my sandwich was still just $6.50). But it served as a scary reminder of the way the world is interconnected.
Krugman on rising world food prices today: Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans -- but they're truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family's spending. There have already been food riots around the world.
Combined with yesterday's story about the revival of survivalism -- in the frothy Styles section, no less -- it's definitely a sign that no matter how cocooned you are, it's time to wake up.
Here's what I'm going to do, whether practical, ritualistic, or merely symbolic.
-Write about this.
-Plant a better container garden this spring on our balcony in Brooklyn.
-Fix my bike.
-Take fewer cabs.
-Donate to Oxfam.
-Buy 20 pound bags of rice and beans, batteries and a hand-crank radio.
What about you?