Thursday, April 7, 2011

Corny, But True

The proportion the price of grain takes
Of the pay that a poor nation makes
Is more, as a rule,
For a serving of gruel
Than a similar serving of flakes.

Everyone's talking about the rising price of food, but only in poorer nations has it led to political upheaval. One reason is that, not only does food make up a greater percentage of the household expenses of lower-income nations, but by economizing with foods made from scratch they are more exposed to commodity price fluctuations. As Cornell University professor Per Pinstrup Andersen explains on the public radio Marketplace program: "[With Corn Flakes] you're paying a little for corn and the rest for the person who makes the cereal, packages the cereal, sells the cereal, and prints that fancy rooster on the box. That corn tortilla, well, that just requires corn."

So, while the flakes may be overpriced, the tortilla is more affected by overpriced corn.

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