Thursday, July 16, 2015

Economist: Food prices


Hat-tip to the the AEI for picking this up.

The UN food price index shows significant falls across all the major food categories over the past year. I remember when meat prices started to pick up on the back of higher demand in China, and the media were full of scare stories about permanently high prices. Once again, fears proved unfounded. It looks like the free market forever adapts and adjusts to meet the needs of the people:


The AEI point to the long term chart below, and highlight that while the human population has increased two and a half times since 1961, the real price of food has remained unchanged. This is quite something.



As people's basic needs are better fulfilled, they are more able to improve their lot and make their way up Maslow's pyramid:


This should be cause for celebration but instead we focus almost solely on the negative (animal rights, environmental impact, etc). I'm all in favour of negating the negative externalities that arise from market transactions, but why is the media silent about the positive side of the ledger (improved living standards, reduced mortality rates, etc)?

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