For as long as most people can remember, food has been getting cheaper and farming has been in decline. In 1974-2005 food prices on world markets fell by three-quarters in real terms. Food today is so cheap that the West is battling gluttony even as it scrapes piles of half-eaten leftovers into the bin.
That is why this year's price rise has been so extraordinary. Since the spring, wheat prices have doubled and almost every crop under the sun—maize, milk, oilseeds, you name it—is at or near a peak in nominal terms. The Economist's food-price index is higher today than at any time since it was created in 1845. Even in real terms, prices have jumped by 75% since 2005. No doubt farmers will meet higher prices with investment and more production, but dearer food is likely to persist for years.
But the rise in prices is also the self-inflicted result of America's reckless ethanol subsidies. This year biofuels will take a third of America's (record) maize harvest. That affects food markets directly: fill up an SUV's fuel tank with ethanol and you have used enough maize to feed a person for a year. And it affects them indirectly, as farmers switch to maize from other crops. The 30m tonnes of extra maize going to ethanol this year amounts to half the fall in the world's overall grain stocks.
Joy and sadness are experienced by people in all cultures around the world, but how can we tell when other people are happy or despondent? It turns out that the expression of many
"When people succeed, it is because of hard work, Luck has nothing to do with success." Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific and examples to explain your