When you think of food fights, it is hard not to picture John Belushi in “Animal House.” But food fights have escalated and become more serious lately. High unemployment and food prices have caused major riots in Algeria, Tunisia, and now Egypt. And it is going to continue elsewhere.
Obviously, we have seen the rising unemployment in the United States. But have you been to the grocery store lately? The prices are going way up when your salary is not. But in other developing countries, we are seeing prices doubling on needed staple items. The price of food is making the most dramatic increases that we have seen in years. As a result, the major future conflicts that we will see may not be fought over oil and nuclear weapons. The substance of conflict may be something a lot more basic—do I have food to eat?
According to the United Nations after seven straight months of increase, the world food prices reached a record high in January. Who is going to be hit the hardest? According to World Food Programme—“High food prices are a problem for poor countries that have to import a lot of food to feed their populations. If imports cost more, these countries could struggle to buy the food they need. Taken down to a human level, high prices are a problem for any household that spends most of its income on food. In many of the world’s developing countries, people spend 60-80 percent of their income on food.”
When you think of food fights in movies, it is pretty humorous. But no one is laughing at the battles over food now. We are seeing governments and leaders of major countries coming down. And these countries don’t even represent the world’s poorest nations when it comes to a lack of food.
There is enough food to go around in this world. But it will require a different kind of thinking, a different kind of economy and a different kind of generosity.
If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)