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Global Food Prices

1. Who benefits from government policies to (a) promote production of ethanol and (b) place tariff barriers on imports of sugarcane? Who suffers from these policies?

If CO2 emissions are actually bad for the environment, everyone benefits from the government promoting the production of ethanol. Of course, this is controversial and a highly debated subject. The companies and farmers that work together to produce ethanol also benefit from the government promoting production of ethanol. Everyone in the industry makes more money because of the demand for ethanol.

The people that suffer from these policies are consumers. Prices of corn, soybean, and sugarcane have increased. This has an impact on grocery bills. The increase in the price of corn also increases the price of beef. Farmers have to buy corn at an increased price to feed their animals and the cost is passed to the meat buyer (Bullock).

2. One estimate suggests that if food prices rise by one-third, they will reduce living standards in rich countries by about 3 percent, but in very poor ones by about 20 percent. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, unless there is a change in policies cereal prices will rise by 10 to 20 percent in 2015, and the expansion of biofuel production could reduce calorie intake by 2 to 8 percent by 2020 in many of the world's poorest nations. Should rich countries do anything about this? If so, what?

The fact that calorie intake could be decreased in many of the world's poorest nations is a sad one. Jean Ziegler, the United Nations’ independent expert on the right to food, has called biofuels “a catastrophe for the poor” and a “crime against humanity ("The Biofuels Controversy").” Also mentioned in the same article is that the amount of corn that it takes to fill up a…...

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