While many factors are contributing to the growing unrest in Egypt -- and the crumbling of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak's regime -- it's important to note that one of the causes is the global rise in food prices. Price shocks for staples like wheat and grain led to rioting in many poor countries in 2007 and 2008, and price volatility in the global food market is likely here to stay. For a poor country like Egypt, changes in food prices have drastic consequences.
TAP spoke with Rene McGuffin, a senior public-information officer for the World Food Programme in Washington, D.C., about the role food prices play in Egypt, political unrest elsewhere, and what we can expect in the future.
What role are higher food prices playing in Egypt?
Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns with students at Tucker Elementary School during the unveiling of the MyPyramid for Kids (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
On Monday, the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services -- the guys responsible for the ever-evolving "food pyramid" -- released their national nutrition guidelines, which they update every five years. The basic message of the report: Eat less, make more of what you eat vegetables and fruits, and eat much less salt.
If you haven't read Paul Waldman's piece on how President Obamahasn't really moved to the not-really-there-center so much as remained the same person he's always been, I urge you to do so. What's true about Obama is that progressives have always been inclined to see him as more progressive than he probably is in practice, despite what he may believe, and the right is always going to be opposed to him whatever he does.