Oil price surges to new high – you may have circuses but no bread!

The price of crude oil has risen to $113 per barrel sending petrol at the pump rising again and all I can really think of is that the prices of everything else will continue to rise. Today it took $110 to fill a 70 litre tank. There is something ironic in the thought that the price needed to fill a tank of petrol can nearly buy a barrel of crude oil. Now there’s parity!

The UN says it takes 232kg of corn to fill a 50-litre car tank with ethanol and that it is enough to feed a child for a year. It really makes one think about the true cost of our dependence on the motor car. Can we continue to justify our need to drive when our consumption is leading to pollution and global warming. This then start us on the slippery slope of crop diversion for biofuels that then drive up commodity prices, that lead directly to increasing world hunger, and resultant global unrest.

If they have no bread you say, let them eat cake! Well in Haiti they’re eating mud and in other places precious little. Peru has found a way to solve the high wheat price problem- substitute the humble potato. As a native that grows easily it could help ease the problem and potato flour becomes a substitute for wheat flour. In Australia I can really substitute a cake for a loaf of bread because the one we buy costs $4.99. This for a loaf of wholegrain bread, the healthy staff of life. The cheapest loaf made from processed white flour costs nearly $2.00. With so many not able to afford bread I feel that I am buying a luxury product that must not be wasted.

We point the finger at China and India for the effects of their growing production but who do the products they produce they really benefit. Is is our greed for ever cheaper products and services that is really at the heart of the pollution and drive for energy and resources that their development has required?

We cannot escape the fact that we are part of a global economy and that what we do inevitably affects others. It is time to stop the mindless consumption of scarce resources that must be shared or else there may come a day of reckoning.

It is salutary to remember what happened after those famous words “if they have no bread, let them eat cake!” were spoken. If one doesn’t learn from history, one is doomed to repeat it.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Thursday, 17 April, 2008.

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