Category Archives: food

OpenTable, Closed Minds

I’m a huge fan of OpenTable, and I’ve always imagined that restaurants are, too. They don’t need to spend hours on the phone telling people what’s free and what’s not, special instructions don’t get garbled, and it’s very easy to … Continue reading

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The Diet Soda Paradox

John Gapper worries that taxing non-diet sodas would be regressive. I worry that it wouldn’t even do what it is designed to do, which is reduce obesity: all it would do is increase the amount of diet sodas consumed, and … Continue reading

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Food: Against Self-Sufficiency

Jim Surowiecki wants to turn the agricultural clock back to the days when countries forced their agricultural producers to feed only a national, not an international, consumer base: When prices spike as they did this spring (for reasons that now … Continue reading

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The Financial Crisis Hits the World’s Hungry

The extremely poor can’t catch a break, it seems. A year ago, with food prices through the roof, they were at risk of starving to death as a result of not being able to afford to eat. But now, with … Continue reading

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Food Price Datapoint of the Day

David Chang: Farmer Michael’s feed costs have risen 400 percent in the last twelve months. To make a profit on the beautiful turkeys his family is raising in time for Thanksgiving, he’ll have to charge a hundred bucks a bird. … Continue reading

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Food Inflation Datapoint of the Day

Reuters reports from Cambodia: Demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel ($1.28) from 1,200 riel last year. They don’t say how many rats are needed to provide a kilo of meat, however. The stated … Continue reading

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Eat Roo

In case you wanted another reason to eat kangaroo rather than beef: they emit just 0.003 tonnes of greenhouse gases per animal per year, compared to 1.67 tonnes per cow per year. And they don’t just save in terms of … Continue reading

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American Obesity

It’s been a long time since I could really be thought of as skinny. I’ve recently put a fair amount of effort into losing about 15 pounds (the end of beer-drinking season, a/k/a Euro 2008, helped a lot), and I’ve … Continue reading

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A Year Ago, They Barley Cared

One of the advantages of living in Europe is you get to read the Wall Street Journal’s much smaller European version. Where, clearly, the headline writers have been thinking rather too much about food inflation. (Click to see a larger … Continue reading

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Why Agricultural Subsidies Don’t Mean Lower Food Prices

Do agricultural subsidies lower food prices? When I looked at this question last month, I dismissed it as a second-order effect: they might, they might not, either way it’s not going to be a big deal when compared to the … Continue reading

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The Wheat-Exports March on Washington

You want an example of the kind of gem that SAR manages to pick up on? How about this, 500 words into an otherwise seen-it-all-before article about rising food prices in the Toronto Star: The U.S. baking industry’s trade association, … Continue reading

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Small Farmers Can’t Feed the Planet

Mark Thoma and Alex Tabarrok and Paul Kedrosky all feature a tour de force mini-essay from Paul Collier, who left it as a comment on Martin Wolf’s blog. I’ve been a big fan of Collier for a while, and I … Continue reading

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How the Futures Conundrum Causes Higher Food Prices

On March 28, Diana Henriques examined the weird phenomenon of futures prices expiring well above cash prices in the agricultural-commodities market. Today, she returns to the same subject, from the point of view of farmers, who can be significantly damaged … Continue reading

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Food is Made from Natural Gas

Paul Scheckel: Fertilizer production is second only to petroleum refining when it comes to industrial use of natural gas in the United States: 97 percent of the fertilizer applied to crops is manufactured from natural gas. With spiking energy costs, … Continue reading

Posted in commodities, food | 1 Comment

The Ethical Economy of Meat

Tyler Cowen, quoted in this overview of the economics of meat by Mark Bittman, says that while an environmentally-aware meat eater should eat more pork than beef, "it is better for animal welfare to eat cows rather than pigs". In … Continue reading

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