Class Year


Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008


The sharp rise in the price of basic foodstuffs in the last year has impacted consumers around the globe, but the ill effects are disproportionately felt in developing countries. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (“FAO”) reports seventy-five million more people living below the hunger line in 2007, raising the number of undernourished to 923 million worldwide; these numbers are likely to increase even more sharply in 2008. Food prices for staples such as flour, corn, and rice have risen fifty-two percent on average from 2007 to 2008. In developing countries, where families may spend as much as fifty to seventy percent of their daily budget on food, these price increases translate into poorer nutrition and loss of purchase power; in other words, these families must make devastating trade-offs: paying for food instead of essential utilities, education, or basic health care. Food prices have triggered protests in thirty-six countries, twelve of them violent.