America's Hot New Political Trend: Hoarding Food

Well, here's a Christmas dinner For the families on reliefFrom the New York Times to the, uh, New York Sun, newspapers are reporting the hot new American trend: survivalism. The NYT was first to note the fad earlier this month in its Fashion & Style section, but the Sun has the news angle. Want to stock up on sacks of rice and cooking oil and flour and other such staples to survive the Coming Shitstorm? Too late! CostCo is limiting how many sacks of rice you can buy!

At warehouse stores from coast to coast, managers are setting limits on food purchases. CostCo customers in Silicon Valley can only buy one sack of rice, while shoppers in New York stores have limits on oil and flour.

Food riots are happening daily, all over the world. Rice-growing nations have cut exports, while China has even cut off fertilizer exports. Europe's grain comes in large part from Kazakhstan, which has just cut wheat exports. Hoarding rice is now a felony in the Philippines, and the Mubarak regime is teetering in Egypt after weeks of violent food riots. Starving Haitians have stormed the presidential palace. More than 30 countries in all have seen food riots this month, after world food prices rapidly rose more than 60% over a year ago.

But it's more than price -- worldwide supply of rice, wheat, corn and other staples is at a dangerous low. This year, there's already .4% gap between world cereal production and world cereal demand -- that means . Vancouver's puts it this way:

The World's Food Supplies Have Collapsed ...

Worldwide stockpiles of cereals (wheat, corn, etc.) are expected to fall to a 25-year-low of 405 million tonnes in 2008. That's down 21 million tonnes, or 5%, from their already reduced level last year.

U.S. wheat stockpiles are at a 62-year low, even though farmers are planting from fence-to-fence. And with the U.S. dollar falling fast, foreign buyers are lining up to scoop up as much of Uncle Sam's grain as they can carry away. Wheat recently soared to the highest price in 28 years.

Meanwhile rice, a staple food for three billion people, is becoming increasingly scarce. World stores of rice have shrunk from 130 million tons eight years ago to today's stockpile of 72 million tons -- enough for only 17% of annual global demand ....

Here's how screwy things have become: Filipinos in Canada are buying all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, where the dwindling stocks are protected in Army warehouses. "Tortilla Riots" have hit scores of Mexican towns as the masa -- corn -- costs double what it did a year ago, if you can find it. And now, the food rationing begins in the United States.

Your editor is now going to the Wine Warehouse to buy 7,000 cases of Patriotic French Wine, along with a million guns to protect it all. Good luck!

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World [NY Sun]


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