|Bhonk, Bhonk! Living large in GK II|
Life is like a room full of mirrors; if you're not careful, you can end up seeing things backwards!
A year or so ago, a pair of scientists from New Zealand claimed that having a pet dog is actually worse for the environment than having an SUV. Apparently, it's not a joke--dogs are carnivores and eat a lot of meat. Meat takes a lot of land to raise, which means forests are cut, which means more greenhouse gases in the air--and less land for vegetarian food crops. The fall in food supplies that results means higher prices, as any first year student of economics knows. I'm not saying, as plasticgraduate did, that we should eat our pets. But maybe we should think twice before getting new ones.
Or maybe we could solve the food inflation problem by asking poor people to eat less food.
Before you think I've gone off the deep end, consider that the centre is blaming food inflation on increased consumption by poor people. That's a strange way of framing the problem, but it does leave rich people and their pets--both here and abroad--off the hook. Which is probably why George W. Bush said something similar back in 2008.
On a strangely similar note, US president Obama recently blamed high oil prices on increased consumption in India and China, which may be half true, but obviously ignores who's historically consumed--and who continues to consume--most of the world's oil.
Arguing that poor people or poor countries are responsible for tight supply when they begin to consume more food or oil is a little like looking at the world through a mirror; it makes sense when you are combing your hair, but it can lead to problems when you are attempting tasks that require higher order thinking--like reading the newspaper or pondering the world's many problems. And we'll never be able to lower food inflation--or solve the oil supply problem--by blaming poor people.
When it comes right down to it, this all reminds us of something we'd do well not to forget: sometimes our perspective really does matter; sometimes we can come to conclusions that seem perfectly reasonable--demonstrably true, even-- by looking at a problem from exactly the wrong point of view. It's time we stop putting up with this kind of backward logic, and look at the problems facing us straight on.