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July 29, 2008

The Economist -- Debate on whether Rising Food Prices can be Good for Humanity

I just received this announcement from The EconomistI don't have a response just now, but the debate looks interesting:

Starting today and lasting through August 8, The Economist will be hosting an online, Oxford-style debate on whether or not rising food prices can have an upside for humanity.

The proposition is: "There is an upside for humanity in the rise of food prices." Although we can never overlook the grave situation posed by rising food prices, we hope to dissect the issue and view it from fresh perspectives to see if it can have a positive impact. For example, do rising food prices benefit farmers? Can they lead to development of safe, genetically modified foods which in turn can help developing nations with marginal farmlands become self-sustainable? And are the shorter-term pains of creating biofuels worth the longer-term gains of reduced transportation costs? 

Moderator John Parker feels that “there is always some sort of upside. The question for the audience is how big, and whether it is big enough to be meaningful.” What do you think? We’d love it if you could help us spread the word of the debate by posting your response to your blog and/or to the debate floor. If we like your argument, Moderator John Parker, may highlight it an upcoming moderator statement.

Pro and Con experts, Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow at the Wolfensohn Centre for Development at the Brookings Institution and Joachim von Braun, Director General, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) spar off tomorrow in opening posts followed by rebuttals (August 1) and closing statements (August 6). A winner will be determined by popular vote and announced on August 8.

Additionally, the following guest participants are scheduled to post their one-time statements:

·         July 30 - Papa Seck Abdoulaye, Director-general, Africa Rice Center

·         July 31 - Neil Parish, chairman, European Parliament's Agriculture Committee

·         Aug. 4 - Paul Roberts, author, The End of Food

·         Aug. 5 - Valerie Guarnieri, Director of Programme Design and Support, United Nations, World Food Programme (WFP)

Best wishes and may the best argument win!

Lauryn

Sparkpr for The Economist

July 29, 2008 in Issues and thoughts | Permalink

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