On food hoarding in the USA, or living in the land of the fearful

If the subprime debacle, the war on terror, record petrol (gas) and energy prices and the rise of Toyota were not enough for the poor American masses, it seems that now hoarding on rice is the fear of the day.

C’mon people! Grow up! I cannot believe that supposedly intelligent people can be so gullible. They can eat burgers, pasta, tacos, Mars bars or whatever they like, but hey! Remember that little white grain? No? Me neither, but I have seen in the news that it is a ‘scarce commodity’.

Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart’s cash-and-carry division has limited the maximum bags of jasmine, basmati and long grain white rice a customer can get to four per visit.

According to the BBC, Wal-Mart added that “it was not restricting the amounts of flour or oil customers can purchase at this time”.

In a situation where half the world gets its daily protein intake from rice and prices rise almost 70 per cent in 4 months and net importing countries are struggling to keep their hungry population off the streets, I would have expected charitable and rich USA to load ships with rice and take them to East Asia.

Now that the average American family seems to store gas-masks (you never know when a chemical attack might happen), tones of patience when flying (you never know when the old lady on the wheel chair might blow herself up), massive gas-guzzling SUVs (you never know when the whole Manchester United team might pop in for tea), the fear of a rice shortage adds to the stock of useless and needless stuff they keep at home (you never know when you might get into Asian food).

Living in constant fear cannot be healthy in the long run, can it? Perhaps that is what is behind the American love for conspicuous consumption (buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have) that is going to cost us all dear. What’s the point in saving and investing if eventually we might be killed tomorrow by a nuclear dirty bomb or a helicopter crashing against their Prius.

Am I the only one thinking that their problem is just that they don’t have any problem?




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