Bush Talking through his Hat

May 04, 2008, Jaipur
The US President George W. Bush’s remarks that food prices are going up due to the high middle class consumption in India is as asinine as he is incomprehensible.

In a statement released here today, Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General and Siddhartha Mitra, Research Director of CUTS International, a leading economic policy research and advocacy group said that George Bush is well known for talking through his hat, and his remarks on India being the cause for high food prices reflects his utter lack of intelligence, poor understanding of economics, and sheer ignorance of basic statistics on food consumption.

“The average American’s food consumption in calories is 50 percent more than the average Indian’s; in addition it is still increasing over time and a rate which is faster than that of half starved India. The current average American intake of 3770 calories, a figure provided by the FAO Statistical Yearbook, is the maintenance diet of a sedentary person weighing 114 kilograms” say Mehta and Mitra. Indians, on the other hand, still consume only 2440 calories per capita – just enough to support a much leaner 74 kgs.

Clearly, the food problem has been created by Americans; if all of them were to come down to even the middle class weight in India many hungry people in Sub-Saharan Africa would find more food on their plates. On top of that, resource draining liposuctions would no longer be necessary; the money instead can go to famine victims in Somalia and Ethiopia. The loss of obesity would also probably make Americans look at the outside world with a less jaundiced and more benevolent eye.

Apart from the exploding problem of over consumption, rising food prices have been caused by the sudden shrinkage of food supply to the developing world by the developed countries who have been trying to sustain their unsustainable fuel guzzling life styles by trying to grow oil on plants and trees instead of food, thus suddenly short-circuiting the food supply in the international market.

“The harping on more consumptive lifestyles in India and China is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their complicity in engineering food shortages and price spirals”, said Mehta.
For more information, please contact:
Pradeep S Mehta, psm@cuts.org, +9198290 13131
Siddhartha Mitra, sm2@cuts.org , +9197833 98920