Feeding Frenzy

Wars for oil? Food fights now seem more likely, because we’re paying the price for not keeping up with rising emerging-market demand. Yet there’s light at the end of the tunnel—increasing supply isn’t an impossible task.

Issue: July-Aug 2008

FOOD. MAN'S most-essential resource. And now a cause of war? For years, strategists, policy makers and the rest of the foreign-policy cadre worried the world's vanishing resources would be the cause of conflict. But of course, with energy assets concentrated in the Middle East and crude-oil prices rising from a historical average of $18 a barrel to more than $100 a barrel today, most scenarios centered on a war over oil. At their most imaginative, people have planned for water shortages as a trigger. What no one seemed to be expecting was serious political instability caused by a lack of food.

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