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The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices by Patrick Westhoff

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Chapter 8. Stuff Happens

Any good mystery has an unexpected twist. In explaining recent swings in food prices, the investigation began by identifying a list of usual suspects—factors that have caused food prices to rise and fall in the past, and that will cause food prices to rise and fall in the future. Earlier chapters examined all of these usual suspects to determine which one or ones might have caused food prices to increase sharply and then decline between 2005 and 2009.

The investigation has concluded that all the usual suspects were responsible. The weather, economic growth, exchange rates, biofuel production levels, petroleum prices, government policies, and market speculation all played some role in both the boom and the bust in food ...

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