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

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Introduction: What Goes Up…

Everyone eats, and billions of people around the world work in agriculture and related industries. Food prices are important to everyone and literally a matter of life and death for some.

The prices we pay at the grocery store depend on everything from the weather in Iowa and India to the types of fuel we put in our cars in London and Los Angeles. Economic growth in China affects the price of a pizza in Chicago. Understanding why food prices rise and fall can help us anticipate and react to future market developments. It can also help us make important decisions as a society about how best to feed and fuel the planet.

For many years, food prices did not get a lot of attention. From 1991 to 2006, U.S. consumer food ...

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