Bee Wilson considers the world food crisis. Money quote:
Even now, there is no over-all food shortage when measured by global subsistence needs. Despite the current food crisis, last year’s worldwide grain harvest was colossal, five per cent above the previous year’s. We are not yet living on Cormac McCarthy’s scorched earth. Yet demand is increasing ever faster. As of 2006, there were eight hundred million people on the planet who were hungry, but they were outnumbered by the billion who were overweight. Our current food predicament resembles a Malthusian scenariomisery and faminebut one largely created by overproduction rather than underproduction. Our ability to produce vastly too many calories for our basic needs has skewed the concept of demand, and generated a wildly dysfunctional market.