The Atlantic Daily: Food Is About to Get More Expensive

A new iron curtain is lowering. Here’s how that is influencing the cost of your groceries and your gas. Plus: America needs more wisdom.

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By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has triggered not only Western sanctions but a mass corporate flight from his country.

“The immediate consequences are already breathtaking,” Derek Thompson writes in the latest edition of his newsletter, Work in Progress. And the story is far from over, he argues: “Like all novel experiments, the group punishment of Russia is a leap into the unknown.

Today we examine two key commodities that have been jolted by the crisis.

Gas

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will ban Russian oil imports.

Why is that such a big deal, when the U.S. produces more oil than any other country in the world? Robinson Meyer explains: “Although America may be ‘energy independent’ on paper, American consumers have won no benefits from this independence, and American officials cannot assert this independence in any meaningful way. Market dynamics, not overzealous regulations, have imprisoned the industry.

Food

Russia and Ukraine are breadbasket nations, together accounting for nearly a third of the world’s wheat exports. Food prices have jumped in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

Still, David Frum writes, “Our world is much more resilient than it was even a generation ago … The food shock of 2022 is not a good-news story. The news is bad. But our ‘bad’ is less bad than ever before.

A black and white photo of four face masks, lined up side by side.
(iStock / Getty)

The rest of the news in three sentences:

(1) Cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine produced no breakthroughs.

(2) The TSA extended its travel mask mandate by another month, until mid-April.

(3) Inflation grew 7.9 percent year-over-year, according to newly released February numbers.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Watch a 30-minute episode of the fun, thoughtful As We See It—or maybe a few episodes. It’s streaming on Amazon.

A break from the news:

America needs more wisdom—the kind of smarts you can’t find in young people.