The Economist has been having an online debate this week over whether or not there are any benefits to the rising costs of food. So far, the pro side has been winning the vote.
Some of the more salient arguments towards the benefits of higher food prices are that it will encourage new investments in agriculture and higher global production. Another point is that, for the last 30 years, the food strategy hasn't been working well for the world's poor. So, in effect, giving a different system a chance will be a good thing. "If a strategy has not worked for 30 years, surely there is an upside to changing strategies."
Some of the con arguments include the idea that it is a fundamental human right to have access to food. Additionally, the losers greatly outnumber the winners with increased prices. These losers include many people who were near or below the poverty line before the current food crisis struck.
What do you think? Is there an upside to higher food prices? Will it really result in new investments in agriculture and higher global production? Or will higher food prices simply push the poor into starvation? Or both? Do biofuels policies distort the market and should we stop them?