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Over the past two years, food prices have soared -- and plummeted. As crops are increasingly shifted to biofuel production, will food prices soar again? Will people starve as a result? What are the hidden relationships between the food on your plate and the gas in your car? Will economic recovery lead directly to massive price inflation in both food and energy? In this book, one of the world's leading experts untangles the complex global relationships between food, energy, and economics and helps readers come to their own conclusions about the future of food. Pat Westhoff reveals what really causes large swings in food prices and what is likely to cause them to rise and fall in the future. Westhoff discusses all the factors that drive changes in the cost of food: not just biofuel production, but also weather, income growth, exchange rates, energy prices, government policies, market speculation, and more. Next, he walks through several of the most likely scenarios for the future, offering insights that will be indispensable to consumers, commodity speculators, and policymakers alike.
Introduction: What Goes Up 1
Chapter 1 Biofuel Boom 9
Chapter 2 Tell Me the Oil Price 35
Chapter 3 Policies Matter 55
Chapter 4 Rain and Grain 81
Chapter 5 Money in the Pocket, Food on the Plate 97
Chapter 6 Food Appreciation and Dollar Depreciation 115
Chapter 7 Speculating on Speculation 129
Chapter 8 Stuff Happens 143
Chapter 9 A Longer View 157
Appendix Food 101 181