Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blame it on Malthus

"Cohen, of Rockefeller University, sees it in more sinister terms: Americans like Malthus because he takes the blame off us. Malthus says the problem is too many poor people.

Or, to put it in the terms in which the current crisis is usually explained: too many hard-working Chinese and Indians who think they should be able to eat pizza, meat and coffee and aspire to a reservation at Chez Panisse. They get blamed for raising global prices so much that poor Africans and Asians can't afford porridge and rice. The truth is, the upward pressure was there before they added to it.

America has always been charitable, so the answer has never been, "Let them eat bean sprouts." But it has been, "Let them eat subsidized American corn shipped over in American ships." That may need to change." (Thanks Yaz)

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Chez Panisse! Hey, I live right around the corner from them!

If you want to namecheck a restaurant just for being expensive, yes, Chez Panisse is expensive -- I've only eaten there a handful of times in 15 years because I can't afford it. But the food is yummy. And I'd say Alice Waters's philosophy is very different from the "America the charitable" you quote saying, "Let them eat subsidized American corn shipped over in American ships." Waters (founder/owner of Chez Panisse) believes in local, seasonal, sustainable food. From the : “A good kitchen respects its sources, chooses ingredients that are sound, seasonal, local when possible, and appropriate to the event. … Chez Panisse gathers its material from known and trusted purveyors, known to be committed themselves to sound and sustainable practices … We seek farmers who know their seeds and soil, ranchers who care about the food their livestock eats, winemakers who know what their grapes have known, fish merchants who are concerned about the health of the seas.”