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Food Price Increases Create Discontent Among The Poor

A new report published on Tuesday by Oxfam and the Institute of Development Studies on the impact of rising food prices “shows that the overall impact of the 2011 food price spike seems to be a ratcheting up of inequality, producing a pattern of ‘weak losers and strong winners,'” Duncan Green, Oxfam GB’s head of research, and Naomi Hossain, a research fellow in the Participation, Power and Social Change team at IDS, write in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” 

“The losers – those already struggling in low-paid, informal sector occupations such as petty trading, street vending, casual construction work, sex work, laundry, portering and transport – are clearly worse off than last year,” while “other groups – usually those who were already relatively well off – are doing better than last year. Commodity producers and export sector workers have largely benefited from the global recovery, for example,” they write, concluding, “With ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and other protests against governments in Europe, the stress and discontent fuelled by high food prices merits close attention” (6/21).