counting the beans

The relative cost of a plate of food: a wake-up call for economists?

Beancost_exampleResearch reveals that the poorest are paying more they earn in a day for a single meal. This stark inequality is driving the global hunger crisis and weakening the foundations of peace in the world. 

Reported in the Guardian, a World Food Programme study reveals that the same bean stew can cost the average consumer in New York just $1.20, while the price tag is more than $320 in South Sudan. These figures come from calculating relative purchasing power – food prices against average wage.

Basic security of the essentials is a foundation of peace. Often poverty is measured in terms of income per day in dollars. Simply citing that 767 million people live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day and setting a global goal for poverty (Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty) without addressing the links to zero hunger (Goal 2) misses the opportunity to address basic security,

Economics needs to recognize that relative costs of essentials in terms of percentage of daily income need to be made transparent and factored into economic policy, too.

How to invest in peace by investing in food provision

Investing in peace encompasses finding the adequate finance at key points in the food provision chain to allow it to function effectively. This is clearly illustrated by the diagram below, and something the Invest in Peace fund, currently being developed, will address.

 

 

beans_Finance
Courtesy of the World Food Programme

Read more

The Guardian article

The Report