What’s the Deal with Food Prices? How Will Our Economy Change in the Future?

The MoonThe High Priestess reversedSeven of SwordsNot that long ago I became a fan of the Free Daily Kindle pages on Facebook — and I find that often the free Kindle books are on topics connected to homesteading, living off the grid, cooking, gardening, and the like. I find myself actually collecting and hoarding books on these topics. It feels like it will be important to have them as a resource at some point. Why?

Meanwhile, I have one very intuitive friend who has been telling me for two years, somewhat melodramatically, that a starving time is coming. I don’t feel it myself in quite such melodramatic terms. And of all the intuitive people I know, only one friend keeps telling me this. Yet, something about what she is saying rings true. It feels as though food will become more scarce, even here in the U.S. where we expect a certain level of abundance that many parts of the rest of the world have been denied. It feels as though our definitions of what we consider to be abundance are about to change — radically. It feels as though something like the Great Depression is coming. It does not feel as though the economy is getting better. It feels as though a time of living by our wits and being more frugal, resourceful and independent is coming. It feels as though hunkering down, and saving what money, food, resources, we can, is appropriate. But why?

And then today I read this article in the Guardian: “Why Food Riots Are Likely to Become the New Normal.” This seems counterintuitive. I’ve always understood that we can produce, worldwide, enough food to feed the world — but that the problem is distribution. Isn’t it? Why should there be food riots? Why should food prices suddenly start rising like this? Yet, I can see from the prices at my local grocery store that to some degree we are already experiencing this — even here in the heartland of the U.S.

I decided to pull some cards on this issue, and got The Moon, The High Priestess reversed, and the Seven of Swords (see above). I don’t know what these cards mean. You got me! But here are some interesting commonalities: the theme of illusion and deception is running through these cards. Reversing the High Priestess card puts the moon at the top of the card, as it is on the Moon card. The Moon makes me think of natural cycles, of certain events rising and falling as if there were a season for recessions. The Seven of Swords card makes me wonder about the role of human avarice in bringing about a recession or depression–but also makes me think of hoarding, being frugal, and even of withdrawing from society itself — like people moving off the grid, or dropping out of the economy in terms of no longer operating as much on regular money but perhaps on some other system, like barter. There’s also a theme of depression, lack of confidence in one’s own gut feelings–and I think this comes from people feeling that they should have more than they do have, that they should have what their parents had–it’s men, especially, who often seem to feel this the most. But that isn’t necessarily so–we live in a different economic climate than our parents did and I strongly feel that men should try not to take it so personally if they cannot provide what their fathers did. (Women feel this too, but it’s men who take it so to heart and who view it as a reflection on their own identities.)

I don’t usually make these kinds of predictions and this is a rather negative one. But I want to put it out there and say, think ahead about the future. There’s not really any harm in being careful and planning conservatively, nor is there harm in picking up some self-reliance skills like gardening, pickling, canning…etc. Learning to knit and sew or repair appliances. Those sorts of skills are good for our environment and our Earth even if my worry is totally wrong and off base. Think about how little you could live on if you had to and aim for being able to do that…just in case. Don’t take foolish risks and don’t overextend  yourself financially. Just–plan for possible unexpected setbacks. I think it’s responsible to watch what’s happening and plan for it just in case.

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7 Comments

  1. What a thoughtful article. I’m going to share it on my blog, if that’s all right. You make a good point, in that so much of the population does not understand, or even see, what is happening around us. The prevailing paradigm seems to be that food prices (in America) should always be low. It’s become a “right” that we indignantly refuse to give up. When prices do rise, we insist on finding one culprit to pin it on, such as the oil companies gouging us on gas.

    The thing is, this problem requires a big picture approach. There is not just ONE thing going on. There are many problems that have been brewing for several generations – at least since the industrial revolution. It’s not all directly related to food, either. For example, as a natural childbirth teacher, I’m aware of how the treatment of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding has changed since male doctors and “modern” medicine took over. Patriarchal and/or misogynistic viewpoints led to
    a blanket rejection of female knowledge and practice in these areas, resulting in “scientific” recommendations to do things differently. In this climate, entrepreneurs created “scientifically” correct baby formula, and told women it was better for babies than breast milk. The formula of course, was in no way adequate for human babies, but did not kill them outright. Thus, an industry was born, and flourishes to this day. So we -mammals with built -in equipment – find ourselves unable to feed even our newborns without a viable food industry.

    Other issues – mono culture, fertilizers, pest- and herbicides, loss of diversity, farm policy, climate change, bacteria resistance, loss of survival skills and knowledge, and a hundred other things… all of these are interconnected like a web. Your friend predicts a crash, and she’s right. Except it’s already started, with a strand here and there becoming unraveled. Because it’s so complex, few people see it, and most people refuse to believe it when they are told about it. It will be much further along before it can’t be denied.

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    1. I’m glad you liked this post–and absolutely, please feel free to share it with anyone you’d like to. Thank you for the long and thoughtful comment–which is right on target. I think you’re right about all of this. As my husband likes to say, “De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt.” 🙂 I see denial in a lot of advice that is given to people about “abundance,” too, these days–I don’t think many people realize that “abundance” can mean very different things to different people depending on your perspective. Anyway, thank you again for your comment!

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  2. Yes, it’s coming. I’m intuitive enough, and proved that often enough, my husband actually pays attention to what I say, even though it goes against his analytical scientific grain. My anxiety concerning the future became overwhelming back in November of 2011, though I felt it before then, that’s when it started to hit hard. We spent 2012 downsizing our mortgage and moving across the country to a better locale where we have a much smaller house and tiny mortgage. Much of this was due to retirement, so it’s logical beyond my intuitive feelings, but some of the move was because that seemed a better place to meet the hard times than where we were before. Not perfect, but better. A lot better.

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    1. I’m glad you were able to act in advance of this. I think we all need to start thinking along these lines and getting serious about preparing for what’s coming.

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    1. lol, I have yet to read them as well! I’m going to start on the gardening-related ones soon, though–thinking ahead to a container garden on my balcony this summer! 🙂

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