Weather is often used as a catch-all explanation by government and business to explain rising food prices. For example, last spring it was said that meat prices rose because of monsoons, floods, droughts, hurricanes … not a word about the profit rate of agribusiness or collusion of the government with big-time grain dealers.
In fact, the “catastrophies” weren’t really so catastrophic. Total world food production increased by 4 percent in volume despite bad weather conditions. Even the supply of livestock, though diminished by bad weather last winter, decreased by only 3 percent from 1972 levels. This small decline cannot account by itself for the nearly 40 percent increase in retail meat prices which occurred in the U.S., even if it did contribute to short-term higher prices.
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