George Bush in Missouri May 2. Full speech transcript here
On May 2 George Bush was asked about food prices, and he responded with a common complaint of those in America who think that the rest of the world has too many people and that they are getting to be too middle class, having money to buy cars, electricity and better food. Bush said of India's growing middle class "when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food, and so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up."
Indians were appalled. According to the IHT, Americans eat 3,770 calories per day on average, whereas Indians average 2,440 per day. Americans also eat by far the most beef, the most energy intensive food source. They ask "Why do Americans think they deserve to eat more than Indians?"
The graph shows that people in India don't each much of the same stuff Americans do, almost no meat and little corn.
Indian politicians and academics note that arable land in the US has been diverted to ethanol production, and that the dollar has declined preciptitously.
The United States is responsible "many times more" than India for the world food crisis because of its higher food consumption, said Ramesh Chand, an economist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, which advises India's government on farming policy, in the International Herald Tribune.
Pradeep Mehta, the secretary general of CUTS Center for International Trade, Economics and Environment, says:
If Americans were to slim down to even the middle-class weight in India, "many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates," Mehta said. The money Americans spend on liposuction to get rid of their excess fat could be funneled to famine victims instead, he added. ::International Herald Tribune