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First Oil--Now Food...

Dear Folks...I kind of got on a tear with this entry, but never fear, I have another Coco story article coming next...


Remember when Roxanne and I reported in the blog how shocked we were to see the ugly oil pipeline running all over the place, when we visited the “Orient”, which is part of the Ecuadorian rain forest. We figured that the oil companies had come in, paid off the politicos, done their damage, and then left their mess for someone else to clean up. That statement is serious enough, but take a look at these articles, if you wish to see how naive we were in our assessment.




There's a lot more to say about this, but this blog isn't it...

Just a thot, however...As the price of oil tries to reach $150 per barrel, those same wonderful speculators are now doing their magic in the world's food market...

Being creatures of habit, Rox and I shop in a supermarket called “SuperMaxi”, which is just the same as any big chain in the US. We buy pretty much the same stuff each week, and we have seen this same bundle of food rise at over 5 percent per week for a few weeks. Now this is not a scientific calculation, just our own experience. What is real, however, is that the basic staple in Ecuador is rice. When we arrived here, a one hundred pound sack cost $21.00, and now it is over $40.00. Flour, another huge staple has it's price go through the roof. And the baker we use in Montanita, told me yesterday, that there will be no more of my favorite whole grain bread made, because they can't even get the flour.

Now, I was going to quote the famous Marie Antoinette phrase about “let them eat cake”, but thought I'd better just Google it first...here was the answer.

What is a fact, however, is that basic food is a struggle for millions of folks in the world right now, and does anyone think that a huge increase in the world price of food is good???

If your stock guru just told you to get into food manufacturing and processing stocks, maybe you should take a good look in the mirror to see if you like what you see.

Let them eat cake


The origin of many phrases in English are unknown.

Nevertheless, many people would say that they know

the source of this one. It is widely attributed to

Marie-Antoinette (1755-93), the Queen consort of

Louis XVI. She is supposed to have said this when

she was told that the French populace had no

bread to eat.

The original The French is Qu'ils mangent de la

brioche. It has been suggested that the speaker's

intention wasn't as cynical as is generally supposed.

French law required bakers to sell loaves at fixed

prices and fancy loaves had to be sold at the same

 price as basic breads. This was aimed at preventing

 bakers from selling just the more profitable expensive

products. The let them eat brioche (a form of cake

made of flour, butter and eggs) would have been a

sensible suggestion in the face of a flour shortage as

it would have allowed the poor to eat what would

otherwise have been unaffordable. It's rather a mouthful,

 so to speak, but if the phrase had been reported as

 'let them buy cake at the same price as bread' we

might now think better of the French nobility.

Two notable contemporaries of Marie-Antoinette -

Louis XVIII and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, attribute

the phrase to another source. In Louis XVIII's memoir

Relation d'un voyage a Bruxelles et d Coblentz (1791)

he states that the phrase 'Que ne mangent-ils de la

croûte de pâté?' (Why don't they eat pastry?) was

used by Marie-Thérèse (1638-83), the wife of Louis XIV.


 That account was published almost a century after

 Marie-Thérèse's death though, so it must be treated

with some caution.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 12-volume autobiographical

work Confessions, was written in 1770. In Book 6, which

 was written around 1767, he recalls:

At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a

great princess, who, on being informed that the

country people had no bread, replied, "Then let

them eat pastry!"

Marie-Antoinette arrived at Versailles from her native

Austria in 1770, two or three years after Rousseau had

written the above passage. Whoever the 'great princess'

was - possibly Marie-Thérèse , it wasn't Marie-Antoinette.

Her reputation as an indulgent socialite is difficult to

shake, but it appears to be unwarranted and is a reminder

that history is written by the victors. She was known to

have said "It is quite certain that in seeing the people

who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we

are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness".

Nevertheless, the French revolutionaries thought even less

of her than we do today and she was guillotined to death

in 1793 for the crime of treason.

My point here, of course, was to point out that if the

 "Powers that Be" let the price of food go through the

 stratosphere, like they did, the price of oil, then there

 just might be hell to pay.  So, it doesn't really matter

which Marie made the famous statement, it could still

provide a lesson.


Posted on Thu, June 5, 2008 at 03:13AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Not surprisingly, none of the links that you mentioned are valid anymore. I would like to see them, but I imagine that they've been censored by now. Love your posts though.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott

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