Washington : U S President George W Bush joined U S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in blaming the rising prosperity of India’s huge middle class for the spiralling global food prices.
Prosperity in countries like India is “good” but it triggers increased demand for “better nutrition” which in turn leads to higher food prices, Bush said.
At an interactive session on economy in Missouri, Bush argued that there are many factors for the present crisis, only one of which was investment on biofuels like ethanol.
“Worldwide there is increasing demand. There turns out to be prosperity in developing world, which is good. It’s going to be good for you because you’ll be selling products in the countries, you know, big countries perhaps, and it’s hard to sell products into countries that aren’t prosperous. In other words, the more prosperous the world is, the more opportunity there is,” the US President said.
“It also, however, increases demand. So, for example, just as an interesting thought for you, there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That’s bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population.
“And 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,” he said.
The comments come close on the heels of Rice cooking up the theory that “apparent improvement” in the diets of people in India and China and consequent food export caps is among the causes of the current global food crisis.
Bush also listed change in weather patterns and increase in basic costs like that of energy as factors contributing to higher food prices.