sugar on my tongue, I say

– Roland Barthes

many say that sugar is mild, but to me sugar is violent, and I call it so

– Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard, Vintage, London, 2000, p. 91

– Talking Heads

“Sugar on My Tongue”

– Talking Heads, 1975

Food riots have already occurred in Haiti, Indonesia and in several African countries. 37 countries currently face food crises, according to the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf.

As to what has precipitated the global crisis, the decision to reallocate crop-growing land to bio-fuel production in short-term answer to Peak Oil is a primary contender. However, this flow-on effect, albeit that it is worldwide – rice is being stockpiled in rich countries – is equally the result of an effort to sustain the illusion that there is no worldwide crisis, whether energetic or climatic.

The spring is wound up tight. It will uncoil of itself. That is what is so convenient in tragedy. … The rest is automatic. You don’t need to lift a finger. The machine is in perfect order, it has been oiled ever since time began, and it runs without friction.

– Jean Anouilh, Antigone.

Supply of oil is being incrementally constricted, prolonged by economic measures as well as the expedient of growing bio-fuels. The collapse of the sub-prime market in the US has had a greater shock effect, has met with more immediate reaction and called forth more activity in mitigation, than the global energy crisis, because of where it takes place: purely in the episteme of the market. As an object of knowledge it can be managed, economically. Attempts to manage global food shortages economically have so far failed.

This is not Greek tragedy where fate is decided by the gods and humans can do nothing about it.

– Jacques Diouf, FAO, 23 April 2008