How inflation is aggravating 'the hungry gap' and making even the most basic foods 'unaffordable': columnist

How inflation is aggravating 'the hungry gap' and making even the most basic foods 'unaffordable': columnist

Republicans have been blaming President Joe Biden for the United States' inflation woes, but truth be told, inflation is an international problem that has been affected by a variety of factors ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply-chain difficulties to the war in Ukraine. Inflation is hardly unique to the U.S.; in fact, many other countries have higher inflation rates, including the U.K.

According to the Trading Economics website, the U.S. had a 6.4 percent inflation rate in January 2023; in the U.K., it was 10.1 percent. Argentina, meanwhile, had a brutal inflation rate of 98.8 percent.

London-based journalist Zoe Williams takes a look at inflation in the U.K. in an opinion column published by The Guardian on February 17, stressing that inflation is making even the most basic foods unaffordable.

READ MORE:Economist Paul Krugman: Why the 'prophets of inflation doom' were wrong to predict 'stagflation'

Williams notes a price she recently saw at a small Portuguese market in London: nine tomatoes selling for £15, which is roughly £1.65 per tomato. London is known for its high cost of living, but £15 for nine tomatoes is a lot even for pricy London.

The Londoner writes, "Fifteen quid? I thought the decimal point was in the wrong place. Then, I thought it must be a language barrier, and '15' was Portuguese for £4.50. I didn't really want to interrogate the shopkeeper."

The columnist recalls her conversation with Fatima, the owner of the Portuguese market. When Fatima told her, "I might just stop selling tomatoes — it's getting embarrassing," Williams replied, "Oh, you shouldn't be embarrassed. Whoever's fault it is, it's not yours."

Williams' column, however, is not really about that particular store or Fatima's frustrations, but rather, a commentary on how inflation can make something as basic as tomatoes overpriced.

READ MORE: Americans battered by inflation are 'spending more money than they're earning': report

"Meeting the hungry gap as a real thing in 2023 forces a reckoning," Williams emphasizes. "It's actually not very cute when tomatoes are more expensive, unit for unit, than oysters, and nobody can afford lettuce."

READ MORE: Wages are dampening inflation, not supercharging it

Read Zoe Williams’ full column for The Guardian at this link

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