Secretary Paulson says astronomical commodity prices are helping developing nations.  I wonder what the people killed in food riots in Cameroon think of that?

Oh, wait – they don’t think anything.  They’re dead.

“World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period,” says Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC.

To prove it, food riots have erupted in countries all along the equator. In Haiti, protesters chanting “We’re hungry” forced the prime minister to resign; 24 people were killed in riots in Cameroon; Egypt’s president ordered the army to start baking bread; the Philippines made hoarding rice punishable by life imprisonment.

“It’s an explosive situation and threatens political stability,” worries Jean-Louis Billon, president of Côte d’Ivoire’s chamber of commerce.

More:

Global food crisis ‘silent tsunami’ threatening over 100 million people, warns UN

Rural women could suffer due to increased biofuel production, warns UN agency

And why?

Lehman: Speculative Demand Enhancing Commodities Prices

Speculators profit, ordinary people starve.  This “helps” developing nations how?