How inflation reminds us of our prosperity

For some time now, you can hear people everywhere talking about inflation. Everything is getting more expensive. Currently, the inflation rate in Germany is +7.9% and in many countries it looks similar.

This is probably most noticeable in the case of food. Anyone who has been shopping in a supermarket recently will have noticed that almost all products have either increased in price or decreased in quantity.

Heating costs have also risen by a few percentage points in the past year. In times like these, it's important to keep a cool head, and with the help of this article, I'd like to put the current situation into a slightly different perspective.

"If more of us valued food, merriment and song more than hoarded gold, the world would be a happier place."

J.R.R. Tolkien

One of my few hobbies I would count cooking. In my free time I also like to inform myself about how our food is made nowadays, what are the origins of our dishes and how some people prepare delicious food with very primitive means.

First and foremost, I would like to state that before 200 years average 61% of income was spent on food. Here it is important to remember that we are not talking about exotic fruits, sweets or ready-made products. Potatoes, wheat and apples cost a fortune back then.

100 years ago, the average person spent 44% of his income on food. There was certainly the odd tropical fruit or the occasional refined pastry that even a normal mortal could afford. But always the average expenditure on food was almost half of the income.

From 1970 until today, so in the last 50 years, food expenses are down from 25% to about 16% decreased in 2021 (Source).

These numbers alone should make for more gratitude. But another thought that often crosses my mind when I think about food is that nowadays we can eat anything we want almost anywhere in the world. No emperor, king, count, baron or other ruler in history had such a wide variety of food available to them.

Almost everyone in Western society has more fruits, pastries or other things to choose from than Alexander the Great, Cesar, Tutankhamun or Abraham Lincoln had. We have just become so accustomed to having everything around us at cheap prices all the time that the current inflation is spoiling our appetite.

"As long as you have food in your mouth, all questions are solved for the time being."

Franz Kafka

Even today, many people around the world are still suffering from hunger. For my part, I think that it is not particularly profound to get upset about the current price increase. Sure, there are nicer things to spend your money on, but there are hardly more important things.

A roof over your head, a healthy body and food on your plate are probably the most basic of all human needs. However, I would argue that they are in reverse order, because a comfortable place to sleep is many times more comfortable when you are not lying there hungry. And a body is much healthier when it is not malnourished.

I for one think to myself that even though food prices are rising, we should not forget how privileged we are. The ease of access to food, the food choices, and the fact that we spend just ~16% of our income to have a full belly. So the next time you're standing in front of a product at the grocery store, maybe you can remind yourself how good you have it.

What is your opinion on the current development of food prices? Just write us your opinion and views in the comments.

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