The coming rice riots

A potentially dangerous wave of global inflation “is sneaking up on us,” says David Ignatius in The Washington Post. And with the Federal Reserve “hosing the world with new money,” it couldn’t come at a worse time. We can get a taste of this “explosive mixture” in Asia, where people facing a doubling of rice prices in the past three months, along with soaring costs for other staples, are starting to protest, sometimes violently. The World Bank says 33 nations face unrest over “the acute hike in food and energy prices.” But it’s not just Asia. The U.S. truckers who went on strike this week over high gas prices have more in common “than they probably think” with the soybean rioters in Indonesia.

Why buy with your thumbs?

Amazon’s new TextBuyIt service opens up new possibilities by letting you purchase items via text messaging, says Eric Benderoff in the Chicago Tribune. But “do we really need another way to buy something?” As more people switch to Web-enabled phones, cellphone purchasing will become easier. But why can’t we just “go home, go online, and more easily determine” exactly what we want? After all, “it won’t arrive for a few days anyway.” TextBuyIt is “impressively fast,” but hardly “convenient.” You have to enter your email information and ZIP code, and await confirmation. And you can easily rack up text-messaging charges even if you “haven’t purchased a thing.”