For the past few years I have heard many folks who claim an interest in social justice decry ‘food deserts.’ I would let the subject pass, but we are witnessing a great creation of food deserts.
In a food desert one must travel a long way to get healthy food at reasonable prices. There are entire nations that qualify as ‘food deserts’, but this is not what is meant. There are farming methods and regulations that make food more scarce and expensive, but these are not considered either. What those who speak of ‘food deserts’ mean are inner cities without produce-selling grocery stores.
In Berkeley, New York, and especially, Missouri there have been riots and destroyed stores. Who would rebuild there. Had I the money, I would be foolish to do so. I am the wrong race and am from the wrong part of the country. I would be seen as an outsider. What’s the ghetto word for ‘carpet-bagger’? So the universe of possible rebuilders shrinks.
A rational business must charge enough to cover its risks. The risks in many of these places are demonstrably high. Unless one is viewed in a very positive light there would be public demonstrations about profiteering. So in addition to high risk there would be insult and hate. The number of people who would be viewed favorably is minuscule.
Businesses are run by humans. Considering crime, riots, and hatred from the community we have to find a business owner who would be willing to send employees to work in such a place. Money is not the only consideration of people; they have to be able to live with themselves.
Civic groups that want to mandate grocery stores want to mandate. They mandate what is to be sold, and where, and how, and to whom. No wonder such businesses never prosper.
The way to reverse desertification is clear. Will we allow it?