Friday, February 29, 2008

Oil prices hit new high

No, this post isn't about soaring prices of the fossil fuel known as "oil", from which we still cannot wean our civilization. I am now writing about sunflower oil, a product no kitchen can do without.
After the obligatory talk about poor sunflower crop and high production costs, Bulgarian manufacturers and retailers raised sunflower oil prices to record high. In my working-class district of Zaharna Fabrika, a liter costs EUR 2. Today, I travelled to a more prosperous district and bought a bottle of oil for EUR 1.5. There was even cheaper oil, but I looked for small-size font on the label and read, "20% sunflower oil, 80% rapeseed oil". Rapeseed oil undergoes unpleasant changes when heated and, hence, is good only for salad and not for cooking.
People residing in richer European countries report that sunflower oil there costs less. This is no surprise. Everybody who has done even the most superficial research on poverty knows that poor people are poor not only because they have low income but because they are typically charged more than rich people for the same commodities and services.
These days, the buzz word is Kosovo. After it declared independence, everybody is talking about it. A Bulgarian truck driver returning from Kosovo was interviewed about his first-hand impressions. He said, "I was impressed most by the low sunflower oil prices. People say Kosovo has virtually no economy, no production, yet oil there is much cheaper than in Bulgaria."
Dear reader, when I started this blog, I intended to write only about interesting and important things. I never thought that I would flood the Web with narrow-minded subjects like the price of sunflower oil.
Unfortunately, this is occupying my attention now. It seems that we Bulgarians, even Euroskeptics like me, had hopes that EU would rescue us from ourselves. After our first year in EU, a year of rampant inflation and frozen incomes, our spirit is very low. We cannot make any plans for the future, we just manage our physical survival day by day. And the only fact offering some hope is that the winter is over.
I am sorry, just venting.

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