I've taken an interest in the global financial situation since last year and I've learned a lot along the way. No one really knows how this is going to pan out at this stage. There are a lot of opinions and a lot of them are misleading, either because of vested interests or plain old stupidity.
There are arguments all over the net about wheather we are heading for heavy inflation - due to the billions being poured into the global system to easy liquidity - or for heavy deflation, due to the huge levels of debt destruction brought about by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis. Both arguments are persuasive.
This is not to say that it will be impossible or even that much harder to make money over the next few years, it will just take some repositioning and some careful moves. There is in fact a hell of a lot to be made in falling markets but the rules are subtly different.
As for the rise in food and oil prices, these are commodities and whilst there are clear supply and demand issues, a lot of these price rises have been brought about by speculation. Most seasoned economists (of which I am not one, but I read as far and wide as I can) are of the opinion that commodities are subject to a dangerous speculative bubble at the moment as people are exiting the housing market and domestic equities in search of money making opportunities.
In my personal opinion, we are heading for a period of crippling inflation / stagflation, the effects of which are already being felt. This could go on for years until things readjust. In this situation, the money you hold in cash will become worth less and less. The traditional safe haven in an inflationary period is the big G (yellow, heavy and shiny) but this is arguably also subject to a price bubble at the moment having trebled in price over the last few years.