Keeping it Small and Simple

2008.04.11

The food crisis

As has been reported in the news, the price of food has become a big problem in many countries, among them Haiti, Bangladesh, Egypt and The Philippines. In Ghana too, food prices have been rising and life is getting harder, especially for the poor. This raises several important questions.

First of all, wasn’t globalization supposed to make the world a better place? Jobs are disappearing in the so-called developed world because companies are relocating production to the developing world. Here they can pay workers less, demand that they work longer hours and under far less safe conditions. But, the end result of this will be that people will be better off, or at least so argue the proponents of globalization. My question then is: which people will be better off? Certainly not the American and European workers who are losing their jobs. And certainly not the new work force that isn’t even earning enough to feed themselves and their families.

The American and European workers have of course brought this upon themselves. They got seduced by the ideas of global capitalism and chose to vote for politicians who wanted to destroy them. What the American and European workers should have done was to overthrow their incompetent governments. That is the peoples right when government no longer cares for them. Not only is it their right, it’s their duty. They won’t do it because the working classes have become docile and obedient.

Some countries regularly have problems with food production due to their geographic location. Some parts of the world, like Bangladesh, see frequent floods that can destroy crops among other things. A different type of globalization, one that was focused on global cooperation instead of exploitation, could help people in crisis areas to overcome things like food shortage. But of course, there are more profits to be made from exploitation. And the rich do need to get richer, even if a few million poor people have to starve to death.

Not only food prices have risen, but the price of oil as well. This affects the food price since it becomes far more expensive to transport food. But the oil companies are making record profits. So I guess we can conclude that the fact that people around the world are starving is a small price to pay for a small selected group to go from extremely rich to even richer. One might wonder what the price of oil might have been if the Bush administration hadn’t launched its illegal war and occupation of Iraq. Or what would happen to oil prices if the U.S were less antagonistic towards oil producers such as Iran, Venezuela or Russia. What might happen to oil prices if living conditions for people were to improve in the oil producing regions of Nigeria?

Another factor that is affecting the food price is climate change. There is a big debate about the extent of climate change, and the extent to which human actions are the cause of climate change. The Decider didn’t want to sign the Kyoto protocol because he felt it would have a negative impact on the profits of American corporations. Again, the survival of the poor in the developing world is far less important than the profits of the filthy rich. In this case the survival of the whole planet is of less importance than corporate profits. One might wonder what the rich are going to do with all their money if all live on the planet dies.

We have people who claim that climate change is real and caused by human activities, and we have people who deny this. (Note that we are destroying the world’s environment in many ways, even if climate change were somehow not taking place.) Both sides are able to present arguments and counter-arguments. As long as we do this, nothing changes. The consequences if climate change is indeed happening because of human activities are so dire that I’d think it would be better to play it safe. If we don’t, the current crisis can only get worse, and will eventually affect more and more countries.

I am of course pretending that the researchers who are denying climate change are not being funded by big corporations who are making huge profits at the expense of the health of Mother Earth. I am certain that the environment is damaged by human activities. And I think that we will be paying a heavier and heavier price for that. It’s the most sinister gift we can give to our children: a dying world.

The long-term solution to this problem is obvious. The people of the world need to launch an attack on their corrupt, incompetent leaders and overthrow them. Then build a new society, with a completely different set of priorities. The new societies will need to prioritize things like the environment and food production, and focus on global solidarity instead of global capitalism. Capitalism should have died together with its twin brother, Leninism. It survived, but now is the time to kill it.

The new societies would have to recognize is that to be human means the same thing regardless of if you are in America, Europe, Africa, Asia or Australia. They would have to recognize this because otherwise we would just start another cycle of exploitation which got us into the mess we are currently in. The right to live a decent life should be guaranteed to all, regardless of where they happen to call home. Anything else is injustice and should never be tolerated.

It may cause some pain to overthrow the current regimes. It will cost some blood. It will even cost some lives, no doubt. Those are the unfortunate birth pains of a new, better society. Yet, we must go ahead, because if we don’t, we will all live in misery. And we will still die. And the rich will still get richer. And our leaders will continue to lie to us. And Mother Earth will continue to bleed until she can bleed no more. Then she will die and take all of us along.

The short term solution to the food problem is this: if there isn’t enough food, eat the rich!

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