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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2 Comments »

  1. Globalisation has never gives any benefits except a better pricing for some import goods. For everything else it is good in theory but not practicality

    —————————
    Do you know how to save 70c per gallon on gas?

    Comment by Daren Chua — 2008.05.05 @ 05:58

  2. Lorenzo,
    This post is a little old, but I have to make a comment: as a solution to these beautiful crises our world is enduring, you suggest revolution; as a fairly earnest anarchist myself, I would like to remind you all about the sad fact of revolution: it tends to end where it began; look at the former USSR (where I was born): one group of fat cats got replaced with another group of fat cats, marginally worse than the first. Then came 1990 and yet a third group of our ever-changing chameleon class rose to power, which is incidentally not without connections to the old one. I am sure you are familiar with Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zones; while I cannot say that I agree with everything he says, I certainly see the superior value of insurrection over revolution: while temporary (isn’t everything?), it gives a true sense of freedom, which always involves struggle, but it hasn’t yet turned into the ironically reactionary policy of established revolutions. I am always baffled by proclamations of the need to “protect the revolution” after it has succeeded and, common sense tells me, ought to have ended; more often than not ideological zeal — which is a very dangerous thing — causes the victorious vanguard to become a master even more oppressive than the one which was overthrown; as an extreme example, look at the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or the purges that followed the formation of the USSR, eventually culminating (one might argue) with the famous application of an icepick to Trotsky’s head. Those purges eventually eliminated all the old revolutionaries who were not corrupted: in the twenties and thirties, it was a very dangerous thing to be an earnest communist; afterwards, none remained outside of the underground.
    In our denunciation of capitalism, globalization, the nation state, and the rest of that rot, we must not forget the sins of our ideological ancestors lest we repeat their mistakes; what sort of progressive, whether anarchist, communist, or any other kind, can admire the war that the Soviet Union waged against its intellectual and creative class? The Bolsheviks were more reactionary than the czars!
    We must also remember when we denounce the dominant paradigm that most of the competing paradigms aren’t that hot either — today’s Russia is just as worthy of denunciation as the West, the Palestinian national movement sucks as well as Zionism.
    There is a caveat here: one spends more time criticizing one’s own masters than somebody else’s; therefore, when I lived in Israel I spent much more time denouncing Israel and supporting the Palestinians than I did the opposite: there were plenty of other people to do the latter so I didn’t have to. Now that I live in the USA I spend much more of my time defending Israel and Israelis because they are often demonized: Israel is actually a beautiful country full of absolutely awesome people! Would you have believed it? It’s not a coincidence that a lot of the awesome people are under 18; again, it is the state that snatches them out of their homes and haunts to put them into uniform and their minds through a blender. I confess, I was in the Israeli Army for ten days; the whole time I was terrified that my brain would default to its natural reaction in the face of martial authority and salute an officer with a straight arm, if you take my meaning.
    To conclude the above, it is important to see both good and evil wherever they are and regardless of one’s expectations, otherwise one would end up betraying everything one purports to believe in. Don’t defend Russia and Iran just to have more fodder against the USA, and don’t (not that I am accusing you, Lorenzo, I’m just on a roll here) revert to some euphemised form of antisemitism because of the Occupation; I say this although I daresay I hate it far more than you do: for sixteen years my family and I have been unwilling accomplices to its horrors, and all we wanted to do was not to be called Kikes (or Zhids, as it were) all the freaking time (we ended up being called Russians. Irony never fails).
    I think that a sense of irony’s powerful influence on history, and especially the history of idealism, is absolutely necessary: did you know that the first Jewish colonists were anarchists and communists who wanted to establish a sort of Marxist utopia that would incidentally also be a place where Jews wouldn’t get murdered all the time; as usual, it was fear that thwarted their original purpose; fear and the jackals who mongered it.
    Personally, I hope that our crises will result in the more or less unaided collapse of the current world order; I don’t want any vanguards setting themselves up with a new one that might well be worse; a barbarian horde would be quite handy just now.
    I apologize for the long, rambling, and unedited nature of this comment, but the text box is small and it is easy to lose track. I also have a lot to unload and since I don’t have my own blog you appear to be the unfortunate soul which has been chosen for the purpose by the ineffable nature of Google and the usefulness of your python tutorials.

    Absolutely no disrespect (as I hope you already know),
    Have a great one,
    Marc Trius,
    Leningrad, Haifa, Minneapolis (in that order)

    Comment by Marc Trius — 2008.08.16 @ 08:35


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