Thursday, April 29, 2010

Empty Bellies - Full Bank Accounts

UN Food and Agriculture Organisation studies showed that world hunger has been rising dramatically. Hunger has risen considerably worldwide in the past three years due to the increase of the food prices and it is worsened by the economic crisis affecting the world, the head of the FAO Jacques Diouf said.
"In 2009, the number of hungry people (around the world) rose by 105 million compared with the previous year and reached 1 billion,"

Diouf said there are still millions of hungry people in a region where food production cannot only meet its own needs, but also allow a large surplus to be exported to other parts of the world.

It is the global profit-drive market system whose golden maxim is "can't pay--can't have". The basic problem is whether the propertyless masses can afford to pay for food.The market operates with what is called “effective demand,” which is about ability and willingness to pay.The fundamental reason for capitalist production is to produce for the market with a view to making profit. This overriding interest in profit does not change, no matter in which economic sector production is carried out. In agriculture, production is not carried out because people need food.Food is not produced because people need it to survive This is marginal to the main focus of the market economic system, which is the accumulation of capital.Profits can only be realised from a commodity if it is sold in a market and converted to money.

We are living in a world that has the productive potential to turn out enough to adequately feed, clothe, house, educate and care for the health of every single person on the planet, irrespective of where they live. That this isn’t done today is due to the fact that the production and distribution of wealth is organised on the basis of buying and selling, of trade. In socialism , food and other natural resources won’t be traded. They will simply be transferred from one part of the world to another as required to meet needs. This wouldn’t be trade since there would be no question of payment or of any transfer of something of equal value from the part of the world where they went to the part they came from.If people in one part of the word needed food it would be transferred there, as for instance from the wheatlands of North America. This wouldn’t affect local agriculture since there would be no competition between the two; there’d be no local markets to undermine since local production wouldn’t be for a market either. In fact, local agriculture could be given the fertilizer and equipment that they need - without demanding any counterpart - so that it can contribute increasingly to satisfying local food needs.
This - not trade - but production for use - is the alternative.

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