Thursday, November 28, 2019

Solving Hunger

We are told the world is overpopulated and it is this which is the cause of hunger. Why is it that the capitalist economic system not producing enough food? Under capitalism the production of food, like that of other commodities, is deliberately restricted. If there is “too much” food, the price falls, farmers lose profits and sooner or later, governments intervene with policies aimed at restricting production so as to maintain the market price at a profitable level. Above all, it must not be given away free to the needy. So why are people hungry when supermarkets and warehouses are full of food? The only reason for most people doing without the food they and their families need is quite simply that they cannot afford it. Poverty restricts the ability of most of the world’s working class to buy what food is available—the price is too high.

Food is simply a commodity to be marketed. Hunger is not a natural phenomenon. It is not caused by the alleged inability of people to grow enough food

We see agriculture exploiting the earth as a source of profits. Mother earth is being raped by profit-seeking agro-business. The farmer’s business is not growing food for people to eat. Like every other capitalist, his business is to accumulate more capital. Therefore he cannot afford to concern himself much about soil erosion, the destruction of humus, the loss of wild flowers or eagles. His real concern has to be the balance sheet: that his capital investment should produce as big a profit as possible. Capitalist agriculture has found a few crops exceptionally profitable. Whole regions turned into mono-culture, fields and fields of the same crop.

Capitalism puts pressure on agriculture just as it does manufacturing to produce as cheaply and as fast as possible. Hence the excessive use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, which can damages the soil and destroys the fertility. In our society the earth is capital — wealth which must be used to produce profits. Arable land is turned to the growth of non-food cash crops - to provide ethanol, for example as it is often more profitable than feeding people. Food is only grown if it can be sold at a profitable price — that’s capitalism in action.

It is now time for all environment activists to recognise that capitalism is the real enemy. Only if we end this system where production is primarily for profit, only if we end the money-based economy and the class ownership of the means of production, only then do we stand any chance of both satisfying human needs and at the same time will we safeguard the people and the planet.

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