We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, April 14, 2012

World food prices rise further, raising fears of unrest

Click here to access article by Svetlana Kovalyova and Veronica Brown of Reuters via Yahoo News.
"We will be 7.2 billion people on earth in 2015, and more than one million have died from starvation in 2011. The situation will not improve, and in fact the contrary will happen," Pierre Reuland, Interpol's special representative to the European Union, told a meeting of European security officials in January. "For poor people the struggle for life will not be better than it is today."
So, this begs some questions about what the causes are for the accelerating food prices which the article doesn't address. Is the problem related to a shortage of food production in relation to population growth? Extreme weather causing poor crops?  Or what? Fortunately, Real News website comes to our rescue with two interviews that shed some light on this important issue. 

The first guest addresses the issue within the context of US politics in an 8:58m interview entitled "Speculation and Criminal Manipulation of Food and Commodities Prices" in which he suggests that the problem is, once again, those among the One Percent who play their capitalist games to win enormous wealth, and with this wealth they are able to keep their games going by sabotaging any efforts to inhibit or regulate these games. 

The second guest addresses the issue from a global perspective in a 17:25m interview entitled Global North VS South Over Financialization of Food in which he explains that there are some divisions within the capitalist world, especially among the BRIC countries that wish to serve more national interests. There are some meetings among these global players scheduled in the near future that should give some indication of how these conflicts will play out over the long run.