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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Financialization of Food and the Profitability of Poverty

Click here to access article by

As stated in his preface to the article, this is an excerpt from a book he is currently working on. It reads like a book in that it contains well-developed themes with excellent documentation, and there were times when I thought about printing it out to read it. There are some typographical errors which are usually easily surmounted.

I have only one criticism and that relates to the opening paragraph:
When it comes to environmental issues, the primary focus is placed upon the issue of climate change, and while this is indeed an important issue, it could be said that this focus almost misses the forest for the trees. Climatic change is here to stay, it is an inevitability, and it is a requirement for humanity to begin the process of adaptation. However, climate change is not “the problem,” it is a symptom of the problems associated with the environment.
I think he is much too dismissive of what many see as the situation we are now facing--"runaway climate change" bringing numerous catastrophic consequences for our future, so serious that many are doubting that the human race can survive them. For example, Britain’s Prof. Kevin Anderson predicted that global warming will likely wipe out 90% of the world’s population by 2060. I think that conceptualizing climatic change as a symptom tends to trivialize it and puts it in the background when it needs to be in the foreground. And, most definitely it is not something we should see as an annoyance like an increase of mosquitoes that we will just have to adapt to. Of course, it is an effect of the operation of capitalism; therefore, revolution is not merely desirable, but an absolute necessity.

The rest of the piece patiently develops the following important thesis:
Instead of acknowledging global markets as inherently and structurally (not to mention ideologically) immoral and wrong, we talk about “reforming” and “regulating” these markets as if minor changes would rectify the fundamental problems. The truth – as hard as it may be for many to accept – is that global markets are fundamentally wrong and immoral.
However, this also is understating the problem with "global markets", a polite term for capitalism--the system is leading us to extinction!