Four people were killed in food riots in Haiti. From Bolivia to Uzbekistan there have been violent protests against the doubling of food prices. In Italy, mothers are marching against the price of pasta. The World Food Programme has seized up and the World Bank on 13 April forecast that 100 million people face starvation. It should not have come as a surprise.
Conventional explanations for the food crisis range from climate change to dietary change in China, from global overpopulation to the switch of agricultural production to biofuels. These long-term factors are important but they are not the real reasons why food prices have doubled or why India is rationing rice or why British farmers are killing pigs for which they can't afford feedstocks. It's the credit crisis.
This latest food emergency has developed in an incredibly short space of time - essentially over the past 18 months. The reason for food "shortages" is speculation in commodity futures following the collapse of the financial derivatives markets. Desperate for quick returns, dealers are taking trillions of dollars out of equities and mortgage bonds and ploughing them into food and raw materials. It's called the "commodities super-cycle" on Wall Street, and it is likely to cause starvation on an epic scale.
Investment houses, pension funds, private equity groups and banks are driven by profit not morality, and they invest wherever they can see the biggest return. It is not a conspiracy, but it is a conscious strategy, backed by the central bankers of the west as they try to help Wall Street back on its feet.
RLCC Comment: "...but they are not the real reasons why food prices have doubled." That's only half true. The tumbling U.S. Dollar that had made up much of the world's currency of course has a great deal to do with it all also. The truth is that it is a combination of many factors all coming at once. Greed is hitting. The wave of negative results caused by selfishness is slamming humanity and the planet. We are all reaping what they sowed or you sowed if you are one of them (the greedy, the selfish).
"It is not a conspiracy." That's just propaganda. It most certainly is a conspiracy. Not everyone is in on it at the same level of course. There are those at the top however who are always sure to manipulate things so they may anticipate and pre-position themselves. The king of the mountain can get knocked off and replaced, but the game remains the same until it's over. It will end.
The term "conspiracy" means planned. When you plan a capitalist economy, you conspire. It's inherent. Having an amoral (really immoral) economic system is the direct result of those who planned it very selfishly. They knew what they were doing relative to what Jesus had called for. They obfuscated and have been trying to turn people away from doing what is right and best (which are the same thing, unselfish, always) as much as possible.
The military-industrial complex is most definitely the result of conspirators out to do wrong. Look at the fruit (results) to know the tree (how to identify them). Has it been good or bad once everything has been taken into consideration? It has been bad, of course. If it had been good, things would be good. The quality of life for everyone would be up. It isn't.
Those who are running things are not of the good spirit.
Look at certain Israelis who right now are begging that no one else even attempt to negotiate peace. They conspire (plan) to and do lump the Iranians and Shiites together as much as possible and demonize them all. The Likudniks want the Iranians and very nearly all Shiites viewed as an unreasoning blob in capable of turning and with nothing but bad intentions. It's ridiculous. It's just as stupid as saying that all people calling themselves Jews are evil. There are Jews who love the real Jesus. They can't even be evil.
There is a financial bubble in commodities, but there is also a real shortage. We have what has developed into a just-in-time food system. The capitalists don't want money tied up in inventory (grain stocks) any more than they think they have to. They want to turn over their inventory as quickly as possible. It's the Wal-Mart model writ globally. It's selfishness rather than thinking about the general welfare of all. It's the stupid so-called self-regulating/self-correcting system that Milton Friedman so ignorantly and thoughtlessly and even callously touted.
No, one must plan to be good. One must plan to sow the good seed so all will reap the good fruit only. It isn't short-sighted. It isn't based upon mammon profits with euphuistic externalities. It's feeding your brothers and sisters because you love them and not to make personal, private, special profits off them.
New Statesman Contents, April 16, 2008, 5:00pmby Iain Macwhirter, obtained via: