Global Food Crisis? It's the corporations fault

From the "scratching your head" desk, in the Philadelphia Enquirer:
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The global food system feeds gluttonous corporations first

The current global food system, designed by U.S.-based agribusiness conglomerates like Cargill, Monsanto and ADM and forced into place by the U.S. government and its allies at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, has planted the seeds of disaster by pressuring farmers here and abroad to produce cash crops for export and alternative fuels rather than grow healthy food for local consumption and regional stability.

The only smart short-term response is to throw money at the problem. George W. Bush's release of $200 million in emergency aid to the United Nation's World Food Program last week was appropriate, but Washington must do more. Rising food prices may not be causing riots in the United States, but food banks here are struggling to meet demand as joblessness grows. Congress should answer the call of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to allocate $100 million more to domestic food programs and make sure, as Rep. Jim McGovern (D.Mass.) urges, that an overdue farm bill expands programs for getting fresh food from local farms to local consumers.
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Instead of listening to the White House or the World Bank, Congress should recognize - as a handful of visionary members like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio) have - that current trends confirm the wisdom of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's call for "an urgent rethink of the respective roles of markets and governments." That's far more useful than blaming Midwestern farmers for embracing inflated promises about the potential of ethanol.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/20080427_The_global_food_system_...
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My comments:
I think it is funny that the author is blaming the corporations for encouraging the diversion of food for alternative fuels. Wasn't it Congress who initially did this by encouraging automakers to produce ethanol cars, by rewarding them with gas mileage bonuses as well as subsidize the the ethanol industry? So John Nichols gets the so close so far away award today. BTW is anyone else fed up of politicians promising our money at the drop of a dime? Why can't we just build more refineries and drill for more oil. Oh I forgot it was Congress in the way of this too.

No votes yet

I'll assume that the last paragraph is yours, Chris.

Yes, it sure is funny to hear a columnist describe the problem, and then as a solution, invoke the same problem again. The government's agricultural-subsidy system is part of this mess. The solution therefore CAN'T be to not only keep the same subsidies, but to allocate ANOTHER subsidy.

The solution to the problem of government growth, is not more government growth. But then, columnists know who really butters their bread, so to speak ... and it's NOT you and I.

I think it is funny that the author is blaming the corporations for encouraging the diversion of food for alternative fuels. Wasn't it Congress who initially did this by encouraging automakers to produce ethanol cars, by rewarding them with gas mileage bonuses as well as subsidize the the ethanol industry?

I don't think the author blames corporations at all. He says this:

The current global food system, designed by U.S.-based agribusiness conglomerates like Cargill, Monsanto and ADM and forced into place by the U.S. government and its allies at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization

Sounds like he's blaming poor gov't policies of letting conglomerates write trade policies that only favor themselves.

Pink Slip

isolationist as a visionary, you know he is on the wrong track.

So you are agreeing that he is blaming the corporations that wrote the trade polices that only favor themselves. I believe you are making my point Pink Slip.

Goverment was all hot and heavy in 2004/05 artificially pushing ethanol and other biofuels. We are reaping this heavy government hand pushed into the market, and the global corporations are only trying to meet demand. Actually this all goes back to oil. If we had more oil drilling, more refineries, the US dollar would not slip so much forcing traders to move out of the currency and into commodities. And again some of those "visionaries" that the author named has been primarily responsible for the increase in gas.

The term "isolationist" implies that person doesn't want to trade with other countries at all. This is far from the case of course. It's about writing trade policies that Americans (not only Wall St) want.

I know you desperately want to make this into a "Democrat hates trade, blames Corporations" post. But no one, including myself makes isolationist claims, or blames corporations. I don't blame corporations. They're only doing what they're supposed to do by law--make profits for their shareholders. The blame here would be on US gov't policy--writing laws with only the multi-nationals in mind.

Goverment was all hot and heavy in 2004/05 artificially pushing ethanol and other biofuels.

I would submit that Corps named in the article were all "hot and heavy" to take advantage of public backlash against fossil fuel burning, and thus lobbied the hell out of Congress. Sadly, Congress played along.

Pink Slip

http://www.cleveland.com/editorials/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/...

There have been some other media organizations that are labeling Marcy a protectionist and I thought I saw an article of another one labeling her an isolationist. It is just not me. Maybe I should have said protectionist.

And if the companies do not want to put up more refineries, then what?

Government intervention?

A commercial on the Discovery Channel by Chevron made the statement that there is innovative and new drilling, deep water drilling.

BP claims they are searching for new sources of energy as well as other companies.

Kinda wonder what more refineries do for us, when the going price for a barrel of oil is in the mid teens, now, as in 110$ and up.

The cost of the product needed for the end product rises and the costs are passed onto the consumer.

Any new drilling would reap rewards for the future and not us now.

More refineries? Why not release some of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? Flood the market, and lower the cost of gasoline.

Pink Slip

Short term band aid to a long term problem, maybe?

Short term band aid

Agreed. But it sure beats waiting around for the perfect solution

Pink Slip

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