The Food ‘crunch’

The Food ‘crunch’  to borrow a modernism

 I have difficulty believing all this stuff about the ‘food shortage’. Certainly the price has jumped up, it’s the reasons why that get me.

 Buying a few things off the food market a week and a half ago, it was noticeable that either the price has increased, or sneaky traders insult your intelligence by giving you less for the same amount of money, hoping you think nothing’s changed. Another established trick is to dilute the soups/sauces, or replace expensive ingredients with cheap bulking agents. Those tricks usually run in alternation with price hikes, but of course they amount to the same thing – like for like, the cost has gone up, and this is happening in a country of plenty.

 Here then are most of my reasons for being suspicious.

 From my viewing and reading of mass media reportage, the food situation was portrayed as…

 1)       That there is actually a ‘shortage’
 2)        The reasons given for it.

 

Taking point 1, Al Jazeera English, AJE, cited ‘population growth’ as a reason, accompanied by this howler “by 2020 the worlds population is expected to grow to 8 bln.” Not to be outdone, The BBC’s fear department via Newsnight says “9 bln by 2050”. As if future projections have ANY relevance to what’s happening now. I certainly don’t remember these unquestioned projections, therefore presented as quazi-facts, being in the context of analysing potential problems in the future but rather, as part of the analysis of the current reality. I’ve seen this kind of ‘shock multiplier’ thing used a number of times before and its quite disappointing to see. It seems like shock serves to bring about acceptance of what MSM is about to tell you.

 


Moonie. The head of an organization that’s responsible
for to starving millions of people for YEARS

The prices started to rise over the last two and a bit years. In 2005, World population was 6.45 bln[1] and today, 6.7 bln in 2008, an increase at most around 300 million – which is roughly the population of the US. That seems like quite a lot BUT… I seriously doubt we didn’t produce an excess in 2005 which could be carried forward for consumption the year after. Afterall, were there any news stories of a precarious in relation to global food production/surpluses and reserves in 2005? I think not, neither were there any such reports up to about 3 months ago. I would be utterly surprised if in 2005 we didn’t have at least a surplus of 4.7% – the surplus needed to cater for the extra 300m people.

 

But isn’t this 300m population increase going to be NEW mouths, e.g. from 2005, 500m babies were born and 200m people died giving the 300m extra people. Just how much food would 300m 0 to up to 3 year olds need to consume? Very little of course. Also, this food would up to about 1 year, predominantly be mothers milk (no global shortage there one suspects) and baby formula. I looked at some baby milk formula tins and discovered the shelf life is over a year, meaning past years surplus could cater for latter years consumption. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of how limited amounts of free baby formula milk is given to the poor, so that their own bodily production of milk reduces and eventually stops, when low and behold, the free milk stops and poor mothers have to pay for it.

 

Then we get to weaning type foods. Looking at some baby food jars, I sleuthed out a range of best before dates on these liddle widdle jars and they ranged from 2008 up to Jan 2010. This shows at a minimum, surplus foods for weaning can be carried forward for up to 1 year and 8 months. If kids don’t eat these jared foods(!), And even up to the age of 3 years, really, how much do little kids eat? Remember were trying to equate the extra 300million mouths to a global food shortage here, and it ain’t looking that good so far.

 

Then of course, we get this little ditty… half the worlds population live on less than $2 a day, and it is well known that  So at lest half of those 300m extra people SIMPLY CAN’T get a lot of food (if any) to begin with!

 

Let me ask you. Have you ever seen on MSM anyone spend even just a few minutes, trying to the present all the math regarding all this and do even the teensiest bit of research into it as I am doing here (even if at an elementary level)? Or has just a ‘bottom line’ / ‘shock-fear’ sound-bite been rammed into your head. I can guess the answer.

 
Ever wonder why the US puts its name all over food aid?
Ever think they should be prevented from doing so?

Let’s continue with the brief foray…

 

Ask yourselves… Have you seen your markets or supermarkets with empty shelves which lie bare simply because there was no produce to buy? I haven’t. Where is the shortage? AJE reported this years production has surpassed all previous years while showing grain being harvested (implying bumper grain harvests).

 

Now we get the India/China blame game. The BBC have already says tropical rainforest timber is ALL going to China and the nonsense doesn’t stop there. AJE said about India, “diets are changing in India”. Although India has about 1.13 bln population, can anyone take this claim seriously? The Indian diet is heavily culturalized, religionized, even regionalized. Adherence to cultural aspects in India even sees its Christian population loathe to eat beef. The caste system is still practiced in India even among its non-Hindu population despite reports the system was banned. The overwhelming number of people in India are as poor as they have always been. Many of them still eat simple foods like pulses which dominates their food intake. Indian food has a long history of using simple ingredients out of necessity, and I maintain that is still the case today.  The vast majority of Indians simply don’t have the means to afford the luxury of eating foodstuffs which require large energy input/overhead to produce them. This point overlaps heavily with the $2 a day point made earlier. BBC says “Indians are eating more”, an ambiguous statement painting a more “greedy” picture of Indian people than AJE. Actually fat USans {United States citizens} and Europeans eat ‘more’ than anyone!

 

The increase in (supposed)wealth of India’s elite and a relatively small expansion of the ‘middle class’, is once more surely not a significant factor towards any “shortage” in food. And even it it were true, a shift of diet would free up some of the foodstuff’s no longer consumed! Something the news agencies either didn’t think about, or for some reason they decided not to discuss in the presentation of their case.

 

Onto China (who you may remember is already taking ALL the wood from a certain tropical forest!) and it’s similarly gargantuan population. They make for an easy target too.

 

Melissa Chan for AJE today (Sat 26th Apr) reports China has 800m people in rural China. It is quite clear from watching a number of reports about life in rural China, that their diet is very very simple. They aren’t changing diets either. China’s food is also heavily culturalized. Even if China has a more “wealthy”  elite and greater middle class sector than India, these people aren’t causing the global food crisis either.

 

 

Newsnight blames

a)       Land has been given to biofuel

b)       Increase in the cost of oil

c)       India and China’s “development”

d)       Drought in places like Australia

 

I really get the feeling some journo, sat in his chair thinking up possible reasons why there could be a food shortage has simply written them up as being the actual reason why. It’s the hijacked-Darwinism hoodwink that: ‘plausibility sells’.

 
The energy and waste used to produce this 5* food could probably
have been used to feed an enture famly.

Pic source: http://www.perfectescapes.com/TheSuiteLife/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/the-fortress-hotel-dessert.jpg

It is only a few years ago that bio fuel was touted as a possibility. There were ‘nerd’ programs on the TV telling you how to make biofuel (which seemed to me to be far more complicated, messy and expensive and likely problematic w.r.t. actually using it in an engine or generator). I briefly watched some USan dude driving across the US leaving exhaust vapours that ‘smelt of fried chicken’ behind him. Biofuel farms don’t just spring forth from a vacuum. In many parts of the world, one has to build contacts within the ‘biofuel’ market, prepare studies regarding shifting to biofuel produce and sometimes involving testing the allotted land for suitability), applying for permits (especially if using new hither to non-agricultural land), expecting rejection of permits by regulatory bodies not wishing to create surpluses or shortages of one particular type of crop, finding and hiring getting the necessary expertise and equipment, then planting, waiting, waiting some more, followed by yet more waiting, then harvesting and processing. How many bioprocessing plants or refineries are there now compared to a few years ago.

 

Given all those factors, can anyone seriously tell me that the use of land for biofuel has contributed to the Global cost of a foodstuffs from 2005 to 2008? Come on!

 

Having said all that, I don’t think it can be ignored that India has suffered some loss on traditional arable land, land known to be very productive. It was infuriatingly stolen from them in order that mega dams can be built. Dams which will provide cheaper electricity for those slave masters spearheading globalisation, for companies that already have easy access to 600m cheap and expendable Indian peasants, the likes of which have feed asian slave labour sweat-shops in Mumbai, Chanai, Dakar, Manilla, Bangkok, Yogyakarta and so on. Some Indians will get lucky and will have the privilege of now having electricity – which of course will incur a new and additional expenditure.

 

Than we have the price of oil. This is massively overplayed. One barrel of crude oil can make many barrels of oil derivatives/fractions. If oul used to be say $50 then goes up to $100, that does NOT mean that petroleum/gasoline prices double. I don’t know the exact rations, but say one barrel of crude can make 20 barrels of petrol, A doubling of the cost of oil when divided by 20 for each barrel of petrol, means the petrol price should only increase by 5%. About 3 years ago, oil was about $60 pb, Now it’s about $120. So at best, oil price hikes add about 5% to the cost of fuel. When it comes to things like fertilizer, urea/ammonium compounds, From my understanding it’s methane, natural gas, that is used to reduce nitrogen to ammonia and derivatives.

 

Drought in places like Australia is largely irrelevant too as AJE reported record production.

 

Then we get this Chestnut. All this hullabaloo was going on about how costly things were going to be and so forth, but it was reported a few says ago, BBC world I think, that wheat prices in Feb had fallen 40%!!!!. So the fear reports just a day or so ago were pretty much crap! And where is wheat produced in February? That’s right, the southern hemisphere! Australia, Africa and South America anyone??? I’m not saying there wasn’t a drought in Australia, that would be stupid. I’m saying it’s obviously not such a big deal.

 

But now we get to the biggie…

The news TOTALLY ignored the role that the MISERABLE, INJUST AND UTTERLY FRAUDULENT FINANCIAL SYSTEM has played in all this. It’s a system which is responsible for 3 bln people living on $2 or less per day, most in conditions worse than what some animals live in. At this point, I make no apology for reiterating that before the price increases ”THE WORLDS POOR COULDN’T AFFORD SUFFICIENT FOOD ANYWAY!!!”

 

For decades, if not centuries, the poor have had shorter life expectancy due to malnutrition, the manifestation of crippling conditions/diseases and death by starvation. There’s always been a bloody food crisis for these people! What’s different now? It seems that more people have fallen into the malnutrition/food acquirement struggling class, simply because of the financial fraud that has tightened the thumbscrews. Why don’t the bloody mainstream media (MSM) give this, the overriding factor, some attention for a change?

 

The people facing food problems (massaged shortages and price hikes) is an UTTER DAMNATION upon the governments in the latest countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Syria, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Thailand, The Philippines, Argentina and the amongst others unable to get and purchase food today.

 

You see ALL food is affordable, it has to be. Food is THE most fundamental of products one can make, it is the beginning of ALL trade, because it is the only trade that yields survival. All other objects are only valuable in relation to the cost of food. Once again, it’s the ECONOMIC SYSTEM that prevents food being affordable to the poor it seems to need an economic underclass and keeps them poor. Why can we not have an economic system whereby food production is a non-profitable endeavour. Isn’t food production a chief responsibility of the state? Yes it is. NO government should allow its population to go hungry. Indeed there is NOTHING stopping such a thing. With the flick of a pen, governments could buy land and begin the process of producing food. Another flick can see them shave 50% off its military budget to facilitate the import of food. Yet another flick can see the imposition of a 20% tax on the richest 20% of the country, earmarked for the poor and food. A government worthy of the title, should allocate the cleanest and most fertile land purely for food production. The land should be protected from pollution and development. It really is that simple! The fact is, governments are still putting the interests of an already-rich elite ahead of that of the people on whose behalf they claim to be working for.

 

Governments could declare national interest and suspend debt payments to the IMF – an appalling organisation that deliberately brought crushing poverty upon many an unfortunate country, not forgetting the IMF’s twin, the WB, so that the government could concentrate on feeding people. It could turn any unused land over to experienced or knowledgeable farmers to grow anything they can. They could force large obscene profit level supermarkets into some statutory provision for the poor. There are HUGE numbers of things the government could do.

 

But they won’t.

 

I don’t see middle class and ‘ruling class’ people going hungry or queing up for bread only to be killed to rob them of that bread they waited long and hard to get.

 

Gloria Aroya say something like “money shouldn’t come before logic” yet I wonder how much of HER money has been used to help free millions of impoverished Philippino’s from a life of destitution.

 

The excellent John Pilger made a documentary many years ago called “War by Other Means” about paupers living on ‘smokey mountain’ – a mountain of rubbish that they sifted through to enable them to live for yet another day. Then we have an idiot of a BBC world presenter today (1st May 08) say ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ opening a quick report about Philippino’s who pull food out from rubbish bags and eat it. That made me mad because it was presented as if before the ‘food shortage’ these things didn’t happen. Oh yes they bloody well did, but yet again, the news won’t dare touch the enduring biting oppressive global financial system that fails over half worlds population. Damn the mainstream media!

 

Hosni Mubarak is budgeting for nightmare Nuclear power stations whose electricity is primarily for the benefit of the upper, ruling and middle class as well as the shareholders of Egyptian industries.

 

The IMF/WB is saying many parts of the Middle East need to “invest” in

water infrastructure for the future. What they mean of course is they must take a loan from the WB / IMF and pay WB / IMF cronies for the materials and labour to install it.

Your tricks are well known. What is needed is that the WB / IMF are disbanded so countries no longer have the excuse of sucking the life out of their population to service the debts.

 

So there you have it. I can’t accept the reasons given for the current situation as being the most significant factor. They are tiny compared to the financial system. I hope many more privileged people realise the political process is both scambolic and shambolic. Western politics and the financial system it serves is sorely out of date. Like John Brown, it’s ‘body lies a mouldering’ but unlike John Brown, it isn’t any where near being put in its grave where it absolutely belongs.

 

 

Interesting reading…

 

G8 AND LIVE8 – GLOBAL POWER AND POLITICAL NAIVETY

By Brian Mitchell http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/879.html

 

Pilger documentary: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5399796928596929639
27 April 2006
Indebted? http://teashoponthemoon.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_archive.html
Battle of the Ballot Box: Part I
Urban Militarization, Corporate Power & the 2007 Philippine Elections
by Stefan Christoff (August 23, 2007)

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/1335
 

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4 Responses to “The Food ‘crunch’”


  1. 1 paul May 3, 2008 at 8:22 am

    A good article on oil price manipulation, a similar mechanism could well apply to food.

    One could be tempted to think that an actual decrease in oil supply, such as might be afforded by a strike on Iran could very well double this bubble.

  2. 2 lwtc247 May 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Cheers for that paul.

    Clearly there is much horseplay when it comes to the price of oil/commodities in general. Anyone thinking otherwise is an idiot (or a holocaust denying nazi conspiraloon – C’est moi – apparently.) and there is every reason to believe food suffers the same manipoulation.

    I note at the bottom of the link, there’s an ad for a book entitled “Seeds of Destruction – The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” and this aspect of the food ‘crunch’ I forgot to mention.

    I can bet my bottom dollar that the surely-scam-food-shortage will hereld a Monsanto fanfare of “Our GM foods can solve the ‘crisis'” like lobbox it can. The food is poison. To experiement on people as they are is a total disgrace. The poor will be forced in ever growing number to ingest it, too poor to buy anything other and junk non-GM.

    lord Taverne (LD) said “When the Nuffield Council, which includes a number of distinguished environmentalists as well as scientists, argued in a carefully documented case that GM crops are needed to feed the world” says it all. If there’s no problem, label your food products as containing GM food. Why are we being denied the right not to eat these foods if we don’t want to whether our opinion is correct is factual or otherwise.

    Amongst the worlds most unbfortunate, the slave labour camp with its minimal food is globalizing.

  3. 4 lwtc247 May 5, 2008 at 9:58 am

    And another…

    “At least 1 820 sheep were reported dead after grazing on post-harvest Bt cotton crops”

    We don’t need GM, The risks are just too severe and too unnecesary.


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