Thursday, November 25, 2010

reforms to humanise capitalism

I find myself taking issue with the statement that “Chossudovsky demonstrates, that “world agriculture has for the first time in history the capacity to satisfy the food requirements of the entire planet, yet the very nature of the global market system prevents this from occurring…Famines in the age of globalization are the result of policy” [ ]

The fact is that for several decades the world’s capacity to produce food has far exceeded the entire human population’s need for nourishment has been well known and documented . The problem has been much more fundamental than Chossuduvsky tries to present it. It is to do with the whole basis of capitalism. If you’ve got no money, or not enough money, you’re not part of the market. Food and farming policy has very little to do with meeting human needs, guaranteeing food security, providing high and consistent levels of nutrition and food safety. It’s all about profit: squeezing the maximum financial yield out of every link in the food chain to benefit a tiny number.This is no defence of the financial speculators but reminding ourselves that it is the system of buying and selling that results in food shortages. The poor simply do not constitute a market — there is no profit to be made out of selling food to the destitute, or from growing food for them. If the one dollar a day will not stretch to buying food, then too bad. Countries supposedly in the grip of famine hardly ever have an absolute food shortage, it’s just that the food available is sold to those who can afford to buy it or exported for consumption elsewhere.

The answer to the problems that global capitalism has engendered is not another policy that would still leave intact the basic structures and mechanisms of capitalism. Capitalism operates according to the rules of “no profit, no production” and “can’t pay, can’t have” and, as the world market system, is what is responsible for the desperate plight of most of the world’s population. Before anything lasting and constructive can be done about this, capitalism has to go. It is something much more far-reaching that is required , a rapid and radical change in the basis of world society that will make the Earth’s resources the common heritage of all humanity.

Too many try to control capitalism for the benefit of humanity, to humanise it. Like all reformers, they limit themselves to attacking features which they do not like and fail to realise that those features are integral to capitalism. What they are for is a more regulated capitalism. They merely want governments to intervene to try to control capitalism, to suppress its worst excesses.

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