Friday, January 22, 2010

Wrong Ideals Lead To Growling Stomachs

The Atlantic features a good article about the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

Josh Viertel points out the fallacy in the logic of agribusiness. Monsanto and other corporations insist that this problem can, and must, be solved through capitalist enterprise: make farms bigger and produce more food.

Which sounds good, except that in 2008 the world grew enough food to feed 11 billion people, and yet human beings starve.

Like Viertel says, this is not a problem of production, but of justice.

This is a case where large and powerful corporations reframe a large problem in order to present "solutions" that serve the interest of profit rather than human need. The human beings at the helms of the organizations have lost sight of a human purpose or what the Buddha spoke of as correct livelihood.

Unfortunately, our Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, takes a corporate view, in support of a "green revolution" that alters agriculture so as to favor foreign inputs and expensive products, and concentrate farms into larger holdings. He rejects the IAASTD Report mentioned by Viertel as "unobjective" without addressing any of the report's research data; it is "unobjective" because it reflects a worldview that is different than Monsanto's.

Natural disasters have a way of revealing bad policy, and major ecological challenges such as this are revealing the perversion of our political and economic ideals. Yet we fear change. I don't care much for adopting the pose of a revolutionary, but what does not work, does not work. When science reveals that the moon does not, in fact, omit light, we are called to change our view in line with the truth.

There is food for everyone, yet people are starving. Let's wake up.


Kyle Lovett said...

I agree, food doesn't need to be the issue that it is. I am certainly not a far political leftist, but I feel strongly that food is a human right, not something to be sold to the highest bidder.

Its kind of odd, to think, big CEO's sitting in big offices making decisions that directly effect the lives of millions, if not billions of people.

Paul Lynch said...

Thanks for posting this and 108 bows to the South West. Of course Seung Sahn was always reminding us of the world population, wasn't he. A bit ahead of his time perhaps.


tiffany said...

As tequila becomes one of the fasting growing top-shelf liquors, the opportunities in the agribusiness sector surrounding the source plant, the agave cactus, become more and more wide spread.