Capitalism poisons and starves

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ur everyday life is permeated by those insufferable children and entire families who are starving in the midst of rubbish images. The violence of this absurd misery does not seem to have any limit. Has she just? A look at the situation around the world, one might ask! How the situation evolves shows the trend in the current which sweeps all entière1 society. To varying degrees, poverty continues to grow worldwide and even take a share of the population of the “rich” countries, when she’s thrown herself into misery, to feel guilty sore countries “Third world.”

False explanations bourgeois
From the mouths of so-called “experts” is meant to invoke the most unlikely reasons: we are “too many people”, our diet would “not suitable for resources” of our planet, even our attitude towards these resources would be “not friendly” … In short, all the most guilt-inducing reasons are mentioned, without ever really responsible are reported. Is it their fault that “modest” families “the North” can not find anything else to feed the “small” products found in supermarkets and discount brands? Should we actually blame “consumers” who buy products made ​​in more than questionable conditions? Some like to repeat. Even those who do not hesitate to say that you can “consume differently,” that if we are given the means, we could all live better, even in poor countries. Basically, we would not have a responsible attitude! We would eat too much, too bad! In terms of eating badly, there’s no doubt with all these products full of preservatives, dyes, sugars, pesticides … We will come back later. We would eat too much meat, too much of this or that. In some countries people are dying of hunger while in others, we eat poor quality products but in the end it would all be a bit our fault. How to understand this? Our land is very fertile planet, with a very rich and diverse ecosystem that offers tremendous potential. With nearly 10 GHa (10 billion ha) of potentially arable land, are fertile in the eye appearing terrain. So much so, it should appear as inconceivable that individuals who have the current level of technological development can know hunger on a planet so rich. Yet! What do we see today? If we take stock of the resources available on the planet and that we put it in relation to effectively therefore we use it today, from a purely scientific point of view, there are contradictions here immense. Today, these same contradictions threaten the existence of our species!

Let’s look a little more detail what those contradictions. As we mentioned above, our planet has nearly 10 GHa farmland. According to a report published by the Institution of Mechanical Ingeneers2 in England, all the land currently represents an area of 4.9 GHa, about half of the total exploitable resources for food production. The same report indicates that the average capacity of a field of one hectare of wheat or corn, helps feed, with the current average between 19 and 22 people for a year when operating a hectare for the breeding of beef or mutton for human consumption, enough to feed about 1.5 people per year.

Current productivity in the agri-food sector makes it possible to feed extensively throughout the world population. If millions of people die every day from hunger, because it is filthy system that does not produce to meet the needs of humanity, but to sell and make a profit. Here’s a big difference with the famine of the Middle Ages: they were the result of poor development of tools, techniques, organization of labor and land that created real gaps. Men never stopped clearing, operate every piece of land in order to address this lack of productivity. Today, under capitalism, humanity has incredible capabilities it does not have. Worse! The drive for profit leads to a huge permanent mess: “In the countries of Southeast Asia, for example, the loss of rice range from 37% to 80% of total production, depending on the level of development, and represent an annual 180 million tonnes (…) [worldwide] the ability to provide 60-100% more food by simply eliminating waste and simultaneously freeing up resources of land, water and energy for d other uses is an opportunity that should not be ignored. “3! In Europe, 50% of food waste ends up in the trash, or 240 000 tonnes every day.

Faced with starvation, exploitation of arable land left fallow, the fight against waste, against the destruction of unsold … appear as immediate action but largely insufficient measures. And even these first aid measures, capitalism can not ever put them up for the well-being and satisfaction of human needs, even the most basic, are absolutely not the purpose of the production4. Factories, machinery, its capital exist only to accumulate more capital and make profits. These steps seem simple and immediate can only be adopted by the proletariat in a very advanced and revolutionary political situation.

That said, in the long term, a more radical change would be required for a future society free of class and capital. The capitalist mode of production ravage nature, impoverished soils, poisoned life. Moreover, most animal species are endangered and threatened species if an end is not put to the destructive madness of this system.

Reflex numbers of those who are aware of this situation and indignant, is to advocate a reduction in consumption, “decay”. In reality, the solution is neither “productivist” (produce more without worrying about the purpose of production) or “falling” (to produce less vivid that each human being barely above the threshold of scarcity , which is impossible under capitalism); it must be more radical and profound than that. If production is not stimulated by the profit motive but by the satisfaction of human needs, then the conditions of production change completely. Here, in the agri-food industry, all the research, the organization of labor and land, distribution, … everything will be guided by respect for man and nature. But this means destroy capitalism.

Shortage to overproduction
From what is currently known, agriculture has emerged there nearly 10,000 years, somewhere in the South East of Turkey today. Since then, techniques have continued to grow, seeing yields sometimes make significant leaps. The use of animal power was soon to spread (use of the plow in antiquity) and the middle ages, the appearance of the plow and the three-year rotation (around the tenth century Europe) enabled significant improvements in production. This system, based on animal traction, lasted many centuries. However, it is important to remember that despite the progress that marked the long period5, knowledge and technology of the time did not allow crops to ensure stable from one year to the next. There are many examples of great famines which decimated the population: in 1315, for example, due to a particularly cold and rainy harvest year in France are lower by 50% than other years, resulting in the death of 5 to 10% population. To a lesser extent, the same phenomenon is found in 1348, this time followed by the Black Plague that swept the weakened population. Simply put, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the climate was less favorable than in the previous period, virtually all 20 to 30 years that a terrible famine occurs! Finally, it was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that agricultural production continues to suffer as badly beaten climate. The progress of mechanization and the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil), advanced inorganic chemistry and introduction of mineral fertilizers, allow huge increases in yields. With the development of capitalism, agriculture became an industry, like the textile industry, and transport. The spots are rigorously planned and vision “manufacturing process” (with Scientific Management) allows an unprecedented increase in productivity. All this might suggest that periods of crises and famines which we mentioned above would give way to centuries of abundance. Most scientists at the time swore by scientific progress and saw the development of capitalist society, the remedy for all the ills of society. Most, but not all! In 1845, for example, even though capitalism was booming, a terrible famine befalls Ireland. The mildiou6 and humidity of the climate cause a drop in production of potatoes by nearly 40%. The consequences for the population were dramatiques.7 Although the means of the time are still sketchy, it would be wrong to see this as the only parasite responsible for what was a disaster, contrary to what happened during the famine of 1780, the Irish ports remained open under pressure from traders Protestants and Ireland continued to export food. While in areas of the island, entire families would starve, convoys of food belonging to landlords, escorted by the army, went to England. We can also remember that at that time the British army had the largest food reserves in Europe. Thus England held his capitalist expansion. Boundless cruelty of the capitalist system, examples abound, including leads Engels write in 18828: “In the most advanced industrial countries, we have tamed the forces of nature and the constraints have to serve men, and we production multiplied to infinity so currently, a child produces more than before hundred adults. and what is the consequence? growing surplus labor and misery of growing masses with every ten years great debacle. ”

(In the next article of this series, we will address the issue in terms of the decline of capitalism).

Enkidu (10/20/2013)

1.1 million people die each day from hunger in the world, a child under 10 dies every 5 seconds, 842 million people are chronically malnourished worse, reduced to the status of disabled.

2 “Global Food, waste not, want not”

3 Global Food report, translated by us

4 The bourgeoisie is only interested in enough to feed the workers they have the strength to go to work.

5 One could cite the work of Olivier de Serres (1539-1619) to structure agricultural practices.

6 Main parasite potato

An estimated 7 million, the total number of victims between 1846 and 1851.

8 In Dialectics of Nature, first printed in 1925 from notes from 1882, Social editions P. 42


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