Capitalism Takes Food from the Poor

Have you ever wondered how it is that capitalism causes malnourishment? Here’s one way.

“The global rush to buy farmland continues, and international investors are focusing on the poorest countries with weak land-rights security…Investor interest in land was triggered by the 2007-08 spike in food prices, and the long-term trends that drive deals are rising commodity prices, population growth, growing consumption and demand for biofuels and timber…The deals in the database amount to 83.2 million hectares (205.6 million acres) of land in developing countries…Most of the investors are private companies, accounting for 442 projects covering 30.3 million hectares, followed by state- owned companies with 172 projects and 11.5 million hectares, based on the data. Investment funds were behind 32 projects covering 3.3 million hectares….

 Governments often sell land already in use by smallholder farmers, according to the (research) group. About 45 percent of deals target cropland or crop-vegetation mosaics, where investors are competing for land with local farming communities, the group reported. ‘Investors are targeting countries with weak land tenure security, although they try to look for countries that at the same time offer relatively high levels of investor protection,’ the Land Matrix group said.”

Look at the Landportal Landmatrix data on capitalism incentivizing investors to steal arable land from the poor, that the moneyed might speculate on the dispossessed’s ensuing starvation.

Running Unalienated

Here in “The Lost Secret of Running” is 1) a brilliant little story of how capitalism (in the form of Nike) distorts our species being (We are a long-distance running species.) and hurts us; and 2) how to run as if you had a human body. Hint: It’s not how you’ve learned to run, which is to maximize Nike’s profits. Includes a video and stills of human running technique.

It turns out, that if we run like humans, we can run far, and faster, and without pain.

Human running (with some degree of desperation)

Showing more stills of proper running technique, this blog calls 100-up running technique “Chi running”. The technique’s about the same.

In a related story of what happens to food and health when financial capital steps in, here is an article about the blog confessions of a retired General Mills exec.
Need to know how to eat as if you were a human? Check out Michael Pollan.

“Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Capitalism Eats Africa Today

Articles on land grabs, food speculation, and biofuel colonialism in Africa:

1) Weinststein, L. 2008. “The new scramble for Africa.” International Socialist Review 60.
http://www.isreview.org/issues/60/feat-africa.shtml

2) Vidal, John. 2010. “How food and water are driving a 21st century African land grab.” The Guardian, March 7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/07/food-water-africa-land-grab

3) Multiple articles in the Third World Network’s Resurgence: “A New Food Crisis”(2010) http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/resurgence/2010/twr240-241.htm

4) Hari, Johann. 2010. “How Goldman Gambled on Starvation.” The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-goldman-gambled-on-starvation-2016088.html

5) From Hari’s blog, this may be a longer version of the #4 Hari article (originally published in The Independent) above: http://johannhari.com/2010/07/02/how-goldman-sachs-gambling-on-starving-the-worlds-poor-and-won

See also the work of economist John Loxley and
Ferguson, James. 2006. Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Duke University Press.