Monday, July 21, 2008

Fool crisis

Carlo Morellin in International Socialism

"As we have seen, trade liberalisation was meant to increase food prices, not decrease them. It also sought to encourage increased investment through increased farm size, as large producers captured the “gains from trade” that comparative advantage was supposed to bring. The liberalisation approach assumes that the numbers of rural poor can only be reduced by transferring most of them out of agriculture and into urban manufacturing. The real goal, then, is the destruction of rural communities and the development of large-scale capitalist agriculture.
What seems clear is that the current reliance on large-scale agriculture, the use of monocultures, oil based fertilisers and intensive use of fresh water to expand food output is increasingly unsustainable. The World Bank and IAASTD reports both half accept this. They point to the need for more agricultural investment directed towards the hundreds of millions of small labour-intensive farms, paying attention to water management, organic complements to mineral fertilisers and preventing further degradation of the soil. And they bemoan the failure of governments to direct funds in this direction. Yet their commitment to capitalism means they turn their back on their own insights, and continue to stress high value crops and the growth of large-scale capitalist farming at the expense of the rural poor and the provision of basic foodstuffs." (Thanks Karin)

No comments: