Friday, August 8, 2008

Food Resource Adjustments and the Ascendancy of the Free Market

Dear George,

When great men face great problems it is time for them to think great thoughts. Well, Big Guy, we’ve got a great problem, so start thinking some great thoughts.

Thanks to the dynamic drive of your neoliberal policies, coupled with the spread of the Washington Consensus, the world now finds itself saddled with about one billion surplus people. These are people who are no longer needed, and there is no way that expanding global prosperity will ever absorb them. And their numbers are expected to increase exponentially.

An unproductive human is a drain on the global economy. To staunch this drain will require some creative thinking.

It all boils down to market dynamics. We know a bear market will eventually go bullish if left alone. The same holds true for population explosions. Once a population outstrips the available food supply the population will go through a period of adjustment until a balance is achieved between people and food.

In the past, this period of adjustment was called a famine. This is not a word that would play well with a focus group, so it would be better to rebrand famine as a period of “food resource adjustment.”

As always, we must look to the wisdom of the ancients for our inspiration. As that sage Ebenezer Scrooge explained, it is better to do nothing and let the surplus population find its natural balance. (Well, he was a sage until he went soft on us!)

This is precisely what our Victorian forefathers did. Between 1876 and 1902 a series of droughts swept the third world that adjusted the surplus population by between 31 million and 61 million, depending on who was doing the counting.[1] Weather played a role, but the deciding factor was the commodification of food that Europe had introduced to the third world. Rather than being horded to feed the starving, grain was shipped overseas to be sold on the free market at prices the starving couldn’t afford.

Here was where capitalism showed its mettle. Instead of a tragedy, our forefathers saw an opportunity for further economic expansion. A starving man is too weak to protest when you steal his land. Writer Mike Davis summed it up when he wrote:

The European empires, together with Japan and the United States, rapaciously exploited the opportunity to wrest new colonies, expropriate communal lands, and tap novel resources of plantation and mine labor. What seemed from a metropolitan perspective the nineteenth century’s final blaze of imperial glory was, from an Asian or African viewpoint, only the hideous light of a giant funeral pyre.

Guess what, George. It’s time for another round of food resource adjustments. We’re seeing the first stirrings of it as food prices go through the roof. With a few creative import/export policy adjustments, we can increase its intensity.

Food resource adjustments have several advantages. First there would be no blood on our imperial hands. These adjustments are simply manifestations impersonal market movements. In time, the market will attain the proper balance as it always does.

Nor do these adjustments outrage the public thanks to the “Africa Syndrome.” Every time the public sees a photograph of an African, he is sick, starving or dead. As a result, we the public is conditioned to think this is a natural state of affairs.

So, let’s take all the grain that is being used to feed the food resource adjusted masses and redirect it to the open market where its productivity can be maximized by converting it into the ethanol that will power the free world’s SUVs.

Food resource adjustments allow us to maximize our return on investment with a minimal negative blowback. Privatize the profits; externalize the costs—that’s what capitalism is all about.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones


[1] Davis, Mike. ”Late Victorian Holocausts.”

7 comments:

David M said...

There you go again, quoting Dickens. (Oh God! I sound like Ronald Reagan) Your going to screw people up. Oh waite!I Forgot, they show that one on television.

A variation of Naomi Cline's schock doctrine scenario?

Case Wagenvoord said...

Never realized the doctrine had such a long history.

thepoetryman said...

Belacqua,
You sick son of a beeyeatch! I love you, but can't you tell George to resign? Not that that would diminish the existing and forthcoming food crisis, but it would make me, and probably millions more, feel happy! I want to feel happy again!

"Bring out your dead!"

Clunk-

"Bring out your dead!"

Clunk-

Case Wagenvoord said...

What would we do for entertainment?

thepoetryman said...

We could just watch Monty Python for entertainment?

Case Wagenvoord said...

We watch it everytime W. holds a press conference.

Serepta said...

People should read this.