I just got back from a talk on the global food crisis...it has been all about a crisis of one form or another lately. That's the reality I guess. And as I write, I am drinking tea (probably not fair trade) and eating a slice of cake from a local supermarket. Perhaps I should feel guilty, but I don't. The only way to ensure that the food I eat is not harming anyone else or me for that matter is to grow it in my own backyard. The corporate bastards have had control over the food industry for over a century. What am I going to do? Well, Dr Raj Patel, says we must be proprietors of democray, and that is how we can change things, because the world we live in is not democratic. Yay, so that is what we must do, change the world! Is it really that simple?
He is an accomplished academic and has seen more of the consequences of the free market economy on farmers in most developing countries than most people I know. I am humbled by his knowledge, but like most scholars he pointed out all the reasons why the world is the way it is: why India has a rapidly increasing rate of type II diabetes; why the rate of suicide among farmers is on the rise the world over; why billions starve, while the rest are stuffed...the title of his book. I am going to read the book. I want to understand better, why this is happening. I know knowledge is power. But would the power I gain from the knowledge suffice to take on the power of the corporate world that controls nation states, the governments that we elect in a so called democratic manner? Who ultimately governs us? The corporations or the 'government'?
Well, I am going to have to read the book and draw some conclusions. In the meantime, I am not sure I can afford to purchase fair trade or organic foods. I don't earn enough to pay for that, and my taxes, which are being used to bail out stupid corporations. And this means, while we arm ourselves with the power the poor farmers all over the world may continue to take their lives to keep us fed.