Disaster Capitalists - Democrats Code: Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste"
Food Price Shock: Genetic Modification or Starvation
Intimately connected to the price of oil is the global food crisis. Not only do high gas prices drive up food costs but the boom in agrofuels has blurred the line between food and fuel, pushing food growers off their land and encouraging rampant speculation.
Several Latin American countries have been pushing to re-examine the push for agrofuels and to have food recognized as a human right, not a mere commodity.
United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has other ideas. In the same speech touting the US commitment to emergency food aid, he called on countries to lower their "export restrictions and high tariffs" and eliminate "barriers to use of innovative plant and animal production technologies, including biotechnology (aka GMO's)."
This was an admittedly more subtle "stickup", but the message was clear: impoverished countries had better crack open their agricultural markets to American GMO products and genetically modified seeds, or they could risk having their aid cut off. In other words "GMO's or Starvation".
Genetically modified crops (GMOs) have emerged as the cure all for the food crisis, at least according to the World Bank, the European Commission president (time to "bite the bullet") and Prime Minister of Britain Gordon Brown. And, of course, the agribusiness companies like Monsanto.
"You cannot today feed the world without genetically modified organisms," Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestlé, told the Financial Times recently. The problem with this argument, at least for now, is that there is no evidence that GMOs increase crop yields, and they often decrease them.
But even if there was a simple key to solving the global food crisis, would we really want it in the hands of the Nestlés and Monsantos? What would it cost us to use it? In recent months Monsanto, Syngenta and BASF have been frenetically buying up patents on so-called "climate ready" seeds--plants that can grow in earth parched from drought and salinated from flooding.
In other words, plants built to survive a future of climate chaos. We already know the lengths Monsanto will go to protect its intellectual property, spying on and suing farmers who dare to save their seeds from one year to the next. We have seen patented AIDS medications fail to treat millions in sub-Saharan Africa. Why would patented "climate ready" crops be any different?
Meanwhile, amid all the talk of exciting new genetic and drilling technologies, the Bush Administration announced a moratorium of up to two years on new solar energy projects on federal lands--due, apparently, to environmental concerns. This is the final frontier for disaster capitalism.
Our leaders are failing to invest in technology that will actually prevent a future of climate chaos, choosing instead to work hand in hand with those plotting innovative schemes to PROFIT FROM DISASTERS aka "Disaster Capitalism."
Privatizing Iraq's oil, ensuring global dominance for genetically modified crops, lowering the last of the trade barriers and opening the last of the wildlife refuges... Not so long ago, those goals were pursued through polite trade agreements, under the benign pseudonym "globalization." Now this discredited agenda is forced to ride on the backs of serial crises, selling itself as lifesaving medicine for a world in pain.