Just read two great articles in the NYTimes today that have striking simularities!
You are what you grow
By MICHAEL POLLAN
Published: April 22, 2007
The article very nicely addresses how a national farm policy determines what the kiddies get for lunch, why the poor in the US are obese, landuse, international markets, why it is more expensive to purchase healthy food relative to junk and how this bill is debated behind closed doors and how the farm bill should be a food bill with eaters in mind:
eaters want a bill that aligns agricultural policy with our public-health and environmental values, one with incentives to produce food cleanly, sustainably and humanely. Eaters want a bill that makes the most healthful calories in the supermarket competitive with the least healthful ones. Eaters want a bill that feeds schoolchildren fresh food from local farms rather than processed surplus commodities from far away. Enlightened eaters also recognize their dependence on farmers, which is why they would support a bill that guarantees the people who raise our food not subsidies but fair prices. Why? Because they prefer to live in a country that can still produce its own food and doesn’t hurt the world’s farmers by dumping its surplus crops on their markets.
Wow! Just imagine!
past farm bills, which have faithfully reflected the priorities of the agribusiness interests that wrote them. One of these years, the eaters of America are going to demand a place at the table, and we will have the political debate over food policy we need and deserve. This could prove to be that year: the year when the farm bill became a food bill, and the eaters at last had their say.
And i know this is going to sound crazy, but the critique of the farm bill negotiations are strikingly similar to the profiteers i just read about
In Somalia, Those Who Feed Off Anarchy Fuel It
Opportunists in Somalia — from squatter landlords to teenage gunmen for hire to vendors of bad baby formula — profit from continuing chaos By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: April 25, 2007
In both stories, those who profit, big agribusiness for the farm bill or gangs, thugs, and fundamentalists in Somalia have no interest in the health and well being of the population as a whole but only in their own self interests. And therefore ensure the perpetuation of a system that will meet their needs. Farm bill negotiations are a closed door affair for special interests such as corn producers and the market in Somalia for anything is via profiteers who align themselves with whoever has the guns to protect them but absolutely not a government that may tax or regulate them. In both cases the people aka the citizens are not the priority.
In Somalia the best interest of profiteers are best served if there is no government and in the US the interest of profiteers are best served with negotiations that happen behind closed doors and in a complex language that no one understands. Whether it be anarchy and lawlessness in Somalia or undemocratic farm bill dealings, the end results are the same, few profit, the majority looses, and no one has the health and welfare of the people nor the land as a best interest.
We have so much work to do on so many fronts! What does it mean to have a real democracies and not kleptocracies run by thugs or well spoken negotiators? Neither of which were elected nor can be considered as representatives!
OK back to Andrew Feenberg for some sanity!