March 29, 2011

Flipping The Invisible Bird

From the New York Times: Amber Waves to Ivory Bolls

We all need to eat, right? But we also all need to buy $6 t-shirts from H&M whenever we like. So instead of planting traditional food crops this year, American farmers are taking advantage of a global rise in cotton prices and ditching their corn, wheat, and soybeans. You, see:
“There’s a lot more money to be made in cotton right now,” said Ramon Vela, a farmer here in the Texas Panhandle, as he stood in a field where he grew wheat last year, its stubble now plowed under to make way for cotton. Around the first week of May, Mr. Vela, 37, will plant 1,100 acres of cotton, up from 210 acres a year ago. “The prices are the big thing,” he said. “That’s the driving force.”
Let me be clear: I'm not blaming the farmers. Everyone has to make a decent living somehow, especially with food prices rising because fewer people are growing food (!!!).

No, the culprit here is free market BS that assumes a disparate collection of farmers all around the globe, with no common organization or interest, will continue to grow the things we actually need to live out of their own self-interest. WRONG! They will grow what makes them rich out their own self-interest, because, hey, they're farmers: they can grow their own damn food.

So listen up, conservative free market BS peddlers: instead of trying to regulate social issues like sex ed and abortions, the result of which is larger populations and consequently a need for more food, put all your energy into regulating the global food supply so that there are always enough people growing enough things for everyone on the planet to eat. (While you're at it, why don't you regulate the evil pharmaceutical companies that make access to contraceptives so difficult? Their greedy self-interest is also not doing the planet any favours.)

Thank you. I expect a box of Shredded Wheat in my pantry when I get home tonight.

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