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Neoliberal economics policies' role in the worldwide food riots?

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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:17 PM
Original message
Neoliberal economics policies' role in the worldwide food riots?
Edited on Mon Apr-14-08 04:17 PM by brentspeak
I've read some scattered posts on various threads, suggesting that the World Bank and the IMF are partly to blame for the food riot chaos currently gripping the globe. Can anyone here expand upon that?
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Nickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you want a fairly quick primer, I'd check out Greg Palast's books. He did a pretty good job openi
ng up my eyes to the IMF/WTO axis of evil. Right now I'm working on Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and it touches on the IMF, at least as far as I've gotten into it.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. The main way I'm aware of is in pressuring various countries to decrease
their agricultural subsidies & food stocks. This will inevitably result in less production & rising prices for what is produced, especially in countries where there are a lot of poor people without sufficient income to pay for much food without price subsidies.

The media now are shouting about "low stocks!" as if the low stocks had been caused by exploding population & the inability of production to keep up.

T'aint so. It's been deliberate policy.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. And it's not only the IMF:
The Rat in the Grain
Dan Amstutz and the Looting of Iraqi Agriculture
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

The war is over, but the situation in... Iraq continues to rapidly deteriorate. The banks... have been looted, irrigation systems destroyed, road travel restricted, markets closed, warehouses and grain silos pillaged.... ...There's speculation throughout the country that one intent of the current policy is to force many farmers off their farms and into the cities so that their lands can be taken over...

...Into this dire circumstance strides Daniel Amstutz, the Bush administration's choice to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq's agricultural system. Now an international trade lobbyist in DC with a fat roster of big ag clients, Amstutz once served as a top executive at Cargill, the food giant which controls much of the world trade in grain...

...In 2000, the biggest food companies in the world, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Cenex Harvest States Co-op, DuPont and Louis Dreyfus, got together to form Pradium Inc., a kind of secret, internal grain market that offered real-time, cash commodity exchanges for grains, oilseeds and agricultural by-products as well as global information services. It also offered ways to fix price grain prices on a global scale....Amstutz is no stranger to government, either....was also the chief US negotiator on agricultural issues for the Uruguay Round of GATT talks, which led to the WTO...

...During his stint in the first Bush administration, Amstutz devised the notorious Freedom to Farm Bill, which eliminated tariffs and slashed federal farm price supports-all in an effort to lower grain prices for the benefit of Amstutz's cronies in the big agricultural conglomerates. As a result, thousands of American farmers lost their farms and monopolists like Cargill reaped the benefits.... Amstutz is anxious to begin flooding Iraq with Cargill grain.

http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07042003.html

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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Just jumping here; one of the many posts about the food crisis.
This reminds me so much of that scary book written back in 1972, "The Sheep Look Up", by John Brunner. When I was reading that book about a year ago I kept telling myself, "Hey, that's going on now, that's already happened."
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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
5. A very brief primer is available on line
at http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia204.htm
(edit)
After two decades of neoliberalism, however, both poverty and the debt load of most Third World countries have worsened. Clearly, the socio-economic situation for Third World peoples living under the global neoliberal system controlled by Washington and the IFIs has deteriorated in comparison to the ISI era when governments of the South possessed a greater degree of sovereignty over economic policymaking. Being fully cognizant of these facts, it is crucial to proponents of neoliberalism that any Third World economic policy even remotely reminiscent of ISI, or that proposes economic sovereignty, be thoroughly discredited and eliminated.

and at http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/SAP.asp

Debt is an efficient tool. It ensures access to other peoples raw materials and infrastructure on the cheapest possible terms. Dozens of countries must compete for shrinking export markets and can export only a limited range of products because of Northern protectionism and their lack of cash to invest in diversification. Market saturation ensues, reducing exporters income to a bare minimum while the North enjoys huge savings. The IMF cannot seem to understand that investing in healthy, well-fed, literate population is the most intelligent economic choice a country can make.

Susan George, A Fate Worse Than Debt, (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990), pp. 143, 187, 235



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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-14-08 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. kick for more discussion on this important topic
Thanks to those who have contributed so far.

:kick:
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