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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:01 AM
Original message
Rice companies raise price of rice 4X in Haiti.
The church I attend sponsors a missionary orphanage in Haiti. Here is part of today's entry in her website.

http://www.loveachild.com/blogs.php?id=journal&entry=ja...

January 17, 2010



6:30 AM Disaster Relief - We are distributing food to thousands who have been left homeless. We are also distributing food to missionary organizations that work here in Haiti and they are helping with the Disaster Relief to many orphanages. Food is a crisis here in Haiti at this time. The rich "rice companies" are profiting at the expense of the poor and raising the price of rice four times! The poor, who have been crippled, broken, wounded, lost their children and left homeless on the streets are starving. They cannot afford even a handful of rice.

That is why we are so thankful for all our partners who have given during this Earthquake Disaster Relief. In addition to opening our Clinic to care for the injured, we have also delivered truckloads of "Relief Sacks" with food to multitudes more, yesterday. This particular distribution was done through the efforts of several "Disaster Relief Committees" who are able to handle the huge crowds of people, fighting for food.

We have been feeding the hundreds of people who have been coming through our clinic for help. As soon as they come here, they are given water and assessed. We feed them three meals a day. They have told us with "tears in their eyes," how thankful they are to have medical help and food.

We are so very thankful for Pastor Jentezen Franklin's support, Kingdom Connection, who sponsors two containers of food each month, 540,000 meals! They have also helped us with Disaster Relief here in Haiti. They are wonderful people! God bless his church "Free Chapel!

We want to thank Joyce Meyer Ministries, Hand of Hope, for the tremendous outpouring of Disaster Relief Assistance, food, medical supplies, relief supplies, coming not only to Love A Child, but also helping many other organizations here in Haiti. We are so very humbled and thankful. Joyce Meyer Ministries - Hand of Hope also funds our Jesus Healing Center Clinic 100% and sponsors one container of food each month, providing 270,000 meals.

We are so thankful to Feed My Starving Children, who donates this food to us every month. Our Love A Child partners, Joyce Meyer Ministries - Hand of Hope, and Jentezen Franklin - Kingdom Connection, all sponsor this food to come from the States, all the way to Haiti. God bless every one of you!!

We are so thankful for all our Love A Child partners who has given, from large to small to the "Widow's mite." Everyone has been so kind and generous. Your love to us here in Haiti is overwhelming!

Help is on the way! More later.


Damn such greed and stupidity. The smart move would be for a rice company to give the food away during the crisis and generate customer loyalty for a generation.
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bullimiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. I would need to see some corroboration on that one.
Just because this person believes it and puts it on their blog doesnt necessarily mean its reality.
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. agree

and even if it's more than just propaganda, it seems much more likely that local distributors are gouging at this point.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
41. Yeah, me too. I'm afraid it reads like an ad for their own charity.
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bullwinkle428 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
2. Somewhere in hell, Ayn Rand is smiling.
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leeroysphitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. Why do you hate capitalism? n/t
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lazer47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. I agree the rice companies are shameful,, However giving money to
Joyce Meyer is just another Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell( may he rest in hell)
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TransitJohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
5. These sorts of 'business decisions' are the reason we must end corporate personhood.
And also hold the decision makers within these corporations criminally liable. This should get someone life w/o parole.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Not too long ago
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 10:23 AM by malaise
Haitians used to grow their own rice and feed themselves.

First they destroy your agriculture and industries, make you dependent and then raise prices. Don't forget that the three Ds - or four as I see it (devalue, deregulate, divest and then die of debt precede the destruction of your independence (that's the plan). Then US politicians side with lobbyists from the American corporations to kill off the banana industry and slowly that is replaced with the drug trade. That becomes drugs for guns. Then the mass of young men who have filled the slums after leaving the countryside form their gangs.
The middle class and educated line up for visas and voila the 'Haitianization' of the entire region is complete.

Read about neo-liberalism and our region - we've been fucked properly by our own politicians, the multi-lateral lending agencies, and the US, British and French governments. Our own politicians and of course the grandest criminal bunch of all - the chambers of commerce- all went along for the ride.

I'd willingly die in a massive earthquake if I could be guaranteed that the entire establishment would die with me so that the future generations would have a chance, but everything I see so far suggests that another set of vultures are waiting in the wings to continue exploiting Caribbean people.

Meanwhile people like Bill have fond memories of his honeymoon in Haiti. It's been no fucking honeymoon for Caribbean people.

add and reword
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
8. I don't believe this


This could be propaganda from the charity, or, if anything, it's much more likely that *local* distributors are price-gouging; especially at this point.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Who cares what you believe
This is business as usual.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
10. Neoliberalism in Haiti: The case of rice
Rice Steamrollered by Neoliberalism

Despite the increased imports, in 1987 Haiti still produced three- quarters of its rice needs, but the U.S.-managed and -advised Henri Namphy regime and its whiz kid Minister of Finance, Leslie Delatour (now governor of the Central Bank) swiftly moved to liberalize the country by slashing tariffs, closing state-owned industries, cutting the budget of the government agricultural agency in the Artibonite by 30% and opening all the ports.

The 50% tariff on imported rice was not cut immediately, but a growing massive contraband of extremely cheap "Miami rice" was, at best, cynically overlooked by the government. U.S. rice has a faux low price, since the U.S. protects its rice (and sugar beet and other) farmers with multitudes of programs, so U.S. farmers produce rice for "less" than Haitian farmers thanks to massive subsidies totalling literally hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars. The U.S. regularly produces hundreds of tons more than it needs and competes on the international market with traditional rice growers like Indonesia and Thailand.


http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/210.html

I have no doubt that some US Rice companies are up to their usual tricks. I would like to see more details on this latest price increase, though.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. I don't understand the surprise
It's business as usual in these parts.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #19
37. For many, this is the first they've heard of this
It's not exactly discussed (or even alluded to) in the MSM. Even in Canada you won't hear this, except on maybe CBC radio shows.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
11. If the allegations can be confirmed, then my take is that the rice companies expect
to be paid via Red Cross, the Clinton-Bush Haiti Relief Fund, etc. and are expecting to be paid what they ask. I would hope that the relief organizations will go elsewhere and not submit to extortion.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
12. If this is true, I believe
the US companies can be charged for price gouging during an emeregency. IIRC, the punishment can be severe.
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
13. Rice companies? Sounds more like the local distributers -
shopkeepers - to me.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
14. It appears that a major player is American Rice, Inc, which is owned by Grupo SOS of Madrid, Spain
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
43. Do you have any citation for this?
I'm not seeing any evidence for the OP's claims in news sources.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
15. Rice prices have been horrible for them for the last several years.
Google rice prices in Haiti. They had it double in 2004 and it increased so much that there were protests over it in 2008.

It wouldn't surprise me that they raised it during this crisis, although it could be black market prices. I'd read a couple days ago that there was gouging on fuel, diesel IIRC, $25 a gallon.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #15
28. world rice prices rose in the commodities bubble preceding the crash in 2008.
not just in haiti.
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
16. can't cook rice without water or a fuel source nt
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
17. In times of disaster, looting should be legal and price gouging should be
an actionable crime.
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votingupstart Donating Member (535 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. uh... what? you want to encourage already hurt/injured/starving people to start
confronting each other by looting? that's a lot of stupid in such a short statement.

maybe next time there is a big natural disaster, you would like to set up an arena and throw the people into it to fight it out.

hopefully you were just being sarcastic and i missed it.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. All food stores should be nationalized automatically in national
disasters, and the food stores should be available to authorities or even community leaders.

In my neighborhood, people are civilized enough to be able to deal with that. If people know in advance who is in charge of distributing the food, it would be "looting" but not chaotic.

Imagine you have no water and you see water standing behind the window of a store. No matter how civilized you are, your animal instincts will take charge. You will choose life rather than die from thirst. Same for food. We are basically foraging, hunting animals. And we will find a way to survive.

It would be better if our communities were organized so as to understand this fact. The crime should be price gouging. That would discourage people from looting, hording and then reselling at high prices for personal gain.

I believe that the immediate reaction of humans in disasters is to reach out to others and to try to be supportive, to create a community and to act in a socially positive way. It is when hunger and thirst become overwhelming that what we call looting, that is the innate drives to forage and hunt, becomes an irresistible drive. I am not a physically aggressive person, not at all. But if I were dying of thirst or starvation, I don't know what I would do. I might just give in and die, but I might decide to fight and live. It is very hard to predict these things.

Anyway, that is why I think that merchants who have food should be encouraged to distribute it themselves. There are always community leaders -- priests, rabbis, pastors and others who could be called upon to help. Looters are only looters because they are taking what we define as the property of others. But in times of devastating need and scarcity of supplies, the law recognizes the defense of necessity. Look it up.
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votingupstart Donating Member (535 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. yea - you still did not read through your other post
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 01:37 PM by votingupstart
in response to your other "idea"
(url)http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... (/url)


You are still not thinking -- you obviously have no experience in disaster relief, recovery operations or crowd control, and thankfully i can assume you are still sitting behind a keyboard instead of actually out trying to implement your "ideas"

lets begin at the top:

Posted by JDPriestly
"and the food stores should be available to authorities or even community leaders"

- as we have seen from countless disaster situations THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY PRESENT, and even when there is THEY HAVE NO MEANS OR INFRASTRUCTURE TO FACILITATE any compliance/assistance/governance to the citizens
(i am typing in BOLD because you have failed so far to understand the importance)


Posted by JDPriestly
"In my neighborhood, people are civilized enough to be able to deal with that."

- so in your neighborhood, there is NO ONE who would do something violent/crazy/out-of-character to get food/water or first aid? -- now you are being either incredibly NAIVE or intellectually DISHONEST, and what about people from the neighborhood down the street?


Posted by JDPriestly
"If people know in advance who is in charge of distributing the food"

- and your plan is counting on all of these people to be uninjured/self-aware/not-emotionally-effected and perfectly logical after their whole lives just got either burnt down/washed away/shaken/flattened or otherwise destroyed -- good luck with that

Posted by JDPriestly
"It would be better if our communities were organized so as to understand this fact. The crime should be price gouging. That would discourage people from looting, hording and then reselling at high prices for personal gain."

- the only smart and thing you have said yet - include the crimes should be Looting, Price Gouging, Reselling (at a much higher price) in a time of disaster. -- and i think we may agree


Posted by JDPriestly
"I believe that the immediate reaction of humans in disasters is to reach out to others and to try to be supportive"

- well you believe wrong - the first reaction for anyone in a disaster scenario is to survive themselves, they may provide aid but only as far as it does not seriously endanger their own survival, the first reaction of those not affected is generally to provide aid. If you had attended any collegiate/professional disaster planning training or classrooms you would understand this. (as a side note research Maslow's hierarchy of needs)


Posted by JDPriestly
"But if I were dying of thirst or starvation, I don't know what I would do. I might just give in and die"

- typical victim mentality, keeping this thought pattern if you survive the initial event you will most likely be a secondary victim because you have no will to survive. A focused/willful individual has a MUCH GREATER chance of survival even against almost impossible odds.

Posted by JDPriestly
"But in times of devastating need and scarcity of supplies, the law recognizes the defense of necessity. Look it up."

- Apparently you cant even look up why looting is a crime, and the law specifically lists looting as a crime and on the Defense issue provides for EVERYONE the right to defend themselves, (ie those shopowners too) perhaps you should spend some time reading instead of posting crap you have no experience/training/or knowledge of.

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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. Very good post! Now imagine that you have children.
You would be ready to fight like a tiger, and justly so.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #31
40. Yes. That is why I know/ I'm a mother. My first reaction in any crisis
is to look around and check to see that everyone is OK, starting with myself and then the person next to me and so forth. I'm like a mother hen.

But the thought of food sitting in a store while I and my neighbors had nothing to eat for days is repugnant to me. I have never stolen anything since I am old enough to remember. I have a strong sense of what is and is not mine. But no one should starve while food sits in a nearby store.

But then, I am the offspring of independent farm folks who appreciated community when they got the chance to enjoy it.
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OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #20
34. I can only hope if disater ever strikes my region that all my neighbors are like you.
Because I sure as hell wouldn't act like them and would do ALL in my power to ensure our survival.
When the shit hit the fan, it's survival of the fittest.
It may be sad, but one shouldn;t be ashamed to acknowlege that fact.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. As I told a person in another thread,
who assumed no need for security existed because people would line up patiently and wait for supplies, that if my child needed water and I believed for a second that the people ahead of me might get it instead of me I'd trample any motherfucker in my way.

Human beings are, first and foremost, survival machines.
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vadawg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. yup, through experience we have learned that when you give out aid
there are two tipping points, when it first starts until you saturate the area, during these times there is a heightened danger that mob violence can take over due to people seeing aid and believing they will not receive it as there is not enough, until everyone receives the aid. during this time you need to make sure that you are ready for bear so to speak and you pray that you have the numbers to control your zone until you reach the second tipping point..
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #36
42. Security is sorely needed. But part of their job should be using
all food that is available and in the area to feed starving people. When in need, look around you and start to take care of yourself and those around you with what is immediately available. It has been days for some of them, days without enough food or water. Those Haitians do not have the time to wait until the aid trucks and security arrive. They need to help themselves.

And if they help themselves to available food supplies before the starvation weakens them too much, they will be better able to distribute it to themselves and their community.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #18
39. Do you think people should starve when food is sitting there
on a shelf in a store? I don't.
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WT Fuheck Donating Member (392 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
21. That's the "magic" of the "unseen hand" of the "free market"
at work!

Isn't capitalism wonderful?
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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
23. If the price stays the same when demand goes up, then the rice will run out.
Everyone will hoard. Those there first will buy it all up and stockpile it or re-sell it themselves at higher prices.

Plus, rice being 4X more expensive will prompt everyone in the Dominican Republic to buy rice and sell it in Haiti. That is, Rice will flow to where it is needed most - Haiti.

If the price of rice stayed the same, starvation would be on hand very quickly.

In theory, anyway.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
24. I imagine this is more likely shopkeepers.
Wholesale commercial distribution by rice companies simply isn't happening right now.
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
25. Bus prices have more than doubled...
... for people trying to escape the madness. I heard this on the news yesterday. Shameful.

I also heard a boy on the ground talking about water, food and other supplies being stolen and sold on the black market.

This crisis is creating all kinds of capitalist opportunities for those with no soul. :(

TYY
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
26. Think about this for a minute.
In the 5 days since the earthquake, the only supplies that have arrived in Haiti are relief supplies (i.e., free to the people), so there is no way that "rice companies" outside of Haiti could be raising the prices. As far as internal "rice companies", how are they distributing the product? They aren't, so no they aren't raising prices either.

The only people who could be raising prices are the local shopkeepers, not the "rich rice companies". This sounds like an attempt to guilt people into donating by making it sound as though the evil foreign "rice companies" are profiting from this disaster. Yes, we should all be/all are donating - but propaganda like this doesn't help.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Whoever wrote this blog piece
knows precisely how to play on the prejudices and lack of critical thinking displayed by too many here.
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Yes, and it seems to have drawn the usual suppporters. n/t
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. Oh
Supplies from the DR have been coming over the mountain. You think it was all free? Bless you for thinking so, but that is not reality.

Too, not all the stores on the island were destroyed. So they are still selling food. If they gave it away, they'd go out of business.

Bless the idealist vision you have, but not everything has changed in Haiti.
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Price gouging does not equal
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 02:34 PM by kiva
stores not giving food away. Again, if the price of food has increased fourfold in Haiti, it is because those who own the shops have chosen to raise the prices. There are many legitimate reasons to criticize corporate influence in Haiti, but this is not one of those examples.

Edit to add not
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
30. K&R.
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GreenStormCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
32. My General Response To The Above Posts.
Granted that I am an anonymous internet poster, so a healthy skepticism towards my post is understandable. I posted because I was emotionally inflamed by the news that I read on Sherry's blog. I personally have met some of the administrators of the Feed A Child orphanage, and I personally know people who have gone down there to help, and have returned. (It is a popular thing in many churches to spend your vacation time in a third world country doing something to help.) So I trust Sherry's blog. But I accept that simply because I do, there is no reason for anybody else to.

JOYCE MEYER I don't know anything about her, except that her organization donated help to Feed A Child. It is appropriate that FAC should acknowledge the help.

COMPANIES OR LOCAL DISTRIBUTORS. I must assume that Sherry is blaming the companies for what may be local actions. She doesn't have access to their board meetings. So I don't really know if it is local decisions or corporate ones.

CAPITALISM. I don't hate it. Under normal, stable conditions, moderately regulated capitalism is the most productive economic system. But the assumptions of capitalism beak down during crisis. During times of crisis other models must be used. BTW - That is why capitalism does such a poor job on health care. Because people are usually in a crisis when they get health care. But that is a different topic.

PRICE GOUGING: It always happens anywhere there is a crisis, unless some government takes action. Right now, Haiti doesn't seem to have much of a functioning government.
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