Tag Archives: world food crisis

Bush was right about food aid

According to former President Clinton, he and the U.S. blew it on food aid to developing countries.  In the story he also says that President Bush was right in asking that 25% of U.S. aid be in cash rather than commodity crops.

First, let me point out my headline.  I said “Bush was right.”  I could easily have written it as “Clinton says U.S. blew it on food aid”, but I didn’t.  I credited Bush with being right, even if it pained me a little to do that.  It just shows that journalists can be fair and unbiased.  So there.

And I’d like to take Clinton’s remarks a bit further.  Not only are we wrong for requiring countries to drop crop subsidies from their own government in order to get aid from the U.S., but the global captains of industry are wrong when they encourage farmers in developing nations to quit growing their own native foods they could use to feed themselves in order to plant more crops  they’ll never eat because it will all be sent to the U.S. or other Western Nations to feed our desire for cheap food.

Furthermore, when they do start growing their own food again, it should be with seeds of their own choosing, not GMO terminator seeds manufactured by companies like Monsanto or Cargill and sent as a “gift” by the U.S.  Some gift.  “Here, have some seeds, that will grow crops this year, and this year only.  After that, you’ll have to pay a behemoth U.S. company to get them.” 

Finally, treating food as a commodity isn’t just a problem for developing nations.  The big commodity crops (corn, wheat, rice, soy planted in giant monocultures) are anathema to responsible agriculture and a big reason Americans are so fat.  All these commdoties are pulled apart and reassembled into crap food like cereal straws, Cheetos (which I love), and Oreos (which I also love).  Basically, most of the “food” in the middle of the grocery store is made up of some reformulated commodity crop.  Yet the U.S. government continues to prop up farmers who grow these crops, and even punishes them for trying to grow anything else like tomatoes or carrots.  This is why it’s cheaper to buy a Little Debbie (which I also love) than, say, an apple.

So, certainly, let’s work to make the food aid we provide to other countries more appropriate, but let’s not forget to tend our own gardens while we’re at it.

What the G-Ate (or how Neroes fiddle while the world burns)

File this under Hypocrisy with a capital “H”.  The leaders of the G-8 (including President  “I know how hard it is to put food on your family” Bush) met this week in Japan to discuss climate change and the world food crisis, among other things.  After apparently paying only lip-service and coming up with no real solutions for the tens of millions who aren’t even at subsistence level, the G-8 leaders supped on a lavish 8 course banquet consisting of 19 dishes.

I suspect they enjoyed that with a side of cognitive dissonance.

I’m not saying they should  eat corn dogs and tater tots (leave that for people attending State Fairs this summer), but couldn’t they have scaled it back from obscene amounts of food to obnoxious amounts of food?   I find solace in the hope that at least a few of the Great Ate leaders had a bad case of indigestion that night. 

Some may argue that at least they’re trying to do something about the problem.  That’s the same tactic used to defend the new trend in poverty tourism, which doesn’t wash with me.  When a bunch of insanely rich people pay $300,000 to treat one of Thailand’s most impoverished villages like a zoo then go to a black tie dinner, that’s not philanthropy– it’s cluelessness.  If those people need a tour guide to figure out there’s extreme poverty in this world, they need to get off their yachts a little bit more.