Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is driving the current Mideast crisis?

Governments across the developing world are scrambling to stockpile food staples in order to calm public fears and to fight inflation, of course this heavy buying on the “free market” just plays into the hands of Wall Street speculators helping to drive prices up. But they have little choice, not acting means you don‘t get anything to eat and several governments fell the last time we went through this Wall Street greed cycle. Countries as diverse economically as Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are buying huge amounts grain as the panic spreads. And this translates into big profits for big capitalists, even though with derivatives and such, not that much real money is required to cash in. You just need to have the inside track to win the big race.

A spokesman for Cargill Inc said that they expect the market to remain “very volatile”. Cargill is a huge privately held agri-business conglomerate owned by people on the same page politically as the folks at privately owned firms like Comcast, Walmart and the Koch brothers. Walmart is technically a public company but is closely held by people with a shared ideology. A group George W Bush called the “haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elites, I call you my base“.

Cargill has been a huge international grain trader for decades, they have been instrumental in the conversion of the US food supply from family farmers to corporations. These corporations then used the clout obtained from this concentration of supply to do the same worldwide. In the 90s they used NAFTA to dump half price grain into Mexico “freeing up” displaced farmers which in turn became cheap undocumented labor used to bust the unions in its US meat packing plants and in the construction trades. The current manufactured crisis continues this concentration of wealth and power.

You can expect some dictators and puppet governments that do our bidding to go down in the current food crisis but they still don’t have enough food to feed their people thanks to Wall Street and American agri-business corporations. The new governments that replace them will continue to play ball or they will be served up to the next crisis.