Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mark Lynas on the causes of food riots



What biofuels do is undeniable: they take food out of the mouths of starving people and divert them to be burned as fuel in the car engines of the world's rich consumers. This is, in the words of the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, nothing less than a "crime against humanity". It is a crime the UK government seems determined to play its part in abetting....The threat posed by biofuels affects all of us. Global grain stockpiles - on which all of humanity depends - are now perilously depleted. Cereal stocks are at their lowest level for 25 years, according to the FAO. The world has consumed more grain than it has produced for seven of the past eight years, and supplies, at roughly only 54 days of consumption, are the lowest on record. The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has already warned that 100 million people could be pushed deeper into poverty because of food price rises caused directly by this imbalance between supply and demand. Even consumers in rich countries are suffering. We now pay higher prices for our food in order to subsidise the biofuels industry, thanks to measures such as the renewable fuels directive.

Full article here, while for an analysis of the current food riots in Haiti, see here. For a more historical perspective on the politics of hunger see here

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