Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1 | FINANCIAL SENSE

Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1 | FINANCIAL SENSE

By William Engdahl 06/29/2011
Excerpts, Emphases Mine;
Wall Street, BP, Bio-Ethanol and the Death of Millions

My late grandfather, a man of sturdy Norwegian-American farm stock, who later became a newspaper editor and political activist during the First World War, used to say, ‘A man can get used to pretty much anything with time, except dying…and even that with some practice.’ Well, as fate has it, it seems we, the vast majority of the human race, are about to test that adage in regard to the availability of our daily bread itself.

Food is one of those funny things it’s hard to live without. We all tend to take it for granted that our local supermarket will continue to offer whatever we wish, in abundance, at affordable prices or nearly so. Yet living without adequate food is the growing prospect facing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of us over the coming years.

In a sense it’s a genuine paradox. Our planet has everything we need to produce nutritious natural food to feed the entire world population many times over. This is the case, despite the ravages of industrialized agriculture over the past half century or more.

Then, how can it be that our world faces, according to some predictions, the prospect of a decade or more of famine on a global scale? The answer lies in the forces and interest groups that have decided to artificially create a scarcity of nutritious food. The problem has several important dimensions.

Eliminating Emergency Reserves

Up until the grain crisis of the mid-1970s there was no single “world price” for grain, the benchmark for the price of all foods and food products.

From the time of the earliest traces left by Sumerian civilization some two thousand years before Christ, in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in today’s Iraq, almost every culture had the practice of storing a reserve stock of a grain harvest – right up to the most recent times. Wars, droughts and famines were the reason. When properly stored, grain can be safely stored over a period of about seven years, enabling reserve stocks in case of an emergency.

After the Second World War, Washington created a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to serve as a wedge to push free trade among major industrial nations,……………………………………..
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Henceforth, grain reserves were to be managed by the ‘free market,’ by private companies, greatest among them the US Grain Cartel giants, the behemoths of American agribusiness. The grain companies argued that they would be able to fill any emergency gaps more efficiently and save governments the cost. That ill-advised decision would open the floodgates to unprecedented grain market shenanigans and manipulations…….
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In 1985 D. Gale Johnson of the University of Chicago, a colleague of Milton Friedman, co-authored a seminal report for David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission that was the blueprint for what they called “market-oriented” agricultural reform. It provided the framework for the US position in the coming GATT Uruguay Round negotiations. The Rockefeller group and its think tanks were the architects of ‘agricultural reform,’ as with so much in our post-1945 world.

The process of eliminating government grain reserves in major producing countries took time, but with the passage of the 1996 Farm Bill, the US had virtually eliminated its grain reserves.
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…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Under the Clinton Treasury (1999 – 2000) the elimination of grain reserves was formalized by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)……………………………………………………………………………………….
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The historic and unprecedented deregulation opened a massive hole in Government supervision of derivatives trading, a gaping hole that ultimately facilitated the derivatives games leading to the 2007 financial collapse. It also formed the deregulation free-for-all that is behind much of the recent explosion in grain prices……..
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 .For some two billion people in the world who spend more than half of their income on food, the effects have been horrifying. During the speculation-driven grain price explosion in 2008, more than a quarter billion people became what the UN terms “food insecure,” or a total of one billion human beings, a new record.

That need never have occurred had it not been for the diabolical consequences of the US Government deregulating grain speculation, with support from the US Congress over the past decade or more. By early 2008, upwards of 35% of all US arable land was being planted with corn to be burned as biofuel under the new Bush Administration incentives. In 2011 the total is more than 40%. Thus, the stage was set for the slightest minor market shock to detonate a massive speculative bubble in grain markets, as was then being done by the use of the same GSCI index games as are played with oil……………..End Excerpts.
Here is entire Part 1 http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/william-engdahl/2011/06/29/getting-used-to-life-without-food-part-1

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