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A Starvation Society (1976)

Views: 600 From the Spring 1976 issue of The Western Socialist  This is one of a series of articles that appeared in The Lance, published by the Student …

by World Socialist Party US



4 min read

From the Spring 1976 issue of The Western Socialist

 This is one of a series of articles that appeared in The Lance, published by the Student Media, University of Windsor in Windsor, Ont., Canada.

World hunger — over-population — poverty. That’s what we hear now. Each year there are sixty million deaths in the world, thirty to forty million have to be attributed to malnutrition. In other words, 80,000 to 110,000 die from malnutrition every day. It’s no accident. The problem could be solved.

It’s hard to believe, but people are actually starving in Canada and the United States. Food prices go up. The politicians tell us there is a food shortage. Don’t believe them.

Some Statistics

Take Canada for example. In 1972 the federal government used $2.25 million to pay farmers to slaughter more than a million laying hens — the objective? — to make eggs scarce and force prices up. In 1969 the government, using the Lower Inventory for Tomorrow program (LIFT), paid farmers not to grow wheat and discouraged them from switching to other crops. As a result, the Dept, of Agriculture claimed that the program cut wheat acreage in 1970-71 by 45 per cent. Seven million acres of land, land which could have produced food, were deliberately left fallow.

This isn’t uncommon. The 1969 Task Force on Agriculture recommended a ten year cut back in wheat production. Just recently the Canadian Marketing Agency confirmed that 28 million eggs were destroyed due to improper storage.

And this isn’t only happening in Canada, but in the United States and Europe. In 1972, the government of England planned the slaughter of up to 2 million laying hens in order to solve the surplus of eggs on the market. A “surplus” of eggs? My, my, how interesting. Cattle were slaughtered because of an acute shortage of fodder. Why the shortage? — well, the government did all it could to encourage beef production, but they made the stupid blunder of forgetting to encourage a corresponding production of hay. Such are the fine workings of the system.

United Nations sources state that 400 million people are not getting enough food to meet minimum nutritional needs and 75 million are faced with the prospect of death by starvation. Norman Borlaug, the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, stated that in the next few months of this year millions will die from starvation.

The U.S.. with a population of 210 million — the richest country in the world — has at least 40 million living in poverty. How many are starving?

But what do the rich care? One typical example is Eleanor Ritchey, a Quaker State Oil Corp. heiress who left her entire fortune of $4.5 million to her pets — 150 stray and show dogs. My God! Others who can’t afford nutritional meals are forced to feed dog food to their children.

It is contended that two-thirds of the world is starving. If this were true then the world’s population would decrease. Actually, however, starvation really means malnutrition from protein deficiency. And it can be solved.

Food for Profit Only 

Present world production of food could be doubled by applying techniques of extracting protein and sugar from the three-quarters of the plant which is presently thrown away. Scientists estimate that if the sea’s resources were tapped then one acre of its surface could produce twice as much protein-rich food as an acre of pasture.

Then why isn’t it done? — because it isn’t profitable, the cost is too great. That is the root of the problem. The capitalist wants a profit and he will not produce that which costs him money. The only value he sees worth creating is in goods he can sell for his sacred profit — damn anything else — let the world starve — it’s good for business.

Capitalist progress is perverted. If a few people die they can easily be replaced. Such progress. Take the war in Vietnam. Let’s face it. It was good business to kill 56,000 Americans and three and one-quarter-million Vietnamese. American capitalists received millions for the production of napalm. Tons of it was dropped upon thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of innocents. You see, it had this effect of melting human flesh and misshaping it into inhuman form. Did you ever see the faces of those mutilated children. Did you ever see the smiles on the faces of the capitalists who produced these bombs because “business was never better”?

You can measure how far capitalists who produced these bombs because “business was never better”?

By 1972, approximately 90,000 tons of U.S. chemical warfare agents were used in Vietnam. Crop cultivation sufficient to feed 2 million people for a year was destroyed.

You can measure how far capitalist society has progressed by counting the increasing number of monsters and idiots born because of radioactive fall out, nerve gas, mercury poisoning and nuclear wastes.

Capitalism Is Insane

Capitalism is an iron rat. The system is insane. It cannot work efficiently. Damn it — it can’t work at all!

Colonialism and imperialism, bred by capitalism, rapes the Third World of resources leaving it underdeveloped. In return these countries are given the benefits of our society — like a brand new Howard Johnson’s or a Burger King to brighten up the place.

We are told that the earth has insufficient land area to service its growing population. The facts are that the present land area of the world could adequately support 12 to 16 billion people. The whole population of the United Kingdom could be rehoused in one county, Devon, with a density of 10 houses per acre and there would still be enough land to spare.

As for depletion of vital minerals from our soil. This is based on the simple model of soil and population, totally disregarding the third factor — human ability to use science and technology to attain certain ends.

Too Many People?

Population control? Our present neo-Malthusians see this as an answer. They take our present social system as being unalterable. To them the only thing that can be changed to solve the problems of world starvation is human sexual behaviour. The argument of these “intellectuals” is that “we can bring the problem under control once we stop the people of the poor nations from breeding like rabbits.” Such logic. They try to give a biological solution to a social problem. The facts are that wherever industry and education have reached high levels, population growth declines.

But get a load of some of the “solutions” to the problem. Richard Bowers, a founder of the Zero Population Growth movement, suggests mass suicide to cut the surplus population. Others suggest that the weak be allowed to die. To these social-Darwinists it is the strong who will survive. Hell — why not mass extermination then. Sure, why not? If the fascists could exterminate six million Jews in the death camps then why not do it again — only this time we won’t discriminate.

Yes, millions will go on starving and will die in the streets and this will keep on as long as this moronic system goes on. As long as the capitalist can worship his god — Mammon — then they won’t listen to the cries of the starving. His god is profit — now the “common whore of mankind”.

Expressions of pity by our smiling politicians and “leaders” for the hungry is bullshit. The corpses will keep piling up and will lay at our very doorstep. It just makes me sick to think we allow it to happen.

Len Wallace

Tags: Canada, Classic Archive, Destroying Food, Overpopulation Myths, The Western Socialist, Thomas Malthus, Vietnam War, World Hunger

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