In recent years I have felt a growing unease as I’ve watched the progression of events unfolding. Maybe that’s been my mistake – too much watching. However I have always partaken in affairs, too, but there’s been a huge and gathering disconnect. Good human scale work is lauded but is unavailable to any save those who’s workings preclude the survival of such behaviour, such occupations and such sanity.
The brutal application of capital has ripped out vast portions of the soul of humanity, in pursuit of the economies of scale and efficiency. There is no clearer a demonstration of this than in the changes in agriculture and horticulture where the last century or so has seen vast swathes of the human involvement – ie labour – removed in favour of the use of ever larger machinery and ever more toxic agrochemicals, recently backed up with genetic modification of the seedstocks.
The result has been ever more lonely farmers, or farm managers appointed by distant land grabbing corporations, harvesting ever larger silos of grains of ever greater distance from the original food crops and although high yielding often nutritionally poor. Yet it keeps fed the ever growing numbers of our human and livestock populations.
Increasingly soy beans grown on former Amazonian jungle lands stripped of forest and turned to vast open field systems have fed cattle in Europe and on feed lots in North America. “Efficient” but heavily based of fossil fuel use and other indirect subsidy.
Meanwhile the corn grown on the great US prairieland is converted to biodiesel to propel the harvesters which gather the heavily subsidised, directly as well as indirectly, produce. A closed system except that it requires continued subsidies or it too becomes uneconomic. Becomes?
Genetically modified corn has become an addiction, a high priced, annually repurchased, nitrate intensive, glyphosate based factory farm system whose sole outcome appears to be to support the giant Monsanto Corporation. Subsidy in from central government, all profits out to meet demands of seed merchant and chemist Mr Monsanto.
Anyway, this is how I see things and how I say things but, you know, nothing changes. The systems continue to prosper. Nobody starves. When Monsanto release their profit forecasts they are praised for the good they do. I stay on the back foot and defend my position, repeat my diagnoses, but feel disempowered. I do nor doubt my truth, my objectivity, but it’s hard. “Why do you say that? How do you gain? Why not just live your life? Ignore it.” I cannot, though, because it seems to ensure extinction, and I don’t want that. Even many years down the track. I want humanity to be part of a sustainable future for the planet. So I moan, I protest and remain outside the loop.
Which is why it was wonderful to find folk on the fringes with a powerful voice saying the same. Max Keiser is a former Wall Street trader of some form who has slots on reasonably radical but free for all television news channels. He obviously had a Damoscene conversion and strongly now dissects the operations of the Global financial disasters that are all around us with a cohort of generally wise guests he chats with and interviews. It is such a relief to realise others have the same viewpoints as myself.
Yesterday he conversed with a woman who’s been part of the Bush Senior’s education/finance team – and left (another conversion, I think!) She professed, however, faith in the US to come through as “We have our ever productive agricultural sector” Max came back at her much as I would have, citing all I just have in this piece and she had to agree. Wholly. She then went on to say that “Yes” she realised that and what she meant was that the land had the POTENTIAL to be super productive and appropriately so. A wonderful moment.
For the truth is that “Yes, the land is productive” but only in a monopoly-capitalistic manner. It would be far more productive and produce a greater amount of more useful produce if it were converted back to small farmers, preferably growing organically. Remove the huge petrochemical and GM seed input and use money saved to support real populations growing real food. Because the people are the real capital of this planet. They need support. Not Monsantocorp.