Monday, July 13, 2015
Is it wrong for Western firms to make agricultural investments in Third world countries?
Antony Loewenstein (Tony is a self-hating Jew. Loewenstein is Yiddish for Lion Stone) below roundly criticizes a host of existing such investments but his words are a classic example of selective Leftist attention.
His wail is based on a false premise: That the developed world needs land from elsewhere to feed itself. Hitler thought the same. His Drang nach Osten was driven by the simplistic assumption that Germany's growing population needed more land for farms so that the increased population could be fed. So Germany had to take land off Russia and Poland. Any economist could have explained to him how and why he was wrong but socialists like Mr. Hitler think they know it all so don't listen to economists.
In the case of Mr Lion Stone below he has even less excuse than Hitler. Surely he knows that under capitalism even CHINA exports food! Under Communism they had to import food -- Australian wheat for instance. But under private ownership the flow has now reversed.
Despite giving their own people ever higher standards of living, the clever and hard-working farmers of China still have enough food left over to fill the cans of most of the "Home brand" foods on our supermarket shelves. Check where your next can of cheap tomato soup comes from if you doubt it. And most of the world's garlic now comes from China. And European truffle suppliers are greatly outraged by the competition from Chinese truffles! It goes on...
And it is not only China. Both the USA and Europe use various mechanisms to stop their farmers from producing too much. Farmers are paid not to farm part of their land etc. And Europe's butter mountains and wine lakes are a byword. The characteristic Western food problem is GLUT: Too much food.
In short, Mt Lion Stone reveals himself below as what Australians call a drongo: So stupid it is a wonder he can feed himself. He knows not even the basics of what he writes about. So how accurate his reporting below is, is anyone's guess. It could be nothing more than bile.
So it's amusing that Hitler and the Leftist Jew below make the same mistake. They are united by Leftist ignorance and unwillingless to listen. Only their chronic anger matters to them. Not the facts.
But, no doubt, powerless people in the Third world do get treated badly but that is not the fault of Western countries or Western companies. It is the fault of their own revolting governments. The companies investing in agricultural projects in Third world countries are there for only one reason: Because the governments of the countries want them there. The governments see that by encouraging investment they can skim some cream off the top. That they make little use of such cream to compensate their own dispossessed people is their doing: No-one else's
But criticizing the people actually responsible for a problem is of no interest to Leftists. And we certainly must not criticize those lovely brown people. Criticising their own countries and societies is what gives Leftists erections and any illogic will do to enable that
Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. Industrial-size sugar plantations and a soon to open dam are strangling indigenous communities over more than 375,000 hectares. Ethiopia is experiencing economic growth (though it’s a brutal dictatorship) and yet millions of its citizens suffer from chronic food shortages.
The government has sold vast tracts of land to a Turkish agri-business firm and other foreign investors, all without consultation with the Kara people. Forced displacement is common though the Ethiopian government denies it. A Malaysian company stands accused of disenfranchising the Suri people with its plantation in South-western Ethiopia. India is at the forefront of taking land across Ethiopia.
American photographer Jane Baldwin has been visiting the Omo River for a decade, documenting the gradual erosion of local rights, and she tells me via email that foreign investors threaten “self-sustaining agro-pastoral communities.” A local woman from the Nyangatom tribe, who can’t be named due to threats against her life, says that, “They are taking this river to sell the hydroelectric power. We say to them, if this river is taken from us, we might as well kill ourselves so we won’t starve to death. If you decide to make a dam there, before you start the dam, you better come here and kill us all.”
Ethiopia is just one country affected by land grabs conducted by Wall Street bankers, business opportunists and countries hungry for fertile territory. In Africa, global hedge funds are purchasing vast areas of land in Mali, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. A recent investigation by the Huffington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that the World Bank was complicit in the removal of the indigenous Sengwer people in Kenya.
American academic Michael Kugelman, from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and co-editor of The Global Farms Race, says that the main problem with foreign land deals is the lack of benefit to local stakeholders.
“Impoverished and food-insecure countries are giving away not only their precious farmland but also the food that springs from it”, he tells me via email.
He explains that the key players buying up resources are China, the Gulf countries, East Asian states and the West – and they mostly target sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The need for reliable sources of farmland across Africa and the globe in an age of deforestation and climate change means controlling food production – or the arable land on which food can be grown – can give immense leverage over developing states. TIAA-CREF is one firm, an American financial group, who has invested US$5 billion in farmland from Brazil to Australia despite the lack of quick returns.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).