Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monbiot on the Corporate Carve-Up

If you haven't already, you should read George Monbiot--in this case, on the corporate carve-up of Africa.
David Cameron’s purpose at the G8, as he put it last month, is to advance “the good of people around the world”. Or, as Rudyard Kipling expressed it during the previous scramble for Africa, “To seek another’s profit, / And work another’s gain … / Fill full the mouth of Famine / And bid the sickness cease”. Who could doubt that the best means of doing this is to cajole African countries into a new set of agreements, which allow foreign companies to grab their land, patent their seeds and monopolise their food markets?
Nigeria is making light of these concerns:
Under its "co-operation framework", Nigeria will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in funding – subject to availability – from donors including the US, France, Germany and the UK. In addition, 28 companies have signed letters of intent to invest in a range of projects. Most of the companies are Nigerian, but big multinationals – including Cargill, Syngenta and Unilever – have also signed letters of intent.
Cargill, a private company and one of the dominant firms in the grain business, is investing in starch and sweeteners to realise the potential for cassava. By buying cassava from smallholder farmers and also investing in a sweetener plant, said Adesina, Cargill will be working with smallholder farmers to create a market.
 The best part of this all is that no-one will ever be held accountable if famine isn't, in fact, conquered. If leaders happen to skim money off the top and leave their countries enslaved to international ag corporations, well, it won't matter. They'll never be in the dock, and the policies will never be rescinded--even if they are the result of graft and corruption. Failure, famine, criminality, none of these bring any consequences at all. So everbody's happy--except maybe the poor people trying to live through it.

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