Thursday, July 11, 2013
You may have seen this, I don't know. But this is Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck talking about the company he leads and its vision of the world. In this clip (apparently from the "We Feed The World" documentary) Brabeck talks about water, and in so doing, defines the problem with the food system. He says, and this is an approximate quote, "There are two views on water. One is that it is a human right and that everyone should have access to it. This is an extreme view." He has since commented on this himself.
He, quite naturally, is pro-privatization. Because he has to be--this is the job of capital; to slice the world ever more thinly and sell it back to the population at a profit, and to find ever more resources that can be owned and sold. This isn't one sociopathic individual with no concern for anyone else, this is the raison d'être of capitalism. There's all kinds of writing about how this maximises use of resources and minimizes costs and suchlike, and it's all very lovely inside the economic models. It is also the "invisible worm that flies in the night" that is destroying the life of our planet. And is at the heart of the food crisis.
Peter Brabeck doesn't want to kill millions of people and destroy the future of human life on this planet. I'm sure he's a very nice guy who loves his wife and dandles his grandchildren on his knee and worries about their future. But he's also trapped inside a $65 billion/year machine that is busy eliminating those grandchildren's future.
I'm not anti-business. I've both been there and done that. My wife is a freelance writer. We ran a farm that survived on selling vegetables in a competitive environment to the public. I've both introduced new products to market and developed a market for them, and seen the truth of what Adam Smith said : “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”(Seriously, we all need to read Adam Smith--modern capital has only focused on his recommendations for a free market, but he's so much more than that).
What I am saying is that capital has its own rules, its own drivers. And when left with control over necessities of life, it ends in craziness and excess. And many many dead bodies--just ask South America or check out The Shock Doctrine. Unrestrained capitalism and democracy are not partners, but antithetical. Unrestrained capital is the enemy of democracy. Unrestrained capital is a criminal enterprise dedicated to complete dominance and its linkages to government result in fascism.
Leaving capital in charge of our food is really nuts. Countries and populations are better served by numerous small businesses rather than a small number of enormous corporations. And until we take on the excesses of unrestrained capital, we will always have a food crisis, a water crisis, a global climate change crisis.