Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"We'll Make A Killing"

A malnourished infant in Maradi, Niger. Corbis, from The Independent

From The Independent:
Glencore's director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: "The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.
"We will be able to provide the world with solutions... and that should also be good for Glencore."
Glencore announced pre-tax global profits of £1.4bn.
Because devastation is good for business. Because if you control air, water, or food, you've got your customers by the short and curlies. Fear creates an excellent climate for business--you can justify anything, any price, any change to the rules that control you.
The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world's largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a "good" business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought "Dust Bowl" days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin's government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: "Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits."
Ms Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expecting Glencore to back away from trading in potential starvation and hunger in developing nations for "ethical reasons" would be disappointed.
"This won't happen," she said. "So now is the time to change the rules and regulations about how Glencore and other multinationals such as ADM [Archer, Daniels, Midland] and Monsanto operate. They know this and have been lobbying heavily around the world to water down and halt any reform."
Fear stops us from acting in the best interests of us all. This is why fear is good for business--it makes us act the way economists think we should act: solely out of self-interest, without regard for others, for our society, or our planet. Fear is the thing we must first resist.  To quote Frank Herbert from Dune:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Action is better than fear. Action, like fear, is a choice. It is imperative that we choose wisely.

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