I'm really cranky now
I've been sent an email "meme" from Abisomeone:
In a new blog post, list and write about the top 1 or 2 causes that simply make your palms sweat, your heart bleed, and send tears rolling down your cheeks. Make sure you tell everyone why this cause is so important to you as an individual.
Human suffering makes me cranky especially suffering that is avoidable, and that is a result of selfishness or malice.
I cannot bear to think about mothers holding their children who are hungry or malnourished or ill without any means to do anything about it.
I am cranky about policies of rich and powerful nations that enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.
I am cranky about Western economic "experts" who go to developing countries and advise: "You really need to increase your exports how about increasing the production of sugar and cocoa and coffee and cotton"? So subsistence farmers are driven off their land, and agricultural products are exported by larger companies or the state. And the income is used for yachts and mansions for dictators, or weaponry to keep the populace in check. I am cranky about countries where half the food grown is exported, and half the children are hungry. I am cranky about multinational companies behaving badly in the developing world. I am cranky about massive agricultural subsidies of rich nations that discourages agricultural development in poor countries. I am cranky about a world community that tolerates this.
I was reading "the Age" online yesterday, and now I am cranky on a new front. Rather than subsidizing the production of electric cars to reduce oil dependency, the US has decided to subsidize ethanol production from corn to reduce oil dependency. This is driving up the price of corn and other agricultural staples globally with terrible consequences for the world's poor. Some quotes:
Tortillas are the staple of poor Mexican families, providing 40 per cent of their protein. Although they are usually made with white corn, rather than the yellow corn preferred for ethanol, the price of white corn is tied to yellow corn and tracks it closely. According to some reports, the poor families are already substituting cheap instant noodles, which have far less nutritional value, as they grapple with the surge in their food bills.
In many of the poorer regions of Africa and a number of countries in Asia, including Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka food prices are rising, adding to the cost of living and potentially driving up inflation. This hits hardest those who are poorest because they spend most of their income on food.
Yes, I'm cranky even more so because the obvious solutions (electric cars, public transport) are neglected for political expediency (lobbyists for and political donations from agricultural organizations and oil companies.) Is there any chance that the masses will start an "online lobbying" strategy, and spread public opinion about this economic madness until politicians take notice? Or will the big business stranglehold on politicians and the mass media dull our senses to the blindingly obvious?
Phew that's a long rant
Now who to tag next?
Alan Hirsch http://www.theforgottenways.org/blog
Craig Brown http://www.craigsrant.com
Mark Riesson http://markriessen.blogspot.com