[personal profile] ministry_victim
So there's this

For the terminally link phobic, it's an article from the guardian about how consumer demand in the developed world is effecting the prices of Quinoa in the developed world, and how it's effectively pricing its own producers out of the market for consuming it themselves. This sort of thing happens all the time in the global labour division. It's usually an upwards imposed crop, beginning with massive debt restructuring from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank, which leads to a Transnational Corporation (TNC) taking notice and planting a cash crop. This actually continues a longstanding colonial practice of colonizing a space, subverting its people, and planting cash crops which your slaves can work, gather together and shuffle off back to the homeland for market consumption.

In this case, I think Quinoa might actually be indigenous to this particular stretch of continent, but that ultimately doesn't matter. If demand goes up, then price goes up. If price goes up by enough, and then suddenly the meager amount of money (cents per day) these folks are making isn't going to cut it for paying for this once upon a time diet staple. This is the nature of global capitalism. The demand for product in the global north prices the people of the production-country out of their own product, and reinforces the IMF's demands of turning these countries into export-only economies and therefore dependent on expensive foreign imports. It's a pretty ingenious, hegemony-reinforcing fashion to ensure that the developing economies keep developing in perpetuity.

Furthermore, it's not just food. Look at the shirt you're wearing, the pants, the socks. Consider the computer you're writing on, the dishes you're eating off of, the television you're watching - if it's made in a developing country, and it probably is, then you're benefiting from someone else's suffering. For most of you, this isn't a revelation, even such I'm decently sure that most folks sometimes require some kind of reminder that they're benefiting from the suffering of others. Now here's where this gets a little strange. There is no ethical solution. You can't boycott products made from China - they have a way of sneaking into your bag when you're not looking. The quinoa you want to eat as an ethical alternative to meat is ultimately going to deprive someone else of something . Mostly everything you buy will have you benefiting from someone else's backbreaking labour. Capitalism as I've begun to understand it is a pyramid of exploitation, and it is impossible to live ethically unless you are at the base of the pyramid. Clearly, this question of the ethically lived life needs more research, so stay tuned.

I'm thinking that this new blog will end up taking a turn in this direction. Research, thoughts, connections, and explanations on how to get by in this increasingly globalizing world.



March 2013

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