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Command over Resources

Summer 2000

In the 1960s and 1970s we saw a coordinated political-economic effort to address the question of resources, or better the command over resources. Important pieces of that picture are the rise of neo-Malthusian concepts and propaganda, the spreading of population control, the PL-480 (Food for Peace) and the 'Green Revolution', ecological movements and the ban on DDT, entente and the Russian food purchases in 1972/73. Each piece is a picture in itself but together they show another picture as well.

Neo-Malthusian ideology is criminal in itself, but combined with the creation of food shortages it is justification for mass extermination. PL-480 was export promotion to get rid of expensive highly subsidized agricultural overproduction, but combined with the 'Green Revolution' a means to destroy communities and displace subsistence farming, and to monetarize relations and survival, resulting in millions of deaths. The anti-DDT campaign seemed to be about environmental protection, but resulted in huge crop and land losses, and renewed spreading of malaria and other diseases.

Reduce Competition through Mass Extermination

The concern of the planners focusses on the growing disparity between the minority of overconsumers, who wants to control all of the worlds resources, and the growing majority which might demand their share of it. The answer of the policy planners seems simple: reduce the majority by preventing or killing as many of them as needed.

Mostly we don't accept our responsibility for the mass extermination of others. While every single individual is clearly too weak to prevent the continued terror, it is obvious that most of us don't do everything we can. Far away from resisting, many of us support the reasoning about overpopulation, which means nothing else than a selection of people for killing. Like the people were selected for work or extermination on the platform of Auschwitz. The methodology is different, but the core is the same. Using whatever rationalization, people are declared not worth living, a denial of the most basic respect for any other living being. Overpopulation is a concept defined by the ever shrinking minority of privileged racists defending their control over resources. Not only strategic resources or particulary valueable ones, but basic resources like land and water.

Control of Land, Seed and Water

Food and water are important for the very obvious reason of survival and physical well-being. Control of land, seed and water are the foundation, on which we can build a life in dignity and self-determination.

In the historic crisis of capital, money became the ultimate means to execute control of the world's poor. A widespread monetarization of basic reproduction could be imposed using the 'Green Revolution' strategy in particular, and the expansion of agricultural multi and transnational companies in the 'underdeveloped' regions in general. The more natural resources are brought into international trade, the more people and families are loosing their access to the means of subsistence.

The expansion of international agricultural trade took away substantial resources (land, water, fish) from the local peoples. By gradually taking over the seed market, more farming families loose their ability for an independent sustainable production of locally needed foods. To compete on internationalized food markets farmers get high input costs (seed, chemicals, energy, equipment) and therefore high debt levels.

The best soils are generally occupied by large landowners and produce for profit. They are implants and don't serve the needs of the people living in the area or working the land as agricultural laborers. Usually, only the bad and worst soils are left for family or community based farming. People need more money as they loose control over the local resources.

Money is the Ultimate Enforcer of Domination

Money is an expression of dependency and power. Without sufficient money you might not be valued worth living. Money is far more than just a means of storage and exchange. Throught the monetarization of relations and reproduction, and through politization, money became the ultimate enforcer of domination. Behind the financial system and money institutions stands the Pentagon guaranteeing the continued acceptance of this political money.

Agriculture is the most obvious sector to show the disastrous effects of world trade and markets. Wherever the European colonizers went they took most of the best lands, which they integrated into their colonial economies. The European invaders in North America occupied the lands of the many nations who had lived there for thousands of years. But despite all the destruction and extermination only few decades ago nearly half of the world's population was estimated to produce most of their own food and other requirements themselves. On the local markets you would mostly find locally produced food and things.

Monetarization of Agriculture: the 'Green Revolution'

A broad attack against independent communities and family farms was launched against small farmers worldwide which ran under the term 'Green Revolution' against the farmers in Asia, South America and Africa. So called High Yield Variety seeds and the related production methods were introduced on a broad scale. Instead of communal systems, were seed was not a commodity but developed by the farmers themselves and exchanged among them, the new seeds were hybrids sold by organizations and companies.

These varieties need high inputs of water, fertilizers and pesticides. To meet the high input costs farmers can no longer produce food for themselves and local markets but have to produce for the most money instead. For these production methods to be profitable you get large monocultures and an increasingly mechanized production even if extremely low wage agricultural labor is available. Most small farming families loose their land to few expanding agricultural businesses. The 'Green Revolution' turned out to be a modernization and expansion of economic control over the local economies of the targeted regions.

The introduction of 'modern agriculture' and expansion of agricultural trade (both national and international) dramatically increased the number of landless families through concentration of land. Agroindustrial producers work for money and produce what's best for them. Meaning what earns them the most money. Related to this development is increased shipments of agricultural produce from the poor countries to the rich and at the same time an increased dependency from imports of both food and agricultural inputs. A typical colonial/imperialist scheme which generates a stream of income and goods for the masters and their local agents while leaving the majority of people more vulnerable, disintegrated and impoverished.

Clearly the pressures to repay national debt were a big factor behind this trend. The desperate need for foreign currency led many countries to promote agricultural exports and tourism. And because the same path was taken by many countries at the same time we see strong competition between the producers and prices controlled by the transnational agricultural companies. To protect their own industry, the rich countries tend to heavily subsidize their exports to get rid of their surplus production and gain market share by undercutting prices often below production cost. And to make bad things worse they put the poor countries under constant pressure to remove protectional messures and let their markets be flooded by those subsidized production from the U.S. or E.U.

With more and more land in effect being in production for the rich countries, less and less land is available for the people in the poor countries. Not everyone in the poor countries was loosing. A few got a lot richer with a middle class of western educated people supporting the system doing just fine and the majority of people struggling for their survival. The inevitable consequence of 'world market integration' is the impoverishment and extermination of many for the benefit of those holding power and privilege.

Against International Trade and Communication

The only concept to reverse these developments is to push back the influence of international trade and communication. Not that every trade is necessarily always destructive, but under capitalism trade became synonym for theft and plunder, exploitation and extermination. Abundance and starvation are two sides of the same coin. As a development strategy for the 'underdeveloped' countries, world market integration means more dependence, more foreign influence, and less control over their own development.

The fundamental character of export oriented development of 'developing' countries is extremely simple, and remains largely unchanged from the colonial schemes. Sell cheap and buy expensive. A lot of work and resources for a few expensive consumer goods or military equipment, and increasingly also for basic necessities. This kind of development is carefully designed to prevent these countries from getting the capability, and building capacities to produce the goods they need for themselves. The people who really produce things, are mostly paid only a tiny fraction of what the consumers get. The development strategy of the IMF/WB is designed to ensure a steady net flow of wealth and funds from the developing to the hegemonial countries.

The main consumer societies don't produce much of what they consume. Instead they control the money, which guarantees them high relative purchasing power, ownership and command. To maintain control over markets and production it is essential for the transnational companies to prevent any independent economic development, and for the military forces of the hegemonial societies to enforce the financial regime. Property rights play an ever increasing role in the defence of this order.