RE: [LandCafe] Re: CAP
- The Vestey family might be said to stand as representative of a strand of the laissez faire modus operandi. (They still own cattle ranches in Venezuela of all places) .While not paying any tax in the UK apparently (Wikipedia), their Blue Star Line ships were yet protected by the RN in WW1 which is supposed to have drawn the ire of George V.In 1972 it was their Midland Cold Storage depot that set off the Dock Strike as Vesteys were not ,according to the unions,using recognised dock labour to unload containers.So Vesteys crop up at a couple of critical junctures in the history of British merchant shipping.
Although it is easier to see the disadvantages of importing and relying on cheap foreign food :the destruction of UK farming ,low industrial wages (see Marx); physical deteroriation of the population etc, it is the disadvantages to the exporting countries which are less often discussed (i.e. until recently).The rise of the Via Campesina and Food Sovereignty movement has shewn that the system of plantation production of export foodstuffs is actively deleterious to the livelihoods of the mass of small scale farmers locally ie most of the population.Agri business takes too much land (Easter Island was out of bounds to the islanders by being a gigantic sheep farm) ,food like rice gets replaced by cash crops for export and places end up importing foodstuffs at dumped prices so small local traders can't even compete on food crops growable at home.So CAP may stand in a different tradition of food production (not governed by import-export prices see the Vi Campesina) but it is nevertheless not deserving of the off-hand dismissal it routinely gets from land taxers ,who are routinely rubbished in return by modern laissez faire fundamentalists for their pains.It is possible to see the industrial corporations interlocked with the agri-corporations to nobody's benefit but their own.
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 21:49:27 +0000
Subject: [LandCafe] Re: CAP
--- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, David Reed <dbcreed@...> wrote:
> At the end of recent Wartime Farm programme on
> BBC television,they briefly discussed post- WW2
> plans: Labour wanted to continue with the highly
> interventionist war-time measures for the country
> to produce as much of its own food as possible:
> Churchill wanted to go back to the reliance on
> the world trade in food (which had reduced the UK
> to producing only 30% of its own food pre-war).
On this point.
Cheap fast transportation (the steam ship and trains) had meant food could be transported between continents in the late 1800s. This also prevented European famines. An important point. By the late 1800s another Irish famine could never kill so many. Steamships laden with food from America could feed Ireland.
The USA and Canada were pouring out cereals super cheap from the 1870s onwards which affected European agriculture setting it back. German, French and UK agriculture was mainly outdated to North America's. Global food production was in the hands of the USA and UK who used her sea lanes and massive merchant fleet to transport food - for animal and human consumption. People forget the important animal feed. Liverpool was a massive grain importing and processing centre, the second largest in the world.
The two major world players in food were the UK & its empire and the USA. The US had a massive newly acquired land mass within its borders, the UKs land mass was dispersed around the world linked via its sea lanes and massive merchant fleet. The US used mainly the railways to link its large land mass, the UK used mainly ships.
Both the USA and British Empire were self sufficient in food production. Both exported food. Germany had to import food from anywhere and increasingly so from North America. They were not in total control of feeding their people. This situation gave fuel to German expansion. German agriculture pre WW2 was dire and similar to Romania's. Hitler should have thought about improving agriculture rather than make bombs and tanks and steal land from the USSR to feed Germany.
Food transportation between continents did not apply only to cereals. For e.g., Liverpool companies owned vast tracts of Argentina processing beef and transporting it to the UK and other European ports in refrigerated ships. The Vesty empire owned massive ranches, processing plants, rail lines, ports facilities and the shipping fleets to transport the meat products (Blue Star Line) - total vertical integration to the point they owned the shops it was sold in. Only oil companies ever achieved such total control of their products.
British concerns were rich because of food, but not the British workers as little was produced in the UK pre WW2. Now we produce about 60-65% of the food, but at a very heavy cost to taxpayers in more ways than one - in taxes and the price at the till.
- The point is, Scott, that the little fields of Britain cannot compete with the mass production of the US.Harry
********************The Alumni GroupThe Henry George Schoolof Los AngelesTujunga CA 90243(818) 352-4141********************
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Scott Bergeson <scottb@...> wrote:
Quoting Harry Pollard on Sat, 24 Nov 2012 09:06:15 -0800:
if we import our bulk foods, farm land is given over to animals,
which provide instant food while crops are being started (not
to mention they improve fertility rather than use it up).
Importing meat and animal feed needn't be a huge strategic
concern, if you're willing, when besieged, to slaughter
most of the animals (preserving the meat, of course) and
switch to a primarily vegetarian diet.
As you know, the combine harvesters in the US probably
work all day in a field, then stop until next morning
when they continue harvesting in the same field.
Many of them have lights. Combines are a separate business
from farming. They migrate, following the harvest.