According to a Gallop Poll from October 12th, a greater percentage of Americans are reporting having difficulty finding enough money to pay for food than those in the People’s Republic of China. In this year three times as many people in America reported difficulty in paying for food than in China. Only 6% of Chinese reported having this problem, while 19% of Americans did.
The Poll shows quite a reversal from 2008 when the Chinese had almost double the rate of difficulty paying for food than Americans did. It was 16% for Chinese while it was 9% for Americans. In 2009 the gap between the two almost disappeared as they both rose to 17% and 16% respectively. The trend begins to reverse in 2010 when reported Chinese difficulty in procuring food reduces dramatically to 7% while it remains constant in the US at 16%.
This Poll is very revealing about capitalism, American capitalism in particular. A much greater percentage of people in the US are having difficulty putting food in the table while the United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of food. Clearly the food is physically available, but the profit motive driven system has determined that the food is more expensive. The market has decided that the average American doesn’t have enough money to purchase it.
Difficulty in obtaining food the in the US should not come as a surprise. For sometime now the US empire has been declining as China has been rising. Where once the US was a bastion of food, a place where people had the greatest access to it, its evident that this is no longer the case as China is reaching for top spot in the world economy.
This trend is made all the more deadly when you consider the looming second dip in the recession that economists are predicting will be worse than the first. The spectre of a second Great Depression is looming, and at this time is noteworthy to remember the consequences surrounding food. During the Great Depression almost 12 million Americans starved to death.
Another possibility is that we may face is a famine like what happened to Ireland between 1845 and 1852. As food became scarce, the British landlords refused to sell remaining crops to the Irish and instead sold it to England because it would fetch a better price. It is not unlikely the same could happen in the US. As food becomes more expensive the market may decide that the food would be more profitable elsewhere. Possibly in a Western European country or China where food would no doubt be subsidized in such a situation.
No matter the case, the world is headed for a food shortage due to Global Warming. A threat the UN and the World Food Program have long warned us about. Our survival depends not the profits of food production, but the distribution of it according to need.