Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Not sure what it is, but recently the New York Times has been a little cranky about accepting my comments- am I ticking somebody off?  Today I commented on an Op-Ed, about the world food crisis.  Two hours later; 2 other sets of comments have been added- but mine has not. (update, 1 hour later; they did finally post it- but boy they thought about it for a long time.)

Hey, it occurred to me- I have my own blog!  So; I'm putting my comment here.  Tell me what you think.

Lots of heat in the comments- evidence of strong convictions- but little light, or full system analysis.  World hunger has multiple causes; can we start admitting that up front? Unfortunately multiple causes gives the various factions the quick ability to point their fingers at the others.  And prevent action.  Can we be a little more adult than "but he started it!"?

Fact- yes, people are dying, now, because they are hungry.

Fact- index funds, college endowments, and hedge funds have dumped MANY BILLIONS of dollars into the ag futures markets in the last 2 years. Is that an upward pressure on prices? Yes.
Fact - profits for food (and oil) speculators have been record highs recently.
Fact- all around the world, anti-poverty programs had been making progress; millions of people were "being taught how to fish", instead of just being "given a fish" today. All that work, progress, and hope- is gone.

The profits for the hedge funds come right out of the pockets of the poorest people on earth.

How much longer will we have to point fingers, and discuss who is most to blame- before we roll back the futures market regulations to what they were 2 years ago?

What's more important to you- the profits of the financial sector? Or food in the bellies of the starving?

ALL causes of hunger should be dealt with- as soon as possible. Speculation in food should be the easiest cause to deal with, immediately.  Then- let's deal with the others.

Meanwhile- maybe Wall Street could get together, and toss one of their spare billions - just one, out of the trillions- to the UN, so they can buy food.

Hey, guys- you'll get it right back- they'll be buying your food, paying your prices. And you might sleep better.

— Greenpa, Minnesota


Anonymous said...

I didn't look in here for a few days and you went nuts with new posts. I had the same problem at the Times long ago with the comments that never appear. I have come to the pass where if there are massive amounts of comments at a site {Times, Huffpost, Generacion Y}I skim down some of the time and other times I don't bother. I prefer to relate to smaller groups like the one here or at similar sites. AOL has comment lists that are massive and their commenters are incredibly boorish in the aggregate. I never read them at all any more. I imagined spitballs flying when I used to read down the first dozen comments there.
The Times is a bit more erudite but can be overwhelming. I only comment at small sites now, Recently Al Giordano's "Field" site grew too large for commenting, so I still read the comments, but no longer comment. Maybe this long winded story is of some use to you. Small is beautiful.

Greenpa said...

RC- got your link via Crunch- thanks, it's a great article and I'll certainly use it. You could have just sent it via a comment here; probably faster, actually.

re your current comment- hey, man- I'm human!

and underpaid and overworked! :-)

Anonymous said...

Sadly, few are down with holistic views and a contempt for quick fixes and short-term solutions. Even good folks get overwhelmed easily. I went and recommended your comment.

Leila Abu-Saba said...

Rami Zurayk at Land and People blog just posted a link to the Oakland Institute's petition to the UN on this topic:

It's also sponsored by Grassroots International.

Greenpa, you should read Land and People - this guy is a professor of Agriculture in Lebanon (the country) and covers these issues from a third world perspective. He also grows his own wheat and other products in South Lebanon, and promotes slow food and sustainable agriculture in that country.

Anonymous said...

Great comment... I'm not quite sure how our policy makers can sleep at night, knowing that a child starves to death every six seconds and they have the power to stop that. When did our world become such a sad and complicated place?