Free Market Starvation

Repost from the old site. The power of capitalist propaganda is immense. According to the ruling class media, the only system that starves anyone anymore is Communism. One hears this platitude over and over – Communism = starvation. It is true that 600,000 have starved to death in North Korea since the 1990’s. However, 14 million starve to death every year in the world – mostly in South Asia but also 1 million in Latin America – almost all under capitalist regimes. Not one word of this from the ruling class mouthpieces. This has been going since at least 1986 (when the figure was calculated) with no end in sight. The Soviet Union and China are now synonymous with starvation. There was a famine in the Ukraine in 1932 that killed 1.5 million people. Previously, during the Russian Civil War, there was a famine in 1921 that killed 9 million people. It is a simple truth that under Czardom, the peasant never had enough to eat. His life expectancy was a mere 32 years and lack of food played a role here. Under Communism, the peasant had plenty of food to eat for the first time in centuries. In the early 1930’s, the Soviet Union saw the largest harvests in its history, big harvests that continued for decades. All of this is forgotten, and all we know is famine, famine, famine. One wonders how Stalin doubled life expectancy in the USSR while the people starved. In China again, we hear that Communism starved the people. In 1958, it is true, there was a terrible famine, the worst in modern history, mostly caused by the stupidity of over-procurement by the state, that killed an astounding 15 million people. Yet year and year out, millions of lives were being saved every year in China. Under Communism, with the exception of 1958, the Chinese peasants finally had enough food to eat. Like the Russian peasants, starvation and lack of food had stalked the Chinese peasant for centuries. By the early 1970’s, the problem of food in China was finally solved for the first time in centuries. As with the USSR, China also doubled life expectancy under Mao. Once again, one wonders how this was achieved if the people were “starving” as the anti-Communists claim. In Vietnam in 1944-45, 2 million died during deliberate starvation by French and Japanese capitalist forces when they seized the rice crop. One never hears of this famine. Only Communists starve people. Cuba has recently lowered malnutrition to 2 Here is a Cuban newspaper about how, in Cuba, the right to eat is elevated above the right to shoot off one’s mouth. In fact, the paper suggests intriguingly that the limits on free speech in Cuba are directly attributable to the government’s ability to feed everyone. The suggestion is that if you let everyone shoot off their mouth, food will be snatched from the mouths of babes:

Ironically, the country that supposedly limits the freedom of its citizens is the only one in Latin America where there is not malnutrition,” wrote Periodico 26, an official publication in backwater Las Tunas province, on Feb. 6, alluding to a recent United Nations report stating that only two percent of Cuban children had some kind of nutrient deficit. “What is portrayed in the U.S. media as an aggression against an individual’s free will, is in fact a synonym for nutritional security for most Cubans.” The newspaper goes on to say that free meals provided at work centers and schools add another crucial component to Cubans’ diets.

In Vietnam, the malnutrition rate of 18 In Pakistan, 62 Let us focus our attention on the capitalist showcase of Niger, in northern Africa, where the human-hunting industry, the most profitable enterprise capitalism has ever developed, yet festers. Here capitalism has blessed this blighted and unstable land with the worst human development indicators on Earth, where 40 What is killing the children of Niger, or for that matter, kids across the Sahel? None other than the free market. Recently, free market fundamentalists convinced the government to deregulate the grain market, leading to major fluctuations in grain prices. When prices are high, they are so high that families could not even afford to buy food for their kids. Worse, money that should have gone to education and health care, such as it exists, goes for food. The wonders of the invisible hand of starvation! Incredibly, while the people starved, Niger exported food according to capitalist market “logic”. One is reminded of Czarist Russia, which exported wheat every year while the peasants went hungry. Going the free market route was one of the dumbest things Niger ever did. It increased poverty, hunger and starvation. Yet the media tells us that this free market project is the only thing that works, and everything else is “failed”. I think if the successful project were starving me, I might give one of those “failures” a shot.

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25 thoughts on “Free Market Starvation”

  1. ” In the early 1930′s, the Soviet Union saw the largest harvests in its history, big harvests that continued for decades.”
    There were famines after the 1930s Robert.
    ” All of this is forgotten, and all we know is famine, famine, famine. One wonders how Stalin doubled life expectancy in the USSR while the people starved.”
    To be fair though, Russia was begining to industrialize before 1917. It was slow going, but it was occuring. I tink one of the main things hampering Russia was geography. Compared to the US, which is geographically blessed, the Russian landscape is extremely difficult to integrate. Russia probably has one of the worst geographies on earth. Maybe this is why it was able to become so big, because no one else wanted it.
    You should read more about Sergei Witte. He was head of industrialization under the last tsars and was a wise statesman. The world would be a better place if people had heeded his advice.
    “Incredibly, while the people starved, Niger exported food according to capitalist market “logic”. One is reminded of Czarist Russia, which exported wheat every year while the peasants went hungry”
    Well Robert, Wikipedia is no source to be taken as gospel truth, but in a article on the 1947 famine in the Soviet Union it says this:
    ” During the crisis, the USSR continued to export grain,with the majority of it going to East Germany and Poland to consolidate the new Eastern Bloc.”

  2. While I’m a bigger fan of capitalism and free markets than Robert is, I agree that food might be something better removed from them. It’s rather hard for people of means to make use of much more food than a poor person does, and the social cost of inequality can be staggering.
    Same might be true of health care up to age 40. A lot of the Obamacare debate has centered around the unfairness involved with poor children. Fine, make generic health protection of the young a state-paid right. But after that, there needs to be more room for choice and hence the inequalities of means.

    1. It’s rather hard for people of means to make use of much more food than a poor person does…
      And oddly, as wealth correlates with a “health-conscious class” and food manufacturing creates a glut of empty, non-nutritional food, and cheap food, the converse seems to have become the case in modern America.

  3. The famine in the Ukraine was an artificial one imposed by the socialist state. The death toll was higher than the holocaust. Ten of millions of Chinese died of starvation when the socialist state took over the farms. This is aside from the tens of millions more who were murdered and tortured by the socialist states. Cambodia lost about 25% of their population. I could go on and on….
    All this was done by people like you. This is perhaps the most twisted and disgusting load of rubbish I have ever read on the net. Communists have murdered and subjugated hundreds of millions of people, since ww11. The citizens have lived grimy bleak lives. You disgust me.

    1. ” You disgust me.”
      LOL Steve’s up his own ass self-righteousness sounds like a libertarian version of SWPL liberals.

    2. @Steve
      The famine in the Ukraine was an artificial one imposed by the socialist state.
      Is that why it effected the Russian leaning Eastern Ukraine not the nationalist west?
      Mabye Stalin was a secret Ukranian nationalist support and anti-Russian goon like the Soros installed puppet in Georgia today.
      And I like it how they termed the qoute Holomodor, geez I wonder what that is suppossed to sound like and it is not 6 but 7 million.

  4. Wade, what’s your take on the pre-1945 USSR? Was it essentially a Jewish pheonomenon as believed by Solzhenitysn or Kevin MacDonald? Why do you think Hitler decided to attack them 2 years after the non-aggression pact was working well for both the Germans and the Soviets?

  5. @Robert Lindsay
    What date, month and year is the article about life expectancy under Stalin on the web archive link you provided?

  6. I don’t know if this is true but in an article by Johann Hari on his site about court historian Niall Ferguson appraisal of the British Empire called “There Can Be No Excuse For Empire” he writes that the British deliberately starved 29 million Indians in the 1870s and 1890s under Queen Victoria.
    For ordinary Indians,Ferguson’s ‘development’ meant starvation and foreign pillage. While Britain’s per capita income increased in real terms by 347 percent during the time it owned India, there was no increase at all in per capita income for Indians. None. Indeed, in the last half of the nineteenth century – the period when Ferguson says the Empire’s “elevated aspirations” were most evident – it fell by more than 50 percent.
    Or look at how Ferguson describes the British Empire’s conscious policy of mass starvation of Indians in the 1870s and 1890s. In reality, severe nature climate disruption hit India, and there was massive crop failure. The British viceroy – Lord Lytton, appointed because he was Queen Victoria’s favourite poet – declared that grain shipments to London must continue, by force if necessary. The institutions that Ferguson presents as Britain’s glorious gift to India – the railways and telegraph lines – were in fact used to more efficiently steal and ship out India’s food, so Londoners could enjoy them over breakfast. Some gift.
    And even this was not enough. Lytton went further and declared all relief efforts illegal. Anybody who tried to provide food to starving Indians was several punished. The result? One journalist noted that the train lines of India were strewn with “bony remnants of human beings” begging for grain. “Their very eyeballs were gone… Their fleshless jaws and skulls were supported on necks like those of plucked chickens. Their bodies – they had none; only the framework was left.” Some 29 million innocent people died, a crime worthy of Stalin and Mao.
    There were thousands of brave British people (and far more Indians) who warned at the time that this was an obscenity. The great radical journalist William Digby wrote that when “the part played by the British empire in the nineteenth century is regarded by the historian fifty years hence, the unnecessary deaths of millions of Indians would be its principal and most notorious monument.” (True, he didn’t count on the historian being Niall Ferguson).

    1. While I completely agree the Indians were exploited by the british, the deep root reason of indian starvation is affectless attitude towards the poor.Even now, with 50% of indian children suffered from stunted growth, india is the world’s 6th largest food exporter. YES, food EXPORTER.
      Even eggs aren’t allowed in school lunch:
      While the starving Chinese import 76 million tons of soy for husbandry fodders.

  7. The vast majority of the world has seen that communism does not work in work in practice, with even China rapidly moving away from it. I guess you lot have not heard the news? Its most unique feature was the brutality and paranoia of its adherents. But enough history: There are serious issues with our current monetary system and its hard to see how it could ever be sustained. Our current free-market, capitalist, system is failing. Largely because our debt based economy distorts the free market model. However, it is simplistic to simply hold up socialisim/communisim has the only alternative.
    In spite of statements like this:
    “Personally, I have been described as “otherworldly,”, “beyond highbrow,” “one of those totally out to lunch genius types,” and “off in my own world.” I have a very high IQ, and I’m told that a lot of high-IQ folks are like this. There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it, but it does cause me problems” [sic] !!!
    All I see suggested is failed socialist ideology being re-hashed.

    1. Of course Communism doesn’t work it was not designed to work it was just a clear scheme to eliminate geo-political rival s, eliminate the elite replacing it with chosen minorities lead by Jews and steal their property and run the new economy through a Central Bank run by City of London central banks.
      It was founded, sustained and supported by the world richest and most powerful capitalist international banks.
      Stalin and Mao were not traditional Communist more like social nationalist movements that’s why they were major powers and successful and why China is ahead of India today.

  8. Seriously? To suggest that Niger has a free market and private property rights is ridiculous.
    And to believe numbers from Cuba is paramount to insanity. I’m sure they would tell you they have put a man on the moon as well or that everyone in that country is happy.

    1. Typical freemarketeer. Every time we point out the fact that free market neoliberal capitalism, or even libertarian capitalism, is the norm in the 3rd World, and hence the cause of its catastrophe, they always tell us that “that’s not really a free market.” If a capitalist’s mouth is open, he’s lying.
      The figures from Cuba are good. Verified by the UN.

      1. It’s not the norm in the third world. By what possible metric could you even suggest that is the case? Look at for instance the heritage foundations index of economic freedom. At least tell me how in your mind the third world has free markets or property rights. I’m pretty sure that what you mean when you say free market is very different from how the actual proponents for free markets and private property rights define it.
        Owning land in Niger is extremely risky, you can lose the field to the government or corrupt police. It doesn’t even meet the test for private property rights. When it comes to market restrictions there is an abundance. You can’t even sell your land to foreigners without the approval from government, there’s tons of labor laws, there’s trade tariffs.
        The freest economy in Africa is Botswana. Why don’t you take that as an example instead of just making up that Niger has a free market.
        You have a source for that UN verifies those numbers? I’m pretty sure they just collect them.

        1. Capitalism is capitalism.
          BTW, it’s against the Comments Rules to support rightwing economics on the site. This is a socialist website. Rightwingers are not allowed. You can stay but you need to shut up about the rightwing economics.
          Heritage Foundation’s figures are cooked.
          Yes, Cuba’s malnutrition numbers were verified by the UN.
          Of course capitalism starves people and kills people. That’s what it’s all about. Capitalism and hunger go together like a peanut butter and jelly.

  9. Maybe recurrent drought has something to do with the famines in Niger, it’s not exactly as if they are living in a lush green paradise. Not that I’m defending “free market” economics, proponents of such a thing are hypocrites in my view. First tell the U.S to lift their subsides on agricultural production and then we can talk.

    1. Why should we lift subsidies on the basis of SURVIVAL, whether economic or not?
      Do you push China to lift their subsidies? Or to stop making cheap and sometimes TOXIC knockoffs of our tech?
      If Nigeria is NOT a “lush green paradise”, they need to focus their efforts on something else. Nigeria seems to have found a niche in Internet scams and now maritime piracy, imitating Somalia. This I would discourage greatly, but it’s “Part Of Their Culture”, right?

    1. Look I am banning you, rightwinger. This is a socialist blog. No rightwingers are allowed to post here. We send you all off to rightwing Hell where you belong.
      Freedom House are a bunch of lying reactionaries. They cook their books and all of their surveys are rigged and phony. The truth is that in Niger, there is essentially no state whatsoever. The state for all intents and purposes does not even exist. There are frankly little to no constraints on domestic capital in any way, shape or form. And even if there were constraints, the state is so weak and nearly nonexistent that the state could not enforce any regulations anyway.

  10. Right wingers (especially far right types) often try to get around this problem by saying the poor shouldn’t breed. I wonder what a good left wing comeback to that statement is.

  11. Crisis and conflicts develop when there is lack of trust and clarity of the intentions from both sides.What do US and China each want for themselves and for the world?
    A managed dominance, against each other ? orjointly against other counties globally?orA manageable balance in equitable partnership for strategic and economic mutual benefits and growth in a peaceful and secured environment that can be sustainable?
    Hundreds of MOUs or agreements can be made and signed, but without acting them out on accountability, competency, governance and transparency, pledge and promissory notes would end up in waste paper baskets. Things would not get done, because the intentions would become blurred, trust faded and confidence dissipated.For achieving a lasting good consultative relationship, amidst some expected strained anomalies along the way, it is of fundamental importance that it is based on mutual trust, rationality and clarity of each other’s intention, that are model-dependent on accountability, competency, governance and transparency, to manage, in all sincerity to overcome differences, and correct any wrong-doing or misunderstanding arising.
    The people would have a better and brighter place to live, in posterity,around world, if their (USA and China) managed relationship for the intended purposes are not carried out at the expense of one another, most importantly, the ordinary people. Then world peace and stability are ensured.

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    1. Well, China wants to overthrow America’s hegemony, and no longer make a secret of it.
      Everyone wants to be on top, so from now on, EVERY action by China will be seen as an attack on our top spot, from building military “islands” in international and even other countries’ territorial waters, to their veiled threats of subs nipping at the heels of our surface fleets.
      We could stop buying from them for awhile, and hope they get the Message, but they might callin their promissory notes on us.
      Your last paragraph is the problem. China has already said VERY publicly, they don’t want peace NOR stability if it means accepting a world with America on top. So “peace and stability” is a stick to them, not a carrot!

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