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%, the lowest rate in Latin America. More here and here. It is amazing how they can do that while they starve the population, no?
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% is about 1/2 the Thai rate of 36%, one positive aspect of Vietnamese socialism. When one thinks of Thailand, one never suspects that 1/3 of the population doesn’t get enough food to eat. All one thinks of are tourists, skyscrapers, traffic jams, girly bars, beaches and elephants.
In Pakistan, 62% of all children are already stunted in growth by the tender age of five. But the media tells us that stunting only occurs in North Korea. After all, it is only Communism that starves the people.
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% of children are chronically undernourished (And that is in a bountiful harvest!), where the literacy rate is a Medieval 17%, life expectancy is a tragic 44.7 years, the infant mortality rate is an outrageous 151.8 per 1000, and Niger is bested by only one other country when it comes to killing little kids under age 5.
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.