Capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the world’s poor is more than a catchy political slogan; it is a reality faced by Third-World people each and every day.
Here are some facts on poverty in the Third-World & its connection to prosperity in the First:
1. 24,000 people die of hunger every day.
2. 6 million children die of hunger every year.
3. Undernourishment contributes 53% to 9.7 million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
4. Wealth in the First-world is due to poverty in the Third-World. An example: Great Britain purposely underdeveloped India back in the 18th Century by sabotaging their textile industry so India would be forced to import from the similarly developing British textile industry. The British also destroyed Indian crops, which caused a disastrous famine near the end of the 18th century so that they could create cash-crops to their own benefit.
5. In the words of Salvador Allende, who was assassinated by the CIA in a US backed coup that brought a Fascist and mass-murderer into power in Chile: “.. there are 600,000 children who can never enjoy life in normally human terms, because in the first eight months of their existence they did not receive the elementary amount of proteins. My country, Chile, would have been totally transformed by these US$ 4,000 million (which is the amount of money expropriated by American industry in US corporations in Chile). Only a small part of this amount would assure proteins for all the children in my country once and for all.”
6. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories per person per day, yet 925 million people are without food, 99% of which reside in the Third-World.
The world is in some deep shit — and it wasn’t always like this.
I. Land Fertility and Territorial position
The Third-World constitutes territory rich in abundance, contrary to popular opinion. If we were to categorize the wealth of nations by the standard of abundance they experience in natural resources, our viewpoint of the world would be altered quite radically.
Take Japan for example. For quite some time, Japan had been considered to be one of the richest countries in all of Asia, despite its extremely limited array of natural resources. Not coincidentally, Japan is formerly an empire, bringing to its submission all territories surrounding it — including abundances of formerly untapped resource reserves.
But this is not the standard of measurement we indulge.
Wealth, in this society, is not defined by who has the resources first, but by who can access them. Not by who works the land, but by who expropriates it, and with it, the labor of those who do the cultivating.
If one section of the world is developed, and itself developed by people who maintain the means of production ‘owned’ by a small-and-smaller clique, satisfying the needs of an increasingly parasitic and expansive system – who, before the unions came along, had saw it fit to work eight-year-olds to the bone in North America for 18 to 19 hours at a time – it would only make sense that these bastards would seek to expand their workforce where the population is immense, desperate and capable, the exploitation veiled to that mass of white collar consumers, being that the place of manufacture is a ways across the planet, and the minds of these potential workers are basically under or even uneducated, their requested wages hardly a portion of a week’s pay here. We consider that industry on this side of the world has developed to the point where one maintained machine can produce twice of what 100 workers with mere needle and thread can produce in a faction of the time socially necessary for cheap labor forces, with a rate of output that makes the sweatshop labor of 200 Asian 9-year old children look arbitrary — but oh, how it isn’t.
II. Underdevelopment, Access to Natural Resources & the Market
There are over 925 million people in the world who are starving. 578 million of these starving people live in Asia and the pacific, 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America, 37 million in North Africa, and 19 million of them live in the developed territories, like North America. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories per person per day — yet 925 million people are without food, 24,000 of which die every day, and of which six million children die yearly. Six million.
That was a single case, but this happens every year, not even counting the number of adults. We’re in a sorry state of things.
Nelson Mandela famously asserted that poverty is man-made. If poverty is man-made, is starvation that is the result of poverty not a form of genocide? If starvation is genocide, and derives from poverty (being man-made), perhaps it is much less violent to remove these institutions from power than to passively receive their domination.
Some of us are more conscious of these realities than others.
It is not a coincidence that 822 people die of excess in the First-world, while 24,000 die of hunger in the Third-World, on a daily basis; nor is it a coincidence that the United States holds a stake in natural resources, control, or some form of financial benefit in the countries that it deploys its troops.
III. Prevailing methods of Food and Resource allocation
As we wrote in our article The Police and their Relationship to Crime:
‘WorldHunger.org asserts that “Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.” It goes onto talk about whether or not the issue of hunger is related to lack of resources, remarking the following:
“The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day”
Clearly, the issue at hand is not the amount of food produced, nor the agriculture that creates food. We have more than enough to provide everyone on Earth with more than adequate means of subsistence. So, what exactly is the problem? The thing that causes 25,000 people to die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, that causes one person to die of hunger every three-and-a-half seconds? The problem is the prevailing methods of resource allocation.
The United States, according to an article from the Washington Post, wastes around 165 billion dollars worth of food every year, which amounts to around 40% of all the food produced in the North American continent. The territory of North America consists of a large concentration of resources, resources exploited from other territories in “unfortunate continents,” of which the allocation of resources on the North American continent, too, is illogical. Billions of dollars worth of resources concentrated into the hands of a small percentage of the population, while the rest works to survive.
‘Cheap’ In More Ways Than One
Some 98% of clothes purchased in North America are made abroad. (1) Why does this happen? ABC reports that:
“A worker at the Chinese sock factory makes just $14 a day, or $270 in a month. In America, a clothing worker makes $88 a day, or $1,760 a month.” (1)
The reasons are obvious. The desire for profit is said to “equalize” the playing field. Its true affects are anything but mutually beneficial. Capitalists are in a position of power over the rest of humanity, while their concern is anything but humanity. It is, then, in their class interest to see produced the largest amount of capital feasible, even at the expense of human lives and, in the case of Asian cheap labor, children.
In conclusion, a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. illustrates the point we’ve been getting at this entire time:
“Capitalism has outlived its usefulness.”