The Guardian 6 April, 2005
Globalised capitalism blamed
for increasing famine
In his speech to the Lowy Institute last week, John Howard "reaffirmed the power of globalisation to lift the dead hand of poverty around the world" and that "the greatest contribution nations can make to alleviate poverty is to slash trade barriers".
The truth is the opposite. On the same day as Howard was delivering his homily on the problems of the world the UN Special Reporter on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler said that the globalisation of neo-liberal [economic rationalist - Ed] capitalism and its resulting injustice is the main cause of the expansion of hunger in the world.
In a report presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), Ziegler said than in less than a year, 10 million people have joined the planet's army of starving people.
At least 100,000 people die of lack of food every year, and one of every four is permanently blinded due to lack of vitamin A, he noted.
"I have not fabricated these figures", he said. "They have been provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)."
"All governments in the world should be concerned that there are 852 million people starving while a program to address the scourge is in existence."
"FAO itself has stated that world agriculture could currently feed twice the world's population. Thus, we can say that every person who dies of hunger has been assassinated," the Swedish jurist and sociologist stressed.
"What this is all about is a daily genocide against people who are starving amidst the silence of the rich countries" he said.
The globalisation that Howard is pushing is the globalisation of the power and control of the transnational corporations while "free trade" also means that the stronger industrial countries dominate the smaller and weaker countries.