Via: Socialist Alternative.
The news of strawberry farmers in the United States being pushed to destroy crops because they cannot profitably sell them speaks volumes about the madness of the capitalist market.
Freak weather conditions in Florida have led to an enormous amount of strawberries becoming ready for harvest at once – and whilst that might sound like great news to anyone with a sweet tooth, capitalism has managed to sour the issue. Because there’s so many strawberries on the market at once, prices have plummeted – to the point that Florida farmers are destroying acres and acres of strawberry crops because they lose less money ploughing the fruit into the ground than they would lose harvesting and selling the fruit.
It’s particularly sickening to see this happening during an economic crisis where so many people are going hungry in the world’s richest country.
Since the economic crisis hit, the number of Americans reliant on food stamps has surged to 33.8 million, and an estimated 3.5 million children under 5 are at risk of hunger. In state after state, welfare agencies and charities are struggling to meet demand as more and more people seek emergency food aid.
And yet, the strawberries cannot be given to them.
This certainly isn’t the first time that food has been deliberately destroyed in order to meet the dictates of the market. John Steinbeck’s famous novel The Grapes of Wrath describes the horrors of the Great Depression, when food was deliberately destroyed to inflate prices, sacrificing many of the lives of the poor to improve the profits of the rich:
“The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit—and kerosene spayed over the golden mountains.
…And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates—died of malnutrition—because the food must rot, must be forced to rot.”
Any economic system that destroys food while people starve belongs in the dustbin of history.