Mother Jones has published an excellent article by Tom Philpott, discussing why our national food policy is both in desperate need of reform and utterly trapped under the heel of industry influence.
The #OccupyWallStreet official statement does touch upon the evils of agribusiness, but Philpott expands on it with four main arguments why food policy should be a crucial part of this social justice movement:
1. The food industry is a big fat monopoly
Agribusiness is concentrated to a point that would make a Wall Street master of the universe blush. Vast globe-spanning corporations, many of them US-based, dominate the industry.
2. The food industry screws farmers, its own employees, and the environment
Four players control more than 40 percent of a market and they manipulate the prices they charge consumers and the terms on which they deal with their suppliers. So, rather than raise prices, the food industry has slashed costs—at the expense of workers, farmers, and the environment.
3. Wall Street’s greed leaves millions to starve—literally
Two recent UN reports directly implicate commodities speculators for driving up the price of key food staples like rice and wheat—leaving tens of millions of people around the world hungry in order to make a buck.
4. Our politicians are in bed with agribusiness
Like the big banks, the handful of companies that dominate our food system dedicate loads of cash to throwing their weight around in DC. From 1998 through 2011, the agribusiness sector dropped $1.4 billion on lobbying.
Pig Image Source: Nick Saltmarsh/Flickr