- Capitalism and Alternatives -

If that's murder, how about....

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( EFZ, MA, USA ) on April 22, 1999 at 14:24:52:

In Reply to: like the US food donations to USSR? posted by Gee on April 21, 1999 at 17:40:44:

: : : They got plenty of starvation with Stalin, planned too.

: : So? So what? If it was a natural famine etc. you wouldn't careless so why now that's your political opponents?

: Im not sure what you mean there. If you are saying that I 'care' more for a starvation that is deliberately planned by an autocratic govt then yes I do. Such a starvation is murder. A starvation that happens because we have a dry summer because the sunspots are doing this and the pacific ocean is doing that then it isnt murder - and whats more its easier to freely help out such people.

This is very interesting Gee. I think you're arguing that when a government implements a policy in spite of (or because of) the fact that it will cause death by starvation or other methods, then it is committing murder.

Well, how about when a government deliberately bombs and burns fields in another country. let's say teh goal is to terrorize that country in submission, but it si clear that the destruction of food crops will create a famine. Such as was done in Nicaragua, Southeast Asia, and other places by the US. is that murder Gee? I wouldn't call it quite murder, but i would call it atrocious and evil, and I would say it's on teh same moral level as teh Stalinist inspired Russian famine.

How about it, Gee? Did you protest when the US backed forecs who were destroying Nicaraguan fields? Did you protest when teh US bombed Vietnam? If so, then I admire your consistency.

Secondly- this may be more intrinsic to the capitalist system- how about when you encourage a country to grow cash crops instead of food? in teh shrt term this may be OK since the farmers can sell tehir cash crops and use the money to buy food. But in the long term, when the price of cotton/ cocoa / peanuts falls, the farmers are up the creek without a paddle. the country ahs little money to buy food, nor does it have sufficient reserves of its own. So you're in effect guaranteeing taht at least some people will starve.

Or how about when the US encourages Central America to export beef, knowing that this will raise the price of beef and ensure taht Central Americans won't be able to afford it? Or how about when multinationals hawk powdered milk, soft drinsk and junk food in the Third World, knowing taht thsi will cause malnutrition? How about when we encourage countries to adopt the estate / cash crop mode of production, knwoing that thsi will render farmers landless and poverty-stricken, and thus more vulnerable to disease, starvation etc. Or when we encourage governments to fire "extraneous" civil servants, knwoing that these people will probably become unemployed and taht tehir children may die of ,malnutrition.

What unites all these cases? Essentially, in each one the West encourages a polivcy taht it knows will casue suffering and death, but chooses to write off the deatsh as teh price of something greater. Echoes of Leninism there. A while back I recall you and Joel saying that the suffering in eastern Europe was just something thsoe countries would ahve to tolerate, taht eventually everyone would be ebtter off in teh long (very long) run since they had adopted capitalism. That sounds familiar, just liek Lenin or someone else saying to ignore the suffering now, those people who starve may lose out but society will eventually agin in teh long run.

: : I could indicate any of the many, many famines, hardships etc. created by capitalism and capitalist planning it wouldnt serve to further my argument so dont try to further yours by insisting these sorts are socialists.

: Actually I'd like to hear an example - it would further your argument, a statement such as 'capitalism causes starvation' needs evidence.

Well, the alst time Bengal was capitalist was under the British, they ahd a horrible famine there in 1943. This famien has eben studied and the conclusion is taht tehre were enough food, but the people who died were unable to afford taht food and the government did not feel the need to supply it to them.Since then West Bengal has been first socialist (1947-1977) and then communist, and has not ahd a major episode of starvation. That's one major episode. others include the famines in various African countries which were expoting too much tonthe international market (e.g. Malawi), also the starvation in most of Latin America. Starvation is fairly common in many third world countries, iot seems to eb less in teh socialist third world, which woudl tend to indicate that socialsim encourages starvation less than capitalism does.

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