Watching the CBC National broadcast from 5/14/08, the feature segment was on the world food shortage. The entire segment is highly informative, but the most provocative thing to me was Francis Moore Lappé's (author of Diet for a Small Planet) analysis of the current situation. Her incisive statement is about 7:20 into the segment. Basically, she cites a deficit of democracy, as symbolized by ADM, largest or 2nd largest grain trader, increasing their profit by 65% last year, while rising food prices will push approximately 100 million more people into poverty and hunger or starvation.
I know that statistics can be slippery things; ADM may have increased their profit dramatically through cost-cutting, maybe the gain is measured against miserable results the previous year, etc. Somehow I don't think so.
But this is not about singling out ADM as a corporate villain, though they aren't on my list for a Nobel prize.
What is really at stake is a system that uses even the most basic of human needs -- food -- to concentrate wealth and power in corporate structures that answer only to the mantra of unending and unbridled growth. As Brian Stewart says in the CBC piece, all the signs of the impending shortage were there, but very few were paying attention.
There is some small sliver of hope that enough people will wake up to what real democracy is all about, and that we can avoid food and resource wars and the catastrophe that would be. Real democracy protects its citizens not only from crime and military attack, but also from trauma by institutionalized greed.