The Double Standard For Capitalist Genocide

I just read this article after seeing it on Democracy Now. The basic point of the article is that big investment banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, etc.–who are always on the search for quick grabs of cash through speculation and the creation of artificial bubbles–got into the grain business over the last 10-15 years or so, and in 2008, the food bubble that created a massive rise in the price of food that led to food riots in over 30 countries, and added an additional 250,000,000 people to the ranks of the starving…meaning over 1 billion starving people for the first time in human history. This food bubble raised the prices on Glendi’s family as well. We remember how much more we had to send for Glendi’s mom to be able to buy the week’s food at the market.

250,000,000 people. If you were going to stand next to that number, you would be 1. But we’re talking 250,000,000…which is in addition to the 750,000,000 who were already hungry before this crisis was created in 2008.

The holocaust is estimated to have killed 11-13,000,000 people. Stalin is accused of starving over 20,000,000. So is Mao in the Great Leap Forward. These are considered totalitarian genocides, and rightly so.

But what does 250,000,000 people going hungry mean if it comes from capitalism? Who get’s tagged with responsibility when it’s a system doing it, rather than individuals who are saluting and wearing uniforms and demanding their photo be put up all over the place, like the old school murderers liked to do? What does it mean when the culprits are the same folks who are seen as the smartest folks in our economy, charged with keeping our luxuries coming?

250,000,000 human beings. For simple, quick profit. For the thrill of inventing new financial tricks that the rest of the world is too stupid to catch on to until it’s too late.

I don’t even know how to get my head, my heart, around these numbers, around this huge crime. But that’s why I have to write about it tonight. Because this can’t be okay. This can’t just be okay, normal, par for the capitalist course. See, capitalism is so good at making even its atrocities seem normal. Standard ebb and flow of the market…temporary fluctuations before resettling on an equilibrium…the expected excesses of trade on its path toward balance. Murder. Destruction. Hatred hidden in numbers and narcissism. Hatred so strong that the murderers don’t even take the time to actively hate the victims…easier just to pretend they don’t exist…nothing more than externalities.

Somebody please assure me that someday, in some way, these monsters will lose. That they will lose their wealth and they will be disgraced. That their children will be ashamed, if they are not already. That some day they will shuffle out of their newly expropriated mansions crying, humbled by the scale of their own dehumanization. Somebody please assure me that someday, in some way, we will change this system so that this can never happen again…and that the number of people starving can go from 1,000,000,000 down to less than 1.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi