Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Peeling the Onion....,

Sharon Astyk does an excellent job of connecting our predicament to the shameless selfishness we've shown the world.
...new workers, and the lubrication they provide in the global money system are being systematically impoverished, and what money they do spend goes to an increasingly narrow band of companies - instead of spreading the money around, money goes for very basic things - mostly food, and mostly basic foods. And the farmers who make the basic foods mostly send that money back to a very small number of companies - the ones that produce oil and the ones that produce fertilizer - many of them located in the same countries and places.

What is reducing the amount of productive work accomplished, and moving the money increasingly only into a few pockets? It is the high price of food. And what is the root cause of the high price of food? Well, the single biggest factor, according to a number of studies, including the UN studies, has been the move to food based biofuels. So if we peel back the onion one more layer, what we find is that one of the major factors slowing the economy has been, well, oil. The rush to biofuels is a response to tightening oil supplies and rising costs, and the aggregate effect has been to push up food prices all over the world, while doing pretty much nothing to increase energy security, reduce greenhouse gases or do much of anything else useful.

I’m no economist, and I don’t pretend to be. But I wonder, when we peel back the layers of the onion later, and look at the history of this Depression, I wonder if we’ll see that in fact, what happened was that we squeezed out the lifeblood of the very thing we’d built our economy upon - new workers/consumers who could be counted on to grow the economy outwards and upwards. We could have foreseen this - but we chose not to - we chose, as we struggled to keep our lifestyle intact on the backs of the world’s poor, not to see that we stand on their backs, and it is people…all the way down. In killing them, we killed ourselves. It may be that besides the tragedy of starving millions of poor people, we may also have brought down our own system, simply because we did not see, did not realize that the poor matter more to us than we like to admit.
Just about every day I peel some onions. One layer is removed to reveal another and so on. When you get to the center of the onion, you find that the layers are the onion and that there is no center.

For you humans it is similar. After peeling away these layers you will come to know who you really are - at this point, however, it's too late to matter - nothing for you to do now but start crying.