Saturday, June 18, 2016

On World Environment Day, Profiting From Death, Devastation And Destruction Is The Norm

This is an interesting article about how the World's wildlife is being destroyed and trafficked because of neoliberal capitalism and the big corporations.  It shows how the big corporations can get a country's tariffs  removed and then they flood the country with cheap food and goods which destroys the local economy because farmers can't compete and so go out of business. Then you have a destitute rural poor who must rely on charity and government handouts to survive. 

This isn't capitlaism, this is neoliberalism which is evil. 


The scaly anteater is considered to be the most trafficked mammal on earth. Over a million of these have been taken from the wild in the past decade alone. The illegal trade in live apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, is also rife, and many other species across the planet are being trafficked. It is estimated that rhino poaching in South Africa increased by as much as 8,000% between 2007 and 2014. For every live animal illegally taken from the wild, there are many more killed during capture and transport.

This is a ludicrous situation considering that Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it. The two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.

If we want to see how not to manage the world’s wildlife and natural habitats, we need look no further than India, which is now the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. India imports over two-­thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.

Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Then import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector (see this) and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms. 

According to Vandana Shiva, the WTO and the TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was the beginning of a new corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise then that in 2013 India's Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation's oil seeds production programme. 

Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of climate-changing gases (see this analysis). Indonesia emits more greenhouse gases than any country besides China and the US and that’s largely due to the production of palm oil.

The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how corporate imperialism drives wildlife and habitat destruction across the globe. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness - and the system of industrialised agriculture it promotes - fuels much of the destruction that we see.

Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right - enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote - to exploit, kill and devastate for commercial gain. 


Andrew Anderson said...

Since I don't see anything inherently wrong with the idea of common stock companies, my strong suspicion is that the evils described above can be traced to government-subsidies* for the banks.

For instance, without those subsidies common stock companies would be much more widely and equally owned and the population less desperate for profits, destructive or not.

I agree, capitalism is not what we have but a government-subsidized usury cartel.

It's a mess but that's what one gets for relying on pragmatism rather than principle.

*Including the huge implicit subsidy of leaving the population at the mercy of private banks by the failure of monetary sovereigns to provide risk-free storage and transaction services for their fiat.

Bob said...

What discussion can be had from this thoroughly depressing article?
The environment is as low a priority as it has ever been in the First World.

Matt Franko said...

"The illegal trade in live apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, is also rife, and many other species across the planet are being trafficked. "

Lol! What about human beings???

Oh no I forgot, that's the "xenophobia!" according to the left....