Friday, May 4, 2007

Food for Gas: U.S. Ethanol Policy is "Genocidal"

While the Bush Administration continues to play footsy with U.S. farmers, energy companies, and green environmentalist over ethanol, I can’t help but notice the warnings from the global south which get very little if any airtime in our regal media outlets. As often expected, what materially benefits the 1st world or core countries comes at the fatal expense of millions of those living at the peripheries of the global economic system. America is beginning to use corn to create ethanol biofuel, which will subsequently be combined with petrol to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. One problem though, theres not enough corn in the U.S. to fill the gap even after the obscene amount of subsidies U.S. farmers are likely to receive.

Fidel Castro, the sickly former leader of Cuba and the third world’s Non-Aligned Movement asks a few fundamental questions about America’s drive for ethanol in a recent article.

"Where are the more than 500 million tons of corn and other cereals which the United States, Europe and wealthy nations require to produce the gallons of ethanol that big companies in the United States and other countries demand in exchange for their voluminous investments going to be produced and who is going to supply them?"

Of course the U.S. is going to feed its’ drive for alternative based fuel by turning food crops into cash and energy crops in the global south. The Economist, one of the leading financial magazines in the country ironically agrees with President Castro’s assessment of our ‘genocidal’ drive for food based ethanol.

"As more land is used to grow corn rather than other food crops, such as soy, their prices also rise. And since corn is used as animal feed, the price of meat goes up, too. The food supply, in other words, is being diverted to feed America's hungry cars."

The demand for ethanol has pushed corn prices to record highs, and economists warn that the rise in prices will likely hurt the world's poor. In the future the U.S. should probably discontinue pursuing self-interested energy policies that will inevitably lead to mass starvation among those in the global south. We should go "green" but not at the expense of the the worlds poorer peripheral nations.

1 comment:

  1. this is an interesting and important insight. serious talks about e85 have all but disappeared. this surely wasnt the reason though, as the worlds poor is never highly considered. i think people realized this would effect more than just the poor, and thats when they got scared to make serious moves towards e85.