Is this drivel or dribble?

\”The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking\”, said Mittal. \”The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.

Growing more food through investing in growing more food is going to drive up food prices how?

35 thoughts on “Is this drivel or dribble?”

  1. Those poor, poor Africans. All they ever wanted was to be peasants. Now they’ll be forced off the land they sold and into taking money from capitalist businessmen in their cities in exchange for less demanding work.

  2. Judging from the BBC World Service coverage, the problem seemed to be largely that the African governments were taking land from locals, without compensation, and then selling it. So there is a problem, but it is lack of land rights and too much government intervention in free markets. Inevitably, the BBC didn’t make that point.

  3. Growing more food through investing in growing more food is going to drive up food prices how?

    Isn’t it obvious? The more food is grown, the more people will want to eat it, therefore prices will rise. /sarc off

  4. It’s generally believed on the Left, and that includes everyone from “Left Libertarians” to green-wellied countryside Conservatives, that small farms are more efficient than big farms, and it only looks the other way around due to hidden subsidies of “the Corporations”.

  5. These “forests” (are they what uysed to be known as “jungle”?) are often , at least in W Africa, secondary woodland that grew up on previously cultivated land when the W African economy was disrupted by slavers marching the population to the coast to sell ’em to the Europeans, or marching them across the Sahara to sell ’em to the Arabs. So the land is reverting to its historical use.

  6. “Growing more food through investing in growing more food is going to drive up food prices how?”

    Easy. All you need is:

    a) An input theory of prices (it costs X to produce food, evil capitalists want a profit of Y, so evil capitalist food will cost X+Y); and

    b) A belief that “efficiency” means “grinding the faces of the poor”.

  7. A @ 7

    What you need, in a dispute like this, is an authoritative source:

    Wasn’t ‘Carry On Up The Jungle’ set in Africa?

  8. “b) A belief that “efficiency” means “grinding the faces of the poor”.”

    Show me where this isn’t the case, smart boy.

    Tim adds: Combine harvesters are more efficient at cutting grain than hand scythes.

    The use of combine harvesters has made everyone richer than the use of hand scythes did.

    QED.

  9. Arnald, you really are the gift that keeps on giving.

    Another example: I’ve dug holes with a shovel and dug them with a mechanical digger. The digger was not only more efficient, it was a damn sight less exhausting.

  10. Arnald: the man (or woman, who knows?) who wants everyone to work as navvies, because mechanisation is grinding the face of the poor into the dirt.

    Dear Arnald, please go and ask anyone who has physically laboured for a living (I’m hazarding a guess that’s not you) whether they would rather continue with the back breaking labour, or get some mechanical assistance. Then perhaps you could reassess your infantile leftyism.

  11. An input theory of prices (it costs X to produce food, evil capitalists want a profit of Y, so evil capitalist food will cost X+Y);

    You would not believe the number of arguments I had with lefty fuckwits who insisted that private companies will always be more expensive than public providers because the former must make profits, which the latter don’t.

  12. Well, one of the major problems is the artificial division of income into wages, profits and rents. I think that was that fuckwit Ricardo again, wasn’t it?

    A profit is just an income before it gets split up into the company owners’ wages. I wish some of these people would try running a one-man limited company like what I do, it’d really help them grasp how wages and profits are the same thing in economic terms.

  13. yeah yeah yeah all very old and tired. Favourite velvet glove and all that.

    You really are just a bunch of yobs, aren’t you?

    It doesn’t bother me.

    You are the typical ivory tower twats that insist on making things worse for the majority. Do you think, for one little second in your tiny one eyed cocks, that there is benefit for the locals here?

    Have you done ONE IOTA of research, that is not funded by the shits that run these companies, into the long term impacts.

    No. Short term gain. Rape. One day all this will be yours.

    It’s like talking to a babboon, seriously, you can call me cunt if you like, but it doesn’t mean you know more. You have no semblance whatsoever at understannding humanity.

    It’s already proven, you nobs, that the land grab will have devastating effects on those areas. Just do your own fucking reading, no better still, why not just embark on some soggy biscuit thinking, and when the loser’s licked his chops, why not blog about it with reference to mocking someone else.

  14. Arnald: you’re one of those twunts who think they always have to get the last word, aren’t you?

  15. I object very strongly to being called a Tory. I’m a liberal, or a libertine. Definitely not a Tory.

    Anyway Arnald: large textile mills put cottage industry weavers out of business. Was that a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?

  16. How queer, I was sure Arnald said Tory somewhere. Must have imagined it. So, that’s me looking foolish then. Oops. 🙁

    Anyhoo,

    “You are the typical ivory tower twats that insist on making things worse for the majority. Do you think, for one little second in your tiny one eyed cocks, that there is benefit for the locals here?”

    -there’s your problem Arnald; “the majority” and “the locals” have contradictory interests. Who do you want to help? You can’t do both.

  17. Ian B

    Are you seriously equating the industrial revolution to a concerted takeover of developing countries’ natural resources, cynically syphoning off the wealth created to the secrecy jurisdictions, whilst paying the labourers and owners next to nothing in comparison?

    This isn’t a revolution to make the world a better place. This is securing finite resources in order to make profit.

    Why would Harvard University be buying up land if it were for food production?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/08/us-universities-africa-land-grab?

    Because they’re nice?

    Why are people so short sighted?

  18. “Are you seriously equating the industrial revolution to a concerted takeover of developing countries’ natural resources, cynically syphoning off the wealth created to the secrecy jurisdictions, whilst paying the labourers and owners next to nothing in comparison?” No, he was answering your point, sorry, question.

    I’m willing to believe bad things about these land deals. Highly suspicious of both the Chinese (for example) intentions and their likely methods (though siphoning off the profits to secrecy jurisdictions seems unlikely to be part of them). I’d be interested to hear why they should be opposed. But “it’s all a conspiracy, can’y you blinkered fools see?” doesn’t cut it. Your arguments, sorry assertions, against, tell me lots about you and fuck all about the subject.

    And I wouldn’t call you a cunt. Cunts can still spell “baboon.”

  19. Not a conspiracy, Ambrosia, just profiteering. Not the good capitalism of efficient markets and prospects for all, but cynical profit making exploitation and resource hoarding.

    And no he wasn’t. He was being a clueless arse.

    HAR! quantity not quality, baby, that’s the way to do it. So what if there’s a typo you bunch of cretins. Is that all you do all day?

  20. Not all spelling mistakes are typos. “Babboon” is ignorance, not fat fingers.

    Anyway, when ALL the land deals are profiteering etc, there’s a conspiracy theory in the air.

    Now me, I reckon some are going to be bad, some okay, and some pretty good for everyone involved. The interesting thing is which is which, and the interesting theoretical question is how do you tell?

    You’re not helping. Actually not one tiny bit. Bit sad, that.

    Oh, and “ambrosia” – funny, witty and novel. Touche. Ouch. Smoketoomuch, better cut down then, never heard that one before.

  21. Do you think, for one little second in your tiny one eyed cocks, that there is benefit for the locals here?

    The local employees of at least 2 supermajors in Nigeria are the highest paid locals in the entire global company, with the salaries and benefits of secretaries and administrators coming close to that of expatriate engineers. Complain that only a tiny percentage of locals benefit from multinational oil companies in Nigeria and I will agree with you (although our reason as to why this is will likely differ), but to claim that no locals benefit is to reveal your ignorance.

  22. The problem that Mr Pottymouth here has is that he doesn’t understand how economic growth happens, because he doesn’t want to. In particular, the awkward fact that it needs inefficient small farmers to get turfed off their land so that low-employment, high efficiency modern agricultural practices can take over.

    You can do it with enclosure acts, you can have the State just throw them off (popular with petty dictators), you can leave evil capitalism to do it. But you can’t get around the fact that growth happens because of labour reductions. More output per man means less men.

    So Pottymouth is just objecting to the impossible romantic dream of wealthy, happy subsistence farmers running into the brick wall of reality, that’s all.

  23. Guess who said “This isn’t a revolution to make the world a better place. This is securing finite resources in order to make profit.”

    Sure.

    But in order to make a profit they will provide more, cheaper food and better jobs than subsistence farming, so they will make the world a better place.

  24. What was it the good man said?

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”

  25. I’m still reeling from the suggestion that anyone might suppose Harvard University “nice”.

  26. Yes. She says it how it is. Only the wilfully ignorant choose to ignore the realities.

    Wilful ignorance by intelligent, well-read people is a core insult to humanity.

  27. I read it and thought: if I had a doughnut for every time someone blames voluntary exchange for the problems inflicted by governments, I’d be as fat as Michael Moore

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