Unwise

This is from Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy (which I highly recommend):

Four companies slaughter 81 percent of American beef. Cargill, Inc. controls 45 percent of the globe’s grain trade, while its competitor Archer Daniels Midland controls another 30 percent. Name your commodity: the number of potato farmers in Idaho has fallen by half in the last 15 years, to no more than 800. (A typical farmer there may have eight tractors worth $130,00 apiece; he’s likely using global positioning satellites to make sure his rows are straight.) Eighty nine percent of American chickens are processed under contract to big companies, usually in broiler houses up to five hundred feet long holding thirty thousand or more birds. Four multinational corporations control over 70 percent of fluid milk sales in the United States, and one Ohio “farm” produces 3 billion eggs per year. Four firms control 85 percent of global coffee roasting, and a small group of multinationals handles 80 percent of the world trade in cocoa, pineapples, tea and bananas. The merger of Philip Morris and Nabisco in 2000 created a food conglomerate that collects nearly 10 cents of every dollar an American consumer spends on food. Meanwhile, five companies control 75 percent of the global vegetable seed market, and their grip is tightening as the seed companies patent more and more genetically modifed varieties and prevent seed saving.

This was written in 2007 and there has been further “consolidation” since then.

Our food supply is increasingly in very few, very large, hands.

Love Wins

4 comments on “Unwise

  1. Bob Braxton says:

    pray for small

    Like

  2. shoreacres says:

    Uh – what? I’d say, “You’re kidding!” Except that I know you aren’t. This is not good. I suppose it’s a sign of our times that my first paranoid thought was of Stalin and the manufactured farm crises in Russia. Still, once I’ve brushed that off – there are other consequences of this that are equally unhappy.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I think it’s much worse now than it was in 2007. I used to be closely connected to another food commodity producer and I know that in that industry 3 companies control 85% of the production. The dangers of relying on so few corporations for so much of our food are self-evident, but rarely discussed.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s