The United States – which has banned the export of medical supplies during the pandemic – has just announced that the G-7 could operate as an oil cartel to stop soaring prices. And India’s Conservative government has just shut down wheat exports, while the Bank of England has warned of an ‘apocalyptic’ food shortage. UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday of the “specter of global food shortages” in the coming months. In Argentina, one of the main countries affected by the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, the opposition has bound the government hand and foot and left it without resources to defend itself. In a war it would be treason.
Since the start of the war, the value of wheat has increased by 50%, and last week, with India’s decision, it jumped another 6%. Ukraine and Russia provide 12 percent of the world’s wheat and according to the FAO the high cost of staple foods meant that 440 million people worldwide who lacked food insurance have now grown to 1,600 millions of people who will suffer from hunger or starvation. trials.
Argentina is a major food producer, but soaring prices have meant that the crisis has hit the local population in the same way as in countries that do not produce food and many families will not be able to meet their minimum food needs. . If local prices are not brought in line with international prices, some Argentines will starvewhile others will gain fortunes of millions of dollars at the cost of the misfortune of their countrymen.
Retentions, yes or no
The tool to separate prices is restraint. This does not mean that the production chain loses its profit, but rather that it maintains profits as in normal situations – which would imply large profits anyway – but in this way the Argentine people would have access to their food basic.
The paradox is that this government had decided, even despite strong internal pressure, that it would not touch the retentions because it seemed to it that it was a file with a bad history and poisoned by the opposition. This week, recalling this decision, the president indicated that a march of rural producers had been held against the tax on unexpected profits, and against the deductions on meal and soybean oil, while this sector does not was touched by neither. “Those who spoke at the Plaza were not producers, they were all opposition leaders,” he recalled.
In order not to apply withholding taxes, the government proposed setting up a trust to buy wheat, but the milling sector opposed this because it would imply state “interventionism”.. In turn, the agribusiness sector – dominated by four or five corporations – acts with the voracity of vultures and none of these sectors, including those in the countryside, has even a rough idea of the chaos and violence that could be provoked . if they maintain this intention to starve the most vulnerable layers of the population and restrict as much as possible the consumption of the middle layers who have already drastically reduced the consumption of meat and wheat derivatives. They were not even able to replace meat with other foods as the price of chicken and pork also skyrocketed.
A hungry world
The Economista right-wing and neoliberal publication, points out in its latest edition that there are already 250 million people on the verge of starvation in the world and that “hundreds of millions more will fall into poverty, political unrest will expand, children will be stunted and people will starve.
The conservative and neoliberal publication hasn’t changed its ideology, it just has its eyes opened: in Germany there are protests and strikes against inflation, so too in France by recent election winner Emmanuel Macron, but there there is not even a shadow of the protests whether they are happening in Iran or Sri Lanka.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey (the one who warned of the famine) is desperate because of rising inflation, dragged down by energy and food prices. Unrest in the lower and middle sections of Britain could break out at any time. They produce neither food nor oil. “I have no tools, I am powerless against increases in the global market, which are beyond our control.” The man predicted a very large “income shock” (very high and very low) with the resulting social conflict. England expects double-digit annual inflation, an enormity for a country that has hardly suffered from this kind of problem.
The war between Ukraine and Russia has exposed the fragility of the global food system. Before, this war would not have produced the same disastrous effects. Currently, the system of global interrelationships and interdependencies has an impact on the entire planet. But unlike the English, the Argentinians are not helpless, because food is produced here and there is oil. There are tools to set up a defensive mesh that protects the country from the ruinous impact of the global crisis caused by the war.
An opposition to Babia
Forced by the crisis, the Conservative government in England plans to raise taxes. Here hasThe Macrista opposition acts as if it were in Babia: it only comes to their minds to propose the opposite: lower taxes and abolish levies, with which inflation and food prices will reach the moon. The opposition is unaware of the world outside its bubble of election promises.
The government, which has the responsibility to make decisions, also faced an iron crossroads. Even the electoral perspective is no longer valid. This is in a way what emerges from the declarations of Alberto Fernández on his return from his European tour. The same person who was reluctant to increase the deductions, now says publicly that they are the tool to separate internal prices from external prices and that he does not have enough strength in parliament to approve them.
Those who promote tragedy
But The opposition and the whole conglomerate linked to food production cannot emerge unscathed from this crisis either. of which, apparently, they were unaware of its volume and depth. If they maintain an irreducible position as they have done so far, they will not only be responsible for the rise in prices, but also for the starvation of large sectors and the high level of social conflict that will be associated with it.
Until now, they benefited from the protection of the media companies which dissimulate their responsibilities in this announced drama. But when the famine gets worse and settles in, it will be difficult for the media companies to quell the furious reaction of the hungry.
Some rural chiefs said they were ready to organize a food bank for the most vulnerable. It is true that for them it is more serious, but it is a broader problem for the country. They are blind if they do not see that the discontent of society can ruin their best business.
Many phrases may sound alarmist, but they become reasonable after reading the international press and seeing how local opposition, rural employers and the food industry are hampering all attempts to prevent a tragedy.