Thanks for posting this. You seem to present it, though, as if
"mainstream" is what most 'mainstream' Missouri farmers are thinking. I
think if you take a good look at this text you will find that it consists
of the same hired corporate hype that is being used in the current "bash
organics" campaign and is part of the the revenge of certain sectors
against those who would dare to question the wisdom of the brave new world
of "free market/free tade" and biotechnology. (see comments interspersed
>Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 21:05:42 -0500
>Subject: WTO - Mainstream View
>Found this account of WTO in the Missouri Ruralist, Feb 2000. This is
>the view that mainstream agriculture accepts and reports. I would
>propose the title might be changed from Behind the Scenes to Behind the
> BEHIND THE SCENES
> Brave new world
> Seattle shows reason must rule
> By Joann Alumbaugh
>Demonstrators at the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle last month
>did a grave disservice to millions of poverty-stricken, undernourished
>people throughout the world. When they finished fraying the fragile
>thread between member countries,
It was not the demonstrators in the streets that "frayed the fragile
threads" holding the WTO together, but the arrogance of the powerful
countries in trying to oppose the corporate free trade agenda without any
concessions to the interests and needs of the developing countries.
>they went back to their hotel rooms or
>warm, dry homes and ate food - food that was heated in an appliance or
>kept cold with refrigeration. Food that was purchased at a nearby store
>or fresh from a market. They didn't need to worry whether it was safe or
>fresh when they bought it
What food in unsafe and not fresh? Not the food in the local markets of
most 'third world countries'. The unsafe stuff is the industrialized, mass
produced and overprocessed junk the food industry is trying to convince us
as being 'the safest food system in the world.' So called free trade, i,e,
dumping corporate industrial foods at subsidized prices on local economies,
undermines local farmers destroys those local markets.
- that's a given.
>The people dressed in butterfly suits and turtle shells may have naively
>thought they were "protecting" the meek, In reality, their arrogance and
>ignorance set back a policy that could have paved the way for universal
>guidelines on world food production.
>We need a sensible, reasonable approach to world trade, something our own
>national leaders, not to mention a noisy group of activists, seem
>incapable of grasping.
>When activists find an audience, either live or through television
>cameras, their carefully orchestrated demonstrations have a significant
>impact on an unassuming public.
What is the relative impact of the occasional demonstrating that actually
get their message into the media once and a while and the billions of (tax
deductible) dollars poured into adverstising corporate products. (500
corporations control 90% of world adverstising)
We've seen it happen with a number of
>"scares" that turned out to be unjustified.
>Somehow, sound science, knowledge and reason must prevail if America
>hopes to continue as a major provider in a global food system.
Key word, folks, "sound science"; this means unless you can line up the
bodies and show that some corporate technology is outrageously toxic then
you can't stop it from being 'exported' because that would be an impediment
to free trade. The US wants to force feed GMOs on Europe and the rest of
the world on the argument that there is no "sound science" to justify
Maybe America should stop being a "major provider in a global food system"
and concentrate on recovering quality in its own food system. Meanwhile,
let farmers all over the world rebuild their own local systems, then we
can see what we need to trade among countries.
>relationships we form with other countries must hinge on trust,
>cooperation and inter-dependency.
The Seattle talks collapsed because the powerful countries refuse to
recognized these principles of cooperation and interdependency-
A food system with these qualities at
>its core will have the potential to dramatically reduce world hunger and
>stimulate sustainable economic
>growth for all countries.
What qualities are those? Corporate 'free trade' policies have
dramatically increased world hunger during the past two decades due to
increasing economic inequality and the undermining of local farmers who
provided affordable food security.
>Rising standards of living throughout the world make it possible for
>people to upgrade their diets with more protein, dairy products,
>vegetables and fruit.
>The long-term goal is to help developing countries gain the knowledge and
>expertise to improve their own capabilities to grow food. That will allow
>economic growth to enhance demand for value-added products.
Developing country farmers *have* the knowledge they need to feed
themselves and their growing populations and they have had it for
centuries. They don't need o
so-called free trade, or high technology, they need to be protected from
dumping by food corporations in the name of free trade and environmentally
insensitive 'development' technology.
>We have two choices for growing additional food: make more land available
>for growing crops
We already produce 50% more food than we need to eradicate world hunger.
The problem is only 20% of the world's population can afford to buy most of
or better utilize the land that's already in
>production. Science and technology make it possible to maximize the
>latter without sacrificing health, safety or the environment.
´Science and technology' if by that you means agrochemicals and
biotechnology, have not done a particularly impressive job of 'better
utilizing the land or protecting health, safety and the environment'. They
have been great for corporate profits, however.
>We obviously need thorough research of new technologies and farming
>practices, and they must be performed under practical conditions that
>mimic "real world" situations. We feel these criteria can be met within
>a framework of reasonable risk.
OK. Which ones are the risky technologies?
>Historic change, like the one we just experienced on the calendar, is
>shifting the baseline, forcing us to reevaluate some of the paradigms
>we've accepted in the past. If you want to survive, you don't fight
>change. You adapt to it. In the long run, adaptability and flexibility
>are your greatest strengths.
> JOANN ALUMBAUGH is the executive editor of Kansas Farmer.
> Her e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
This isn't mainstream anything, it's just more paid corporate flack.
Mexico, D.F. & San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
Tel. y FAX 525-666-73-66 (DF)
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