Do foodies need to know about capitalism? Eric Holt-Giménez of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) introduces his new book. Visit foodfirst.org/foodiesguide for more information.
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become “commonwealths,” and colonies become “territories” or “dominions” (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, “commonwealths” too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of “national defense,” “national security,” and maintaining “stability” in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.
There is a “mystery” we must explain: How is it that as corporate investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. What do we make of this?
Lately we have been hearing a great deal about “blowback.” But the real menace we face today is global rollback. The goal of conservative rulers around the world, led by those who occupy the seats of power in Washington, is the systematic rollback of democratic gains, public services, and common living standards around the world.
‘[For us] it is one thing to remain a good friend, but too close an embrace will lead Americans and others to resurrect the “deputy sheriff” tag. The Americans have always put their own interests first and will continue to do so; we should follow their example. American interests will not always be the same as Australian and vice versa. The bottom line, however, is the domestic political one. Australians are afraid of the outside world and convinced of their inability to cope with it. Any Australian government which suggested that we do without a great and powerful friend to look after us would have to consider the electoral implications.’ — Source: Cavan Hogue — fmr. Ambassador and Dep. Permanent Representative when Australia was last on the UN Security Council. He has also served as head of mission in Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and Bangkok, along with other posts. He is an Adjunct Professor in International Communication at Macquarie University, Sydney.
As a candidate for president, Donald Trump claimed he wanted a better deal for U.S. workers. Surprise! Oh, okay, that he was lying really isn’t a surprise at all. Far from a “better deal,” the Trump administration is now offering a North American version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Every day we are faced with numerous choices, some relating to practical issues and others based on more complex psychological demands – how to react, what to say and do. Whilst on the face of it choices appear to have been made, in the main we react habitually; many if not all of our decisions proceed from the past, and are in fact unconscious, conditioned responses to the challenges of the day.
In cities and towns from New Delhi to New York the socio-political policies that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster in west London are being repeated; redevelopment and gentrification, the influx of corporate money and the expelling of the poor, including families that have lived in an area for generations. To this, add austerity, the privatization of public services and the annihilation of social housing and a cocktail of interconnected causes takes shape. Communities break up, independent businesses gradually close down, diversity disappears and another neighbourhood is absorbed within the expensive homogenized collective.
Imperialism, explains renowned economist Jayati Ghosh – whether explicit or implicit – is about the struggle to control economic territory such as markets, workers & labor, natural resources and new kinds of markets that are developed.