1960s >> 1969 >> no-784-december-1969

More Food Destroyed

Farmers in East Anglia are in a fix because they have grown “too many” beans. The climate there allows them to grow French dwarf beans which they sell to processing firms for freezing. Ten years ago production was limited because the beans had to be picked by hand. Now there are machines to do this. These, coupled with this year’s good summer, have brought the disaster of a bumper crop—and a bumper crop under capitalism is a disaster more often than not. The beans cannot be sold at profitable prices and so are being ploughed into the ground.

The Financial Times (29 August), which reported this example of the destruction of food to preserve profits, says the farmers are “sore at having to waste so much good food”.

No doubt they are. We hope this episode will lead them, and others, to reflect on the absurdity of the capitalist profit system which demands that food be destroyed despite half the world being hungry.

Ploughing-in food is just one of the more dramatic ways in which the fetter capitalist ownership places on production is shown up. The world could produce enough food to feed everybody, but capitalism will not allow this because it would not be profitable.