A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress. – Herbert Marcuse
As Noam Chomsky pointed out, in both “old” and “new” world orders the central goal has pivoted around the issue of control: “Control of the population is the major task of any state that is dominated by particular sectors of the domestic society and therefore functions primarily in their interest …” Such “particular sectors” as referred to are the minority elite, who pursue controlling strategies to “engineer” nation and international affairs in line with their aims. And these aims are for the most part based on greed and power; and the need to keep the masses contented and docile.
The construction of what Marcuse refers to as democratic unfreedom is often implemented through scientific rationalism. The pattern often adopted is in parading rational thinking as the vehicle in which to present specific agendas most suitable to hierarchical power structures. And it is through the rationalism of the elite technocratic establishment that global governance has found its most articulate expression. One of these forms is corporatism and the rise of the conglomerates (media conglomerates were explored in a previous Truthout article). A particular example of corporatism and social control can be found within global food systems, the ways they are monopolized and managed.
The control and management of global food supplies has been a corporate and political priority for decades, with US-based conglomerates leading the charge. As elite establishment political figure Henry Kissinger remarked in 1970, “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” Recent research places multinational corporations behind the push toward controlling global food supplies.
The 1974 UN World Food Conference in Rome outlined the necessity of maintaining sufficient world grain reserves, especially since the price of world grain had shot up dramatically via the huge increase in oil price during the early 1970s oil crisis (at one point world oil prices had risen by 400 percent). US export strategy in the 1970s was to further control food supplies. This led to moves to consolidate power as 95 percent of all grain reserves in the world were under the control of six multinational agribusiness corporations – Cargill Grain Company; Continental Grain Company; Cook Industries, Inc; Dreyfus; Bunge Company; and Archer Daniels Midland – all US-based companies. The US long-term strategy was to dominate the global market in grain and agriculture commodities, as outlined in the early 1970s by Richard Nixon. This policy coincided with taking the dollar off the gold exchange standard in August 1971 to make US grain exports competitive in the rest of the world. However, in order for the US to become the world’s most competitive agribusiness producer, it had to replace traditional American family-based farming with the now-widespread huge “factory-farm” production. In other words, traditional agriculture was systematically replaced with agribusiness production through changes in domestic policy. For example, domestic farm programs that had previously protected smaller farm incomes were phased out during Nixon’s term in office. This policy was then exported to developing countries in a bid to make US agribusiness more competitive and to get a hold into foreign markets:
The Nixon Administration began the process of destroying the domestic food production of developing countries as the opening shot in an undeclared war to create a vast new global market in “efficient” American food exports. Nixon also used the post-war trade regime known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to advance this new global agribusiness export agenda.
In Henry Kissinger’s 1974 report “National Security Study Memorandum 200” (NSSM 200), he directly targeted overseas food aid as an “instrument of national power.” The policy shifts during the 1970s were toward increased deregulation, which meant increased private regulation by the large and powerful global corporations. This led to an increase in corporate mergers and the rise of transnational corporations (which today often have larger gross domestic products than many nation states).
For anyone who is actually interested on starting something like this.
Highly recommend the embedded ted talk on the same page.