Sunday, November 4, 2012

Money and democracy: Yes on Calif Prop 37

I just saw an ad on TV telling me to vote "no" on proposition 37.  I didn't know anything about it.  But they had a doctor in a white coat tell me how bad it would be for me, then some other official looking academic warn me.  Then they had a "small farmer" tell me how expensive it would be and how they would go out of business and how they care so much about me and all the money it would cost me.

I was quite moved by the love and concern these people have for the ordinary man and woman and our children so at the end of the ad I looked at who was paying for this effort to persuade me to vote no against a measure that calls for the labeling of food products.  I was convinced quite quickly which way I should vote.  Among the sponsors are Hershey, Cargill, Con Agra*, Kellogg, General Mills and more.  Pretty obvious then.  I should vote yes on proposition 37.

Proposition 37  “Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as ‘natural.’ Provides exemptions.”Some $34,350,000 has been spent by these corporations opposing the measure.  This is supposed to be democracy in action.  I haven't read all the details about this particular proposition but it is obviously better for us that it passes.  What a massive waste of the wealth our labor creates spending $34 million trying to convince us through lies and deception to vote against our interests (of course, voting for Democrats or Republicans is against our interests also), and this is only one small example.

The approach, that if we pass 37 it'll cost us lots of money for numerous reasons, regulation and that companies will have to charge more to raise money to comply and for lawsuits etc., reminds me of the argument against fighting for higher wages or any social advances. It's obvious the bosses dreamed up that idea. If we do that the bosses will be forced to raise prices they say. This is a no brainer though as bosses, if they can, will raise prices any time the market can bear it. Supply and demand determines whether or not the boss can raises prices, not personal whim.  If the market can't absorb it, then the they eat it in profits.  In other words, their income will be reduced instead of ours.

If 37 passes, the corporations may well try with the help of their political parties and cooperation from the trade Union officialdom, to make us pay for some or part of any cost increases they incur. So simply passing legislation doesn't guarantee much in and of itself.  The struggle against the bosses goes on perpetually and our tactics in that class war also have to change according to the balance of forces and the nature of the war. Taking these giant producers under public ownership and control is one necessary step in improving the way we produce food.

But the hypocritical concern for costs to the taxpayer at some basic regulation is a joke.  We don't hear too much form them about the costs of cleaning up the environment after their factories have poisoned our communities or the trillion dollar costs of the wars abroad.

If you haven't seen it, the movie Food Inc is worth watching for a glimpse in to the dictatorship a corporation has over our economic life as well over agricultural production.

* Not so long ago Cargill was caught damping down, spraying water on grain in order for it to weigh heavier and therefore bring higher prices.

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