quarta-feira, 4 de junho de 2008

Comentário à matéria da BusinessWeek: Go Ahead, Blame Biofuels

First: ethanol in Brazil is produced out of sugar cane, which is not a food source. Brazilian biofuel thus has no direct impact on food supply. There are problems, though, with this production process, namely the burning of the cane crops to facilitate harvesting, harsh working conditions of cane laborers and soil depletion. Cattle growing in Brazil, as pointed out in the article, utilizes grazing land, not grains. No impact on food supply once again. The downside is deforestation, since that activity is very extensive and occupies large areas. Another aspect of brazilian agriculture is that family-run crops are responsible for most of food supply, while big agribusiness resort to more profitable commodities, such as soy, oriented for export.
It just seems to me that most people fail to realize that the food crisis is yet another manifestation of capitalism crisis. Once you leave all decisions to the "invisible hand" of the market, it's no wonder that while agribusiness corporations and an elite of big farmers celebrate their huge profits, billions of impoverished people face starvation. Let us remember that enough food is produced to feed the world population, distribution is the problem. Another thing to be considered is what late brazilian economist Celso Furtado called the Myth of Economic Development, which states that if every human being were to reach the consumption standards of developed countries, four planets worth of natural resources would be necessary. So, as more people are consuming, the whole paradigm of development is cracking