HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE ON GHANA RADIO
Solve the Food Crisis with a Just New World Economic Order
Helga Zepp-LaRouche was interviewed on June 5, by Murtala Muntarim, host of "Platform Africa," a radio program from Ghana, which covers both Africa and the Caribbean, with an audience of 60 million (www.myradiogoldlive.com) in Africa. We publish edited excerpts here.
Muntarim: A special guest on Platform Africa this evening will join us, and she is Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, international president of the Schiller Institute and chairperson of the German political party, Civil Rights Solidarity Movement [BüSo], and also she's a journalist for Executive Intelligence Review. Not only that, she's the wife of the American economist and former Democratic Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche....
Good evening Mrs. LaRouche, and thanks for joining us on Platform Africa.
The Schiller Institute: What do you do?
Zepp-LaRouche: The Schiller Institute was founded by me in 1984, with the main purpose to work to establish a just new world economic order. This was basically in the tradition of the Non-Aligned Movement, and we have been working on concrete development plans since the beginning of the '70s, that is, even before the Schiller Institute was founded. For example, already in 1976, we developed a plan to develop Africa through massive investments in infrastructure, and in the meantime, we have developed plans for the development of Latin America, of Eurasia. So, we are really talking about complete reconstruction of the world economy, and that has been the main activity of the Schiller Institute ever since.
The Food Crisis and Free-Trade Liberalism
Muntarim: Okay, good one. Now, let's zoom into the main subject for discussion, the global food crisis. Is there really a food crisis?
Zepp-LaRouche: Oh, absolutely! There is a food shortage, and you have a price problem.
Now, there is a food shortage, because the present world food crisis which has already caused hunger riots to take place in 40 countries, is not just a food crisis, but merely one symptom of the end-phase of the collapse of the financial system. The reason we are in a systemic crisis of the global financial system, is the result of a paradigm shift which took place over the last 40 years, essentially after President Nixon eliminated the fixed-exchange-rate system, shut down the old Bretton Woods system, and gave way to speculation; and ever since, you have had one neo-liberal measure: favoring free trade, favoring the power of speculation, to the disadvantage of production.
Essentially, this has been going on since the latest, 1971, and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when so-called globalization really took over worldwide, and accelerated the free-trade rule. There was also a concerted attack on agricultural production, where the GATT organization, and then later the World Trade Organization [WTO], tried to impose free-trade measures in most parts of the world. That has actually, de facto, led to a decrease of food production, and the lessening of the nourishment of the world population on an average level.
In the last phase, you had already warnings that we would face food riots, which were expressed by the present head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO], Jacques Diouf, last June, warnings which were completely ignored by the international media and politics. And then, when, as my husband predicted would happen, at the end of July 2007, the subprime mortgage crisis triggered the collapse of the global financial system, you had a credit crunch starting in August, and basically then, the central banks decided to bail out their bankrupt banks by pouring in liquidity. This liquidity was then used by hedge funds and speculators to not only speculate in oil and raw materials in general, but especially in food—food production, food processing, food futures. That led to the explosion of inflation in food prices—cereals, milk, meat, depending: between 20, 30, and 40%.
So you have two processes going on at the same time: You have a lowering of actual physical production. That has always been something the free-trade faction—as Friedrich List, the German economist called it, the British imperial free-trade doctrine—what they always wanted: because only if a commodity is scarce, can you really speculate in it.
But then you have, on top of it, now the explosion of speculation, and that is why I have called for immediate measures to intervene. My husband and I have demanded that the WTO should be closed down, because it's trying now to go with the final phase of the Doha Round, eliminating all kinds of protectionist measures. This is just completely insane, in the light of what is happening today. And I have called for the immediate doubling of food production, because we have right now, 1 billion people who are really, seriously, at the starvation level worldwide, and another billion which is undernourished, and that was already the case before this present crisis broke out—
Muntarim: Mrs. LaRouche, we'll come to the solution—but what would you say are the causes?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, there were just very interesting hearings in the American Senate, where a professor with the name of Michael Greenberger gave very important testimony. He put out very concretely which specific hedge funds are driving the prices up, and he named several of them, the worst one of them being Morgan Stanley, but also Merrill Lynch, and he named a whole bunch of others. He said, these are the ones who are hoarding diesel fuel, heating oil; they're betting on futures, food prices to go up.
So, it's very concrete. Consider that the entire food production worldwide is really 90% or so, controlled by five of the major food cartels—you have the absolute criminal control of seeds by Monsanto. You can actually say who these people are. And this Professor Greenberger demanded that they should be banned from the United States.
And then George Soros, at the same hearing, intervened and said: No, this would be very bad, they would leave the United States and go elsewhere. And Professor Greenberger said: Well, let them go, they cannot do any damage to us, if we drive them away.
Then he actually said that he would try to get legislation that they would be hunted around the world, to be shut down. And I think this is exactly what is necessary.
Because what you have right now, is a complete clash between those forces in the world who say, "No, we have to have food security, we have to have food sovereignty; we have to have an increase of production to protect our people." And on the other side, you have those who say, "No, free trade, more trade" to the advantage, naturally, of those people who control the trade. So there is right now a war going on, and I think everybody has to take sides, on which side of this war they are on.
Muntarim: Which side are you on?
Zepp-LaRouche: I'm very clearly on the side of those people who think that the entire system of globalization is an utter failure; that to speculate in food is a crime against humanity. For example, when you have almost a billion people being hungry—hunger is not a joke. I think in your country, people also have a sense of it; in other places it may be even worse! For example, in Haiti, when people were rioting in the streets, they said, "It does not matter if the police shoot us, because if we don't get shot, then we die of hunger anyway." That expresses the level of desperation.
And when the previous Pope John Paul II travelled through Africa some years ago, he said, when people are living in utmost poverty and cannot even have a meal, they cannot have a house to live in, you cannot even talk about "human rights," because the very basis for dignity of people is not there.
So therefore, I'm very happy that at the FAO conference, which is just taking place in Rome, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Olivier de Schutter, called the question of adequate food a human rights question, and he called for a "New Deal" in agriculture worldwide, to provide for adequate food on a national level. And I think that that is what has to become a battle cry for the whole world right now.
Globalization Is Genocide
Muntarim: Now, Mrs. LaRouche, what is your assessment? You early on mentioned the World Trade Organization and so on, but what's your assessment of the World Bank, or the IMF, and of course the World Trade Organization as far as the food situation is concerned?
Zepp-LaRouche: As I said, the neo-liberal model, as it was developed by Nixon, by Kissinger, by Shultz, after '71, and which went through many phases in the '80s—Reaganomics and Thatcher economics, and then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unbridled neo-liberal policies of globalization—this system is utterly bankrupt! It is more bankrupt today than Communism was bankrupt in 1989.
And I think that if you look at the damage that these neo-liberal policies have done, it amounts to genocide: Because, if you look at the world situation, if you would use existing technologies, it would be very easy to overcome world hunger in a very short period of time—maybe half a year, maybe one year; make a crash program to eliminate poverty maybe in five years, and to have a decent living standard for all human beings on this planet in one generation. And if you're not doing it, when you could do it, well, I think that that is a crime! And I think that these people who are pushing these policies for the advantage of very few, are really criminals—that is my honest conviction.
I mean, if you look at how, with globalization, the very rich, the billionaires, have become more rich, but that in all parts of the world, the majority of the people—80-90% in most places, 60-70% in other places, have become poorer and poorer, then this system is clearly not just, and it has to be changed! I think we have to have an urgent agenda, to put a just new world system on the agenda of world governments right now.
Muntarim: And for clarification, Mrs. LaRouche, you're saying that this neo-liberal model that you talked about, the effect of the neo-liberal model or globalization amounts to genocide?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, I think, if you look at the realities, there can be no question about it. This all goes back to the British Empire. And if you look, for example, at the writings of Friedrich List, who was a German economist—he was the author of the Customs Union; and he, when he went in 1825 to the United States, made the sharp difference between the American System of economy going back to Alexander Hamilton, that the aim of the economy must be the common good of the people; and he contrasted that with the British system, which was only benefitting the imperial power of Great Britain at the time, then I think you can really see that there is an unbroken tradition which today governs globalization. And if you look at the fact that 80% of all hedge funds have their headquarters in the Cayman Islands, which belongs to the Commonwealth, then you can actually see who is running these policies.
Friedrich List, in 1827, actually accused Adam Smith that he only wrote his books not to educate people, but to confuse them, to the benefit of England, to make the aims nebulous. I think that that is still true today. Because people use all kinds of nice words, they say "appropriate technologies," they say "renewable energies," but what it amounts to is really a system which benefits only a very few speculators and is at the disadvantage of the vast majority of mankind today.
Muntarim: Mrs. LaRouche, how true is the assertion that the Food and Agriculture Organization did a forecast in October of last year, of a situation like this, and made plans to avert the present situation? I know you're in the North, but what went wrong, really? Why do we have this crisis, if the FAO knew about it, if there were warning signals?
Zepp-LaRouche: It is at least appropriate to ask a couple of questions, because Jacques Diouf, the head of the FAO, warned in June last year about food crises; he warned again in October. And from October onward, you had food riots in 40 countries. In December, he basically asked for $17 million worth of food aid to buy seeds for the poorest farmers in different countries, and he could not manage to get the money together. So in April, Mr. Diouf accused the rich countries of not wishing to help the poor countries, and it was only at the end of April when the IMF and World Bank had their annual conference, that all of a sudden you had a big discussion about food riots, with TV coverage and so forth.
But then, one has to ask the question, why was this information being suppressed? Why was it only revealed after the Spring seeding season was over and it was too late? Now there is a big scramble to get the seeds for the next season, in the Fall.
But I cannot help having in mind that you have Malthusians, you have people who have been advertising for a long time that the world population should be reduced to 2 billion people or even less. You have organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, and you have Prince Philip, of all people, the husband of the Queen of England, who is on the record—and you can go to the Internet and look it up, there's tons of quotes from him, where he said that he believes the world population is too big. And there's this famous quote, where he said if he's reincarnated, he wants to be reincarnated as an especially deadly virus, so that he can help to solve the population problem more efficiently. You have many other people who are Malthusian in their argumentation. So, I cannot separate such statements by relatively powerful individuals from the effect this policy has. And then, one comes to the conclusion: Maybe there is an element of intent in all of that.
Or, at the minimum, one can say that it's just an oligarchical view, where some of these people who are in leading positions, could not care less about if hundreds of millions of people are dying of hunger, because they just think there are too many people anyway, and the oligarchical system basically thinks that it's only the oligarchical elite which deserves a good life, and the majority of people are no better than human cattle.
So, I think one has to have a very hard look at the motives, and naturally then you have other people who are just greedy, and they couldn't care less if people die as a result of their greed, and I think that in that situation, it must be sovereign governments which come forward and protect the common good of the people against the speculators.
And I think that, in a certain sense, this crisis is not an accidental crisis, but it is the result of a completely wrong economic philosophy.
What Can Africa Do?
Muntarim: These neo-liberal forces that you talk about are powerful forces. What do you think those of us here in Africa can do? Because at the end of the day, we're at the receiving end: What can a continent like Africa do, about such a situation that you describe?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, unfortunately, right now, Europe is not a positive factor in this picture, because the present trend to impose the European Union Treaty on Europe, the so-called Lisbon Treaty, means that Europe is assuming an almost imperial attitude. So I'm not positive about Europe as such—I hope to defeat this oligarchical structure, and that we go back to sovereign nation-states, in Europe, but that is not the situation right now.
My husband, Mr. LaRouche, has advocated for a long time, that because of the tremendous power of the international financial institutions, that only if you had the four most powerful nation-states in the world, that is, Russia, China, India, but also a changed United States—that only if these four governments get together and put a new world financial system on the agenda, in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Bretton Woods system, and then have other nations group around that, that you have a chance to really address this problem.
Now, as you know, China, foremost, and to a lesser extent India, and also Russia, and in the last period also Japan, have taken a different attitude to African development. For example, China has done a lot of very useful infrastructure projects. Naturally China benefits also, because it gets raw materials, but what is wrong if both sides benefit?
You know, there is a big freakout in Europe about that, and in some quarters in the United States. But my view is, nobody prevented Europe from doing exactly the same thing that China is doing, namely to help build infrastructure. And I think that is definitely something which should be strengthened; I think it was very good that at the recent conference in Yokohama at the end of May in Japan, where 52 African nations participated, there was the plan made to double food production in Africa. And also Russia has announced a new five-year farm food plan, which is supposed to overcome the food shortage which developed in Russia in the '90s, in the Yeltsin period. And the new government of Putin, and now Medvedev, they want to not only have food self-sufficiency in Russia, but they also want to make Russia a major exporter of food.
Russia also has offered international cooperation for every country in the whole world which wants to develop peaceful nuclear energy; I think this is very positive, and I'm very happy that Ghana is planning to develop its own peaceful nuclear energy. So all of these are very important steps.
But I think what really is needed, and this will become clearer in the next month, probably before the Fall: that the financial crisis will accelerate at an unprecedented speed. And therefore, I think that nothing short of putting the question of a new financial architecture on the table is going to help. And my proposal is to discuss this now among many countries.
For example, I think it would be very good if the African countries would develop a coherent plan for African development. I have basically suggested that the African Union should adopt one plan, and just tell the whole world what is needed to overcome the underdevelopment. For example, if you look at the map of Africa, there are no, or almost no ports; there is no railway from the north to the south, or the east to the west. And if you don't have infrastructure, an integrated system of railways, of highways, of waterways, of irrigation, of desalination, of food processing, of food irradiation, you cannot even have agriculture! Because if you don't have this infrastructure, there is no way you can even process the food, even if you would have a good harvest.
I suggest that people should take a look at the map of Europe (Figure 1), and then you see how tight the infrastructure is: You can go by ship from the Black Sea, through the Danube system, through canals to the Rhine; then you can go to a major port, you ship your containers to rail systems, you bring them by trucks in the last part of the whole transport: That kind of integrated infrastructure grid is what Africa needs.
So if you African countries would just get together and say, "For the sake of us all, we put all bilateral tensions aside, we put all difficulties which existed from the colonial period and are relics from a period which is really not our fault, but leftovers from the colonial time—we put all of this aside," and say: "What is the infrastructure plan Africa needs?" And then we present it as a unity, maybe through the African Union, to the world. And invite people, and say, "Look, are you helping us to develop, to overcome this?" Because I think the world has reached a moment where either we have all together, the human family as one family, all together the moral fiber to put the political and economic order of this planet in cohesion with natural laws, with the real laws of the universe, or else we will also will go down in a Dark Age.
The Idea of the Eurasian Land-Bridge
So I think it's the moment which is really a make or break for generations to come! And either we use this moment, and say, "This is now the time to really overcome problems of the past" and have a crash program; and we have developed this idea of the Eurasian Land-Bridge—I don't know if you're familiar with it, but for the sake of your listeners, let me briefly outline it.
When the Iron Curtain came down, in '89, and especially in '91, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, we said: Okay, now there is no reason why we should not integrate the entire Eurasian continent through an integrated system of development corridors, railways, highways, waterways; make these development corridors 100 km wide, put in communications systems, put in energy production and distribution; and therefore, develop the infrastructure in the landlocked areas of Eurasia and make these areas as profitable and productive as those which normally are only located at oceans or river systems, and connect the population and industry centers of Europe with those of Asia. (See Figure 2.)
Now this proposal we first made in '89, and then we developed it more in '91. And for a long time, we were like "crying out in the wilderness"; we were at hundreds of conferences, in Delhi, in Beijing, in Moscow, and many other places. And now, in the last couple of years, a lot of these projects are now coming into being: For example, the Russian government is planning to build a huge railway connecting the Trans-Siberian Railway all the way through the Bering Strait, a 100-km tunnel underneath the ocean, connecting it to Alaska.
Now, if this project is completed, which the Russian government wants to have completed in about 20 years, then it would be easier to travel from Chile by train, via the Bering Strait, or to Mumbai in India; it would be faster than to go by ship across the ocean.
Now, there are a couple of such projects which really would make a complete transformation of the world economy, and there is tremendous momentum among China, India, and Russia, who have formed a strategic partnership, and we have proposed, already from the beginning, from '91 on, that this Eurasian Land-Bridge should be connected through Egypt into Africa; then we want to build a tunnel or a bridge from Sicily to Tunisia, and another line should go via Gibraltar. And that way, you would bring this Eurasian development into Africa, and connect it with an all-African infrastructure grid.
I think that that is the way to go! That has to be discussed among governments, there should be conferences, people should start to work on details of the plan. But I think the upcoming conference of the UN General Assembly in September should be the place where all of these discussions about the just, new world economic order, and how it would look concretely, through the Worldwide Land-Bridge, should be put on the agenda. Because the alternative is a collapse of civilization, and that is not acceptable.
Muntarim: Whether it's going to be placed on the agenda of the upcoming UN General Assembly, in September, is another issue, isn't it?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think that depends on the courage of a couple of leading forces, and I'm not so pessimistic. Because, you see, last month, there was a very important meeting in Yekaterinburg, in Russia, where the foreign ministers of Russia, China, and India met, and then the next day they included the foreign minister of Brazil. And they are planning to have other countries associated with it—South Africa, Mexico, and so forth. And I think there is a motion, where many Asian countries realize that they have to change course. Because they are vulnerable in the collapse of the financial system, and if they don't take measures to protect themselves, they face terrible crises, too.
So, I think we are really in a changing period, a revolutionary period, and I think it's time for new and bold ideas.
A Global 'New Deal'
Muntarim: Now, Mrs. LaRouche, the UN Food and Agriculture summit is ongoing in Rome. Do you have hope that they may turn things around somewhat?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think what happened in Rome so far, is exactly what I thought would happen, namely that the dividing line is very clear. You had people such as Robert Zoellick from the American delegation, who went to the summit and said exactly what was to be expected: that there should be more free trade. And he offered short-term food aid, but with the completion of the Doha Round attached to it. Then you had other people going in the same direction.
But you had also a whole bunch of people who spoke very differently: the representative of Kazakstan, for example, who announced a very ambitious program to increase food production in Kazakhstan. And he said: For us, the end of free trade is really what has happened.
Then, as I said, the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the United Nations, de Schutter—he is the successor of Mr. Jean Ziegler, who actually called biofuels a "crime against humanity"—so this Mr. de Schutter made a very good speech, by introducing a resolution, saying that the whole food issue has to be treated as a human rights issue. He quoted all the articles of the UN Charter, why food security is a human right, and then he demanded a New Deal in agriculture. And you know what a "New Deal" means: It refers to the policy of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which he introduced in 1933 when he became President, and when the United States was in a deep Depression. And with the New Deal, Roosevelt, at the time, brought the United States out of this Depression, by simply giving state credits to anybody who wanted to produce something useful.
We have been campaigning for a New Deal and a New Bretton Woods for many years, and I have myself issued several calls for a New Bretton Woods system, which have been signed by hundreds of VIPs around the world. And there has been a discussion for a New Deal for Europe by the new finance and economics minister of Italy, Giulio Tremonti. Then the former President and now prime minister of Russia, Putin, has called for a New Deal for Russia. [Former] President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina has called for a New Deal for Latin America. So there is a debate, and I think we need just to have more discussion about this.
Muntarim: Now, Mrs. LaRouche, still on the UN Food and Agriculture summit held in Rome: The U.S. says biofuels contribute 3% to the prices we are having in the global food crisis, and the UN says, no, they contributes 65%. Biofuels: How much of an issue is it? How important is it, how essential is it to the global food crisis?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it is important, because if you consider that with one tank full of biofuel, in one single car—one simple filling of your tank—a human being can live half a year or more! So, at a point when you have a billion people going hungry every day, I think it is perverse, and degenerate, and insane, and immoral, to use food for fuel! It's just not right!
First of all, economically, it's stupid, because you are not saving the environment one bit. All you are doing is helping the speculator. And if you would stop using food for biofuel, worldwide, immediately, you could feed 500 million people with that! Now for me, that is not a little issue, it's a big issue. It's not the totality of the problem, but it's one of the immediate measures one could do to help to solve the problem.
Muntarim: You're saying this issue of biofuels, the world continuing with biofuels is economically foolhardy. And here we are, the representative of the United States at the UN Food and Agriculture summit in Rome, says it's going to continue. So where does that lead the world?
Zepp-LaRouche: Oh, fortunately this gentleman is not the only American! You know, I issued this call for food doubling in May, and if you go on the Internet, you got to www.larouchepac.com website, or you go the Schiller Institute website, www.schillerinstitute.org/food_for_peace/hzl_double_food.html, you find there a list of the people who have signed my call in the meantime. And you will find that there are many elected American officials, both acting state representatives, former state senators, many trade unionists, mayors, city council members—and it is actually a growing movement worldwide. For example, just today, I got the message that eight sitting congressmen of the PRD party in Mexico have signed my call; the head of the leading agriculture research university; a leading trade union in Mexico; the head of the agriculture commission in the parliament of Argentina. There are many websites in Russia; many signers from other Latin American countries; we have an agricultural commission in Europe, of farmers who absolutely agree with me.
So it's a growing mobilization, and we are not looking at countries just as the official elected officials, but we are trying to take up the interest of the lower 80% of the population, who need somebody who defends their interest. And I think we are in a situation where that question is going to be decisive. Because it's the system of the financial oligarchy which is failing right now.
So if you think about what it means, when I say that the globalization system is more bankrupt today than Communism was in '89-'91—nobody would have ever thought that the Soviet Union would collapse, except my husband, who already predicted that it would happen, in 1983, where he said, if the Soviet Union continues with their then-existing policies, they would collapse after five years. And it did take six years, so he was off by one year, but he was on the record of having predicted it absolutely precisely.
So, I think that we are, right now, in a situation where you will see that all the schemes which people thought would work are not going to work, and there will be a tremendous opportunity to use this crisis to change a system which needs to be changed anyway. The Chinese have a character for the word "crisis" and it means at the same time, "a chance." And I think that's the way to look at it: Use the crisis as a chance to correct what was wrong for a long time.
Doubling World Food Production
Muntarim: Interesting suggestion.
Mrs. LaRouche, you just scratched the surface in telling about your campaign for doubling of food production. But tell us more: What exactly is the campaign about and how effective is it?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it is very effective, because my call for doubling of food production has been published by many countries. For example, last Sunday, the official Egyptian state paper Al Ahram had on their front page a picture of President Mubarak, a picture of myself, a picture of EIR, our magazine which you just mentioned, and it reports extensively about my call to double food production; and then basically says this is exactly the line with which President Mubarak would go to the FAO conference in Rome. And then the next day, on Monday, they had more coverage, discussing more details of my proposal. Then this proposal was published by almost every major newspaper in the Gulf states, in Bahrain, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia; and in Syria. As I said, in many Russian webpages; then you have a huge discussion about it in Latin America.
And we are continuing with this campaign until it becomes the dominant issue, because it's the only answer to the present system. The free-trade faction says, "Africa should develop cash crops and export food." Why? So that then the African countries could pay their foreign debt! Now, I think this is totally crazy. I think what needs to be done first, is you have to have food security, you have to have national sovereignty, and I think if you now look how many forces are echoing—maybe they were inspired by what I said, maybe they came independently to the same conclusion, it doesn't matter—you have a growing movement of people who are talking the same way I'm talking. For example, at the FAO conference, the Chinese minister of agriculture, Mr. Sun Zhengcai, also blasted the biofuels, and also talked about food security for all as a fundamental human right. And basically demanded the eradication of hunger, malnutrition, on a global level.
Then you had President Wade of Senegal, who also spoke at the FAO conference, and he is now proposing a "Great Green Wall," to be built 7,000 km, from Dakar to Djibouti, to have a 5-km wide green strip across the desert, with trees, to create a new "green lung," and in this way, to fight against the climatic changes in a meaningful way. And alongside the Great Green Wall, he is planning to build water-capture basins, because a large quantity of the water is lost by evaporation. Then Japan wants to help Africa to make the same kind of Green Revolution as Asia did in the '60s.
I could probably add a lot of more people. For example, the Russian agriculture minister, Alexei Gordeyev, who is by the way a clear opponent of the WTO, he is also pushing to increase food production.
So, all I'm saying is, while this is all not yet a coherent policy, all of a sudden, after many years of supposed globalization, during which people would say there is no alternative to globalization, what you're seeing now is a very broad discussion of many countries and forces in the world, who want to go back to the pre-GATT, pre-WTO kind of a system.
For example, even in Europe, which as I said, is not in the greatest condition right now because of the European Union bureaucracy, you have a very important discussion by the French agriculture minister, Michel Barnier, who is defending the European Common Agricultural Policy, which is essentially a protectionist system, which comes from the era of Adenauer and de Gaulle. And he's supported by Horst Seehofer, the German agriculture minister, by Luca Zaia, the Italian agriculture minister, and Barnier actually proposed the same system of the CAP, a joint African Common Agricultural Policy, modelled on the European one, for Africa, for Latin America, and so forth.
So I think that there is plenty of motion, and I think it is very, very important that people in Ghana and other African countries really follow this, because this is a big change which is occurring right now.
A Hyperinflationary Disaster
Muntarim: And there's another dimension that I want you to look at, Mrs. LaRouche, as far as the global food crisis is concerned, and that is the crude oil price spike on the global market. How does it relate to the food crisis?
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, obviously the speculators have jumped in the oil in the same way. And if you have oil prices of now $135-plus per barrel—I don't know what the last was today. But, remember, that an oil price of $25 is neutral to the economy. People were saying for a long time, if the oil price would go up to $50, this would detonate things. And then they said, "Oh no, if it goes to $80, that's the end." "If it goes $100, that's the end." Now, we're at $135 and people are predicting it may go up to $200, and obviously, this is fueled by the speculators and also the fact that fossil fuels are becoming less available.
So you have a clear need to think about a different energy source, and the obvious way to go, is peaceful nuclear energy, and there in particular, I think the high-temperature reactor, the pebble-bed reactor, which is right now developed by South Africa and by China, is the direction to look in. Because this is an inherently safe variety of nuclear energy, because it was designed to shut down if there is the slightest irritation, and nothing can ever happen.
But, I think more fundamentally, I think one has to really consider the fact that we are right now, globally, in a hyperinflationary explosion, which can be only compared to what happened in Germany in 1923. Now, in 1923, when Germany was forced, by the Versailles Treaty, to come up with the entire cost of reparations for World War I. Even no historian today would maintain that Germany was the only guilty party for World War I; nevertheless, the Versailles Treaty imposed all of this debt payment and reparations on Germany. So then, the Reichsbank started to print money, disregarding the strength of the German economy, and then in 1923, this whole thing exploded and you had from the Spring of '23, when one pound of bread would cost maybe 1 Reichsmark, it went up to 5, to 100, to 1,000, to 1 million, to a billion; and then in November it became so absurd, that people were literally pushing money with wheelbarrows to the baker, because half an hour later the inflation would force the price up again. And then in November, it came to an end.
Now, because of globalization, what you see right now, is that that hyperinflation is developing around the globe, in every single country of the planet. And as long as the central banks, starting with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, have responded to the banking crisis by pouring liquidity into the market, by trying to bail out the banks who are sitting on three-digit trillion sums of toxic waste of worthless paper, which they cannot sell, because if they start selling them, it would turn out that they're worth almost nothing. And therefore, as long as the central banks are trying to bail out these banks by pouring in liquidity, this is fueling the hyperinflation.
And therefore, this is not going to get any better, it's going to get worse. And if we are to avoid a terrible catastrophe from this hyperinflationary explosion, then the only measure is to do what my husband has proposed for a long time, namely, to have an emergency conference on the level of heads of state, to declare the present system to be bankrupt, and to go for a reorganization, and create a new system in the tradition of Roosevelt's old Bretton Woods.
So, that is the only solution. And then you have to have a ban on speculation. I think speculation on raw materials, and especially food, but also basic raw materials like energy, like gas, like oil—this should not be allowed! Why should something be allowed which only fills the pockets of a few speculators, but which is, as a consequence, killing people? I think it is up to the governments to make laws—and as I already said earlier, there was a very important hearing in the American Senate which started to take up this question. So I think this is all now going to be on the table, sooner or later, and you will see dramatic changes.
Questions from the Audience
Muntarim: Mrs. LaRouche, somebody wants to know: "How do I join your campaign, if I want to? Is there a specific website address, and if I'm in Ghana, how do I join your campaign?"
Zepp-LaRouche: First of all, you can contact us on the Internet. You can either join the American Schiller Institute, www.schillerinstitute.com, or you can join the German one, www.schiller-institut.de; we have a Danish one, we have a Swedish one. Actually the Schiller Institute exists in, I would say, almost 60 countries around the world, in different forms. We have conferences, we have all kinds of political activities, all kinds of campaigns. You can sign my call for doubling the food production, you can help us to sponsor conferences in your countries. There's a whole bunch of things: Write us an e-mail, get in contact with us! Spread the idea, take my call, print it out, and distribute it to the parliamentarians of your country. Collect signatures from trade unionists; bring it to the attention of agriculture professors at universities, organize students, get young people to discuss this.
This is very important: We have a worldwide youth movement, the LaRouche Youth Movement, which exists on five continents. These are young people who follow the ideas especially of my husband, and we basically think this is not a question of just us elderly people—I don't know how old you are! [laughs] But it's the question of the youth! The youth have to live the next 50, 70, 80 years, and it is their right to decide too: What kind of a world do they want to live in? Do they want to live in the kind of world which Bush and Cheney have created, by calling for 100 years of war against terrorism? No, I don't think young people want to live in 100 years of war. I think young people have a right to decide themselves, what should be the economic policies, how should the countries be organized. So, get young people to join. Make student meetings, have discussions, download from the Internet from our websites articles which have lots of background.
Muntarim: Let me quickly open the phone lines.... There's a text message here. "A question for Mrs. LaRouche: The CO2 regulations being pushed down on the developing countries makes development very difficult. But aren't these so-called global warming measures just another neo-colonial scheme, to prevent development for developing countries?" This one is from Benjamin in Denmark. What's your take on that, Mrs. LaRouche, on this CO2?
Zepp-LaRouche: Yes, I think absolutely, it is a neo-colonial scheme. There are climate changes, absolutely, but they have been taking place as long as our planet has existed: You have ice ages, you have warming periods, you have small ice ages, you have small warming periods. And these changes depend on the constellation of the Earth and the Sun, the angle of the Earth's axis to the Sun, different rays, the position of our Solar System in the larger Milky Way galaxy; and these are cycles which are 100,000 years, 40,000 years, 20,000 years long. And they're repeating all the time. So there have been periods where you could grow vineyards in northern Ireland; there have periods where there were giraffes in the Sahara, which was a blooming countryside at that time.
So all these changes really have nothing to do with man's activity. And as a matter of fact, if you take the CO2 effect on the global weather changes—I always use the image of a huge elephant, which is the cyclical stellar causes for climate change—and then you have a tiny little fly sitting on the head of the elephant, and that is the CO2 emissions coming from man.
So it's a swindle. And then, if you know, for example, that Al Gore is actually the CEO of two hedge funds, speculating in CO2 emissions, then you have a first glance at what is really at stake.
Muntarim: Interesting. A text message, Mrs. LaRouche, from Simon in Botswana, says, "What does Mrs. LaRouche think of bio-regionalism? What she says is not much different from the worst aspects of globalization. Massive structures, nuclear destruction of small, fragile eco-systems." Your response?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think that obviously, the way to protect the environment is by using modern technology. And obviously, we want to be very careful about protecting what needs to be protected. But you know, there is a fundamental difference between human beings and animals. The human being is different from all other species by his and her ability to come up with new scientific, universal principles, which then, if they are adequate, and they are valid, are called scientific progress. And if you apply the scientific progress in the production, then this leads to an increase in the living standard of the population, and the longevity of the people.
Now, that is actually a law of the universe. Because you have to have increasing rates of energy flux-density in the production process, because whenever you halt, then sooner or later, you come to the limits of that particular level. And then you have the absolute necessity to come up with an invention which increases the productivity and which increases the power of man in nature.
Now, if man had stayed at the same level, then already maybe 20,000 years ago, or 10,000 years ago, when the population potential of the Earth was maybe 5 million people, there would have come a collapse of the whole development. But because man was then able to develop agriculture, he was able to develop the use of fossil fuels, of the steam engine, and now we are reaching even higher energy-densities with the potential of nuclear energy, and soon, hopefully, fusion energy. And then we can move to not only using waste to retransport it into new raw materials, but we can create new isotopes, and actually move into completely different regime of production. And I think we are really at the beginning of a development of humankind.