This transcript appears in the October 16, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Schiller Institute Labor Day Conference
War Drive Toward Armageddon, or a
New Paradigm Among Sovereign Nations
United by the Common Aims of Mankind?
September 5-6, 2020
Building Trust in International Relations: The Role of Classical Culture and Combatting World Famine
We present here edited transcripts of six of the speakers in the fourth of four panels of the Schiller Institute’s two-day international conference, Sept 5-6. Reports and transcripts from the first three panels were published in the weeks immediately following the conference. The videos of the entire conference are available here.
Marcia Merry Baker
‘Hunger Pandemic’ Predates COVID-19—
Superpower Action Can Save Lives and Save the Future
This is the edited transcription of the opening remarks by Marcia Merry Baker to the Schiller Institute conference on September 6. Mrs. Baker is an Economics Intelligence Director of EIR. Subheads have been added.
Last year, 2019, was the fifth straight year that hunger had increased in the world. That was before the novel coronavirus had even shown up. One out of every eight people you could call “food insecure,” that is, they didn’t have enough reliable food, or if they had food, it was insufficient. The numbers are 812 million people out of 7.4 billion. Understand: This is a net figure, because China for the same time period had been lifting people up out of poverty and hunger.
So, think about the formal definition of famine. It usually means that 20% of your population in the nation or area do not have enough food to sustain them in life. And you usually think, when you say “famine,” of crop failure, or crop disease, or a flood, or a typhoon; but now, besides strife and warfare, we have refugees, and there is poverty so bad with the pandemic, people cannot even afford to eat.
Many Famines, on Many Continents
So, by this 20% definition of famine, we have many nations in famine on different continents: Afghanistan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and more.
In July, the World Food Program put out the map, Figure 1, of Food Insecurity Hot Spots. It shows where we are six months into the spread of COVID-19. There are some 30 nations you can call “hot spots for hunger.” The World Food Program is the agency that delivers emergency food, but it also delivers the COVID-19 pandemic supplies—the masks, PPE, disaster relief, chemicals. Look at this, continent by continent:
Begin with Africa: On that continent, you see 15 nations shown on the map. The combined number of people in those nations—not their whole populations, but the ones actually needing food—is 154 million.
Go to Asia: There are 6 nations shown from Yemen all the way eastward. The number of people needing food assistance within these nations totals 59 million people.
And then come to the Americas: There are 9 nations shown now. Last year it was 6 before the pandemic. And the number of people in need now is 16 million people; last year it was something like 4.5 million.
We Were Forewarned
This is how bad it is. Now, we were forewarned. Let’s go back a generation. Thirty years ago, in the fall, after a terrible North American drought in 1988, Lyndon LaRouche, with his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche, commissioned a special wing of the Schiller Institute, and it was founded and called the “Food for Peace,” harking back to the previous generation after World War II. It was an effort to shift the economic policy to prevent mass hunger like we see today, and to defend the independent family farming system. People came together in Chicago over Sept. 3-4; and then on Dec. 10, Lyndon LaRouche addressed farmers, diplomats, people from around the world. And here’s what he said:
It is almost as if we can hear a section of the Lord’s Prayer coming up from the developing nations, from the poor of Eastern Europe, from the poor in our own country, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The question is, who is going to answer that prayer? Who is going to be the hand of providence …?
That’s what Lyndon LaRouche said in Chicago to the farmers, and to the people there from around the world.
Now, he spelled out in the ensuing years—he had already spelled it out—what kind of development programs we need with agriculture and industry.
In passing, let me say, within three weeks of his speech in Chicago, “To Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bread,” he was jailed, wrongfully.
The World Food Program
Now here we are today. The World Food Program is now working against mass hunger as never before in its existence, since it was founded in 1961. Here is a staging center in Asia. There are different pre-staging centers on every continent.
In April, the head of the World Food Program, David Beasley, went to the UN Security Council on this worsening picture, and briefed them. And here’s his language:
We’re on the verge of a hunger pandemic. [If] we don’t prepare and act now ... we could be facing multiple famines of Biblical proportions within a short few months. ... [Even before COVID-19,] I was saying that 2020 would be facing the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. … Our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period. This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19.
Then he gave the numbers to the Security Council that I’ve already showed.
OK, so what happened? That was April. I showed you the map in July. At present, 10,000 children a month are dying for lack of food. Each month, a half-million children sink into the condition that we’ve called for years “wasting,” they’re not only not growing, they’re diminishing and wasting away.
Now, what are the amounts of resources needed? The World Food Program is asking for merely $4.9 billion by the end of the year for the food drive itself, and another billion—$965 million, exactly—to cover the logistics of shipping out all of the anti-pandemic supplies.
Here’s where we stand: As of the end of August, towards the $5 billion, you only had $750 million; towards $965 million, you had only $207 million. Way short.
Now leave the money aside, and think of what we really can do! The two food superpowers are the United States and China. The United States is the number-one producer of corn in the world. The United States alone produces 35% of all the planet’s corn harvest. China is the number-two corn producer. China is the number-one producer of rice. Of course, people who live there eat it. But that’s not the issue here: If China and the U.S. would just initiate joint consultations, and work with other nations, the “hunger pandemic” would be over by the end of this year. It doesn’t mean they would supply all the food themselves. It means that over time—month-by-month—and between the Northern and Southern hemispheres’ food seasons and crop seasons, you figure it out, stage the food, commission it, and deliver it. We could feed everyone! And at the same time, we would have the momentum to start changing the whole system, so we never have this hunger pandemic emergency again, ever.
Now, lastly, look at agriculture technology in this perspective. We can look at the two satellite photos of corn in Iowa, the leading corn state in the U.S. and the world, seen in Figure 2. The first scene in July shows lush, green fields, except for the cities; the capital there is Des Moines.
The second space photo, Figure 3, shows the light areas where the cornfields were ruined by a big horizontal storm: they call it derecho, that came through and went across the whole state on Aug. 10. The point is not the bad weather. The point is, we are in the space age. If we can take these photographs from space, it shows you, we can end the famine on Earth. What we have is a policy disaster, not a “natural disaster.”
And that is the point of having a great powers summit. Ending hunger is urgent for the agenda of the Permanent Five of the UN Security Council countries, invited by President Putin to meet soon, and that would be the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain.
Double World Food Production!
Finally, there is one more point about the hunger pandemic. It’s a Big Lie. There’s a Big Lie that, “there is enough food, but it is distributed unfairly.” Now, the unfairness part is true, but the rest is bunk. We really need to double world food production.
Use grain as the metric, and follow the math: The total volume of grain or equivalent you need per year, for direct eating as basic staples—whether it’s noodles or dumplings or tortillas or bread, that you can figure out. Then you add more grain, per person, and then for your population for indirect eating, and that would be for eggs, milk, goat meat, whatever you eat—beef—and then add some for food reserves and wastage, and that totals up to 5 billion tons of grain a year that the Earth could and should produce for 7.5 billion people. And just keep adding on, as we go into the future.
But we are producing less than 3 billion tons; we’re actually more like 2.5 billion.
Now, when I say that, that gives farmers listening a heart attack, because the Big Lie is, also, that if you produce plenty of food, the farmers get stuck, they get ruined because they get lower prices—“supply and demand.” But that’s another fraud.
We have to change these frauds. Nations have the sovereign economic power to determine floor prices or parity prices to their farmers, and to determine that everyone, all their people, eat! That’s physical economy. We have to dump the London,— kind of neo-British East India Company plantation system associated with famine. Get rid of it!
Spread the joy of producing. Save lives. Save the future!