The Financialization of the Food Chain

Touch the Soil News #338

Years ago, there was a time when most people had a hand in raising their food. Now, with steady migrations towards cities and mega-metropolis’, food has become a virtual reflection of the financial system. Access to food is essentially the story of access to dollars. The triumphs and failures of the financial system – which to a large degree determines the volume and placement of dollars – are reflected in the food chain.

Back in 2012, a group of fast food workers congregated to tell their stories and woes: 1) Taking the subway to work only to be sent home before a shift started. 2) Making $7.25 per hour after 10 years on the job. 3) Getting fired for eating a chicken nugget on the clock. And the list goes on and on. Out of this informal communication among fast food workers, the plight of low wages has landed in the streets and is now on the 2016 election debates.

For years, the debate for raising minimum wage to $10 per hour has raged on. It has been so long with no constructive action, that low-wage Americans have leap-frogged to $15 per hour as the minimum living wage. A recent PRRI poll showed that 76 percent of Americans are in favor of a $10 minimum wage and 59 percent of Americans feel it should be $15. For the political active, the numbers are even more illustrative of the changing sentiment of fighting low wages.

For Republicans, 60 percent favor a $10 minimum wage while only 32 percent favor a $15 minimum wage.

For Independents, 72 percent favor a $10 minimum wage and 58 percent favor a $15 minimum wage.

For Democrats, 91 percent favor a $10 minimum wage and 84 percent favor a $15 minimum wage.

The low-wage environment in America defaults to heavy welfare subsidies. Should those subsidies be used to create jobs and raise wages instead of bureaucracy?

Can the financial system – a system materially inhibited by investor demands – save a nation being torn apart by low wages? Or, is the food chain going to be the platform out of which a new economic and financial system is going to evolve from?

Following is a short video clip featuring Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor. What do you think?

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