fbpx Uprooted: The Impact of Free Market on Migrants The Blame Game: Who is Behind the World Food Price Crisis? | The Oakland Institute
Skip to main content Skip to footer

Uprooted: The Impact of Free Market on Migrants The Blame Game: Who is Behind the World Food Price Crisis?

Rufino Dominguez, coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB, Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binationales) says there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S. – 300,000 in California alone. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are uprooting and displacing Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where indigenous people still speak their native languages. “There are no jobs, and NAFTA made the price of corn so low that it’s not economically possible to plant a crop anymore,” Dominguez says. “We come to the U.S. to work because we can’t get a price for our product at home. There’s no alternative.”

As he points out, U.S. trade and immigration policy are linked together. They are part of a single system, not separate and independent policies. The negotiation of NAFTA was in fact an important step in the development of this relationship.

The collapse of the Doha Round of global trade talks in Geneva marks a victory for small farmers and workers in developing countries whose governments stood up to the pressure and arm twisting tactics of the U.S. and the EU over the last week.

The rich nations, along with the International Financial Institutions such as the WTO, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, presented the rapid conclusion of the Doha negotiations as a solution to the current food price crisis. However, it is widely recognized that opening of markets, removal of tariffs, and withdrawal of state intervention in agriculture, has turned developing countries from net food exporters to net food importers and burdened them with huge import bills. This process which leaves the poor dependent on uncertain and volatile global markets for their food supply, has wiped out millions of livelihoods and placed nearly half the humanity at the brink of hunger and starvation.

Click Here to Read Oakland Institute's Statement on the Collapse of the Doha Talks

The Blame Game: Who is Behind the World Food Price Crisis?: shows how presenting the food price crisis in terms of an imbalance between demand and supply and to hand pick a few countries responsible for it, is a convenient oversimplification of the causes.

Real Food Crisis, Fake Solutions: In response to the current food crisis, we are asking you to sign a petition demanding that the International Financial Institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization) not use the crisis to push through more failed free trade policies.

WTO’s Doha Round Will Not Solve the Global Food Crisis:Civil Society Calls for Real Solutions: 237 major NGOs, farmer organizations, trade unions and social movements from nearly 50 countries delivered a strong snub to WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy, in his push to conclude the Doha Round as a solution to the global food crisis.

India's Export Ban on Foodgrains: A Measure to Ensure Availability of Food for its Poorest Citizens: While statements from U.S. officials might have one believe that the miraculous New Economic Policies adopted by India in the 1990s have improved diets and well-being of most Indians, this Briefing Paper shows nutritional and consumption levels are declining in India and export controls on key agricultural commodities are designed to protect the poor and vulnerable against the current agricultural global price shock.

Food Price Crisis: A Wake Up Call for Food Sovereignty: According to the World Bank, global food prices have climbed by 83% over the last three years, triggering an international crisis. This Policy Brief examines the impact and causes of the soaring food prices and explores the viability of solutions recommended by the World Bank, WTO and the IMF to deal with growing hunger. It then makes own recommendations on how to stave off the starvation.

Dangerous Liaisons: A Battle Plan from the UN and the International Financial Institutions to Fight Global Hunger: UN agencies are meeting in Berne to tackle the world food price crisis. Heads of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank (former U.S. trade representative) and Pascal Lamy, WTO's Director General, are among the attendees. Will the "battle plan" emerging from the Swiss capital, a charming city with splendid sandstone buildings and far removed from the grinding poverty and hunger which has reduced people to eating mud cakes in Haiti and scavenging garbage heaps, be more of the same -- promote free trade to deal with the food crisis?

Agriculture: Overhaul of Agriculture Systems Needed: In the midst of the growing world food crisis, International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology (IAASTD), an independent and multi-stakeholder international assessment of agriculture has concluded that a radical change is needed in agriculture policy and practice, in order to address hunger and poverty, social inequities and environmental sustainability questions.

The Status of International Food Aid Negotiations: This new report from the Oakland Institute is not merely an update of Food Aid or Food Sovereignty??, but a call for action. It examines the most pressing issues in the food aid debate today and highlights the promise and need for a long-term and human rights-based approach to food security and the elimination of hunger.

Food Price Crisis: A Wake Up Call for New Policies to Eradicate Hunger: In recent weeks, several UN agencies have issued warnings against impending "food riots" because of the acute hike in prices of rice, corn, wheat, and other staples. Governments are resorting to desperate measures to address growing social unrest before it destabilizes countries.It is however essential to understand the underpinnings of this food crisis before rushing to adopt policy solutions.

Later this year, the Bush administration is set to have discussions with lawmakers on whether the US import tariff (US $0.54 per gallon) on ethanol should be allowed to expire or not. Designed to protect US corn-based ethanol makers from cheaper imports, elimination of this import tariff is expected to have wide implications for ethanol exporting countries, especially Brazil that accounts for more than 70% of imports (2006 figures).

While Brazil's leadership on biofuels - particularly sugarcane-based ethanol - has been held as a global model for sustainable biomass production, a new report from the Oakland Institute and Terra de Direitos, Food & Energy Sovereignty Now: Brazilian Grassroots Position on Agroenergy, describes the opposition that biofuels face from the Brazilian social movements and civil society, as formulated at the First National Agroenergy Conference, held in Curitiba, Brazil in October, 2007. The report also exposes how the 'ethanol factor,' within the current drive for 'energy security' in the US, is becoming the integrating force in the region that is shaping a new geopolitical configuration in Latin America.

Read the Press Release

Click Here to Download the Report

Click Here to Download the Report in Portuguese

Find Out What Heating Homes in New York City with Biodiesel Has to Do with Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

On October 24, marking the 62nd anniversary of the United Nations, Anuradha Mittal and the Oakland Institute received the United Nations Association (UNA) East Bay's 2007 Global Citizen Award, in recognition of the Institute's work to promote social and economic justice globally.

Read Full Article