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It's all about the rents, part one million and thirty-four

Architectures of violence: Famine and profits

It is relatively easy to imagine situations in which widespread starvation is the outcome of overt violence. In the medieval period, for example, military blockades were designed to starve an enemy to the point of submission. A siege, lasting weeks or even months, was an indiscriminate mode of warfare insofar as it targeted armed forces and civilians alike - and that too was purposeful. The ritual of "slash and burn" practised by retreating armies was similarly calculated to eradicate whole communities by directly destroying their means of subsistence.

Certain economic mechanisms may also operate in an overt or direct manner. Tariffs, poll taxes, rent systems, and credit practices, for example, are easily identified as "extractive forces" [rents] that strip populations of their assets, leaving scarcity and hunger in their wake. In these situations, the populations affected are able to identify those responsible - that is, tax collectors, moneylenders, large farmers, and landlords - a fact that explains why these figures are very often the target of agrarian violence.

Read the entire post, it's great. We can look at austerity as the deliberate and malevolent creation of scarcity -- as when tapeworms infest the guts of their hosts, who starves no matter how much they eat -- by the parasitical rentier class. ZOMG!!!! Teh debt!!!!!

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Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

how "hill tribes" in a large zone of Southeast Asia and southern China (and even the Irish) dispersed their crops and grew crops that are not as easy to destroy (potatoes instead of wheat) to defend themselves against such predation.