flexibeast.space - gemlog - 2022-11-05

Food should not be bought and sold

[ The following is satire. Originally posted in a different space, 2012-11-29. ]

i'd like to discuss an issue pervading Western society which doesn't get anywhere near the attention it deserves. That issue is the commodification of food, and the scourge that is the food industry.

Food shouldn't be commoditised. It is an essential human need. When people buy and sell food, the act of preparing and eating food becomes mere support for, and reinforcement of, the notion that it's acceptable to transform relations between humans into relations between a human and an unimportant unfeeling object. We must reject all buying and selling of food.

Sadly, most people seem to be blind to the way this is damaging all of us.

Most people feel entitled to pay someone to provide them with food. The conditions in the euphemistically-titled “restaurant industry” are horrible - exploitation is rife, with excessively long hours and poor incomes. Overwhelmingly, those exploited have been trafficked into the situation - although the euphemism “migrants” is all too often used, an attempt by the powerful restaurant industry and its lobby to put a pleasant face on what is in fact modern-day slavery.

In order to provide the raw materials for the restaurant industry, an entire international network is in place to ensure a steady supply. Again, exploitation is pervasive - long hours, poor incomes, an insistence by high-level people that people must use their bodies as directed, regardless of any consequent physical effects - or face even more dire physical consequences.

At the other end of this chain of misery, we have entire swathes of media promoting the idea that there's nothing wrong with purchasing food from others, despite the physical sacrifices often required to produce that food. People like Jamie Oliver, for example, spend most of their time focusing on the qualities of the food they have just purchased, whilst only occasionally paying lip-service to the evil industry that has provided that food. Indeed, Oliver is hardly going to do otherwise, since he himself has actively assisted the “restaurant industry” by establishing, or helping to establish, “restaurants” himself.

Clearly, it is time for the buying and selling of food to end. There is no choice but to criminalise the purchase of food, to attack the problem at its source: the demand for food. We need to send the message to buyers that they are not entitled to purchase food from others; that the "restaurant industry" is not harmless, but indeed merely the peak of a pyramid of suffering; that it is not acceptable to treat fellow human beings as no more than objects to facilitate gustatory satisfaction. Moreover, we need to immediately mobilise governments to rescue all those trapped within this pyramid, as they are themselves completely powerless to change the conditions they have been trafficked into. Nor should we heed the voices of those who argue that it is not the buying and selling of food that is the problem, but the conditions under which that is done: such an attitude ignores the fact that buying and selling food fundamentally robs people of their humanity, and no changes to conditions can remove that stubborn fact. All food must be produced directly for someone else, as an act of love and commitment from one individual to another. For things to be any other way must finally be recognised as morally unacceptable.

🏷 feminism,politics,satire,sex work,sexuality


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