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Capitalist Economies Overproduce Food — But People Can’t Afford to Buy It


People shop after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited a pharmacy administering Covid-19 vaccines in a Giant Food grocery store February 25, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The unprecedented pandemic, and the recession it has caused, has led to a sharp increase in food insecurity in the United States. The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough food to go around, but that more and more people are unable to afford to purchase it. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) recently released a report predicting that the number of people facing extreme hunger could soar to 270 million by the end of this year — effectively doubling.

What’s leading to these extreme statistics isn’t a lack of availability — it’s that many people simply can’t afford to purchase food. Like with many commodities, capitalist markets are fairly good at producing food, but they are not so efficient at distributing it equitably. When you combine this with a lack of bold intervention from policymakers, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing an uptick in hunger during the pandemic.

Hunger is not the only food-related problem intensifying under capitalism. COVID-19 has simply magnified many of the already existing problems in our food system, such as […]

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