Skip to main content

WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT - JULY, 2018: BREAST FEEDING, CAPITALISM, AND KRUSHCHEV

My mother told me that the first time that she breastfed me, I threw back my little head and vomited like a fountain. It was devastating for her and, I suppose though I don't have any recollection of the incident, not a very pleasant experience for me either. Remember, this was 70 years ago. Breastfeeding was the norm. And I was allergic to my mother's milk. The idea that her little baby would be dependent on a store-bought product for his nutrition requirements for months to come was not the scenario that Mom had envisioned for her first born.

At the time, choices were limited. Evaporated milk was widely available and was touted as a nutritionally satisfactory substitute for breast milk, though that claim was later debunked. Similac had been around for a while and had gained a bit of traction. But right around the time that I performed my Trevi imitation, commercially prepared baby formulas began hitting the shelves in a really big way. Today, the four biggest producers generate over $40 billion in sales. That's more than McDonald's sales in the USofA, more than Apple Stores/ITunes sales revenue worldwide. That's BIG business. And Nestle has nearly a 25% market share.

So why should we be surprised that the USofA tried to bury a World Health Organization report documenting that breastfeeding was better for infants than formula? After all, the US believes in the free market and, as we have learned over the years, the most effective way to market is to buy politicians. And American politicians have been bought and paid for. Why? Because they deliver. The American government spends twice as much on corporate welfare as it does in welfare payments to individuals and families.

To be clear, I'm not talking about such gifts as no-bid contracts or targeted tax loopholes. I'm only talking about direct payments, cash on the barrel head. Coal, oil, and gas subsidies. Bailouts. Farm subsidies. (And don't tell me that farm subsidies support small farmers. Farm subsidies are targeted to the gigantic corporate farms, the ones who contribute to political campaigns.) These direct payments alone approach if not exceed $100 billion annually.

But all of that is not really important. What's really important is what Nikita Krushchev said in Poland in 1956 in front of a group of Western diplomats.

"We will bury you."

No, he was not speaking at the United Nations while pounding his shoe. No, he did not say,"We will bury you without firing a shot." Some years later, he clarified by saying," Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you."

And now we know that Krushchev was not quite right. He anticipated that the proletariat would rise up and seize the means of production and distribution from American fat-cat capitalists. Instead, the fat-cat capitalists have managed to seize everything in sight in the name of profit, from detention centers to prisons to the American healthcare system. Indeed, the health of the working class has become a major profit point. And as a result of the American not-so-free market system being applied to the healthcare of Americans, and in spite of the fact that Americans spend twice as much per capita as the European social democracies spend on healthcare, infant mortality is higher in the USofA, child mortality is higher, and life expectancy is shorter.

Our healthcare system is killing us. The working class isn't burying the capitalists. The capitalists are burying the working class. And they're doing it from the very beginning of life. Because who would want to drink mother's milk when you can drink manufactured milk out of a brightly colored can marketed by Nestle?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin