Americans, First Worlders waste food, Third Worlders starve
Karl Marx described the proletariat as the dispossessed, as earning only enough to survive to the next day and having nothing to lose but its chains. However, this hardly describes the American, or the First World, working class. The First World working class doesn’t have chains to lose, rather what they stand to lose under socialism is their decadent lifestyles. Nowhere is this decadence more apparent than in the food that Americans, and First World peoples, waste every year.
Americans are throwing away at least 75 billion dollars in food each year. (1) In other words, Americans waste more food than the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of Albania, Nepal, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Laos and Niger combined. (2) 14-15 percent of all edible food is discarded, untouched or unopened. This accounts for 43 billion dollars worth of discarded food by American households alone. A shocking 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten. (3) In addition, the United States spends about 1 billion dollars just disposing of its food waste. (4)
The United States is not the only wasteful society. Other First World countries have similar behaviors. People in Britain throw away a third of all the food they purchase. In Sweden, families with small children throw away about a quarter of their food. (5)
According to the World Health Organization, starvation is the greatest single threat to the public health. Starvation is the biggest factor contributing to child mortality, being present in half of all cases. Starvation currently affects more than a billion people, 1 out of every 6 people worldwide. Starving people reside almost exclusively in the Third World. This is the case even though the world produces enough food to feed the entire 6 billion population. In fact, enough food is produced to feed twice as many people. (6) (7)
The distribution and waste of food are yet more indications of global class divisions. The peoples of the wealthiest countries, the First World, are throwing away up to half of the food that they purchase, while the poorest countries, the Third World, are either starving or exist on the verge of starvation. This is yet another indication that the main contradiction in the world today is between the First and Third World. First World workers are not, by a long shot, what Marx would identify as a proletariat. Rather, it is in the Third World where the true proletariat and its allies exist on the edge of survival.