Waste is a facet of capitalism, an unfortunate one, but a facet nonetheless. Recent reports state that, “up to two-fifths of a crop of fruit or vegetables because it is ‘ugly.’” 850 million people in the world are underfed and desperate for food (http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats). Consumption isn’t the only area of the production and consumption process where waste occurs. During initial harvesting and preparation fruit and vegetables are thrown out at an alarmingly high rate simply because they do not live up to the aesthetic demands of select companies. Perfectly edible food is thrown out and reduced to waste, waste that could at one point in its life have offered sustenance to a child or family in the developing world.
This news story highlights the wastefulness of Western culture. Western culture thrives off of obsolescence both planned and perceived. Removed from the bonds of barely achieved sustenance we have grown remarkably picky with our food. One walks into a produce department at a grocery store and expects a predictable selection of food; sure some outliers exist, fruit that has long since gone bad, foods damaged by pesticides, and other variables. But largely the fruit obtained from one store is of similar quality. There are limits to this world we have, limits not too often discussed outside of certain political, economic, and environmental paradigms. Western lifestyle is in reality a ticking time-bomb, the extravagance and decadence, the waste and obsolescence simply cannot last in this finite planet
This crisis of hunger keeps governments, created for the purpose of meeting their people’s basic needs in constant dependence to the western world. A hungry population after all is a developing population. To the developed world the developing world is an area ripe with resources meant solely for western consumption. Stripped of natural resources, left unable to fulfill the developing country’s own needs, they are truly dependent. Pulling these countries out of poverty and hunger could produce a want for independence from the neoliberal machine. That is why this food is being simply thrown away, not heading to the plates of those who truly need it.