Sam Pawlett rsp at SPAMuniserve.com
Sat Mar 17 21:54:38 MST 2001

Mark Jones wrote:
> Incidentally, no-one I've read has really latched onto to the key thing about
> the f&m outbreak which is that the extent and severity of it is a direct
> function of the intensification and complexification of agribiz; what it shows
> is that when social breakdowns do occur nowadays, they are spectacularly
> devastating in their effects and on-costs.

The most amazing thing to me was that F&M had spread throughout Britain
*before* anybody knew it. This is a direct result of the centralization
of agriculture. Whereas in the past (and I'm not expressing a yearning
for the past) small slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants served fairly
local markets, now several huge plants serve the whole country. It is
the transportation of the infected meast across large areas that spread
the disease. The implications are that one small infection in one large
farm or factory and the whole country can be infected very quickly (in
this case before anybody knew it) and further, to prevent outbreaks,
epidemics and to secure a more secure food supply, food should be grown
processed as close as possible to where it is eaten. MOreover, in the
past ground beef was usually made from one or two single animals, now
thousands of animals go into the vat. One infected animal can spoil the
whole batch. Of course, this debacle is a direct expression of what Marx
and Engels spoke of in the seperation of town and country as the main
cause of
problems in agrculture.

Sam Pawlett

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