It's All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources

It's All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources

James Ridgeway

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0822333740

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Five companies dominate the U.S. petroleum industry. Five control the worldwide trade in grain. Two have a corner on the private market for drinking water. In terms of actual dollars, trade in heroin, cocaine, and tobacco ranks alongside that in grain or metals. There are more slaves in the world today than ever before. Resource by resource, It’s All for Sale uncovers and discloses who owns, buys, and sells what. Some resources—such as fuel, metals, fertilizers, drugs, fibers, food, forests, and flowers—have, for better or worse, long been thought of as commodities. Others—including fresh water, human beings, the sky, the oceans, and life itself (in the form of genetic codes)—are more startling to think of as products with price tags, but, as James Ridgeway shows, they are treated as such on a massive scale in lucrative markets around the world. 

Revealing the surprisingly small number of companies that control many of the basic commodities we use in everyday life, It’s All for Sale confirms in specific detail that globalization has been accompanied by an extraordinary concentration of ownership. At the same time, it is about much more than what company has cornered the market in corn or diamonds. Corporations and captains of industry, wars and swindles, oppressors and the oppressed, empires and colonies, military might and commercial power, economic boom and bust—all these come alive in Ridgeway’s canny and arresting reporting about the global scramble for power and profit. It’s All for Sale is an invaluable source for researchers, activists, and all those concerned with globalization, corporate power, and the exploitation of individuals and the environment.

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development, aids in seed formation, stimulates blooming, and is often regarded as critical for plant growth. Phosphorus in fertilizers derive from raw rock phosphate. The rock is mined, then washed, ground up, and treated with sulfuric acid to produce the concentrate. Phosphorus occurs in almost all the rocks in the world, often in small amounts. Most known reserves are concentrated in a few major deposits, although phosphorus also is found on the ocean floors. By far and away the largest world

does it a√ect human beings in any way. But it has economic portent in that farmers fear infected animals will weigh less and hence reduce their profitability. More to the point, cattle growers fear the image in the press of infected British livestock being sold as meat abroad, turning people away and ruining the British campaign to sell beef and lamb abroad. One possible preventative measure would be to vaccinate livestock against foot-and-mouth, but farmers argue against doing so because it only

of its soil. Cane sugar, however, is the commodity traded in international commerce. While the sugar beet and sugar cane are two di√erent crops, their final product is basically the same, and the manufacturing process is the same for both plants: The sugary juices are separated from the solid material by crushing and shredding. Impurities are removed. The water is boiled o√ in a vacuum, and sugar crystals are separated from the final liquid by centrifugal action. This leaves uncrystallizable sugar

whom still cultivate the perennial pepper vines on small plots that require constant weeding, mulching, tying, nourishing, and protection against disease and pests. India is the world’s leading pepper producer, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam. Black and white pepper are made from berries of the same vine. Black pepper is picked unripe and dried in the sun. White pepper, more expensive than black, is the ripened berry that is trampled on or otherwise macerated to remove the hull before drying.

strip-mined with ease. The seams run from seventy-five to one hundred feet deep. In the early 1960s the coal business was tightly concentrated into a handful of big companies. It was then that oil companies moved in. First, Exxon quietly obtained major reserves in southern Illinois. Conoco, Inc., bought Consolidation Coal Company, which was then the leading coal firm, and FUELS 11 was reported to be on the verge of producing a coal gasoline at prices competitive with gasoline made from oil.

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