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Norway is involved in protein imperialism

Jan Eric Holst
Jan Erik Holst
Holst was educated at the Department of Film Studies and later at the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm. He has been a film club leader, cinema director, film critic, film producer and university and college teacher in film and director of the Norwegian Film Institute from 1988 – 2014.
MAT / We know the rest of the world is starving – so? With us, imported protein goes into animal feed, it will become bacon on our breakfast tables.


The English philosopher Malthus already predicted a couple of hundred years ago that the population would grow relatively faster than food production.

Today, Borgstrøm claims that it is five past twelve, the crisis is just around the corner.

In order to stop the clock before it strikes twelve, Borgstrøm believes that we must launch a large-scale awareness campaign.

Borgstrøm's watch model must have been coined for the rich part of the world, it is surely not long before we too must be affected by food shortages.

But we know that for the more than two-thirds of the world's population who either suffer from malnutrition or do not receive any nutrition at all, the crisis has been a reality for several generations.

In the face of the "saturated" countries, no information campaign is needed: we know that the rest of the world is starving.

We tell those who are starving that the problems can be solved by higher food production and lower child production.

But we need to get rid of such a simplified picture as soon as possible. The population explosion is closely linked to underdevelopment. Furthermore, it is clear that imperialism both presupposes underdevelopment and maintains it.

As a supporter of the Western bloc, Norway is therefore directly involved in oppressing the poor and hungry part of the world's population.

Of course, it is also not possible to defend population growth in the rich countries; every inhabitant here is a huge burden on the earth's resources.

This applies to the highest degree in the food sector, when you know that what we eat comes from the highest links in the food chain.

Population growth

In the capitalist countries, population growth is carefully factored into all economic planning.

In order to stop this population growth, the ideology of growth itself must therefore be attacked. Had it not been so, e.g. Americans long ago realized that their country is overpopulated.

One of the most grotesque consequences of capitalism is that from time to time tons of vegetables, fruit or grain are dumped or burned.

This happens when the warehouses in the USA, Canada or EC countries become too large. The consideration of the price level clearly outweighs the fact that people are starving.

The world market can outbid the producer country's own poor and hungry inhabitants.

An illusion that is common among most people is that we are the ones who give food to the countries that have the biggest hunger problems.

The situation is that large quantities of protein (in the form of, among other things, oil seed cakes and fish products) are exported to us from these countries.

This protein is cheap for us, but the producing countries are forced to export it, simply because they themselves cannot afford to keep it. The world market can outbid the producer country's own poor and hungry inhabitants.

It is not us who "give" to them.

It is this system that is called protein imperialism, and which Norway is helping to maintain. In the importing country, the protein goes to animal feed, it will become bacon on our breakfast tables. In this way, approx. 90 percent of the protein content lost.

We can help weaken this system by channeling funds to subsidize protein production in developing countries, intended for the domestic market.

Norway currently imports nearly 2/3 of its food consumption, but has the potential to become approx. 80 percent self-recovered.

To achieve this, we would have to take advantage of the diversity nature offers in our many local communities. One must reject the "EC ideology" which means that good cultivation land in peripheral areas is abandoned, and that people move to central areas, where one must build on our very best cultivation land.

It has now become technically possible to use oil for protein production. We must therefore make it a requirement that part of our North Sea oil is used for this, and the prerequisite must of course be that the oil is brought ashore in Norway.

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