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The Militant, 31 March 1945

Pioneer Paragraphs

C. Charles

Food Shortage Made Worse
by Ruthless Profiteering


From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 13, 31 March 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The food shortage, we are told by the capitalists, their newspapers and their politicians, is caused by the war. This is true – to a certain extent. But it is not the whole truth, and a part truth is the worst kind of lie.

The truth is that the shortage of food available for workers is being deliberately made worse by certain capitalists in order to get extra profits.

Profits, not the needs of the masses, determine the allocation of food. The food capitalists sell the food at the highest prices they can get. The wealthy can pay higher prices than the workers, thus get the food they need. Only what is left, if any, reaches the workers.

The present system of price ceilings works to cut the supply of food available to the workers, to assure the wealthy plenty of food, and to enrich the food manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Price ceilings were set on nearly all foods, as well as other items, on May 15 and Oct. 5, 1942. Each store has its own ceiling on every item sold. The ceilings are different for different stores.

Generally the stores in the sections of town where the rich live charged higher prices during the base periods than were charged in the stores which sell to workers. The manufacturer and wholesaler can make more profits by selling to the higher price stores than by selling to stores patronized by workers. Therefore, the stores in the wealthier sections and the luxurious eating places get as much food as they need, with only the leavings to trickle down to the workers.

This is true from one corner of the country to the other. In San Francisco, the conservative Butchers’ Union of the three West Coast states met on Jan. 10, 1943, to discuss the acute meat situation. At this meeting the delegate from Southern California “accused these packers (Swift, Cudahy, Armour and Wilson, the largest meat packers in the nation) of ignoring retail butchers and selling their produce to the hotels and restaurants who are willing to buy meat at any price.” (San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 11, 1943)

(From Your Standard of Living – What’s Happening to It, by C. Charles, pp. 18–19. Pioneer Publishers, 1943, 32 pp., 5 cents. Order from Pioneer Publishers, 116 University Place, New York 3, N.Y.)

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