A White Bread Conspiracy

In general, it’s not healthy to think that the world is being run by a small cabal of men hidden in smoke filled rooms. This sort of thinking leads to the wearing of tin-foil hats and needless paranoia: most of the dangerous political and economic behaviour that alters our world happens in plain sight.

This isn’t to say that cartels and collusions aren’t real, and when regulators do their jobs, such dealings can be caught. In South Africa, for instance, a major commercial food manufacturer has just been fined R195 million (US$25 million) for its role in fixing the price of bread at the time of the food price crisis in 2007-8.

I’ve not heard of a similar case being brought in the United States. Either US corporations are far more law abiding, or the Bush administration had no inclination to investigate large-scale corporate malfeasance. You decide.

8 Replies to “A White Bread Conspiracy”

  1. I’m not sure if this kind of thing could work in the food industry in the US, just because the industry is fairly fragmented.

    In Minnesota, there are at least three grocery distributors supplying stores (Walmart, Target, and Supervalu). There are usually multiple suppliers of comparable products competing against each other – for breakfast cereal, General Mills and Kellogg are both selling branded product, but there are also Malt O’Meal and store brands. Bread would be worse, since a lot of stores make their own as well as buying from distributors.

  2. Sadly, Hillary, the story from South Africa looks all too like the US: many large firms that were meant to be competing against one another were in fact colluding to raise the price of bread. There was only one company fined because they’re the only ones who didn’t admit their guilt – all the others took plea deals.

  3. The number of people on the internet who see Raj as the Maitreya is growing. Google ‘Raj Patel Maitreya’ and ‘Raj Patel Messiah’.

    Even ‘raj patel antichrist’ gets 1900 hits….Every post he writes is now being interpreted against a backcloth of religion. His latest: ‘Bread’ well…staff of life etc….

  4. Lots of corporate concentration in Canada.

    Ontario is, arguably, Canada’s biggest province: about 40% population and 50% GDP.

    +85% of all groceries go through 2 vertically integrated wholesaler-retailers. There are 2 national bakeries: Weston and Canada Bread (Dempster’s).

    The Competition Bureau continues to study but not act regarding this situation.

  5. Oh, if only it were true. But alas, Benjamin Creme’s own writing say that Meitreya lives as a Pakistani in London and goes by a Moslem name. As far as I know, Patel is an Indian name. On his website Raj Patel states his family is Indian. So if Meitreys has come forward it must be as someone else. As an author, I’m sure all the attention being lavished on Raj Patel by you guys is only helping to accomplish one thing – help him sell his books!

    Ummm, did anyone bother to do any basic research on this guy before you proclaimed him Maitreya???

  6. The world is run by a small cabal of men (and even fewer women). It’s called plutocracy.

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