Who runs the state? Strange fruit indeed.

SERCO – the biggest company you’ve never heard of

From prisons to rail franchises and even London’s Boris bikes, Serco is a giant global corporation that has hoovered up outsourced government contracts. Now the NHS is firmly in its sights. But it stands accused of mismanagement, lying and even charging for non-existent work.”    click for full Guardian article

(in the article we discover that, as well as prisons, Serco handles prisoner tagging, runs immigrant removal centres, operates speed cameras, issues and collects fines for local council traffic departments, manages the ballistic missile early warning system and a great deal more in the UK, with many and diverse  global interests)

from Strange Fruit, chapter 25

“One of the most frightening strange fruits to come from the mating of coercion with free enterprise is the increased reliance on privatization of the prison industry. Here we have the state creating a private industry that relies upon the state’s coercive power to supply it with a stream of new customers (inmates). This industry has become a strong lobby in support of maintaining and increasing those laws carrying prison sentences. As the Correctional Corporation of America warned in their 2010 annual report: ‘Any changes [in the laws] with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.‘”

Illegal eating in guerilla restaurants

From CBS, New York

“As you sit down to dinner, this story illustrates eating out like you have never experienced before. We are talking about super-secret, illegal dining experiences hosted in homes. CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner went undercover to see firsthand how this underground world works.”

Greg- How bizarre that serving up dinner in your own home and asking people to pay you for the experience is a punishable crime. While this is considered a danger to the public, our high streets and shopping malls abound with outlets serving up all manner of unlabelled foods, much of it recognized as damaging to health. The State of Business, chapter 20:

‘Little resembling a free market remains in most of those major nations that built their greatness on the free market and then regulated it out of reach to those without degrees, certificates, and bank loans. Letting your child go out on the street selling lemonade today (as I did when a boy) might easily result in the toddler being taken into care. We are not free to turn our home into a restaurant or herbal treatment clinic, and require a license or permit to sell anything in a public place. Where a semblance of the free market survives, it thrives, in farmers markets and flea markets, car boot and yard sales, eBay and Craigslist and Silk Road.

Non-food crops could feed 4 billion.

The story at SciDevNet

“Global calorie availability could be increased by as much as 70 per cent — feeding an additional 4 billion people — by shifting cropland use to produce food for humans rather than livestock feed and biofuels, according to new research.”

Meat of the Issue, chapter 26:

“Without the range of subsidies that come straight from our (vegetarian and carnivorous) pockets anyway, the price of animal products and meat would rise to a price reflecting the real cost of production, substantially increasing the price. Meat consumption would reduce to the level of an occasional foodstuff rather than being the mainstay of many diets. That primary position(of meat in our diet) was attained but a few generations ago due to state support, does not prevail in most of the world today, and never can without the accompaniment of widespread hunger, as other mammals feed at our own primary food source. This is further aggravated by today’s strange practice of growing food for cars rather than people, with biofuel production now taking up millions of hectares worldwide and consuming 40 percent of the North American corn harvest. How can anyone have the nerve to suggest that there is not enough land to feed the planet sustainably when they can still find the space to grow food for automobiles?”

Cost of Britain’s road-building projects soars by almost £4bn

From The Independent, August 16th, 2008:

“Cost of Britain’s road-building projects soars by almost £4bn

Britain’s road-building programme will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds more than expected, with some major projects more than doubling in price in five years, research indicates.”

From Chapter 10:

“Yet rather than cut the department back, they proceed with constant rebuilding of the existing road system for an alleged future benefit. The reality is a road system constantly clogged by rebuilding works, only a few of which relate to relevant repair of the existing structure.”