The biggest supervillains in the world are not human: they’re corporations. And one of those corporations owns nearly our entire food system.
This year, food prices have soared and Americans are feeling it. For example, egg prices have doubled since last year to nearly $3 a dozen, which is especially difficult if you make your living as an egg-juggling busker down by the condemned jungle gym.
But the supervillain companies that set those prices aren’t struggling at all. The largest one is Cargill. And this year, Cargill’s revenue jumped to a record $165 billion. That’s $30 billion more than the year before.
Let’s learn a little more about Cargill. Known to friends as the evilest company in the world – and to enemies as even worse than that – Cargill Inc. is the biggest privately owned company in the U.S., and they own a large chunk of every portion of the food that ends up on your plate.
It’s tough to overstate just how much Cargill owns. According to their Wikipedia page, “Cargill’s major businesses are trading, purchasing and distributing grain and other agricultural commodities, such as palm oil; trading in energy, steel and transport; raising of livestock and production of feed; and producing food ingredients such as starch and glucose syrup, vegetable oils and fats for application in processed foods and industrial use. Cargill also has a large financial services arm…”
Okay. That’s enough. Basically, they had a hand in anything stuck to the inner wall of your colon. Not a hand in your colon, but you get it. And also, financial services is a euphemism for stealing your money via the stock market, like if someone stole your flat screen and called it “television relocation services.”
Cargill owns some part of every step of how food gets to your plate, raking in hundreds of billions. And because they’re private, they don’t even have to report their finances and dealings to the public. So a lot of their internal scams and shenanigans are kept secret. They don’t show us how the sausage is made – figuratively or literally.
But we do know the Cargill-MacMillan family is the fourth-richest in America – 14 of them are billionaires – and they’re worth a total of $47 billion.
Cargill was founded just after the Civil War as a grain storage company, but they quickly went about buying up every aspect of the farm-to-table process. Not only did they own the transportation to get food and grain across the country, but they were also “selling seeds and supplies to the farmer, storing the grain, selling tools to the mill, sourcing sesame seeds for the bakery, and selling curing salt to the deli.”
Basically, if you were a farmer or food distributor back then (or now) you couldn’t find a way around paying Cargill. Kind of like how the mafia used to make it so no one could construct a building in New York without paying them at each step of the process.
Watch the full report above.
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of Behind The Headlines’ new series: The Most Censored News With Lee Camp. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.