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Susan Green

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere
But Only a Half Pound to Eat

(29 June 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 26, 29 June 1942, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A shortage of sugar in this country? Banish the thought! There is so much sugar that there are not enough warehouses to hold it all.

Then why the rationing? Well, thereby hangs a tale – another tale of the inefficiency and the anarchy in the capitalist management of national affairs.

It wasn’t much of a mistake that the Office of Price Administration made in calculating the available supplies for 1942 – only a small matter of 3,200,000 tons, or almost half of all the sugar consumed in the year 1940! OPA expected the sugar stock to be 5,300,000 tons for 1942, whereas it will actually be 8,500,000 tons, which is 400,000 tons more than even the extraordinarily large 1941 consumption.

Of course many reasons are given why this boner was pulled. OPA counted upon 1,300,000 tons of the Cuban crop being used for alcohol needed in explosives, whereas only 400,000 tons of it were so used. Also it was surprised by the domestic crop, which was a bumper one. Finally more sugar came in from Hawaii than was expected, but so much more that to date it already equals the estimates from that source for the entire year. Think of that for national planning!

We have a sneaking suspicion that national planning means to have a more or less accurate idea about just such things as these. A mistake of a hundred thousand tons one way or the other is understandable – but 3,200,000 tons! The inherent anarchy in capitalist production is the explanation. National planning and capitalism just don’t take to each other. Now sugar refiners and producers are hammering on the doors of the

OPA to increase domestic and industrial rations. The president of the Amalgamated Sugar Co. insists that “All the reliable sugar statisticians are convinced that there is enough sugar available so that rationing is unnecessary.”

So difficult indeed has become the problem of storing the huge sugar surplus, while you and I have been limited to half a pound a week, that one of the largest sugar refineries has resorted to putting it under tarpaulins on open lots. So that the sugar that the public has not been permitted to consume may now easily be ruined by the weather.

The repercussions of the unnecessary sugar rationing will be felt in Cuba and other Caribbean sugar-growing lands. With unused surpluses piled up all over these United States, imports will have to be curtailed, which will bring unemployment and economic crisis to those lands whose economy is largely dependent on their sugar exports to this country.

It will be interesting to see how the OPA tries to crawl out of the mess it has created. In the meantime, it is reported that thousands of dollars worth ot strawberries as well as a great quantity of small fruits and other berries used for canning, have actually gone to rot – unpicked because the stupid sugar rationing has reduced the demand for canning fruits.

So here is another tale of the waste, inefficiency and anarchy of the existing system. The demand of Labor Action for workers’ control of industry is certainly urgent

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