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  1. #11
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think that most of the famine and starvation problems which are referred to as "world hunger" are generally engineered or the natural consequences of crisis in law and order, its not "natural" and its not like an earthquake or volcano or tsunami or anything of that kind, there's been campaigns by development theorists and academics from the developing world or southern hemisphere and the developed or northern hemisphere to arrest and prosecute officials who have presided over famine and starvation in the same way that war crimes are prosecuted. However, given that the international community is pretty sluggish about human rights violations and war crimes when its blatantly obvious, ie Syria, Rwanda, Balkans, I doubt that its going to get into gear about famine and starvation.

    There are also food security policies which the US and EU use which are blocked to the African Union by global free trade agreements, usually tied to debt repayments to the world bank or IMF restructuring of economies, environmental legislation is used in the same manner too preventing some forms of industrialisation which has been tied to desertification, deforestation and climate change.

    Some of the proposals for changes in trade which would result in developing/southern hemisphere nations becoming the worlds agricultural producers are understandably being resisted by the developed world because of concerns about quality and food safety, if those regions are to be the agrarian sector then they need to cease being lawless or the shortage/starvation problems are just going to spread worldwide or perhaps poisoning and poor quality food resources is going to become endemic instead. There are also the problems, once experienced in nations like Ireland immortalised in the song Fields of Athenry, of producer nations producing cash crops for export in order to buy food resources and import them, so people starve amidst plenty, this is a risk with ethanol production for fuel, so nations could produce for fuel but have no domestic food stock of their own.

    Some of those problems would be eliminated by food security policies being permitted by trade organisations, the EU has produced so called wine lakes and meat mountains through subsidised farming, why not let the African Union do something similar? And each trade block, US, EU, AU could see to its own agri-fuel production.

  2. #12
    WhoCares
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzulEyes View Post
    Will post this in the NF forum too- but knowing we have the capacity as a planet and human species to END world hunger, and knowing that children die every day, and knowing we can forecast that more will die tomorrow, next month, next year etc- why don't we solve it?

    Is it greed?
    Is it apathy?
    Is is racism?
    Is it stupidity?

    Should "nature take it's course" and people should starve to level off the population?

    Or should we do something about it knowing that we can?
    Because at the end of the day the running of the world isn't about social issues, it's about personal gain, self interest and what's in it for me. Until there is a personal gain reason to save the starving kids, they'll continue to starve. The human species is self centered species, motivation to do something about the common good must outweigh motivation to do something about personal gain. It is never enough for humans to merely survive, they must then climb the ladder of one up manship once survival needs have been met.
    @Lark - there are plenty of developed nations in the southern hemisphere and plenty of impoverished ones in the northern hemisphere. Get out more.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    @Lark - there are plenty of developed nations in the southern hemisphere and plenty of impoverished ones in the northern hemisphere. Get out more.
    Perhaps I'm not talking geographically but geo-politically. Read more.

  4. #14
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzulEyes View Post
    Posted this in the NT forum too- but knowing we have the capacity as a planet and human species to END world hunger, and knowing that children die every day, and knowing we can forecast that more will die tomorrow, next month, next year etc- why don't we solve it?

    Is it greed?
    Is it apathy?
    Is is racism?
    Is it stupidity?

    Should "nature take it's course" and people should starve to level off the population?

    Or should we do something about it knowing that we can?
    All of the above. Yes to every single question.

    Mostly, rich people want to stay rich and people want to get rich. An economy based on money turns everything into a commodity, which makes it possible for it to be exploited. When something is exploited, it is treated merely as a means to an end and not an end in itself. This sort of system of (un)ethical thinking creates and enforces attitudes of depersonalization and severs personal connection. The land, natural resources, animals, and people who are being used as means to ends become a depersonalized other, a non-sentient thing which lacks moral worth. It creates and enforces a system of hierarchy. Those at the bottom (including the Earth) cease to be important.

    Combine this with overpopulation, and people think in terms of competition rather than cooperation.

    While we could theoretically support all the people on the planet, we can't support this number of people in a healthy manner, because that will require a healthy biosphere, which will require a much larger amount of space consisting of natural wilderness, along with a great reduction in industrialization.

    So some people must die to preserve the balance of nature. It'll happen sooner or later. The Earth is a large ecosystem, and ecosystems have self-regulating processes which include keeping populations of species in balance. For 99% of human history we have accepted this fact. It's only been within the last 12,000 years (modern humans evolved about 120,000 years ago) that humans have developed the technology to have the birth rate far exceed the death rate.

  5. #15
    Senior Member SensEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzulEyes View Post
    Will post this in the NF forum too- but knowing we have the capacity as a planet and human species to END world hunger, and knowing that children die every day, and knowing we can forecast that more will die tomorrow, next month, next year etc- why don't we solve it?

    Is it greed?
    Is it apathy?
    Is is racism?
    Is it stupidity?

    Should "nature take it's course" and people should starve to level off the population?

    Or should we do something about it knowing that we can?
    It's stupidity. Pure and simple.

    The root cause of world hunger is that people without the economic resources to support children, have children anyways. Until we can find a way to stop this behavior, world hunger cannot be resolved.

    So I do not concur with your assessment we have the capacity to end world hunger. We could end it temporarily, but all those starving children who fail to starve would hit reproductive age, and boom, problem compounded. Eventually we will run out of resources.

    Ideally, we would find a way to disable people's reproductive abilities until they show they meet an economic standard and quailfy for reproductive rights.* Technically, I don't think we have a way to do that, not to mention there is no political will.

    * I'd think even a minimum age standard would suffice for those who would find an economic standard discriminatory towards the poor (silly in my mind, but I'm sure there would be lots of hue an cry). So if possible, simply make a carte blanche rule that ABSOLUTELY NOBODY under age 25 can breed. This alone would go a long way to solving the problem. Alas, I see no effective way to implement such a policy on a global basis.

  6. #16
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    A mixture of apathy and laziness.

    Truly, that is what it is. no one REALLY cares about those vague people they don't know in a country they'll never visit. And why should they? What inconveniences their daily lives to make them do this?

    We throw away so much food in the US alone that we could offer an entire country 4-star meals for free. No one is consuming the food, no one is hurt by it being used vs trashed, this is just pure trash food we're talking. We could definitely start freeze-drying close-to-expiration-date food that grocery stores are trashing and making and providing at least simple, cheap mass-distribute-able meals like soups, stews, breads, etc. that would at least provide some with one meal a day. That would prevent complete starvation, and give the proteins, carbs, and fats that children and adults both require to survive and sustain themselves. Many people in the world live off total garbage--Haitians eat mud pies for meals. I mean, real mud pies. That's all it is. Over-priced dirt.

    I can run a family of four off of $50 a month, and we're being luxurious with that. I know for a fact we can feed the world without it inconveniencing any of us.

    1. Make it mandatory for grocery stores to donate all food the day of its expiration date vs throwing it away to food-prep centers.
    2. Create day-to-day government-paid jobs (as in, you show up that day, and work, and if you want to work again, you show up again) and put prisoners to work taking food donations and prepping them for drying, freeze-drying, or freezing.
    3. The equipment needed to do all of this isn't THAT expensive to buy and operate. Plates and cups, bowls and forks, and spoons are tossed by the thousands here in the US. We can, instead, get some of those goodwill plates and bowls and send them over to countries for people without them.
    4. Church missionaries and volunteer organizations already in place can take food out to the countries in need that aren't the BEST, but that offer the bare minimum in necessary calories and nutrients for adults and children. A piece of bread, some full-fat milk for children, some fresh water, and a bowl of hearty stew is a lot more than many get every day.

    Boom. Done. But organizing all of that sounds like a whole lot of work.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Well in the US at least, the more I talk with people who have either been homeless or interacted at some length with the homeless, the more I get the impression there is such an enormous availability of food that you pretty much have to be totally incapacitated to starve here. Or even be moderately hungry. If you're willing to spend time finding food, you're golden.

    If you have a full time job, scavenging for food for you and your family, however, takes up time that is hard to spend, but there are so many food donation centers where they will provide you with a cooked, scheduled meal that will make that a lot simpler.

    Now getting quality food (as defined as: healthy, nutrionally balanced) is a bit harder, but still doable, though geographic restrictions/anomalies may apply.

    Outside the States (and I'd presume Western Europe and other major centers are similar to the States), i'd guess it becomes an issue of large scale distribution. Having people drop off cans in their town and having a truck drive it around is small scale, easy to manage, and cheap for a local charity to manage. When you start talking about shipping containers across oceans, dealing with international regulations on food imports/exports, dealing with 'expired' food (which might be quite fine to eat but might become a liability when providing it for donation), your costs go way up.

    ---

    Using starvation as a population control measure is a bad idea.

    Works with mice, because mice can be quite territorial but for the most part if they can't get food they crawl into a hole somewhere and die.

    Humans aren't mice. Starving humans tend to pick up bricks, spears, or AK-47s and start killing other humans until they get what they want.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  8. #18
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Maybe it's different in other parts of the US, but here nobody goes hungry that doesn't want to with possibly the exception of children that don't have parents looking after them properly.

    I'm a big fan of proximity correlating with responsibility. People need to focus on their neighbors, towns, and cities before they start thinking about helping the world. The reason is that if people aren't actually helping locally then they likely don't care about actually solving problems and care more about making themselves feel better. This causes more problems than it solves as food and other aid can disrupt local economies where they really need to be enhancing their sustainability through wisdom and know-how. Obviously disaster relief is a different story.
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  9. #19
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    Transporting food is expensive.

    Doubly so because not only does the food need to be transported, it also needs to be refrigerated (in many instances).

    One can usually afford to do this because of the profits made from selling the food at its destination. Absent that profit, it's (almost only) economically feasible to fight hunger locally.

    That's why I agree with much of what @Beorn has stated above.

    It is for this reason however that I laugh when people make the mental leap from, America and other First world Countries produce more than their fair share of food, therefore there's no reason we shouldn't be able to get those surpluses all over the world to end hunger everywhere. People are sympathetic to the problems of people in other countries, just not to the point where they are willing to accept higher food prices, or decreased access.

    I'm down for airdropping non perishable foodstuffs, but not to the point were the economy and our quality of life is affected.

    That is what is known as a realist stance on international issues.

    It is in the humanitarian interest to give all that we can absent the costs.

    It is in the national interest to only give as much as we can afford, and only if those expenditures improve our standing on the world stage.

  10. #20
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Absolute poverty and famine/starvation probably have a lot to do with the exploitation of less developed countries by richer countries for their resources.

    In the US it can be difficult to get to places that serve meals and some food pantries are fairly draconian about distribution (they are in my city, as a rule). The few times I've eaten in soup kitchens, I've gotten sick to my stomach and lost the food I ate, even though it did not taste off or anything.

    Foodstamps do okay for larger families if they have access to halfway decent grocery stores. If they live in a food desert and/or they don't have good access to transportation or if there are only a few people in the household, foodstamps are really inadequate. My family does not receive foodstamps, but we spend about what a foodstamp budget would be for a family our size, but it's pretty easy when you've got six people ($4.50/day/person), a dependable vehicle (that you can afford to fuel), and a Sam's membership. If you don't have those things, it gets trickier. And it takes time apply for and keep your documentation updated.

    Also, if you don't have hardly any other resources, you might end up selling your foodstamps and the exchange rate in my area is fifty cents on the dollar, as far as I know. If it comes down to buying food or paying rent, sometimes it's the food that loses.
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