“TWELVE MYTHS vs. FACTS”May 24, 2009
“12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WORLD HUNGER”
All Information is from the Website hosted by Food First – Institute for Food & Development Policy at http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:AUoGov1il3IJ:www.foodfirst.org/12myths+myth+of+world+hunger+and
MYTH ONE — “Not Enough to Go Around.”
REALITY : The world actually possesses abundant food to distribute. If we take various grains such as rice and wheat into account for the main food supply, the book states that one individual can intake “3200 calories a day.” In terms of pounds of food, one person could have “at least 4.3 pounds of food” a day, “2.5 pounds of grain, beans and nuts,” “1 pound of fruits and vegetables,” and “another pound of meat, milk and eggs.” The dilemma is that many starving people are not able to afford food available in the market.
MYTH TWO — “Nature is to Blame for Famine.”
REALITY: Rather than nature, a capitalistic society that values financial effectiveness over philanthropy is a direct cause of starvation. That is, a society stresses less on benevolence but more on an efficient economy, whose system severely deprives the unfortunate of equal opportunities. Only the poorest are the detrimentally affected by economic hard times as they can’t afford the food. Only few powerful people in a poor country possess lands; whereas, the poor are always paid with meager income.
MYTH THREE – “Too Many People”
REALITY: Global birth rates are considerably decreasing as the birth rate of third world is decreasing along with the previous death rates declining. Also population density is not the main reason of hunger. Instead, hunger arises from inequities that the unfortunate poor women faces a lack of economic opportunities and security.
MYTH FOUR – “The Environment vs. More Food?”
REALITY: The environmentally unfriendly practices of large corporation undermines our resources to produce foods. Commitments to feed the poor are not the reasons of environmental crisis. Rather, many corporations with environmentally harmful practices are the ones that should be hold accountable for destruction of our nature such as deforestation and cosmetic usage of pesticides. One should realize that environmentally responsible companies can be more productive than irresponsible counterparts.
MYTH FIVE – “The Green Revolution is the Answer.”
REALITY: It is true that we can now harvest more plentiful amounts of grain thanks to the green revolution that enables to the birth of various, new grain seeds. However, the availability of ample grains is not directly translated into further mitigation of hunger contrary to the mythical belief in the green revolution. Instead, only those in the financially robust positions are capable of purchasing the food. As good illustrations of this phenomenon, we can witness how the great green revolution successes in India, Mexico, and the Philippines did not alleviate the severity of hunger although the level of grain production and exports has surged. In order to solve the problem of poverty and world hunger, we need to fight against the social system of inequality.
MYTH SIX – “We Need Large Farms.”
REALITY: The land owners with greater powers to cultivate large portions of superior quality of the lands do not use all pieces of the lands. On the other hand, small farmers are relatively more productive because they intensively use their lands and adapt earth friendly, sustainable agricultural methods. When small farmers do not have legal rights to use or own a piece of lands, they won’t be motivated to devote themselves to improving the lands, rotating periodically the kinds of crops, and allowing resting periods for the lands to earn richness of the soil. As small farmers are not given incentives to invest in the productive activities, the food production level diminishes. In order to prevent this and optimize the fertility of lands, “land reforms” that aim to reallocate lands in a more equitable manner should be established.
MYTH SEVEN- “The Free Market Can End Hunger.”
REALITY: In distributing resources and goods, the free market should be able to spread the range of purchasing power in more equitable manners. Some effective methods to disperse economic concentration include the following practices: The government could impose tax on higher income earners or grant tax credits and pursue land reforms. These kinds of reforms would effectively spread the extent of purchasing power, enabling to eliminate the number of starving population to a certain degree.
MYTH EIGHT-“Free Trade is the Answer.”
REALITY: Free Trade did not contribute to decreasing a number of starving people. While the volume of exports in the third world countries have surged, no clear indication of improvement in world hunger issues has been shown. For example, Brazil was able to export the large quantities of soybean that would be used for the purpose of feeding Japanese and European farm animals. In the meantime, starvation increased from 33% to 67%.While a greater number of people have been left too destitute to buy food produced in their home country, the wealthy will direct their energy into investment in profitable markets. Furthermore, after NAFTA takes effect, the U.S. has experienced “a net loss of over a million jobs” and Mexico lost “1.3 million” in a solely agricultural sector. As a result, it gives rise to a greater number of starving people in both countries.
MYTH NINE-“Too Hungry to Fight for Their Rights
REALITY: Many noticeable movements to fight against hunger were launched all over the world. “the Zapatistas in Chiaps, Mexico” and “the Landless People’s movement in South Africa” are some of the good examples. In other words, those suffering from hunger are capable of pursuing their rights to more access to food. Thus, we should find a way to get rid of the heavy barriers and the impediment existing in the paths of the poor. In particular, we need to pay close attention to the obstacles created by “large companies, U.S. government, World Bank and IMF policies.”
MYTH TEN-“More U.S. Aid Will Help the Hungry.”
REALITY: U.S. aid will not make a difference in the quality of their life for the poor as the purpose of the aid will only be targeting promotion of exports combined with a sacrifice of food production. What is worse is that this aid practice is even misused to produce weapons of the repressive governments desiring to control by force and power. Thus, the change in the form of U.S. aid is necessary. That is, “unconditional debt relief” could be a more constructive solution to help the poor because the majority of Third World countries have cut down expenses on “basic health, education and anti-poverty programs.”
MYTH-ELEVEN-“We Benefit from Their Poverty.”
REALITY: Although people in developed countries may take advantage of cheap labor in developing countries, the poor conditions of the hungry will actually be disadvantageous when many corporations decide to go overseas for cheap labor. This is because going overseas means losing opportunities to create jobs, to earn decent wages and to have good working conditions in the home town. Thus, we need to communicate the values of becoming compassionate in order to liberate the poor from the bondage of desolate economic conditions and to free the U.S. market at the same time.
MYTH-TWELVE-“Curtail Freedom to End Hunger?”
REALITY: When it comes to “civil liberties,” the very existence of liberties does not conflict with the objective of terminating hunger. In fact, financial security for everyone is believed to be an essential prerequisite to achieve liberty for everyone.
In contrary, the unlimited right or freedom to amass great wealth creates the authority or power to control that property. This kind of freedom is apparently not consistent with the humanitarian goal of eradicating hunger issues.