Monday, April 28, 2008

A predictable catastrophe


Today's Washington Post has an article on how the global food crisis is impacting Mauritania. Yesterday, I blogged about this topic on Intlawgrrls, here.

The human scale of this tragedy can get buried under statistics about biofuel, farm animal production and global trade. But, hunger is personal. It affects individuals one-by-one. I am haunted by images of hungry children, and even more haunted what must be an unbearable pain that parents feel when they are unable to feed their children.

More than two decades ago, Amartya Sen convincingly demonstrated that human hunger is a distribution rather than a production problem. That remains true. I am continually amazed at how willing we are to accept plenty juxtaposed with desperate poverty, and at how many people just don't care.

If you care, do something! Give money (here is a link to one fine organization--there are many others) write your representatives about the need for US leadership on this issue, advocate for the hundreds of millions of people who have no safety margin. As Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns, this is an entirely predictable catastrophe.

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