TestosteronePit May 5 2013 (Thanks, A.L.)
A daily ration of bread is now beyond the reach of roughly a billion people on planet Earth. What’s more, hunger is spreading like a pandemic, making incursions from its traditional strongholds in the global south to towns and cities across depression-hit Southern Europe. In Greece reports are growing of young children having to scrounge for food from classmates, while in Spain city dwellers have become all but inured to the daily spectacle of people of all ages, genders and walks of life rummaging in rubbish bins for a bite to eat.
Some people point to this 21st century hunger pandemic as evidence of the unsustainability of current population growth — and to an extent they’re probably right. After all, there’s only so many people that the world’s rapidly declining resources can sustain. However, as Esther Vivas of the Pompeu Fabra University’s Centre of Studies on Social Movements points out (video), the crude reality is that many of us continue to live in a world of food abundance.
The problem of world hunger, she says, is the result of the acute inefficiencies of a global agribusiness model geared purely at generating ever larger profits for the handful of businesses that now control the global food chain. Tragically, all too often the human cost is measured in the lives of those who don’t have enough money to pay the rapidly escalating prices of basic foodstuffs. And it’s a heavy cost indeed: according to some estimates, one person dies of hunger every 8-12 seconds.
Vivas offers sharp insights on a global industry that prioritizes, at pretty much every turn, profits and power over human welfare. Unfortunately, the video is only available in Spanish and without English subtitles, so for those of you whose linguistic talents don’t quite extend to the Spanish tongue, here’s a brief summary of the highlights: