In most places in the world it's easy and cheap enough to produce food and distribute it. Actually, it's so easy and cheap that many world states artificially subsidize agriculture/livestock farming/etc. to prevent them from collapsing due to low prices.
Ask any organizers of international food programs. In most cases local authorities will demand that they, not the international do-gooders, distributed the food. When they get hold of that food, they keep it under lock and key and distribute in a way that supports the existing power / social status structure, not in a way that helps most hungry people. Some food could even rot unused, but not given away to the hungry.
The problem is not a lack of food. The problem is that certain power structures emerged on top of traditional food-deficient economy, perpetuate it to stay in power, and can't be fixed by injection of food from the outside.
Meanwhile we have people who die from hunger.
That patronage system will out-compete other, non-patronage systems, because it will have a stronger internal power base.
There are only 2 classes of solution that work here, where “work” = “not accidentally create/enable a patronage scheme”:
1. Impose power from outside, non-locally. This is generally frowned on, as it’s basically colonialism.
2. Withhold the flow of outside aid, as this takes away the resources the local power structure is free-riding on to sustain its power base. This is also generally frowned on, as it feels like useful resources are being withheld.
Because both solutions are unacceptable, the status quo and its power structures persist.
If the subsidies were removed, the farmers/etc would need to raise their prices to pay for whatever the subsidies paid. That new higher price would reflect the real cost of production. The subsidies are there to keep prices low and accessible despite a higher cost of production.
It seems more like it's just an entrenched industry. Corn especially now that it's tied up in gassoline and Trump's trade war.
Same thing, really. Entrenched industries usually find themselves a nice feedback loop and dig in. The nature of capitalism allows them to ignore any negative externalities of their product. They ship out corn-sugar and dollars roll in. They don't deal with the realities of diabetes and heart disease caused by their products. Heart disease is the #1 killer in this country. Diabetes is #7. If we want any hope at combating this, we need less sugar in this country. But big sugar is indifferent to this, and that's where the evil comes in. In fact, they know this is happening, but the calculus is clear.
The problem here quite simply is that people kove sugar. Arguble some historical regulatory mistakes made suger consumtion too high but the primary reason is people demand.
But it applies to adults too who purchase the goods. Most people if you ask them don't realize how much sugar is in the food they consume, and they don't understand the connection between sugar consumption and heart disease. No one chooses heart disease.
People can read a percentage or a gram count on the packaging, sure, but the nature of sugar is that of addiction. It's not just that people like sugar, it's that we are wired to want to consume it, and Big Sugar takes advantage of that by loading a surprising amount of our food with too much of it. Many people are surprised to learn their bread has sugar in it. Even with soda they are surprised just how much is in a can if you measure it out physically on the table in front of them. People aren't well-informed about what they are consuming and the long term health related effects, and even if they are they are too addicted to stop. Big Sugar knows this and takes full advantage, because millions of people dying every year does not affect their bottom line (and they can easily replace their old, dead customers with new, young ones)
Look at mines, oil companies, etc for other examples of industries with participants lacking the ability to raise their prices.
Some foods are just more nutritious than others, and some foods cause more trouble than the nutrients that they provide. There is junk food that is just based on empty calories and toxic elements that then have to be worked on by the body to just remove (much more so than other food). You could say that junk food is perhaps better than no food, if someone is really starving. But it does not magically become good for you because you eat it "in moderation and variety".
Also, a “nutrient” is just something that promotes growth and provides energy. That makes olive oil and sticks of butter a lot more “nutrient rich” than a pile of broccoli. Nobody will survive on the latter alone.
If we're talking about many countries in sub saharan Africa for instance though, I'd say shortage is still a problem and probably going to get worse with climate change since Africa is particularly vulnerable (literally read an article about this yesterday but can't find the link right now)
I never see this question on TV. What I mainly see on Tv is talk about political strategies, result surveys and the like. Climate change is one of the few things that I see being discussed. And even that has a lot of this let's talk about politicians positions and poll results.
I want to see more about how to improve the world. Does anyone know any good on-line resources about this? Because mass media is doing a poor job. And we need them to do a better job.
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/no-shortcuts-9780190... - Jane F. McAlevey examines the difference between the ineffective activism of the last 40 years and successful movements like the Civil Rights Movement and the industrial labor movement. Her work is also explained well in this interview - https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/04/jane-mcalevey-on-how-...
Is that notable in a good way or bad way? Anything written for the population densities and totals 100 years ago is woefully out of date.
100 years ago there were homesteaders in the western US who were given free acres of land just for being there.
Population densities are higher now but Kropotkin was writing before the green revolution. Our capability to feed everyone has grown dramatically in the intervening time
The tough truth is that improving the world at that scale is mostly about politics. Politics is how the nations allocate resources to problems.
You maybe want them to talk about the technical fundamentals of the problem but the important bit is usually the politics.
[A sibling comment says to look at TED talks. This is an excellent idea. Then, after a couple of years, ask why none of the solutions have been implemented, and you are ready to get interested in the politics.]
Today, it's basically a political and economics challenge, to convince enough people it would be worth while to spend the time and effort to do it. Which is not to say there wouldn't be engineers involved, solving new problems, but we already know enough of the solutions that it's not really the sticking point now.
(Which is to agree with you, a lot of things are organizational problems at this point.)
There's a quote by (I believe) Winston Churchill - which I can't seem to find atm - that goes something along the lines of:
Winning a war/battle is relatively easy. It's convincing them to let you fight that's far more difficult.
Politics of course often leads to bad propert rights distribution and limitations to trade.
But I prefer this definition because in many places de-facto property tights are privatly enforced and defended and its produce is not effected by state level politics.
You overall point is certainly true, bad governance leads to a lack of food.
That's a hard pill to swallow, but I fear you're right.
Shouldn't government's priorities be establishing rule of law, courts & justice, national defense, and regulating commerce? How did massive taxes, a huge budget, and political fights over resource allocation ever get thrown into the mix?
A historian once said that democracy fails when people begin voting themselves into the nation's purse [i.e. voting for politicians who promise them money].
That’s an oft-repeated but incorrect trope. You can’t save your way to being rich. Rich people are either born rich or they spend lots of money on investing into businesses (their own and others).
You also made no supporting argument for why the government is needed to decide what to spend some peoples’ money on. If we eliminated the top 1% and gave everyone else in the US the resulting few thousand dollars each, do you think that would eliminate the need for taxation going forward?
Any system, including someone's anarcho-capitalist fantasy, determines allocation of resources. Some are just more humanitarian than others.
Though that idea was footnoted: not so with people lacking in moral virtue.
All he talks about is the problem of resource redistribution through the means of a basic income, $1000/month to every citizen!
They just chose as a couple to have her take care of her own son as a caretaker instead of her working and them hiring. That’s not a failure of the market anymore than the market not valuing my car because I refuse to sell it.
With integrated carbon-neutral fuel production: http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/node/277
> "Alcohol Can Be a Gas!" (subtitled Fueling an Ethanol Revolution for the 21st Century) is an information-dense, highly readable, profusely illustrated manual, covering every aspect of alcohol fuel from history through crops, hands-on fuel production, and vehicle conversion. It's the first comprehensive book on small- to farm-scale alcohol production and use written in over 90 years.
> In most places in the world it's easy and cheap enough to produce food and distribute it.
look at Venezuela and even North Korea, then look who supports these regimes that allow the governments of each to keep themselves in power. We cannot do much more than harm the people of countries like these two but surely trade sanctions or limits can be applied to their supporters.
A special UN rapporteur sent to Venezuela suggests the sanctions are causing death due to lack of things like Insulin.
Who is this "we" that it's so worried about the welfare of humanity?
Read about the interventions of first Europe and then the USA in the global affairs.
You can check how sugar, then cotton and later oil interest have shaped the world. Or even fruit (1).
(1) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company