Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who's the hoarder now?

"But where does responsible government action end and hoarding begin? (If the Irish government had begun a little hoarding instead of exporting grain in 1845, many deaths could have been avoided in the Irish potato famine.) It's not an easy question to answer, which suggests that it might be a perfect time to ask how countries got into this no-win, export-or-not quandary to begin with.

Understanding hunger begins here: In our world where the bottom 40 percent of us have to survive on just over three percent of world income and eight in ten live in societies where inequalities are worsening, the real "hoarding" is done by those with vastly disproportional income: Their market demand diverts 37 percent of the world's grain and about a third of the world fish catch to livestock, and now almost a third of U.S. corn to ethanol.

Thus, our hunger crisis is actually a democracy crisis. Hunger can be eliminated only as we remove the influence of concentrated wealth over public choices and ensure the ongoing, healthy distribution of power. The sooner we start recasting the crisis thusly, the sooner we'll all be able to thrive." (Thanks Toufic)

Frances Moore Lappé in the Huff

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