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UN World Food Day Message: more than 1 billion people are hungry - Why?

 
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herb slocomb wrote:

Arvind Mahendra wrote:

herb slocomb wrote:
No one has produced any examples yet of a billionaire acting through a free market casuing global hunger.
On the contrary, the more billionaires a country has as a result of a free market, the less hunger it has.



...
Here's an example. A billionaire who runs a power company, seeing an increase in demand for his product decides to dam a river that acts as a life line for millions of acres of farmland downstream. Look at what this does - you displace millions of people from their home, food production is lessened and the price of produce has now gone up. ...



You still have not given a real example of a billionaire causing world hunger. Also, in real life, the situations I know about are a result of government action (Hoover Dam & Three Gorges) not a result free market activity (where land is bought from owners at fair price). Fortunately in the US, even government actions require landowners to be paid a fair value for their land (that would include considering profits from farming). A world market in food commodities also vastly reduces the impact of any regional disruptions.



Billionaire = large scale investor for our intents and purposes, and I already gave you example of very rich entities/individuals/groups that can unwittingly contribute to world Hunger. Does it really lessen the impact if we don't know the name of these individuals? or if it was a Government? or if the person was exceedingly wealthy but owned assets not totaling 1 billion U.S. dollars?
The colonizers who displaced labor and had British India grow and export crops like tea, coffee lucrative for the west while people suffered from famine was an example of this.
Whether its a Government or private individual is immaterial. In any case, the Government will usually award the contract(like for when it builds a dam) to a private entity or at least enter into some kind of public private Joint venture for these purposes,if that is supposed to make it better. Like I said I dont think it is the fault or intention(unless they are driven by evil like you said) to cause hunger - they just want profit. But to propose that large scale investors have never caused world hunger is absurd.
A Company that deals in Diamonds and is buying so called "blood diamonds" is contributing to hunger. It is not uncommon for warring armies to ravage and burn a nation's food stock as a tactic of submission. This has been done in the past and it is still being done in Africa. These are all indirect ways the wealthy can augment world hunger.

A direct example is a farmers, and by farmer I don't mean tiller of the land or labor. I mean a feudal landlord who uses the free market which mandates and allows him to export his production to the highest bidder, the affect is not as drastic so as to cause some kind of famine back home but this DOES contribute to food deficit and obvious price rise in the third world country in which it is being produced. The rise in price may also not be staggering but when you are living on less than 1$ a day it may end up making it out of reach.

This is why I emphasize personal responsibility. If people in wealthier countries have knowledge of an ongoing drought or food scarcity or that a region of the world is facing a food shortage, maybe they should cut consumption of that commodity themselves to discourage these wealthy farmers from exporting and instead be forced to sell in his own country. I am a capitalist at heart too but seeing those numbers of hungry in America is making me revisit some of my long cherished beliefs about capitalism.

In modern times, Since massive gains have been made under Borlough, This problem isn't even so much about food shortages anymore as it is about prices being driven out of reach of the poor and policies of Governments. The reason for Hunger in the U.S and India are the same - poverty. Whats worse about India though is that a very substantial number of farmers don't even own the land they work on. Imagine doing back breaking labor day after day under the burning sun to grow food for us only to end up in a position where they even can't afford the fruits of their own labor. Communist/socialist countries don't fare much better so who knows what the solution is.
 
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Arvind Mahendra wrote:
Does it really lessen the impact if we don't know the name of these individuals? or if it was a Government?



Yes, it matters since my general overall theory is that free markets generally reduce poverty over time. Governments will and can proceed with actions that make little economic sense where as billionaires seldom do such things. In short term, it doesn't lessen impact, but in long term governments react less quickly leading to less efficiencies.

In short term, Government actions in markets distort the natural pricing mechanism in markets that determines how resources are allocated based on demand, risk, and anticipated profit. The wholesale relative failure of all Eastern Bloc countries' economies is why even the Chinese communists moved towards a more free market approach. Their result has been ongoing phenomenal growth. Billionaires will act in harmony with markets (if they desire to remain billionaires), increasing overall efficiency with generalized good effects if the society is primarily market based.

Arvind Mahendra wrote:
A Company that deals in Diamonds and is buying so called "blood diamonds" is contributing to hunger. It is not uncommon for warring armies to ravage and burn a nation's food stock as a tactic of submission. This has been done in the past and it is still being done in Africa.



A free market pre-supposes a supportive govt and infrastructure, not warlords and criminals running completely amok.
So, I will grant you that the first step is to establish order in society. Also, I will grant you that buying from criminals to support their criminal activity is wrong. The markets are ammoral although they lead to good ends with the proper infrstucture.

Arvind Mahendra wrote:
... a feudal landlord who uses the free market which mandates and allows him to export his production to the highest bidder, the affect is not as drastic so as to cause some kind of famine back home but this DOES contribute to food deficit and obvious price rise in the third world country in which it is being produced. The rise in price may also not be staggering but when you are living on less than 1$ a day it may end up making it out of reach. This is why I emphasize personal responsibility. If people in wealthier countries have knowledge of an ongoing drought or food scarcity or that a region of the world is facing a food shortage, maybe they should cut consumption of that commodity themselves to discourage these wealthy farmers from exporting and instead be forced to sell in his own country.



The costs of the farmer for seed, tractors, labor costs, distibutions costs, and marketing costs allow him to produce food at a certain cost. Reduce demand by encouraging foreigners to reduce consumption could drive the price below what is needed for the farmer to survive. Reduce the demand and he will plant less crops or none next year. It is possible that the farmer simply cannot afford to produce food at a cost the locals can afford simply because their living standards are so low and his costs are too high. He may have to export to survive. The solution is raise overall living standards in the society via more free markets, and although easier said than done, it has been done. Relatively recent example are a number of Asian countries, such as South Korea, who have seen dramatic positive changes.

An issue with US food aid that goes to Africa is that local farmers cannot survive competing with low cost/free imports. So, they never develop a farming industry and remain dependent on foreign aid.

I'm not disputing your assertion that free markets can lead to hardship, they can and do and will, but the overall long term effect is positive. In the short term, I agree, intelligent compassionate action can be needed.


I The reason for Hunger in the U.S and India are the same - poverty. Whats worse about India though is that a very substantial number of farmers don't even own the land they work on. Imagine doing back breaking labor day after day under the burning sun to grow food for us only to end up in a position where they even can't afford the fruits of their own labor. Communist/socialist countries don't fare much better so who knows what the solution is.



I cannot agree that hunger is an issue in the US and I produced my own map with disputing statistics. No one starves in the US. I think if the issue is looked at openly however, the solution shows that countries adopting free markets tend to have higher standards of living and less hunger. A complicating factor is the social infrastucture neeed to support free markets. Without a supportive stable govt, adequate laws respecting property rights, a workable legal system, a work ethic, etc, then the free market approach will be a rockier road.

India's infrastructure is lacking in some respects so there is no magic cure, but there is a direction - towards free markets.
 
frank davis
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Arvind Mahendra wrote:

... a feudal landlord who uses the free market which mandates and allows him to export his production to the highest bidder, the affect is not as drastic so as to cause some kind of famine back home but this DOES contribute to food deficit and obvious price rise in the third world country in which it is being produced.



Its also important to realize that if the markets are operating freely in all areas, then competition will force down prices most especially for commodities like food. The farmer would then be forced to lower his prices and would be able to lower his prices if his costs had also been lowered by competition. The unskilled wages of the poor should fall less because labor markets are local not global and its less likely that workers would be imported for competition. However, large scale immigration of unskilled workers (as happens on US Southern border) or a booming population, could increase competition for wages for even among the unskilled.

What wasn't mentioned previously, is that hypothetical examples considering only a few parts of a system may not give a true picture of how the whole system operates. Its often the case that politicians make laws to fix an apparent economic problem without understanding (or caring) how markets work and make the situation worse. One example is the case of rent control to control rental prices for the poor which usually results in less housing being built and then shortages of available housing.
 
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I am still trying to figure out if this thread is 'meaningless' or a drivel'.
 
frank davis
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VineetK Singh wrote:I am still trying to figure out if this thread is 'meaningless' or a drivel'.



Come on, I'm helping to solve global hunger and increase the standard of living of every living human on the planet now and all future generations.
 
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VineetK Singh wrote:I am still trying to figure out if this thread is 'meaningless' or a drivel'.


I think it depends, for some there may be a lot if meaningless comments in this thread.

herb slocomb wrote:Come on, I'm helping to solve global hunger and increase the standard of living of every living human on the planet now and all future generations.


Sure

 
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Come on, I'm helping to solve global hunger and increase the standard of living of every living human on the planet now and all future generations.



There is one way of the solving the help in my mind: to be volunteer...
Why voluntariness:

-- to contribute to the society we live in,
-- be able to experience happiness of being to help people who need,
-- we have the opportunity to develop skills and to contribute to our personal development,
-- this world that everything is measured with a response, so money can be useful to show without waiting,
-- to be good examples to society,
-- to escape boredom,
-- to obtain a new and environmentally friendship,
-- to taste the happiness of the living for others by the rule of "feeding is more delicious than eating",

Regards,
 
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If the "North" exports food to the "South" it causes starvation by putting local producers out of business.
If the "North" buys agricultural products from the "South" it causes starvation by reducing food produced for local consumption.
The best policy, therefore, is for the "North" not to trade with the "South" -- to treat the "South" the way the US has long treated Cuba. That's the only way to ensure there's no exploitation.

(By the way, after reading the many assertions asserted in this thread, how many of us are thinking, "I HATE HATE HATE billionaires!"???
I mean, what _should_ we feel about people who cause the suffering death of so many?)
 
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VineetK Singh wrote:I am still trying to figure out if this thread is 'meaningless' or a drivel'.



You are welcome to try to move the thread in that direction if you like.
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:

VineetK Singh wrote:I am still trying to figure out if this thread is 'meaningless' or a drivel'.



You are welcome to try to move the thread in that direction if you like.



Currently more than 1 billion adults are overweight



Source - Link

So if the 1 billion obese people stop overeating, 1 billion people who go hungry because their food got eaten by someone else, wont go hungry any longer.

Such a simple solution and no one saw it yet
 
frank davis
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Devesh H Rao wrote:

So if the 1 billion obese people stop overeating, 1 billion people who go hungry because their food got eaten by someone else, wont go hungry any longer.

Such a simple solution and no one saw it yet



Well, the issue of starvation has never been because of lack of food in a global sense, rather its the distribution locally.

And the price of food can't be reduced by reducing consumption, since governments support price levels of food commodities to keep farmers in business.

In fact, the US government pays farmers NOT to plant food. In 2008 or so, almost 2 billion dollars was paid to farmers not to plant....
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jul/11/na-usda-urged-to-end-paying-farmers-not-to-grow-cr/
 
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