Tag Archives: Poverty and hunger

Exploitation is not the only cause of poverty and hunger, but it is important. The people that control the social system use their power to obtain income for themselves.  This leaves less, usually substantially less, for others, and those at the bottom typically face poverty and hunger.  The political system is directed towards benefiting the people in control, not exclusively the general public. The welfare of the people is not the most important consideration.  See How ordinary people in developing countries are harmed by the political-economic system.

Suffering in South Sudan: hunger, conflict, refugees, child soldiers

‘Life is miserable’: Even when there’s food in South Sudan, many can’t afford it Carolyn Thompson Washington Post November 18, 2018

Photo: Thousand children in South Sudan have routinely been kidnapped and then forced to fight…#southsudan pic.twitter.com/BZdhQSQwuR  –Nino Fezza (@nfcinereporter) November 18, 2018

Photo: A displaced family from near the front lines that has been living in front of a Sana school since August. Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

War causing famine in Yemen

Your tax dollars help starve children Nicholas Kristof New York Times December 9, 2018

How the war in Yemen became a bloody stalemate—and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world Robert F. Worth New York Times November 5, 2018

Photo: A displaced family from near the front lines that has been living in front of a Sana school since August. Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Bowl of bean stew.

Cause of death: not enough money to buy food

“If people go hungry, it is often because food is unaffordable: our world is riddled with disparities in the cost of basic nourishment.”  The World Food Program illustrates this important and neglected fact In its recent publication: Counting the Beans: The True Cost of a Plate of Food Around the World. People starve in the midst of food–they just don’t have enough money to buy it.   In the United States most of us are accustomed to not spending very much of our income on food.  In developing countries,  the cost is higher, and very much higher in countries experiencing conflict,

To compare countries around the world, the WFP took a simple meal–a 600 calorie bean stew–and calculated how much of people’s average daily income it would take to buy the meal.

New York 0.6%

El Salvador 5.5%

Egypt 4.4%

India 4.5% Continue reading

Caption: Homeless person begging on Lake Cook Road in Buffalo Grove Illinois. The photographer talked to the young man and his homelessness was the result of a a loss of a job and the loss of his roommate. Credit: Hajee

The U.S. can no longer hide from its deep poverty problem

Excellent reports on extreme poverty in the United States.  Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, made a tour of the United States.  His task was to understand if extreme poverty in the U.S. undermines the enjoyment of human rights by its citizens  His statement is here.

Secondly Angus Deaton’s opinion article in the New York Times provided additional context.

Caption:  Homeless person begging on Lake Cook Road in Buffalo Grove Illinois.  The photographer talked to the young man and his homelessness was the result of a a loss of a job and the loss of his roommate. Credit: Hajee

 

 

 

How ordinary people in developing countries are harmed by the political-economic system

Standard economics does not have an adequate conception of harm.  Consequently it does not understand that the political-economic system can be organized for the benefit of a few, and that ordinary people can be harmed by the operation of this system.  This blog post is based on Vested Interests and the Common People in Developing Countries: Understanding Oppressive Societies and Their Effects published in the June 2017 Journal of Economic Issues.

The standard economic model of how economies work is that activities are essentially productive. This is not a correct view of reality. The principal difficulty is that there is economic activity that is unproductive and harmful (from the point of view of those being harmed). This is a central feature of the economic organization of these societies, and creates poverty. Societies are run on this basic set of principles: Take and maintain control of the government and other aspects of society, and use the power of government to obtain income.  Principal ways in which ordinary people are harmed include the following. Continue reading