‘Life is miserable’: Even when there’s food in South Sudan, many can’t afford it Carolyn Thompson Washington Post November 18, 2018
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
Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesCredit:
“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%
India 4.5% Continue reading
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
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