Feeding the poor

Should we feed the starving people in africa? Setting aside the costs that we incure by feeding starving people in africa is it really just making the problem worse? We may be creating a short term solution and saving lives now but we will be causing many more deaths down the road. If we ended world hunger and fed all the starving people then instead of having say a million people a year in africa die from starvation they would now live. This wouldn’t change the fact that they are now self effecient but instead are now dependent on us for food. Now those 1 million people that would have died multiply into 2 million people over the next few decades due to the nature of poorer people having lots of childeren to help out on the farms and businesses. Now we have 2 million starving people to feed. If we keep on feeding them soon we may have five million people to feed which may be too much since the world population is always growing. First world countries may have had a surplus back then of food but maybe now they need the extra food to support themselves. So they cut the food supply off and the bubble bursts. Now you have five million starve to death 50 years from now instead of 1 million today because you chose to feed them. Thinking we’ll keep them alive now and hopefully they’ll become selfsufficient later on is kind of pointless considering that food is getting scarcer and scarcer for everyone as the world population increases. If a country of 50 million can’t feed its citizens now what makes us think that when it reaches 200 million that they’ll be able to feed themselves? Technology can only do so much and in the end its inevitable that the world population is going to exceed the supply of food which will cause hopefully only some people to starve to death until supply equals the demand for a given country. So how does it help encourage a country of 50 million to grow to 200 million when they can only support say 45 million.

Agreed. Natural selection will prevail no matter what we do, though. In the end those who can’t get food will die. Whether it’s now or later, large portions of the population must die off in order for anyone to live.

Then we focus on programs that help starving countries become self-efficient. Instead of promoting a dependency or letting them starve, we should support their ability to feed themselves.

give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for one day; teach him how to fish, and he will eat forever… :unamused:

but to shed some light on the complexity of this issue…

The question is actually one of free trade and politics.
Africa is more fertile than the “1st world” countries but because they’re destitute they spend their time growing cash crops and not food to eat – it isn’t a matter of too many people/too much food but rather a matter of economics.

The food isn’t worth growing when there isn’t famine and so the growers switch to cash crops because they become desperately poor without demand for their food, and then this mass switch causes the next famine because everyone forgot to grow food.
In the US we provide subsidies that keep our people growing the necessary foods. African governments are too impoverished and disorganized to do similar things.
In ancient china, the government would help move supply and demand such that everyone got fed and everyone got paid, thus alleviating famines; but African governments can’t even do that and to make matters worse the IMF considers subsidizing food prices to be against free trade and therefore demands that it not be done or else they won’t give the country the loans it needs to get out of debt.

this is definitely a very complex issue. putting it in such naive terms, as general has (no offense, SIR! :sunglasses: ) does not at all help when trying to get a picture of why starvation still affects populations.

putting it VERY generally, whether or not things happen in the world (such as feeding the poor) depends on whether or not a profit can be made. this is of course not always true. but there are institutions such as the IMF that have the power to make sure that the more capitalist ideological tendencies win out over other alternatives. there are other institutions and trends in economics (such as “globalization”) that all contribute to the further enhancement of the capitalist “agenda”. beyond this, there can also be many political reasons for a population to go without adequate food. to put it more accurately, some populations may be actually withheld food in order to induce submissiveness of one sort or another! strange and psychotic sounding stuff, for sure. but it is the unfortunate reality.

again, this issue is SO complex that i’d NEVER suggest that what i’ve described is the whole thing. i wish i could give you some specific information on this subject… maybe someone else has some links to articles that deal with the subject in sufficient detail. the ideas i’ve formed have come about indirectly, through reading materials that haven’t had the topic of starvation as their main concern.


:sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses:


I’m well aware of the problems the africans have and that the main reason that they’re starving is the poverty level. I wasn’t talking though about whether we should help them improve their systems but instead on simply whether we should be giving them food as charity. Being the situation as it is with them growing cash crops instead of food then over time with enough famine resulting they will adapt and learn to grow more food but if we simply send aid to the starving then with the famine partially aleviated its just going to incourage them to grow more cash crops since they can rely on foreign aid and charity. Now with more cash crops and less food crops whats going to happen if aid is suddenly cut and they now have no food and no money and everyone is starving now. Sure the cash crops will bring in some money but where is it going to go honestly?

Well consider this, the poor didn’t really exist before civilisation.

In fact, people in pre-horticultural, or explotive, cultures only had to work about four hours a day for sustinance. So in general I think land owners owe non-land owners for removeing the natural way of earning a liveing. However, (insert country here) and the various nations of Africa are different entities. Personally I feel no responsibility for what goes on over there. Of course what ever holdings the Americans, or especially my government have overthere, comes with a responability to the people. I for one would be upset at any dirty dealings or lack of mercy that is being done by my people or in my name.

you can’t make any money giving people food!

and keeping them oppressed and hungry is actually GOOD because it forces them to want to work in factories and other terrible places (unnatural things they wouldn’t ever want to or have to do if they had what they needed for survival). and when you get em working in the maquilladoras, well that’s cheap labor, and that means… another SUV for Mr. CEO!

Exactly you can’t make money by giving away free food to other foreign nations and if you let them starve and go hungry then it forces them to work in our factories where we can acquire cheap labour which in turn they use this money to feed themselves but if we fed them then they wouldn’t have to work, we would be spending millions of dollars feeding them and they wouldn’t want to work in our factories for low wages which would cause the factory owners to either increase wages to attract the workers to work which would raise the prices of goods sold back here. By the way cheap african labour is a good thing for them because if you told factory owners they had to pay more for labour like a minimum wage then they might pull out and these loss of jobs would create mass starvation.

I’m moving this to social sciences.

Please feel free to pm Ben, myself, or any of the staff with any questions.