Starvation Throughout the World - What Can Be Done About Food Shortages?
* I wish to discuss the causes, factors and potential solutions surrounding the subject of food shortages, which are still a unique and extreme problem even today.
- what are some of the social, economic and environmental causes of food shortage?
- Discuss both short term and long term effect of food shortage on people's live and on society as a whole?
- what actions can be taken to lessen the effects of food shortage and which of these measures, if any, are appropriate for addressing the effects of the shortage crisis?
* Some of the causes of food shortage include a lack of food or problems with the distribution of food, which can occur given a variety of social, political and environmental reasons. Drought and adverse environmental conditions can often lead to an insufficient amount of food being provided for the population of a country or area. Social causes of food shortages include the extreme political conditions that happen as a result of oppressive governments or warfare.
* Short term effects of food shortage on people and society include a bout of mild malnutrition, loss of energy intake and weight, as well as sluggish behavior and more restrictive behaviors in play and language, particularly for children. Long term effects of food shortage include developmental changes and sustained malnutrition, as well as economic and social instability.
* In order to lessen the influence of food shortage in countries suffering from it, international support must be taken to provide aid, support, and governmental stabilization to offer areas of food shortage a more stable environment with which to grow and sustain their own food. Therefore, I will argue that food shortages are an unfortunate outcome of undeveloped countries and the inability of the developed world to help them sufficiently. With the help of more organized and dedicated sanctions, it may be possible for developed countries to provide sufficient assistance to allow undeveloped countries to get back on their feet.
Food shortage is a common problem throughout the world, even today.
* While the number of overweight people has outweighed the number who are undernourished, the fight continues for those who still do not have enough food (Kamdar, 2007).
* About 925 million people today are chronically hungry, and the number of people without food security has increased to 2 billion people (Bhutta, 2008).
* Food security only exists when people have, at all times, the access by any means to nutritious food that meets their dietary requirements to remain healthy (Bhutta, 2008).
There are many different causes of food shortage, ranging from the environmental to the political.
* The ecology of certain nations prevent them from growing sufficient food for their population (Harrison, 1988).
* Many governments oppress and control their people to the point where many do not receive food (Somerville, 2002).
* Many countries have a combination of both environmental causes and political causes that prevent them from getting sufficient food for their population (Somerville, 2002).
The effects of food shortage in the short term can be quite acute on a country, whether developed or undeveloped.
* Children's health is sorely diminished, sacrificing needed nutrition in their early years and leaving them underweight (Bhutta et al., 2008).
* In the short-term, people become sluggish, unresponsive, and generally unavailable to work (Brown and Halweil, 1998).
* Even worse, however, are the long term effects of food shortage, which are undeniably indiscriminate and crippling to even the strongest nation (Brown and Halweil, 1998).
Despite the problems inherent in the food shortage dilemma, there are solutions that can be taken that would lessen the effects of food shortage, including introducing a democratic government into those that did not have them.
* Sen argues that democratic governments offer greater accountability to their leaders (Sen, 1982).
* Democracies help to prevent famine, as the people would vote to keep things running as long as steps were taken to solve food shortages (Massing, 2003).
* In countries like India, the "invisible hand" of oppression prevents people from getting the food they need (Massing, 2003).
In conclusion, the need to solve the problem of food shortages is paramount.
* The causes of food shortages are many and cannot be solved without international intervention.
(Bhutta et al., 1998).
* Food shortages create short-term and long-term effects on nations that last and cause great damage to these nations (Harrison, 1988).
The solutions to food shortages include greater government intervention and sanctions to improve food cultivation conditions in the host country (Sen, 1982).
Bhutta, Z.A., Bawany, F.A., Feroze A., Rizvi, A., (2008 Dec). The impact of the food and
economic crisis on child health and nutrition. UNICEF Conference.
Bhutta et al. look at the potential impacts of the food shortage in Asia, and how that will affect child health and nutrition in both the short and long terms. This paper is useful in determining many of the effects that food shortages have on a population.
Brown L.R., and Halweil, B. (1998 July/August). China's water shortage could shake world food
security. World*Watch, pp. 10-21.
Brown and Halweil talk about water shortages in China, which have substantial effects on food security for the rest of the world. This article is extremely helpful in demonstrating just how interconnected the rest of the world is to each other, noting that food shortages in just one country can affect many others.
Harrison, G. (1988). Famine. Oxford University Press.
Harrison's book discusses many of the causes of famines and food shortages, including failures of socioeconomic systems, a lack of self sufficiency in food production for many nations, and more. Tropical soils and their infertilities are noted as a cause for food shortages, and potential solutions are said to be stymied by an unwillingness to transcend academic and social boundaries.
Kamdar, M. (2007). Climate challenge for the poor - Part II. YaleGlobal.
Kamdar's article outlines many of the problems that are happening in the international industrial biofuel industry, which are leading to starvation and malnutrition in the poor peoples of the world. Because of biofuels, grain is steadily decreasing in food usage and increasing in price, making it harder for developing countries to get it.
Massing, M. (2003 Mar 1). Does democracy avert famine? New York Times. Retrieved from
In this article, Massing explores the potential for a functioning democracy as the means by which famine can be destroyed. Talking with Amartya Sen, a prominent economist, he notes that democratic governments actively take steps to remove famine even in their own self-interest. This is notable as a potential solution for famine, as the bringing of democracy to nations might help people to get the food they need to survive.
Sen, A. (1982). Poverty and famines: an essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford
This article from noted economist Amartya Sen declares that India and other nations that offer free press and competitive elections prevent famine. This is done to enforce a political contract between the people and those who rule them, preventing the ruling class from abusing the system outright. This would be additionally helpful in the argument that democracy would bring accountability to rulers in food shortage situations.
Somerville, K. (2002 Nov 12). Why famine stalks Africa. BBC News World Edition.
Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2449527.stm.
Somerville, in his article, notes the reasons for the African famine in the early 2000s, showing some causes for food shortages that occur. In this case, drought immediately caused the food shortage, as harvests were ruined and people were left without drinking water. There is also a noted dependence on importance and corruption through poor government.
Woo-Cumings, M. (2002 Jan). The political ecology of famine: the North Korean catastrophe
and its lessons. ADB Institute Research Paper 31.
Woo-Cumings explores the North Korean famine and shows some causes of food shortages being ecological interactions moreso than political machinations. This evidence will be used to show the environmental causes of food shortages as well as those of overbearing ruling classes. The need for a new imperative to combat food shortage, a phenomenon often thought solved, is demonstrated.