BETRAYING THE NATIONAL INTEREST by Frances Moore; Rachel Schurman & Kevin Danaher Lappe


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An indictment of US foreign policy for having so little good effect on the scourge of world hunger. The authors argue that the half of the planet that barely survives could instead be a new consumer class; therefore, our true national interest lies in empowering the world's poor. Hunger, the authors state, stems from a lack of power, not of food. (This point gets a full defense in Food First, 1979, and World Hunger, 1986, both coauthored by Lappe.) ""It's impossible to go through the powerful to reach the powerless,"" yet the US with its exaggerated fear of the ""red menace,"" will support a friendly government no matter how tyrannical; and our two largest chunks of foreign aid--military and Economic Support Funds--aren't even meant for the poor. Developmental Assistance, which does go to health, agriculture, etc., represents only 18% of our aid, and never seems to reach the poor--foreign governments undercut their own beleagured farmers. What to do? Take heart in examples of self-help poverty unions in India and Africa. Curb US Soviet-phobia. Cease fearing ""the threat of good example"" of countries who junk capitalism for worker-owned businesses and farm cooperatives. Join one of many organizations listed in the afterword. Heavy polemic tends to obscure the authors' argument; still, a passionate, often sensible book.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Grove