BETTING ON FAMINE by Jean Ziegler

BETTING ON FAMINE

Why the World Still Goes Hungry
by , translated by

KIRKUS REVIEW

Ziegler (co-author: The Fight for the Right to Food, 2011, etc.), the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2000-2008), points to the principles of the Atlantic Charter and Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms as possible solutions to world hunger, malnutrition and starvation.

The author shows that the absolute numbers of the world's hungry have increased even while the proportion of the total population has fallen. He singles out the effect on the world's food supply of multitrillion-dollar financial bailouts, speculation and the destructive effects of free trade–related dumping of food products into hungry countries. Ziegler details how government-subsidized worldwide production of biofuels contributes to world hunger. This production results in the burning of hundreds of millions of tons of food products annually, which could otherwise be eaten, while depleting groundwater supplies and soils and spreading deforestation. The author insists that biofuel formulation is counterproductive to its stated purpose since it contributes to global warming and increases the release of carbon dioxide. Ziegler traces the idea of a right to food (“certainly the one most constantly violated on our planet”) back to World War II. Freeing populations from want, including hunger, was one of the foundations of the Atlantic Charter, the program to defeat Hitlerism. “Hunger” policy, based on the Hitler regime's division of occupied Europe's populations into four categories—well-fed, underfed, hungry and starving—was at the core of Nazism and its program of genocide. Ziegler’s historical perspective adds an important dimension to his argument. For him, food shortages are artificial, the result of human political choices, not the workings of nature.

A powerfully written argument for a change of course and priorities.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59558-849-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: New Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2013




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