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A narrative survey of the present and future victims of hunger and starvation, along with a roundup of organizations, projects and proposals bearing on world agriculture. Vicker, though he abjures ""1984 controls,"" insists on the preeminence of population control for mastering hunger; he also says underdeveloped countries should blame their own governments, upper classes and policies, not ""colonialism,"" for their plight. The book focuses on what the U.S. should do. Intensive American agriculture already provides a fourth of the world's population with grain, Vicker points out; one expects him to focus on how to get the rest of the world in that kind of shape. But he essentially concludes that the required irrigation and technology are too expensive for an all-out assault on hunger and defines the question as ""how to handle affluence."" Vicker recommends multinational investment in Third World farming, scientific research, and liberalized trade, but offers little hope that U.S.-level ""affluence"" can be created on a large scale elsewhere. In passing, the book reveals the paradox that U.S. fertilizer producers ""overexpanded fertilizer capacity"" in the late 1960's but does not question what ""overcapacity"" means given the life-or-death need for such products. Vicker opposes small farms and Chinese-style low-capital agriculture as unable to solve the problem of starvation; since he assumes that the required development outlays to avert the death of millions cannot be achieved, he ends with the probability of having to choose who dies first. Vicker is the author of The Kingdom of Off (1974) and Those Swiss Money Men (1973).

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Scribners