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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hunger Rarely Shows Up Uninvited.

Previously, we acknowledged that hunger threatens the present and robs the future. But are we willing to take the next step in our journey through the not so obvious and acknowledge that hunger rarely shows up uninvited?

We, through our decisions, either invite hunger into the lives of the poor or force it to leave.

Follow the money, or as is so often the case, the breadcrumbs that fall from the table.
In nearly every situation where chronic hunger is present and busy laying waste to families, countries, and regions, we observe that hunger’s presence, more often than not, originates in decisions made by people. Sometimes the decision-makers are affected by their decisions. Most times, however, they are not.

The problem for the poor of our world is that a marginal decision, made either directly or indirectly by someone else, can have dire consequences. The poor can be forgiven for making decisions that end up harming them – in nearly every situation, they simply do not have the resources or knowledge needed to make beneficial decisions in an environment that has become increasingly hostile and marginally livable. The same, however, cannot be said of others, whose decisions are based solely on profitability or power.

For example, someone decided that food would be no different than a barrel of crude oil and should be traded as such.
The commoditization of food contributes to the persistence and broad presence of hunger in our world. The extraordinary concentration of power and dollars within the global grain trade is but one example. Estimates show that as few as four massive transnational corporations control somewhere between 70 to 90 per cent of the global grain trade. Billions of dollars are up for grabs. One of these corporations alone generated 62 billion dollars in earnings in one year. With billions of dollars at stake and millions of people at risk, it is not hard to guess which number will win out in the end.

In the end, the common element  is people and the decisions they make.

Next week... Caused by people, solved by people.