The Rich Eat, the Poor Starve

A Thought, Big Three / Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

It is a disgrace that in first world countries any person would go without basic necessities. Chief among those necessities is food. How is it possible that the rich eat and the poor starve? There is no reason that any Australian, or other first world countryman, should ever be left without the basic food requirements.

Much of human history we have sought out to overcome the challenges of nature. We have fought to never be in need of food and we are closer than ever. The developing countries have issues that the first world could resolve. If you look at the amount of produce wasted and those who go without it is an embarrassing equation.

There are three main points to this problem for me:

1. There is no reason people should go hungry in this day.

Wasted Food

In the first world besides the problem of profit, there is no reason that people should ever go without food. We have long over come the problem of supply, there is enough food in circulation that every man, woman and child should have enough to eat.

If supply is accounted for then why are there people going hungry today. One reason is the amount of food that is wasted in the country. The Australian Institute puts the figure at $5.2 billion and Foodwise puts the number at $8 billion of wasted food in Australian house holds annually.

This demonstrates that on average the Australian household is not in need of more food. We live in an age where food can be wasted, the research says that for most households food waste isn’t even a concern. This is a different world than even 50 years ago.

There is also the matter of industrial food waste. The supermarkets and restaurants that throw out mass amounts of food. This goes into landfill to breakdown, causing more greenhouse gasses while people starve.

Imagine just on the household wastage what homeless charities could do with $5 billion worth of food.

With such excess of food in the marketplace, it is absurd that we have anyone go hungry. It is quite remarkable that we as a species have overcome hunger, but that is not for all. Greed is the motivating factor here. We have put profit over a basic necessity.

I don’t think that a person should be gifted filet mignon and foie gras but a basic staple should be a guarantee. It would keep a healthier population, lowering the cost of our health care and most importantly would show our compassion.

There is no reason that anyone in the first world should be hungry, because there is no lack of supply. This is not true of the third world, yet many want to employ first world expectations on them.

2. No GMOs, so what do the developing world eat?

Golden Rice

The anti-GMO brigade brings up in me almost as much anger as the anti-Vaxxers. What most of these people have in common is a lack of scientific reason, logic and a love of conspiracy theories.

GMOs have been developed for thousands of years, corn does not look like its natural cousins. Through selective breeding, dumb genetic modification, we have juicy corn. That being said if you think GMOs are scary don’t eat them. I am ok with you buying non-GMO. What I am not OK with is you trying to stop the developing world being able to access them.

We can go a far way to easing the famines that we see by implementing GMOs to target their problems. Through the use of GMO crops we can overcome problems and save millions of lives. How on earth do you, with your full belly, dare try and stop this.

The greatest example of the stupidity of this is Greenpeace’s anti-golden rice campaign. Golden rice has been created to have Vitamin A, delivering it to many who would not otherwise have it. For more information on Vitamin A, here is an information sheet from The Office of Dietary Supplements and if you can find a copy Black, Robert E., et al. “Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences.” The lancet 371.9608 (2008): 243-260.

The ODS states that vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause for blindness in children under 5. Black asserts that vitamin A deficiency is responsible for the deaths of up to 670,000 children annually. What is Greenpeace’s response, we’re afraid of science watch me swim with this whale.

Not only do they prevent GMOs from being used to cure hunger, their anti-science rhetoric is responsible for the death of millions. While they are sitting around the campfire, undernourished children are going blind and dying. Their selfish moronity is disgusting.

It’s not just me that thinks their actions are dangerous. 107 Nobel laureates signed a letter asking Greenpeace to stop their anti-golden rice escapades. Now 1 Nobel laureate is 100 times smarter than those hippies, but 107 is convincing I would say. Here is the article if you are interested: 107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs.

My position is clear, if you choose not to eat GMOs, you are misguided but that is your choice. If you are well fed and are not under risk of blindness or death than you have no right to stop others from eating them. It is despicable to allow your ignorance to cause the death and disfigurement of millions of people.

When you refute the scientific world, you refute the advancements of human kind. You perpetuate suffering in the world. If you donate to Greenpeace I would ask you to stop until this stupid decision is overturned.

The sad thing is that this is but one example of the anti-GMO brigade affecting the lives of the less fortunate. Fighting their anti-science battles with the stomachs of the poor and destitute.

3. Is greed more powerful than compassion?

Eating Money

This seems to be a recurring question in articles and the conversations I have. Is greed the most powerful human element. From where I stand it seems to be true. The only reason people are hungry is because we can’t work out how to turn a profit on kindness.

How many start-ups profess to solve the worlds problems for a nominal fee. It is true that capitalism has done a great many things. We have many advancements to technology because of it and those who have too much to eat can thank capitalism. Though at what point do we say it has gone too far.

Has it gone two far when a drug company astronomically increases drug prices for greater profit? When we warehouse food to go bad while people starve? At what point do we say can we pull it back a touch.

The absence of inspirational leaders compounds this problem. We have no one to say that’s not good enough, and we will listen to them. Religion would have done that but people either don’t believe or have contorted it to fit their will. Politicians lead by following polls, reacting to what the public likes rather than needs.

We have come to a place where greed is king. The first world has enough, and most of us eat well. Out of sight and out of mind, that seems to be how greed festers. Greed pushed us to make a world where there was too much food. Greed now is keeping that food to itself, to stroke the ego it so loves.

Greed is clearly more powerful than compassion because more people are greedy. Those are the people we celebrate and aspire to be.

Food is fundamental to living, the withholding of it says something about us. It is not that we are good, it’s not that we are highly evolved. It says that we are driven by having more.

I don’t know how many times I have told someone an idea and they respond with, how will it make money? It won’t, it’s just the right thing to do. We have fallen from our ideals, and I’m afraid that it will be decades before food is fashionable. That is if it swings back around again.

If we can make enough food that top reasons for death are related to overconsumption, then we can work out a way to feed the starving.


2 thoughts on “The Rich Eat, the Poor Starve

  1. Greed and arrogance. Some grocery stores here in the U.S. donate their out-of-date but still viable foods to food pantries, and I applaud them, but others simply toss it in the dumpster. I cringe every time I have to toss leftovers, but yes, it does happen. Much to be said on this, but for now I leave it at greed and arrogance. By the way … I will email you later tonight … not ignoring you, haven’t forgotten … I just got caught up in a whirlwind of things that demanded my time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *