Is a world wide famine in the works?

Published on, by Thomas Riggins, 21 December, 2007.

Was it just seven years ago that the new millennium dawned? I remember all the talk about how this new era would give us a chance to escape from all the follies of the 20th century. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that all the old follies were still with us, waiting to be repeated.

World hunger is one of them. The last century was dotted with mass famines, all of them man made. Surely the UN and the leading nations of the world would not let that sorry record repeat itself?

It appears, however, that they will. The UN is doing its part to help prevent famines, but the UN can only do what the leading nations, represented on the Security Council will allow it to do. We must remember that any criticism of the UN is in reality a criticism of the five permanent members of the SC.

At any rate, the UN has warned us that a famine of Biblical proportions may be on the way. Tuesday’s New York Times has the story. “World Food Supply is Shrinking, U.N. Agency Warns,” by Elisabeth Rosenthal (12-18-07). Here is the gist of it …

… The UN’s Diouf thinks the advanced countries will have to come up with new ideas to reflect the new economic and
environmental realities. New ideas are in the works, but they may be based on putting people before profits. When has the US done that lately?

But not to worry here in the USA. We will be able to ride it out. Ms. Sheeran noted that, “In the U.S., Australia and Europe, there’s a very substantial capacity to adapt to the effects on food — with money, technology, research and development. In the developing world, there isn’t.” It’s comforting to know that if disaster strikes it will be the poor of the Third World who die off while we will continue to pollute the atmosphere, destroy the climate, and have all the junk food we need to see us through. (full text).

(Thomas Riggins is the book review editor for Political Affairs and can be reached at or at Thomas Riggins Blog).

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