Enough (hunger)

I’m currently reading Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, based on a trusted recommendation, and am finding it surprisingly substantive for a book written by two WSJ journalists. I’m about halfway through and will post more when I’m done, but two quick thoughts for now.

First, I had not appreciated at all the bizarre distortions created by the U.S. food aid system (aid is required to come from U.S. farms) and the “Iron Triangle” of farmers, shippers and charities which upholds is. The resistance to spending just 25% of food aid budget on locally produced food (which would be much more cost-effective) is astounding (it was quashed in Congress four years running from 2005-2008).

Second, everyone (Bono, Tony Blair, the authors, etc.) fixates on hunger in Africa specifically, but there are more undernourished people in South Asia than in Africa, and Africa has less than 30% of the billion undernourished people in the world. The lion’s share are in Asia (despite the Green Revolution!). So it’s good to keep that in perspective.

Update: Right, so apparently I posted on the latter less than two weeks ago, in response to an NYT article on the same topic.

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