Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brief: Government spending and world hunger

Many of the world's governments are willing to spend billions of dollars in the cause of fighting climate change. The world's governments are willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to make sure that their banking institutions and insurance companies don't go bankrupt (out of fear of causing a prolonged recession / depression). When at war nations are willing to spend obscene amounts of money waging them.

In World War II 62-78 million deaths are attributed to fighting, civilian casualities and industrial scale extermination. The war lasted for about 6 years yielding on average ~35,000 humans dying everday due to the horrific war (the deadliest in history). By UN estimate, at present almost 100,000 malnourished people die everyday representing over half of all deaths (16,000 of which are children . . . every day!). There are 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today (according the United Nations World Food Programme). The amounts of money devoted to solving this problem are tiny compared with the resources devoted to so many of the world's problems. The UN World Food Programme has a budget of about 3 to 4 billion dollars per year. There has been talk of spending hundreds of billions of dollars anually on climate change, we already spend hundreds of billions of dollars on farm subsidies and hundreds of billions of dollars on bank bailouts and wars. The chronic food crisis is a hugely neglected problem - hopefully one day it will be rectified.