Nobel Prize Economics 1998 : Causes of Famine : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Amartya Sen of India was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics for exploring the 'allocation of resources' within societies.

Example: Bangladesh Famine 1974

A record crop harvest in this year not exceeded for the years 1971 through 1976.

Problem: Northern Bangladesh ruined by floods. Workers unable to earn a living. Famine resulted from the inability of the lowest earners to buy food; also because of hoarding and speculative withholding of food for profit.

Notice that the problem was one of the division of labor. A large increase in unemployment of people who had no assets to fall back on plunged these people into famine. (I am looking at a photograph of emaciated women and children as I type this.)

NOT THE LACK OF FOOD. The lack of employment and the lack of savings.


Think about the Great Depression in the USA. Farmers were going bancrupt because of a crash in commodity prices, people were unemployed and everyone was so afraid of losing their remaining assets that they all stopped buying non-essentials. People went hungry here, folks. It was for the same reason that Bangladesh went hungry.

The same things are staring us in the face with regard to Y2K. Its not the availablity of food that is the determining factor .. it is the level of unemployment.

We are heading there. We are also in danger of losing other portions of the infrastructure which enable us to eat food produced hundreds and thousands of miles from our own stomachs. This multiplies the risk.

Risk. Risk avoidance strategies. Insurance. Its about seeing what may come and being prepared for it. (And remember others as well. They are you neighbors.)

-- David (C.D@I.N), May 14, 1999


Thanks David:

I guess I've been baffled by commerce and human nature for a while now. I remember, during the recession in '74, seeing news reports showing the farmers dumping milk out on the ground, vegetables by the truck load left to rot, grain rotting outside silos, all while people were going hungry.

I know a farmer has to make a buck, and I have no greater respect for any for the hard work they do, the plights they face and they don't get rich doing it. Not by the standards of the truly rich.

I certainly don't blame them. Why can't we figure out a way to use it instead of lose it? It seems such a terrible waste.

I just picked up my victory garden seed collection today. One more thing I can do to make my family a little less dependant. One more reason for me to feel good , softening the blow "if" it all falls apart for a while. All this has not been that terribly expensive either.

I also picked up a few more inexpensive parts for the solar oven I'm building. I will no doubt be one of those out of work, already am laid off right now, the signs are showing already. No sense in spending money on electricty if I can get good results without it. I'll spend that money elsewhere. I'm hoping to be able to help at least two others, if it does not fall apart before this winter.


-- unspun@lright (, May 14, 1999.

Not all, but MOST famines in the world this past century were caused not by nature, but by politics and war.

Political leaders caused most of the sufferings of famine.

It's the cycle run of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse found in the book of Revelation. The principles apply whether you're religious or not.

1st Horseman - White horse, rider with bow to conquer is symbolic of false messiahs; political leaders that transform themselves into angels of light to gain power, then seek to oppress and conquer once secure in office.

Followed by the Second Horseman - War. Much death and destruction caused by war and conflict. Look at the wars fought this century alone.

Third Horseman: Pestilence/Famine. Always happens after a conflict. Look at Ethiopia in the late 80's. We were treated to myriad images of children with fleshy skeletons with bugs crawling over diseased skin. That famine was brought on by a political tyrant and warfare that deprived the people of food. This happens quite often, and yes even in Bangladesh. A tried and true warfare tactic has been to starve the populace into submission to authoritarian rule. What routes are bombed to defeat enemies?? Supply routes. Usually the same ones that supply food to the populace, which often are raided by the military. Mass starvation is usually the result.

The Fourth Horse; Death. The result of the previous three Horsemen before it.

So in that order, we have a terrifying ride of cycles that have been repeated over millenia, but moreso this century than all of the natural disasters combined.

Political famines this century have been more horrid than ones brought on by natural disasters.

Y2K may only make a bad situation MUCH worse for the fat, lazy complacent fools we've become in this nation.

Here, only the first Horseman has appeared unbeknownst to the people. For now he brings war to others in Europe, but soon, that war will come home.

God help us all when it does.

-- INVAR (, May 14, 1999.

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