How does the global food system constitute cleverly crafted and disguised stealing, and how are we responsible for it?

Background:

Enough food is grown in the world to provide over 3500 calories per day to every man, woman and child. That's more than enough to make everyone obese. So how could there be so much hunger in the world?  The answer is social injustice.

Small-scale farmers and their families are a majority in many Third World countries. These farmers and others go hungry because the fertile lands on which the farmers used to grow affordable food for themselves and their countrymen have been stolen to grow export crops, usually in conjunction with U.S. agribusiness companies. The bulk of world hunger, killing nearly twenty million people a year, is caused not by droughts, overpopulation or scarcity of food, but by this type of injustice.

The United States is the key player in this global food system.  First, our huge, comparatively wealthy population creates enormous demand for these export crops, fueling the spread of export agriculture around the world.

Second, the United States has always provided crucial support -- political, economic and military -- to the undemocratic (or pseudo-democratic) governments which rule in the interest of those who steal the land, and brutally crush any protests against that theft.

"Cleverly crafted stealing"

So, we steal food from the Third World poor by using our economic might to cause the best farmland in these countries to be used to grow food for us, not for the inhabitants of those countries.  

We insure that this stealing and starvation will continue by our long-time support of the governments in those countries which -- with our full knowledge -- torture and commit other horrific human rights abuses against those who try to change the situation.

And this stealing has been cleverly crafted and disguised by the fostering of the common misperception that our buying food from these countries is helpful to the people in them. In reality, the workers on the export agriculture plantations are paid starvation wages, with the bulk of the money from the sale of the crops going to the elites who stole the land in the first place.

For a more detailed examination of this issue, see 12 Myths About Hunger and the other resources provided by the organization Food First.

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1984-2001