Sunday, November 11, 2012

The politics of food . . .

FAMINE CAN BE A WEAPON, or it can be the consequence of systemic bungle, but either way, the results are catastrophic. THE Nation. is a thoughtful site, with an article by Samuel Moyn, "Totalitarianism, Famine and Us" that is worth pondering. The Chinese debacle is truly disturbing. With climate change in Africa and its droughts, the future has challenge.

After studying the Bengali famine during World War II, Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen famously concluded that democracy is an antidote to famine, because it breaks the information control and accountability vacuum that often impede getting available food to those who desperately need it. Of course, the great Chinese famine provides a vivid illustration of how ruinous and deadly policies occur as much because closed regimes correct their policies too slowly as because they target their populations for terror.

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