Jon Ashworth and Hunger

Earlier this year, the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign “was launched by Christian Aid, Save the Children, Cafod, ActionAid and 120 other organisations to draw attention to some of the key steps that can be taken to tackle this global challenge.”

However, rather than voting against the Council’s brutal attacks on public services in Leicester, Labour MP Jon Ashworth has identified a good cause and thrown his weight behind this latest anti-poverty campaign. As he writes, “we know there is enough food in the world for everyone, and yet one in eight people goes to bed hungry every night.”

Understanding why this tragedy occurs is vital, but clearly having an economic and political system that places profit before all else should give us a clue as to where the problem ultimately lies.

Two useful books that examine this capitalist problem include Susan George’s classic How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons for World Hunger (Penguin, 1976) and Mike Davies’ Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World (Verso, 2001).

In our interconnected world, extended famines do not occur when harvests fail, or because there are too many mouths to feed; quite the opposite, they occur with unfortunate regularity precisely because geopolitical priorities place profit before people.

Certainly the first report published by Enough Food for Everyone is impressive, but for those who wish to get a better handle on the politics of exploitation, I would advise reading any one of the books written by the author of the first draft of IF’s report.

The author in question being Mark Curtis, and one his most useful books in this regard is Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World (Vintage, 2003), which “describes the staggering gulf that exists between New Labour’s public claims to uphold ethical values and the reality of current policies.”

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