World hunger is solvable in four words because it’s not a hard problem.
The first solution is “Sardines, crackers, water filters.” These four things could be made available to the world’s population with little more than existing manufacturing and distribution channels.
The second (and better) 4-word solution is to “grow and harvest locally.”
Grow and Harvest Locally
The challenges of providing food to difficult places on earth are best framed as they would be in providing food for astronauts engaged in interplanetary travel. Bringing food to a distant planet is unfeasible. Therefore, what’s transported are seeds and knowledge. Food is harvested at the destination from those ingredients.
On earth, food comes from land, water, sun, work, and education. Everywhere people are currently starving, the first three of those ingredients are already present.
Is it feasible to harvest or grow food in all of the world’s biomes?
If viewed from the vantage point of intra-planetary “space” travel, then, yes, of course, it is.
Then, Why Does World Hunger Persist?
Because stated desires are mistaken for intent, an unchallenged shortage mentality, the mistaken belief that personal contributions don’t matter, and lack of knowledge about how to harvest food from local land and waters.
Still, world hunger will not end until the usual suspects abandon artificial prosperity blocks. The only thing powerful enough to do that is overwhelming abundance.
Stated Desire vs. Intent
A stated desire to “end world hunger” is not the intent to do anything, at all, about hunger. Unless the speaker has a grocery bag in their hands, it’s virtue signaling.
Virtue signaling is like wind past the ear; pleasant, but empty except for any action the listener might take. The speaker withdrawals from the Bank of Elegance to purchase the listeners good will. “Rather than pay in action, or in fact, they enchant with the grace of their salute. The true courtesy is the performance of duty: the spurious, and especially the useless, is deceit. It is not respect but rather a means to power.”1
“Leaders” touting a desire to end world hunger ought to be accountable for grocery deliveries in proportion to the loudness, and reach, of their speech.
Is there a shortage of sardines, crackers, or water filters?
If you don’t know the answer, then shortages aren’t the problem. Anyone with a spare $900 could ship a ton of sardines to Venezuela, today!
Price controls, and a lack of imagination cause shortages. Free markets resolve most shortages. Those that remain require imaginative substitutes. If sardines come up short, substitute a can of spam. Starvers can’t be choosers.
The First Best Solution is You
Personal steps taken towards the resolution of large problems are not meaningless; nor are they mere gestures. They’re the first best solution because the need is met:
- Personally, imparting knowledge and experience to the doer.
- Locally, improving the immediate environment.
- At the least possible cost as people make sure of that when their time and money is at stake.
Passing the buck to a group masks the reality that doing so gives it to another person. Unless people (who make up every group) have the expertise, the price of the solution increases and the likelihood of success, or any action at all, is decreased.
‘Wars’ on Effects
Wars declared on effects, rather than causes, are guaranteed (designed?) to never end. Even my 4-word solutions to end world hunger presume that hunger, itself, is the problem.
Hunger is an effect of a shortage of food, not eating food that’s available, or not digesting food that’s eaten. Hunger doesn’t cause these conditions. However, where there are no medical, or psychological, problems, making food available to the hungry is the solution because it addresses the cause.
Sadly, more food than needed to feed the world must be made available to the world, to overcome artificial prosperity blocks by the usual suspects.
Prosperity Blocking by the Usual Suspects
Western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the “sustained looting” of the continent as it loses nearly $60bn a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, a group of NGOs has claimed.
Attempts to make the population less hungry are direct threats to the rackets that profit from hunger. From the vantage point of the scoundrel, world hunger is not a problem, but an opportunity. A hungry population is a controllable, and profitable, population.
Any good thing can be blocked, or destroyed, with a tiny fraction of the energy it takes to create it. Therefore, worldly power is obtained, more quickly and easily, by blocking the good than it may be obtained by producing the good.
Prosperity blocking is widespread, efficient, and predictable. I was tempted to say the resolution to world hunger is in three words: “Stop Blocking Prosperity.” But abundance, not the blocking of it, is the correct solution.
Food Like Air
Recent attempts to outlaw the collection of rainwater proves that nothing is outside the scoundrel’s willingness to block. The more precious the good, the more profitable the block. But, where abundance reigns, prosperity blocks fail.
Rainwater blocking fails only where the abundance of rain overwhelms the block. The second 4-word solution to end world hunger is best because it leads towards making food available in overwhelming abundance.
Only when food is available like air will world hunger come to an end.
196 countries would have plenty to spare after gearing up factories and transportation to provide 7.5 billion people with sardines, crackers and water filters. The unchallenging project would realign providers and channels to tackle more challenging problems like getting fresh fruit and vegetables on the plates of everyone in the world!
The better solution is to frame the challenge of food provision as intra-planetary travel where it must be harvested from, or on, the ground of the hungry. Only when food is available in such abundance that it overwhelms the prosperity blocks from the usual suspects, may attempts to end world hunger be successful.
- The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Balthasar Gracian, page 115, “cxci Do not take Payment in Politeness”. ↩