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World hunger

Material World: Feeding the World

Material World

In response to the looming food crisis the Socialist Party is asked how we would go about dealing with the doubling of food production to feed a future global population of 10 billion which the UN predicts will be necessary by 2050. Many press us to promote vegetarian diets and organic agriculture methods as the key and become disgruntled when we do not make it party policy and commit ourselves to such a view. However, it cannot be for the few socialists that there currently are to usurp the democracy of those who have the task of implementing socialism around the planet, by decreeing what is an acceptable solution to a social problem and what is not.

Man Should Matter Most

The recent years have been times of vigorous protest. The Bomb and World Poverty have been two issues which have sparked off great indignation and organisations such as CND and Oxfam. However, the ability of CND to sustain its enthusiasm has undoubtedly waned. CND has been an organisation built up around what seemed to be a simple answer to a clear-cut problem. On analysis, however, CND undoubtedly asked more questions that it could itself answer. Involvement in its activities was its own invitation to doubt and further criticism. CNDers became embarrassed by the irrelevance of their narrow protest, the Bomb, to the problem of war in general. Other questions they began to ask were—should they act politically, what form of political group or party should their protest take?

Goals and Penalties

In September the UN adopted seventeen Global Goals, intended to build a better world by 2030 ( These include such aims as ending poverty and hunger, promoting clean water and renewable energy, achieving gender equality and combatting climate change. All very worthy, and at least the global nature of problems and solutions is recognised, but let’s step back a bit and look at the background and history of such efforts.

The Global Goals are a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN in 2000 (, though with 1990 often taken as a benchmark. There were just eight MDGs, from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to reducing child mortality and combatting HIV/AIDS. For a discussion of one aspect of this, see Material World in the August Socialist Standard.

Food for Thought

During his directorship of the United Nations' Food and Agriculturist Organisation Sir John Boyd Orr won the approval of many people for his work in organising the supply or food to the devastated countries of Europe. Since his retirement from that post he has been tackling the problem of food production for all the peoples of the world. His approach is the direct one; his ideals mere wishful thinking, because conflicting interests in capitalist society, national and international, permit of no direct methods for the provision of a full life for all.

Among many other things he said (Daily Herald, 29/7/48):

    "A world of peace and friendship, a world with the plenty which modern science had made possible was a great ideal. But those in power had no patience with such an ideal. They said it was not practical politics."

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